Crime Scene Certification FAQ’s

Crime Scene Certification home page

Is there a good single source for information on the certification process?

YES! Just about everything you need to know about the certification process and the requirements for certification may be found in the IAI's Certification Programs Operation Manual.

What are the different certifications?

There are three different certifications available through the Crime Scene Certification Board. They are:

How many different certifications may be held at one time?

An individual may hold only one of the following certifications at a time:

An individual may also hold the Crime Scene Reconstructionist (CCSR) certificate, either alone or in combination with one of the other certificates. However, effective March 21, 2017, the Crime Scene Reconstruction Certification was discontinued and we have ceased to accept new applications and renewals for CCSR.

What are the basic requirements for all of the Crime Scene certifications?

All of the Crime Scene certifications share the same basic requirements.

"An applicant for certification must be employed in the discipline in which they are applying for certification, must be of good moral character, high integrity, good repute, and must possess a high ethical and professional standing."

In addition

"An applicant must be employed full time in an occupation that includes crime scene related activities."

"Crime scene related activities" is understood to mean responding to crime scenes, and having a significant role in locating, documenting, recovering and analyzing physical evidence."

Do applicants for Crime Scene certification have to work for a law enforcement agency?

No. Applicants must meet the requirement to be employed full-time in an occupation that includes crime scene related activities. Normally this will be in a law enforcement agency, but on a case by case basis the Board will consider applications from non-governmental personnel acting in an adjunct or advisory capacity.

"Acting in an adjunct or advisory capacity" is defined as working full-time for an entity such as a forensic laboratory, which is privately owned or operated, and which provides forensic analysis for government agencies. Persons applying for certification who are employed in an adjunct or advisory capacity must still meet the requirement of responding to crime scenes and having a significant role in locating, documenting, recovering and analyzing physical evidence.

Are there different requirements for different certifications?

Yes. Each of the different certifications has a different set of requirements in addition to the shared basic requirements. A list of the requirements may be found on the website.

Is there a list of which courses qualify as "Crime Scene Certification Board approved instruction"?

In general, the Board will look to see if a course is on a suitable topic and then accept it. The Board may on occasion disallow a course, even if it is on a topic that appears to be related to crime scene investigation, if the Board feels it is not up to our standards.

Topics considered appropriate by the Board include:

Arson Investigation
Bloodstain Pattern Analysis
Burial Recovery
Clandestine Lab Operations
Collection & Preservation of Evidence
Courtroom Testimony
Crime Scene Documentation
Crime Scene Investigations
Crime Scene Mapping
Crime Scene Photography
Crime Scene Reconstruction
Death Investigations
Evidence Photography
Firearms Identification
Forensic Light Sources
Footwear Impression Evidence
Forensic Anthropology
Forensic Archeology
  Forensic Entomology
Forensic Odontology
Latent Print Detection
Latent Print Processing
Post-Blast Investigations
Report Writing
Rules of Evidence
Sex Crimes Investigations
Shooting Incident Investigation
Shooting Incident Reconstruction
Tire Impression Evidence
Total Station
Traffic Collision Investigation
Traffic Collision Reconstruction
Trajectory Documentation
Underwater Search & Recovery
Wound Dynamics

Are online courses accepted for certification?

No. Online courses are not accepted for certification.

Do I have to be an IAI member to be certified?

No, non-members are welcome to apply. It should be noted that there is a difference in the cost to apply between members of the IAI and non-members.

You must be a member of the IAI to receive the discounted rate. Membership in a Division of the IAI without membership in the parent body does not qualify.

Is there an ethics code required for persons holding Crime Scene certifications?

Yes. All applicants for certification or recertification shall be required to adhere to the Association's Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct. A copy of the Code and Standards are available on the IAI website.

Are college students eligible for certification?

College students are generally not eligible for certification. "An applicant must be employed full time in an occupation that includes crime scene related activities."

Are retirees eligible for certification?

Retirees are generally not eligible for certification. "An applicant must be employed full time in an occupation that includes crime scene related activities."

However — persons that were certified at such a time as they met the definition above may continue to recertify even after retiring, provided they are still active in the field.

Is the application fee refundable?

No. You should not apply until you are sure you meet the certification requirements.

How long is certification good for?

Certification is good for 5 years. It may be renewed at the end of the 5 years.

Is there an appeal process if a certification is denied?

Yes. The appeals process is detailed in the Certification Programs Operation Manual.

How do I apply?

Applications are submitted online through the eCert portion of the IAI website. Letters of reference, training certificates, diplomas, etc., may be attached electronically to the application.

How many questions are on the tests? How much time is allowed?

Each test has a different number of questions. A breakout of the test time limits and number of questions is available on the website.

What is a passing score on the test?

Passing score for the written tests is 75%.

Are test scores released to third parties?

Test scores are never released to anyone — including the applicant and members of the Crime Scene Certification Board. The certification tests are scored on a strict pass/fail basis.

What are the tests based on?

Each test has material from a set of textbooks selected by the Crime Scene Certification Board.

The current textbooks are listed on the Crime Scene Certification Board webpage.

It is important to remember that for the purposes of the test, the textbooks are considered to be correct, regardless of your agency's policies or practices.

What are the requirements for recertification?

All applicants for crime scene recertification (CCSI, CCSA, CSCSA) must

What are Continuing Education/Professional Development credits?

This is a point (or credit) system designed to ensure an applicant has remained active in the field. Credits may be accumulated for attending training; teaching; publishing in forensic journals; being active in forensic societies; etc.

A complete description of the Continuing Education / Professional Development credit system may be found in the Certification Programs Operation Manual.

What is the application process for recertification?

Application for recertification is very similar to the application for initial certification.

Applications are submitted online through the eCert portion of the IAI website. Letters of reference, training certificates, diplomas, etc. may be attached electronically to the application.

Unlike the initial test, the recertification test is not proctored. Passing score for the written test is 75%.