Bloodstain Pattern Analysis Certification Requirements

Bloodstain Pattern Analysis Certification home page

Qualifications, requirements and application procedures for certification are subject to revision by the Board. The latest official version is always available from the Secretary of the Bloodstain Pattern Analysis Certification Board.

General Qualifications:

An applicant for certification must be of good moral character, high integrity, good repute, and must possess a high ethical and professional standing (See Section III).

All applicants for certification must submit two letters of endorsement. Endorsements are required from the applicant's employer/supervisor and/or persons who have knowledge of the applicant's experience as a practitioner in the discipline for which they applied.

Training Requirements:

Applicants for certification must provide documentation that evidences the required amount of certification credits (training certificates, etc.).

A minimum of forty (40) hours of education in an approved workshop providing theory, study and practice as follows:

  1. Flight characteristics and stain patterns
  2. Examination and identification of bloodstain evidence
  3. Documentation of blood stains and patterns

This forty (40) hour course must include the following:

  1. Oral and/or visual presentation of physical activity of blood droplets illustrating blood as fluid being acted upon by motion or force. Past research, treatise or other reference materials for the student.
  2. Laboratory exercises which document bloodstains and standards by previous research. Exercises must include - but not be limited to the following:

Falling Blood:

  1. Spot size related to distance fallen and blood volume variations.

Surface Considerations:

  1. Texture: smooth, rough, porous.
  2. Flat or angular surfaces.
  3. Drying time.

Impact Angle Determinations:

Blood in motion striking a horizontal surface or vertical target. Study of spot size, shape and spatter characteristics related to:

  1. Distance fallen.
  2. Speed of travel.
  3. Direction of travel.

Increased Blood Volumes:

  1. Stain shape and satellite spatter related to volume and distance
  2. Radial patterns
    1. Dripped
    2. Splashed

Flow Patterns (horizontal/vertical):

  1. Accumulative/passive.
  2. Secondary, altered.

Projected Patterns:

Cast-Off:

  1. Arc of the swing, number of swings or patterns, weapon variations.

Impact Patterns:

  1. Blunt force, explosive (gunshot).
  2. Size, shape and distribution of spots related to degree of force and distance traveled.

Transfer Stains and Impression Patterns:

  1. Secondary targets, intermediate or intervening objects, images and impressions, wipe and swipe patterns (hair, skin, cloth, etc.)

Laboratory manual and glossary of approved terms should be provided, describing exercises conducted - allowing space for written findings and observations of each exercise. Participants should be required to prepare individual standards of stain/pattern documentation for each exercise completed.

  1. Preservation of evidence.
  2. Documentation of evidence by measurement, sketch and properly oriented photograph.

The Student should be awarded a Certificate of Completion describing course dates and hours completed, instructor and sponsoring institution. This Certificate (copy) shall be submitted to meet the specified application requirements.

Other Topics Suggested (NOT required):

  1. Correlation of stain and patterns to the scene surroundings and/or body trauma.
  2. Serological/DNA considerations.
  3. Chemical and light source absorption and enhancement.
  4. Blood detection/collection techniques.
  5. Stain pattern reconstruction.

The minimum requirement of this forty (40) hour course must be met, with NO exceptions as an entry for Certification requirement. Various course content and areas of study must be approved by the Board and a Certificate of Completion must be forwarded with application for Certification testing.

Documentation will be required of course outline or equivalents. Acceptance will be required to fit the specified guidelines or be at the discretion of the Certification Board.

Time Practicing within Discipline:

A minimum of three (3) years of practice within the discipline of bloodstain Pattern Identification, following the required forty (40) hour training course, must be documented.

  1. Dates of training course must be provided.
  2. Documentation required for time in discipline may be provided in the following manner:
    1. Transcripts of testimony.
    2. Published work.
    3. Articles published.
    4. Instructional activities (documented).
    5. Case submission/multiple cases.
    6. Case reviewed (by Board).
    7. Other analysis (documented).
    8. Other means of establishing time in discipline (to be approved by Board).
  3. Documentation provided will be approved by review and at the discretion of the Board.

Training Courses/ Study Required:

A minimum of 240 hours of instruction in fields of study relating to bloodstain pattern analysis is required. This 240 hour requirement includes the aforementioned 40 hour basic bloodstain pattern analysis course.

Additionally, completion of a 40 hour photography course is also required. A certificate of completion MUST be provided showing successful completion of the 40 hour photography course. A compilation of photography courses relating to crime scene photography totaling 40 hours or a board approved college course in crime scene related photography may also meet this requirement.

Fields of study/courses qualifying for the remaining 160 hours of required training are:

The balance of the course hours required MUST also have some type of certificate of completion. Courses without certificates offered to meet the aforementioned training requirements will be evaluated by the Board.

Additional courses may be approved by the board on an individual basis. Documentation must be provided. Or:

Certification Testing and Study Reference List

Effective of August 5th, 2011, the current study references are:

  1. Principles of Bloodstain Pattern Analysis: Theory and Practice, S.H. James, P.E. Kish, T.P. Sutton; CRC Press; 2005.
  2. Practical Crime Scene Analysis and Reconstruction, R. Gardner and T. Bevel; CRC Press; 2009.
  3. Handbook of Forensic Pathology, 2nd Ed., V.J.DiMaio and S.E. Dana; CRC Press; 2006.
  4. SWGSTAIN Recommended Terminology

** NOTE ** Terminology for the updated test will come from the SWGSTAIN Recommended Terminology listed above.


The examination for Bloodstain Pattern Analysis Certification is divided into four (4) sections. Six (6) hours are allotted to complete the entire examination. Each part/section will be graded separately. All four sections must individually be passed with a 75% on each section to pass the certification test. The four (4) sections include:

Section 1.  

Written Examination: The written examination consists of 100 multiple choice and true-false questions. The section will include, but not be limited to:

  • Bloodstain pattern analysis terminology.
  • A holistic approach to documentation, photography, illustration and sketching of bloodstains and bloodstain patterns.
  • Wound pathology.
  • Investigative and scene reconstruction procedures.
  • Crime Scene processing.
  • History of bloodstain pattern analysis.
  • Bloodstain pattern analysis theory and logic.
  • Mathematics (Basic understanding pertaining to discipline applications).
  • Stain and stain pattern recognition (Characteristics and visual recognition).
Section 2.   Pattern Identification: Correctly identify and provide information regarding designated bloodstain patterns.
Section 3.   Analysis Portion: Correctly answer questions regarding bloodstain patterns in crime scene images and provide information to support the conclusion/s offered.
Section 4.   Area of Convergence and Area of Origin Calculation: Correctly determine the location of the area of convergence and correctly calculate the area of origin of a spatter pattern.

General Provisions