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What Certifications Are Needed for Crime Scene Cleanup?

Updated: 5 days ago

What Certifications Are Needed for Crime Scene Cleanup graphic

Crime scene cleanup is a vital yet emotionally taxing job. It requires professionals to deal with the aftermath of tragic events. This essential service requires a strong stomach and resistance, as well as adherence to strict legal and ethical considerations.

Crime scene cleaners face hazardous conditions, handling bodily fluids and potential biohazards, making their work both dangerous and indispensable.

Because they ensure safety and compliance, certifications play a key role in preparing these professionals to face the challenges ahead, safeguarding public health, and restoring peace to affected areas. Here's a look at the certificates needed:

  • Medical Waste Transportation Permit

  • Trauma Scene Waste Practitioner Permit

  • Biohazardous Medical Waste Transporter Registration

  • Biomedical Waste Transporter Registration

  • Hazardous Waste Transporter License Certificate

  • Infectious Waste Transporter Permit

Why Are Certifications Important for Crime Scene Cleaners?

Certifications for crime scene cleaners aren't just a formality; they're proof of rigorous crime scene cleanup training, comprehensive knowledge, and adherence to critical safety protocols.

These certifications, endorsed by entities like the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), ensure that cleaners are equipped with the right knowledge for handling biohazard exposure, including blood-borne pathogens and hazardous materials.

They also highlight the importance of following strict decontamination and disinfection protocols, using personal protective equipment (PPE) correctly, and properly disposing of waste.

Also, certifications are a key component in meeting legal requirements and ethical obligations, for both an individual and a crime scene cleanup company.

They show compliance with OSHA regulations and standards set by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), as well as adherence to Biohazardous Materials Identification System (BMIS) guidelines.

With crime scene cleaning, this adherence is about ensuring public health, mitigating risks, and protecting the environment. Inadequate certification can lead to legal issues and endangerment of both cleaners and the general public.

Essential Certifications for Crime Scene Cleaners

The crime scene cleanup industry relies on specific certifications, permits, and licenses to comply with state and federal regulations.

Here are some of the most commonly required documents for crime scene cleanup businesses to have. Do note that requirements can vary depending on the location of the company's offices.

Medical Waste Transportation Permit

Essential for companies involved in the transportation of medical waste, this certification ensures they adhere to safety and environmental standards.

Biohazardous Medical Waste Transporter Registration

Registration is required for companies transporting biohazardous medical waste to ensure best practices related to handling and disposal.

Trauma Scene Waste Practitioner Permit

Authorizes individuals or companies to remove human blood, body fluids, and associated residues from the scene of serious human injuries, illnesses, or deaths.

Biomedical Waste Transporter Registration

Ensures that entities engaged in the transportation of biomedical waste comply with specific regulations and guidelines set by health departments.

Infectious Waste Transporter Permit

The function of this permit is to regulate and authorize individuals or companies in the transportation of infectious substances, including regulated medical waste. It requires transporters to adhere to waste management practices like safe handling and containment labeling.

Hazardous Waste Transporter License Certificate

Authorizes companies and individuals to transport hazardous waste in compliance with specific regulations set by environmental and health departments.

Licensing and permits

In order for crime scene cleanup companies to operate legally, they're required to have the following:

  • Trauma Scene Waste Management Practitioner License

  • Hazardous Waste Transporter License Certificate

  • Biomedical Waste Transporter Registration

  • Infectious Waste Transporter Permit

With the Trauma Scene Waste Management Practitioner License for example, individuals in California involved in the removal of human blood, body fluids, and associated residues must have this license issued by the California Department of Public Health.


Liability insurance is vital for crime scene cleanup companies, as it protects them against potential claims related to their work. This insurance normally covers areas like biohazard remediation, personal injury, and property damage, helping the company operate with peace of mind and financial security.

Requirements for Employees of Crime Scene Cleanup Companies

To clean a crime scene according to a particular standard, employees within the field are required to have the following:


  • Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC): An important certificate for those cleaning crime scenes, as it ensures they're trained in the latest cleaning and restoration techniques.


A background in the medical field or law enforcement can be helpful. It provides a foundational understanding of the scenarios crime scene cleaners encounter.

  • Bloodborne and airborne pathogen training: Prepares employees to correctly handle potentially infectious materials.

  • Hazardous material generation and transport training: Ensures employees can safely manage and transport hazardous materials.

  • PPE use training: Fosters best practices related to the use of personal protective equipment.

Personal background

Because of the close relationship with law enforcement and emergency services, a clean police record is essential for aspiring crime scene cleaners. They may also be subject to a drug test.

Communication skills

To effectively interact with family members and other personnel, crime scene cleaners need to have strong communication skills.

This is primarily because they have to communicate respectfully and effectively while dealing with challenging situations. Also, crime scene cleaners should be able to balance compassion and safety when dealing with violent crimes.

Physical fitness

The nature of the job demands strenuous physical activity. Cleaning up crime scenes involves wearing full-body hazmat suits, boots, gloves, and full-face respirators for long hours, which requires one to be physically fit.

Also, crime scene cleanup often requires cleaners to move heavy furniture and spend lots of time in tight spaces, further showing the need to be fit.

Equipment knowledge

Employees must be familiar with both standard cleaning equipment, like clothes, sponges, and mops, and specialized tools for safe decontamination.

Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST)

This provides employees with the skills they need to support individuals in crisis, enhancing their ability to handle sensitive situations with compassion and discretion.

Firearm Safety Training

Important to ensure employees can safely manage crime scenes involving firearms.

Crime Scene Photography Training

Equips employees with the necessary skill set to document scenes accurately. This skill aids in the thorough cleaning and restoration process.

Personal qualities

Top crime scene cleanup professionals exhibit compassion, discretion, physical fitness, a strong work ethic, and robust communication skills. These personal qualities are crucial in managing the challenging and often emotional aspects of the job.

How to Become a Crime Scene Cleaner

This isn't just a matter of jumping straight into on-the-job training. So, here are some steps you can follow to become a crime scene cleaner:

1. Educational requirements and training

Obtain a high school diploma or G.E.D. You'll also need to acquire specialized training in bloodborne pathogens, PPE, respiratory protection, hazardous communication, and medical waste handling.

Depending on the state you live in, you should consider getting certifications like Biohazard Remediation Technician (BHR) or ones from recognized bodies like ABRT or IICRC.

2. Gain experience and skills

Seek practical training and mentorship to develop hands-on experience. Build skills in safety protocols, decontamination processes, and equipment operation. Consider exploring fields like domestic cleaning, construction work, or healthcare to enhance your expertise.

3. Networking and job search

Use platforms like Indeed, LinkedIn, and industry portals to find job opportunities. Networking with professionals in the field and attending industry events can also help in this regard. If you can't find the position you're after, consider internships or volunteering to gain practical experience and make connections.

4. Resume writing and interview preparation

Craft a compelling resume highlighting relevant experience, skills, and certifications. Then, prepare for interviews by researching common questions and rehearsing responses. Conduct research on the target role and industry-specific areas such as biohazard decontamination.

5. Career advancement and long-term growth

Pursue ongoing training and upskilling to stay updated with industry standards. You could also explore potential career paths like supervisory roles, management positions, or specialization in forensic cleaning.

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