Forensic Science Technician

Ballistic Expert, Ballistic Technician, Ballistician, Ballistics Expert   More Names
Biometric Fingerprinting Technician, Blood Splatter Analyst, Computer Forensics Technician, Crime Lab Technician, Crime Laboratory Analyst, Crime Scene Analyst, Crime Scene Examiner, Crime Scene Technician (Crime Scene Tech), Crime Specialist, Criminalist Technician, Criminologist, CSI (Crime Scene Investigator), Digital Forensic Examiner, DNA Analyst (Deoxyribonucleic Acid Analyst), DNA Technician (Deoxyribonucleic Acid Technician), Evidence Specialist, Evidence Technician, Fingerprint Classifier, Fingerprint Expert, Fingerprint Technician, Firearms Specialist, Forensic Ballistics Expert, Forensic Computer Examiner, Forensic Document Examiner, Forensic Examiner, Forensic Fingerprint Expert, Forensic Investigator, Forensic Science Examiner, Forensic Science Technicians, Forensic Scientist, Forensic Specialist, Forensic Technician, Forensic Technologist, Forensic Toxicologist, Handwriting Expert, Keeler Polygraph Operator, Latent Fingerprint Examiner, Latent Print Examiner, Lie Detector Operator, Polygraph Examiner, Polygraph Operator, Trace Evidence Technician, Wildlife Forensic Geneticist
Description

Collect, identify, classify, and analyze physical evidence related to criminal investigations. Perform tests on weapons or substances, such as fiber, hair, and tissue to determine significance to investigation.

Work under the direction of forensic scientists, law enforcement officials, or medical examiner personnel and may testify as expert witnesses on evidence or crime laboratory techniques. Also may serve as specialists in areas of expertise, such as ballistics, fingerprinting, handwriting, or biochemistry.

Forensic science technicians primarily work for state, federal or private crime laboratories. They also may also work for medical examiners offices, hospitals, universities, toxicology laboratories, police departments, medical examiner and coroner offices, or as independent forensic science consultants.

Forensic science technicians use scientific investigation techniques to examine questions arising from crime or litigation. Forensic scientists photograph, draw, measure, reconstruct activities, and identify, collect and preserve evidence during crime scene investigations. They analyze crime scene evidence such as blood, saliva, drugs, and fingerprints. They also work to reconstruct crime scenes to establish relationships among various pieces of evidence. Most specialize in areas such as DNA analysis or firearm examination, and perform scientific tests on weapons or substances to determine significance to the criminal investigation.

Forensic science technicians prepare reports documenting their findings and the laboratory techniques used. When criminal cases come to trial, forensic science technicians often testify as expert witnesses, on specific laboratory findings by identifying and classifying substances, materials, and other evidence collected at a crime scene.

Specialty areas for forensic science technicians may include: forensic engineering (analyzing crash, accident, or structural failure incidents); forensic entomology (focusing on problems relating to time of death, body decay, and the population of insect larvae); crime scene investigation (collecting and managing crime scene evidence); criminalistics (analyzing, comparing, identifying, and interpreting physical crime evidence); polygraph examination (conducting and interpreting polygraph tests to determine truth of statements); and document examination (addressing problems with dates and sources of paper and ink documents).

Forensic science technicians and forensic scientists use chemistry, physics, biology, mathematics, and psychology to help protect people, serve justice, and promote better public health. In addition to working with law enforcement to help solve crimes, they investigate environmental contamination and athlete and employee drug use.

The occupation of forensic science technician is an entry-level clinical criminal justice position. With additional education and training, it can lead to career ladder opportunities as a forensic scientist. Alternatively, further medical and clinical laboratory training can result in career opportunities in the medical and clinical laboratory field.

Credentials Needed: Forensic science technicians are not required to be state licensed or registered. However, certain voluntary industry-based, skill certifications may be useful in this occupation. The "Education & Training" link for this occupation includes a list of organizations that offer certifications in support of forensic science technicians.

Some Key Things to Remember: Forensic science technicians collect, identify, classify, and analyze physical evidence related to criminal investigations. They perform tests on weapons or substances, such as fiber, hair, and tissue to determine significance to investigation. They work under the direction of forensic scientists, law enforcement officials, or medical examiner personnel. A minimum of an associate's degree in forensic science usually is required for entry- level employment as a forensic science technician. They are not required to be state licensed or registered.

More Details
Job Growth and Wages
Percent Job Growth:  
27% - Much faster than average
Typical Wages (National):  
Annual: $42,710 - $74,220    Hourly: $21 - $36
Physical/Medical/Health Requirements

No specifc requirement is identified at this time.

Legal Requirements
General/Nationwide
State-Specific
Similar Careers

Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technologist
Typical Education: Bachelor's Degree (High School + 4 or more Years)
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(Data Drawn from O*NET)
 
      

Career Snapshot

Typical Education:

Bachelor's Degree (High School + 4 or more Years)
Find Programs

Percent Job Growth:

27% - Much faster than average
Find Jobs

Typical Wages:

Annual: $42,710 - $74,220

Hourly: $21 - $36