Forensic Science Technician

By Reese, Susan | Techniques, April 2015 | Go to article overview

Forensic Science Technician


Reese, Susan, Techniques


FORENSIC SCIENCE TECHNICIANS HELP INVESTIGATE CRIMES BY collecting and analyzing physical evidence. They may specialize in either crime scene investigation or laboratory analysis. At the crime scene, they determine what evidence should he collected and how it should be collected. They then take photographs; record findings; collect evidence such as weapons, fingerprints and bodily fluids; and preserve evidence to be transferred to crime labs. In the lab, they do chemical, biological and physical analyses on the evidence, reconstruct crime scenes and consult with experts in specialized fields, e.g., toxicology.

The Workplace

Forensic science technicians work in police departments, crime labs, morgues, medical examiner offices and coroner's offices. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, about nine in 10 forensic Science technicians work in state and local government facilities.

Education

Forensic science technicians typically need at least a bachelor's degree that includes courses in mathematics, chemistry and biology. Students may begin their studies in a two-year program focused on forensic science or criminal justice, and then go on to earn a four-year degree. There are community and technical colleges that have articulation agreements with four-year colleges and universities, which makes transitioning into a bachelor's degree program a seamless process.

Earnings

According to the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Outlook Handbook, the median annual earnings for forensic science technicians was $52,840 in May 2012, with the top 10 percent earning more than $85,210. …

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