What does a Forensic Science Technician do?

Median Pay $57,850
Growth Rate 17%
Citation Retrieved from BLS.gov

A forensic science technician analyzes and collects physical evidence that are involved with crime investigations. Some work directly at crime scene sites where others only work in the laboratory dissecting the information that has been collected. They test evidence from a crime scenes using physical, chemical, and biological analysis. Someone interested in this career field should know that they may see graphic crime scenes.

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How to Become a Forensic Science Technician

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A forensic science technician would earn a bachelor’s degree in a science such as biology or chemistry and can major in forensic science. You could also look specifically for a college that offers a bachelor’s degree in forensic science. Some people may get an undergraduate degree in a natural science and then continue to earn a master’s degree in forensic science.

The American Academy of Forensic Sciences (link opens in a new tab) provides additional information about what a forensic scientists is and how to become one.

Job Description of a Forensic Science Technician

A forensic science technician determines how evidence should be collected from a crime scene and what to gather for testing. They also have to look for and analyze physical evidence. This involves taking photographs and evidence from the crime scene and/or making sketches.

Forensic science technicians collect physical evidence and that would include many things such as bodily fluids, weapons, and fingerprints. They take notice of the positioning of the evidence, location, record and catalog all information for further reference and submit it to the proper authorities.

Forensic science technicians would try to connect evidence between the suspects and the criminal activity by referring to their analysis. They may be required to reconstruct a crime scene in order to form a more accurate idea of how the crime was committed. They often have consultations with other professionals in a related field like odontology and toxicology. They will also need to write detailed reports on their findings.

Forensic Science Technician Career Video Transcript

In popular media, the work of forensic science technicians seems fast-paced and exciting. In reality, the work is slow and painstaking but still extremely important. Forensic science technicians often specialize in either crime scene investigation or laboratory analysis.

At a crime scene, they record observations, take photos, and collect evidence. In the lab, they perform tests on weapons and substances such as fiber, hair, and tissue to determine a connection to the crime and to a suspect. They also write reports to document their findings and the laboratory techniques used.

Some forensic technicians specialize in particular areas such as fingerprinting, DNA, handwriting analysis, or ballistics. Digital forensics analysts specialize in computer-based crimes. They collect and analyze data to expose electronic fraud, scams, and identity theft.

Most forensic science technicians work for police departments, crime labs, morgues, and coroners’ offices. They may work outside in all types of weather, and divide their time between labs and offices. While they gain expertise and deductive skills from on-the-job experience, forensic science technicians typically need to start with at least a bachelor’s degree in chemistry, biology, or forensic science.

Forensic science technicians might be called upon to testify as expert witnesses in court. Their evidence and testimony can help send the guilty to prison or clear the innocent.

Article Citations

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Forensic Science Technicians.

National Center for O*NET Development. 19-4092.00. O*NET OnLine.

The career video is in the public domain from the U. S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.