|Posted on Tuesday, February 14, 2006 - 12:54 pm: ||
I am interested in learning more about the fingerprints and documents. How do I get started. Now I am currently a student at an University and will obtain a degree in Criminal Justice.
|Posted on Tuesday, February 27, 2001 - 08:49 am: ||
The AIAS course is a good start, and I have required students under me to complete it if they had no prior experience as fingerprint clerks working with classification. I never took the course, but in the late 1970's my wife took it because she was interested in my job (I was assigned to the US Army Crime Lab in Tokyo at the time). I looked at all of her answers and gave additional hints where needed. She completed the course with flying colors, but she was only a tiny bit closer to being a fingerprint expert than she was a domestic engineer and mother (both more taxing and difficult jobs to successfully complete).
Like the approximately 3,000 employees now at the FBI's Fingerprint Center in Clarksburg, WV, my wife had some skills and knowledge about fingerprints and classification... but, she was NOT trained to the level of expertise permitted to go to court and testify about the identification of a crime scene (latent) print with a suspect's inked print. That level of expert works hundreds of miles from Clarksburg in the FBI Laboratory, and is typically paid a much higher salary.
The job title "Fingerprint Examiner" at the FBI's fingerprint center in Clarksburg, WV was previously known as "Fingerprint Clerk" many years ago when fingerprint file operations were a part of the FBI's Identification Division, Technical Section (I know, because I started my career there). The title "Fingerprint Specialist" at the FBI Laboratory is the equivalent of the title "Latent Print Examiner" as used in almost all other crime laboratories in America. Some federal laboratories are now using the job series "Physical Scientist" to define "Latent Print Examiner" duties.
Had my wife obtained employment with the Army Crime Lab system, she would still have to have completed the 104 week training course... but, she would have had a headstart based on her AIAS training.
There is no course such as the AIAS, or a college level forensic science course/degree, which will give you all the tools necessary to be a well-qualified Latent Print Examiner. You will have to apprentice under experienced examiners in a forensic science laboratory to obtain the knowledge, skills and abilities necessary. The International Association for Identification's (IAI) Latent Print Examiner Certification program requires three years full-time experience before you are even allowed to take the examination to be certified as an examiner... and even then nearly half of those tested will fail the exam.
Volunteering with the local PD or SO may give you a headstart, but you should really plan on completing your four year degree (preferably including science as your major or minor) and then watching the WWW job boards (like here) for a Latent Print Examiner student or intern job opening.
The starting pay isn't great usually, but the journeyman level pay at larger labs is equal to any other government forensic scientist position. At my laboratory, the top paid journeyman level Latent Print Examiner now takes home over $5,000 net per month (after all taxes, medical, retirement, etc., deductions).
|Posted on Monday, February 26, 2001 - 01:41 pm: ||
I am very interrested in the Latent Prints field. I want to know how to get started and if taking the class through the American Institute of Applied Science is a good idea/investment.
Also, has anyone ever heard of volunteering with the local PD or SO to gain some experience?
Any information will be helpful at this time.