Forensic Science Technician

Madyson White

What is a Forensic Science Technician?

A Forensic Science Technician collects, identifies, classifies, and analyzes evidence in criminal investigations. They also perform weapon or substance tests. They may need to testify as an expert witness on any evidence or crime lab techniques. They may serve as specialists on certain area of experts, such as ballistics, fingerprinting, handwriting, or biochemistry. A Forensic Science Technician would keep records, prepare detailed reports about findings, analytical methods, and lab techniques. They would also collect evidence from crime scenes and store it in preserving conditions. They would use photographic or video equipment to document evidence or crime scenes. Visiting morgues, examining crime scenes, or contacting other sources to retrieve evidence or information that can be used in investigations is another thing that is required in this job, just to name a few.

Education

A Bachelor's degree in a natural science, like chemistry or biology, is required. On-the-job training is also required for those who investigate crime scenes and for people working in labs. To improve your credentials, certain licenses and certifications would be very helpful. They are not required for entry into the occupation. Since standards and regulations vary from certain jurisdictions, credentials will also vary. A master's degree may be required for "senior-level, supervisory and management positions in forensic science." A masters-degree field of study oftentimes correlates with a forensic science technician's career specialty. "According to the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors (ASCLD), science-based graduate programs with extensive lab coursework provide the best training for forensic science career advancement."

Salary

In Georgia, entry level salary is approximately $31,490 or $15.14 per hour in the Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta MSA. On average, a Forensic Science Technician can make $51,640 or $24.83 per hour. An experienced Forensic Science Technician can make $90,730 or $43.62 per hour.

Any special training?

Entering forensic science technicians might be hired by police departments, coroner offices, forensic labs, academic institutions and government agencies. After they are hired, they are usually trained in a singe specialty, such as DNA analysis, trace evidence, drug analysis, fingerprints, toxicology or firearms. Training can last from six months to two years. After learning lab procedures and gaining experience with lab equipment and computer programs, trainees must learn how to write reports, store evidence, and give courtroom testimony. According to the ASCLD, "forensic science technicians must often choose between working in the lab as a scientist and working in the field as an investigator alongside a crime scene unit. Many crime scene investigators are also trained as police officers." While working in the field, they need to be able to collect biological and nonbiological evidence without contaminating it. They also need to be able to recognize patterns and have the ability to attentively listen. While working in labs, they must work with chemistry knowledge, computers, and the scientific method. Conducting chemical analysis tests under lab safety protocol is also a must have skill. This job requires the ability to communicate in writing and spoken with people inside and outside of the workplace. When writing reports to the head executives or giving testimonies in the courtroom, demonstrating and explaining their methods used in the crime scene of in the lab is also a requires skill. They also conclude crime scene evidence being reached and explain how their conclusions are relevant.

Duties for this job

Since Forensic Science Technicians work in crime scenes, labs, and testify in court, there are multiple duties for each location. On crime scenes, they are responsible for carefully collecting and preserving evidence. They also brainstorm and help remodel crime scenes. they would theorize about the relationship between collected evidence. In labs, they must portray collected evidence. This would include identifying unknown substances and objects, theorize their relevance and relationship between the suspects and the victims. Profiling DNA helps identify the suspects that bled or yielded bodily fluids at the scene of the crime. Identifying drug powders or which gun fired which bullet may also be required. Follow-up reports are also required. They may also need consultation from other professionals in a variety of fields in order to strengthen and clarify their interpretations about evidence collected. They also will have to testify in court and also report to police departments about evidence collected and techniques used to analyze the evidence.

Demands for a Forensic Science Technician

The demand for a Forensic Science Technician is stable. However, there are less than a thousand average yearly openings expected between 2012 and 2022. A Forensic Science Technician is a very small profession. In 2012, this job only employed 12,900 employees. The growth for a Forensic Science Technician is less than the average growth. Technological and scientific propositions are expected to develop the reliability, usefulness, and availability of objective information used as evidence in court. Using evidence in criminal affairs are also expected to expand. The media has increased the enlightenment of evidence of likely jury members. "More forensic science technicians will be needed to provide timely forensics information to law enforcement agencies."