Are you interested in pursuing forensic jobs and have a strong stomach? Don’t mind potentially cleaning blood, guts, and other body parts? Crime scene cleaners are always in demand and this is a great way to get your foot in the door!
Even though the FBI reports that violent crime is on the decline, these crimes still unfortunately occur. After the crime scene, professionals need to clean and disinfect the area to ensure there are no signs of the crime left.
Here’s how to become a crime scene cleaner, including the necessary skills, qualifications, and training. In addition, we will discuss some facts about the job to ensure it’s the right gig for you.
Are You Suitable for the Job?
Before you start enrolling in school and train for the position, here are the basics of the crime scene cleaner job. Reading these facts will help you ensure you’re comfortable working in this environment.
Hours of Physical Labor
The crime scene cleaner role is different from your average cleaning job. On average, you’ll be spending 9-10 hours cleaning one site. The role also often involves heavy physical labor which is why most companies require you to be able to lift at least 50 pounds with ease.
Keep in mind, not every crime scene is extremely intense. Most of your tasks will consist of cleaning carpets, scrubbing walls, cleaning furniture, and airing out strong smells. Understand that you’ll likely be cleaning blood, body parts, and maybe even other foul bodily fluids.
The goal of a crime scene cleaner is to make the crime scene look impeccable so people can live and work in that location again.
Work Around Blood and Waste
We mentioned this before and we will say it again — as a crime scene cleaner, you will be handling blood, dead bodies, body parts, and even human waste. While crime scenes vary, they’re not only messy but likely reek of decomposition.
Keep in mind, you may feel sick when you first start the job. That is completely normal. As you get used to the job, you’ll be able to control your nausea better. You can also find ways to suppress your sickness before you start cleaning.
In addition, most become desensitized to the job. For example, if strong smells bother you, you’ll likely become used to them after several months.
For some, the emotional toll of seeing dead bodies and other crimes firsthand is worse than the blood and guts. As humans, we naturally empathize with others. Looking at dead bodies or human remains will make some feel extreme sadness.
While it’s important to not dehumanize the victims, crime scene cleaners have a job to do. This means you need to control your emotions on the job. It’s recommended you speak to a therapist regularly.
Work Irregular Hours
Crimes can happen at all hours of the day. In addition, the police and CSI may not get to the site immediately. But once the evidence is collected, the scene needs a good cleaning.
Most crime scene cleaners don’t work a set schedule; you’ll have to be available on-call at all hours of the day. This means you need to be able to show up to work at a moment’s notice.
Before choosing this job, make sure you can adjust to an unpredictable schedule. For example, if you have children, you’ll need to make sure you have specific arrangements for their care in case you’re called in.
After reading these points, do you still think being a crime scene cleaner is the right job for you? If so, you’ll first need to earn the necessary credentials. Here’s how to train for the job.
There are regulations and restrictions on crime scene cleaning, which means you’ll need to earn specific certifications before cleaning a crime scene. These certifications include crime scene cleaning as well as handling bloodborne pathogens and bio-recovery.
Keep in mind, the certifications you earn and hold depend on where you live. While the United States follows the OSHA guidelines training requirements, crime scene cleanup training varies with each state.
You may also need additional training, which means you’ll have to pass specific courses. These courses may include heat-illness awareness, hazardous communication, and medical waste handling. In addition, all employers require that their employees complete specific training before they’re hired.
Using PPE and Respiratory Protection
Since you’ll deal with foul smells, human waste, and potentially dangerous substances, all crime scene cleaners need to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) and wear specific equipment to enable easier breathing.
Most crime scene cleaners wear a Hazmat suit, but your employers may require different or additional equipment.
You’ll have to go through training to properly use the equipment. Your employer will provide this training, but it’s recommended you do some research on your own.
Tips When Looking for a Job
As stated previously, most employers cover specific training materials for you. However, you’ll at least need to be certified before finding crime scene cleaner jobs. After you finish your training and earn your certifications, it’s time to find a job! Knowing these tips will help you get hired:
- Write an effective resume that lists your certifications, skills, qualifications, and related experience
- If you worked in construction or cleaning previously, you’ll have a better chance of getting hired
- Pass a background and drug test
- Find cleaning companies that specifically handle crime scene and biohazard cleaning
After finding a job, you should also look into therapy or a support group. Even if you don’t think you’ll need it, many crime scene cleaners find the emotional toll worse than the mess. Have a therapist’s or support group’s contact information for when you’re ready.
Are You Ready to Become a Crime Scene Cleaner?
Once you earn the necessary qualifications, you can officially become a crime scene cleaner. If you’re looking for a job, check out our careers page. We operate in a variety of different states and we hire cleaners who specialize in crime scene and drug lab cleanups, biohazard jobs, and even more.