What does a forensic science technician do?
Forensic science technicians collect and analyze a variety of physical evidence to assist in resolving crimes. They collect, analyze, and test chemical substances, tissue samples, fibers, glass, hair, bodily fluids, and other evidence that is present at scenes of crimes to determine their significance. They transport the evidence to laboratory settings and examine the results to identify the substances and materials and present them for assistance in solving crimes. Some forensic science technicians testify in court as expert witnesses and explain their laboratory findings.
What kind of training does a forensic science technician need?
Forensic science technicians must have at least an associate degree in applied science, but many employers prefer candidates with a bachelor degree in forensic science, criminal justice, or other related field. Prospective forensic science technicians typically complete courses in human anatomy, DNA typing, evidence collection and analysis, data collection and recording methods, and laboratory procedures. Many aspiring forensic technicians complete internships or obtain part time jobs in the forensic field to gain practical experience. Forensic science technicians must stay up to date on the current advancements in the field and often complete continuing education and additional training throughout their careers.
What are the prospects for a career as a forensic science technician?
Employment of forensic science technicians is expected to grow much faster than average for all professions, increasing 31% from 2006 to 2016 (1). The increase of the application of forensic science to prevent, investigate, and resolve crime will drive job growth.
Job prospects are expected to be good especially for forensic science technicians that work for state and county crime labs. Many job openings will also stem from the need to replace forensic science technicians that retire, transfer, or leave the field for other reasons.
How much do forensic science technicians make?
As of November 2009, forensic science technicians with less than 1 year experience earn average annual salaries between $27,514 and $42,729. Those with 1 to 4 years experience earn average annual salaries between $30,018 and $42,542 (2).
A career as a forensic science technician is a great choice for people with a strong interest in forensic science. Forensic science technicians must a solid understanding of scientific principles and be able to apply them to a variety of criminal activities. Detail orientation, organization, analytical thinking, and mechanical aptitude are desirable characteristics. Forensic science technicians must have excellent communication skills and the ability to clearly present their results. They must be able to effectively work independently as well as part of a team. They must also always follow the proper safety precautions when dealing with firearms and bodily fluids to prevent injury and contamination.