Forensic Science Technician

What Does a Forensic Science Technician Do?
Forensic science technicians collect and examine physical evidence from crime cases. They may work with other crime experts or technicians, and often specialize in certain areas of crime analysis, such as DNA analysis, which involves examining evidence for DNA that can possibly be matched to the criminal or give investigators clues. Forensic science technicians perform various tests and thorough examinations, using laboratory equipment and highly technical procedures. They must collect and store evidence properly, so that it cannot be tampered with. Technicians must keep thorough records of their discoveries, testing procedures, laboratory techniques, because it is shared with investigators and is often used in court testimonies. When criminal cases go to trials, forensic science technicians typically serve as expert witnesses, who can reveal their laboratory findings, identify and classify evidence and offer their expert opinions. Some technicians consult medical experts and forensic nurses about the time and cause of death, so that they can piece together the evidence and hopefully link the DNA type to a criminal.

What Is the Employment and Salary Outlook for a Forensic Science Technician?
The employment and salary outlook for forensic science technicians should remain positive throughout the years. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, forensic science technician jobs will increase by 20 percent during the 2008-2018 decade. Employment growth can be attributed to the increasing demand and use of forensic science techniques in various crimes. A stronger emphasis has also been put on finding criminals faster, but the standards and accuracy of forensic technicians have only been heightened. Therefore, forensic science technicians might experience tougher competition in the job market. Forensic science technicians should also see a favorable salary outlook for the future, as well. According to the Bureau, technicians made an average salary of $49,860 in 2008. Technicians’ highest levels of employment occurred in local and state governments, as well as psychiatric and substance abuse hospitals.

How Can I Become a Forensic Science Technician?
Before you can enter the exciting, yet challenging field of forensic science, you must complete the necessary educational and training steps first. Most forensic science technicians have at least an associate degree in applied science or science technology. While some employers may require their technicians to have a bachelor’s degree, there are numerous forensic science technician positions available to applicants with an associate degree. An associate degree covers the basics of science, math and some legal procedures, as well as provides hands-on experience in laboratory experiments and investigative research. It also allows you to complete your program faster, so that you may enter the field and start gaining valuable work experience as soon as you’re ready. Visit the American Academy of Forensic Sciences for a listing of jobs within the forensic science field.