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How Do I Become a Blood Splatter Analyst?

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A blood splatter analyst, also called a bloodstain pattern analyst, assists investigators in criminal investigations. By analyzing the type of blood, how it pools, where it splashes and what smears were made at the scene of a crime, bloodstain pattern analysts often can reconstruct a crime. They can tell investigators whose blood is at a crime scene, whether the crime occurred at the scene or elsewhere, what kind of weapon was used and whether the victim fought back.

Earn a bachelor’s degree in forensic science, which prepares you for a number of jobs within the law-enforcement field. During your coursework, you must take courses designed to prepare you for the certification process. These include crime scene investigation technology, evidence recovery and forensic science. You should also take a photography course.

Take a course that provides at least 40 hours of specific blood splatter training, which is another prerequisite for certification. Acceptable courses often are offered through local police departments, such as the Basic Bloodstain Pattern Analysis Course offered by the Baltimore Police Department.

Land a job with a police department laboratory, through a private lab that works with blood and crime scenes, or in a hospital. You must accrue at least three years in a crime-scene-related field before you can apply for certification from the International Association for Identification. Your work history must be documented by your employer and must indicate that you have been working in the field, assisting with blood splatter analysis.

Study for the exam using the texts and courses recommended by the International Association for Identification, which administers the tests. Apply for and take the examination for certification. The test has four parts and you must achieve a minimum of 75 percent to pass.

Tip

To help you land a job within law enforcement, apply to the police academy after you graduate. Many forensic scientists start out as police officers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. With a forensic science degree or at least four years of experience, you can land a gig with the FBI as a bloodstain pattern analyst, provided you can demonstrate competency in more than 50 blood pattern methodologies.

Warning

You can work as a blood splatter analyst without the certifications through formal education and on-the-job mentoring, but you can’t testify in court without recognized credentials that certify you are an expert. You also can’t work independently in any official capacity without the recognized credentials.

2016 Salary Information for Forensic Science Technicians

Forensic science technicians earned a median annual salary of $56,750 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, forensic science technicians earned a 25th percentile salary of $42,710, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $74,220, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 15,400 people were employed in the U.S. as forensic science technicians.

About the Author

Linda Ray is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years reporting experience. She's covered business for newspapers and magazines, including the "Greenville News," "Success Magazine" and "American City Business Journals." Ray holds a journalism degree and teaches writing, career development and an FDIC course called "Money Smart."

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