Growth Trends for Related Jobs
Believe it or not, but it takes a particular career path, training, certification and understanding of blood pathogens and contaminant safety measures to become a crime scene cleanup technician. You'll find that jobs are generally readily available in this field -- a lot of people can't handle it. You must have a high degree of training to ensure your safety as well as to ensure you take proper precautions to preserve the crime scene for legal reasons.
While all cities and towns need crime-scene cleanup crews, major cities such as New York City, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Miami and Chicago are the largest markets for private cleaning firms, as these cities have the highest crime rates. According to a February 2011 "U.S. News & World Report" article, crime rates across the United States have dropped significantly over the past two decades. The top ranked cities for total crime were St. Louis, Atlanta, Birmingham, Orlando, Detroit and Memphis. These calculations were made measuring total crime against the total city population. However, in giant cities such as New York City and Chicago, crime is prevalent and crime scene businesses are booming.
Training and Education
Formal education and college degrees are not necessary for crime scene cleaners, but certifications and trainings are required. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) -- U.S. federal agency responsible for enforcing safety and health legislation -- has regulations that state human blood, fluids, organs and body parts must be properly contained and disposed of. You can take a blood pathogen course to learn the proper protocol for dealing with these specimens on the job.
In larger cities, private crime scene cleanup business owners can make well over six figures. Most cities employ, on contract, private businesses to handle and dispose of crime scene material. Ron Gospodarski, president of Bio-Recovery Corporation, states, "We spare [the survivors] the hurt and pain of cleaning up those atrocities." Gospodarski reports that most of his employees do not have college degrees. However, what employees like his do have are strong stomachs. Their tasks include cleaning up blood, removing stained carpeting, disposing of furniture and dealing with decomposed bodies.
If you're interested in actively cleaning up crime scenes, then be prepared to witness stomach-turning scenes; deal with hazardous waste; and, according to Gospodarski, do all of it while wearing a heavy hazmat suit, chemical spill boots and heavy gloves. Most cleanup workers are on call 24/7, and workers never know how long a job will take.
Jan Archer holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science and a master's degree in creative writing. Roth has written trade books for Books-a-Million and has published articles on green living, wellness and education topics. She taught business writing, literature, creative writing and English composition at the college level for five years.