Forensic science technicians investigate crimes by collecting and analyzing physical evidence. Often, they specialize in areas such as DNA analysis or firearm examination, performing tests on weapons and substances like fibers, hair, tissues, and body fluids to determine significance to the investigation. They also prepare reports to document their findings and the laboratory techniques used.
When criminal cases come to trial, forensic science technicians often provide testimony as expert witnesses, testifying on specific laboratory findings by identifying and classifying substances, materials, and other evidence collected at the crime scene.
Given that society's problems with crime are not expected to be solved completely any time soon, the field of forensic investigation is sound, and if anything is expected to increase in demand. Forensic investigators will always be needed to back up the efforts of other law enforcement officials.
Working Conditions & Context
Forensic science technicians often are exposed to human body fluids and firearms. However, these working conditions pose little risk, if proper safety procedures are followed. For some forensic science technicians, collecting evidence from crime scenes can be distressing and unpleasant.
Forensic technicians work indoors, sittng and standing during the day. They may also work outdoors, exposed to the weather. Wearing protective clothing, they must use their hands to investigate crime scenes. These technicians must be accurate as they draw conclusions, being careful at all times to avoid errors.
A typical Salary Range for this career is $25,771 - $56,980 annually.
The Median Income for this career is about $41,056 annually.
Many colleges or universities offer a Bachelor's degree program in forensic science, and several more offer degrees in chemistry, biochemistry, or genetic engineering with an emphasis on forensic science. Other schools offer a Bachelor's of Science degree with an emphasis in a specialty area, such as criminalistics, pathology, jurisprudence, odontology, toxicology, or forensic accounting.
In contrast to some other science technician positions that require only a two-year degree, a four-year degree in forensics science is usually necessary to work in the field. Knowledge and understanding of legal procedures also can be helpful.
Certification & Licensing:
The American Academy of Forensic Sciences
** More than a minimum degree may be required for some careers.