Forensic Specialist Intern

Internship Position Description


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Position Title:

Forensic Specialist Intern - OC Crime Lab   (unpaid internship)

Internships with the OC Crime Lab are unpaid positions, and the background investigation can take two - three months to process.  
Applicants are expected to have some knowledge and or education in crime scene investigation, or a closely related field. Once an application is submitted there will be a review of the submitted materials and candidates are selected for interview. Applicants who are selected for an interview will be contacted in February and interviews will be scheduled in March. Candidates who pass the oral interview will then be moved on to the background process. A complete and thorough background is conducted by the Orange County Sheriff’s Department. After passing the background candidates will submit to a polygraph test. Placement is offered in the late summer and early fall and may extend longer depending on the needs of the department.

Name and Location of Agency/Department Requesting Intern:

Orange County Sheriff-Coroner Department
OC Crime Lab - Identification Bureau
Santa Ana, CA 92703

Functions of Agency/Department:

The Orange County Sheriff's Department is a modern, progressive law enforcement agency dedicated to protecting the peace and enhancing the quality of life for everyone in the County of Orange. The OC Crime Lab provides scientific support to the law enforcement agencies and criminal justice system in Orange County by applying sound scientific principles to the collection and documentation of physical evidence; by ensuring thorough evaluation and interpretation of physical evidence; and by providing expert testimony and scientific support whenever needed.

Intern Duties/Responsibilities:

Duties vary, depending on current project needs.  Duties may include responding with CSI Specialists to crime scenes, reviewing method development, and maintaining equipment and supplies.

Assignments may provide observational experience related to the following activities:

  • Identification and collection of DNA, fingerprints and physical evidence
  • Documentation and collection of firearms and toolmarks
  • Development and collection of latent prints
  • Crime scene photography
  • Sketching and computer-aided design (CAD)

Educational Requirements:

Those applying for an internship with the crime laboratory are expected to have completed their third year at an accredited college or university prior to the start date of the internship. They must be pursuing or have recently completed a bachelor's degree in forensic science, criminal justice, or photography.

Skills, Training or Qualifications:

Applicants must be familiar with basic principles of crime scene investigation. They must be able to work with law enforcement personnel.

Training and Supervision that will be Provided by the Agency/Department:

The program provides an opportunity for interns to gain observational experience by participating in the operation of the OC Crime Lab. Interns will be exposed to a variety of tasks and will be directly supervised and mentored by working forensic specialists.

Time Commitment:

Internships are offered primarily during the late summer/early fall months
 (may extend longer depending upon availability) and require 10 or more hours per week for 2 or more months. Schedules may vary, depending on specific tasks and intern availability. Hours can be scheduled between 6 a.m. – 1:30 a.m., Monday - Friday. Applicants able to schedule the maximum hours/duration listed for the internship typically gain a more in-depth experience.

Benefits Available to Intern

Although this is an unpaid internship that does not lead to permanent employment or include employee benefits, the position offers participants an excellent experience in working within a large, full-service forensic laboratory. It also provides an opportunity for interns to explore career options, gain knowledge and skills, build resumes and network with professionals in the forensic science environment.

Application Process:

The following information must be included in application material. If information is missing, candidates may be disqualified.

  • The cover letter or letter of interest is an opportunity for applicants to describe career and academic goals and to elaborate upon personal interests/accomplishments related to the internship. 
  • Please include the following information in the LAST PARAGRAPH OF THE COVER LETTER OR LETTER OF INTEREST:
    • Preferred start and end dates for the internship, if any.
    • Number of hours that can be scheduled on a weekly basis (Be specific - at least 8, but no more than 20 hours per week, unless for academic credit).
    • Days/timeframes available to schedule internship hours. (Be specific.)
    • If living outside of the Southern California area, place of residence if selected for the internship.
    • Whether or not the internship will apply to college/university academic credit. We don't require that applicants receive academic credit, and many students complete the internship for personal/professional growth rather than academic credit.
  • The resume must include relevant scientific education, work experiences and community involvement.
  • The unofficial transcript(s) must include all undergraduate and any graduate coursework, except coursework in progress.

Selected candidates will be interviewed by the project(s) leader and intern coordinator in March.

Required Background Investigation:

Background investigations that can take two – three months to process will be conducted on applicants who have successfully interviewed for the internship and wish to pursue placement.

The background investigation includes a 20 - 30-minute pre-screen interview. The pre-screen interview for out-of-state applicants can be conducted by phone. An additional three-hour in-person interview and Livescan fingerprinting are also required. 
Location for pre-screen and in-person background interviews:
Orange County Sheriff's Department Background Unit 
320 N Flower Street, Santa Ana CA, 92702

The following documents will be completed by qualified applicants during the background investigation:

  • Civilian Personal History form, includes employment history & arrest record
  • Notarized Authorization to Release Information form

As part of the background investigation, applicants will be required to provide five references along with original copies of the following documents:

  • Birth certificate (original or certified copy) or if applicable, naturalization certificate/resident card (Passport is not accepted.)
  • Valid, state-issued driver’s license or ID
  • Social Security card
  • Proof of current automobile liability insurance coverage, listing applicant as an insured driver
  • Official college transcript(s) (Required for applicants who have completed their degree(s) and must be submitted in a sealed/unopened envelope.)

Application Procedure

Please check back in Fall 2021 for the next application window