Forensic Science Technician

Possible Careers

Forensic science technicians help investigate crimes by collecting and analyzing physical evidence. Many technicians specialize in either crime scene investigation or laboratory analysis. Most forensic science technicians spend some time writing reports.

What They Do

  • Analyze crime scenes to determine what and how evidence should be collected
  • Take photographs of the crime scene and evidence
  • Make sketches of the crime scene
  • Record observations and findings, such as the location and position of evidence
  • Collect physical evidence, including weapons, fingerprints, and bodily fluids
  • Catalog and preserve evidence for transfer to crime labs
  • Perform chemical, biological, and physical analysis on evidence taken from crime scenes
  • Explore possible links between suspects and criminal activity using the results of scientific analyses
  • Consult with experts in related or specialized fields, such as toxicology (the study of poisons and their effect on the body) and odontology (a branch of forensic medicine that concentrates on teeth)
  • Reconstruct crime scenes

Work Environment

  • Police departments and offices
  • Crime laboratories
  • Morgues
  • Medical examiner/coroner offices
  • Crime scene investigators may work staggered day, evening, or night shifts and may have to work overtime because they must always be available to collect evidence.
Forensic Technicians

Pay

The median annual wage for forensic science technicians was $52,840 in May 2012.

$52,840 per year
$25.41 per hour

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How To Become One

- Forensic science technicians typically need at least a bachelor’s degree in the natural sciences, such as chemistry or biology. Students who major in forensic science should ensure that their program includes extensive course work in mathematics, chemistry, and biology.

- Undergraduate degree in the natural sciences and a master’s degree in forensic science.

- Forensic science technicians receive on-the-job training before they are ready to work on cases independently.

- Forensic science technicians learn laboratory specialties on the job. The length of this training varies by specialty. Technicians may need to pass a proficiency exam or otherwise be approved by a laboratory or accrediting body before they may perform independent casework or testify in court.