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Forensic Science Technician

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Life As a Forensic Science Technician

Job Description & Duties Collect, identify, classify, and analyze physical evidence related to criminal investigations. Perform tests on weapons or substances, such as fiber, hair, and tissue to determine significance to investigation. May testify as expert witnesses on evidence or crime laboratory techniques. May serve as specialists in area of expertise, such as ballistics, fingerprinting, handwriting, or biochemistry.

Daily Life Of a Forensic Science Technician

  • Use chemicals or other substances to examine latent fingerprint evidence and compare developed prints to those of known persons in databases.
  • Interpret laboratory findings or test results to identify and classify substances, materials, or other evidence collected at crime scenes.
  • Compare objects, such as tools, with impression marks to determine whether a specific object is responsible for a specific mark.
  • Train new technicians or other personnel on forensic science techniques.
  • Prepare solutions, reagents, or sample formulations needed for laboratory work.
  • Examine firearms to determine mechanical condition and legal status, performing restoration work on damaged firearms to obtain information, such as serial numbers.

Forensic Science Technician Required Skills

When polled, Forensic Science Technicians say the following skills are most frequently used in their jobs:

Reading Comprehension: Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Writing: Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Complex Problem Solving: Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.

Other Forensic Science Technician Job Titles

  • Latent Fingerprint Examiner
  • Crime Lab Technician
  • Digital Forensic Examiner
  • Crime Laboratory Analyst
  • Forensic Technician

Job Opportunities for Forensic Science Technicians

In the United States, there were 15,400 jobs for Forensic Science Technician in 2016. New jobs are being produced at a rate of 16.9% which is above the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 2,600 new jobs for Forensic Science Technician by 2026. Due to new job openings and attrition, there will be an average of 2,200 job openings in this field each year.

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The states with the most job growth for Forensic Science Technician are Colorado, Delaware, and South Dakota. Watch out if you plan on working in North Dakota, New Jersey, or Maine. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

How Much Does a Forensic Science Technician Make?

Forensic Science Technicians make between $34,600 and $97,200 a year.

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Forensic Science Technicians who work in Illinois, California, or Massachusetts, make the highest salaries.

How much do Forensic Science Technicians make in different U.S. states?

State Annual Mean Salary
Alabama $49,990
Arizona $60,900
Arkansas $42,790
California $85,280
Colorado $64,740
Connecticut $73,970
Florida $52,810
Georgia $50,600
Hawaii $57,770
Idaho $53,120
Illinois $87,660
Indiana $61,140
Iowa $69,820
Kansas $50,860
Kentucky $51,560
Louisiana $47,300
Maine $49,780
Maryland $66,360
Massachusetts $79,440
Michigan $65,100
Minnesota $62,710
Mississippi $51,560
Missouri $51,440
Montana $59,870
Nebraska $56,470
Nevada $69,110
New Hampshire $70,960
New Jersey $62,700
New Mexico $42,750
New York $66,650
North Carolina $47,480
Ohio $67,750
Oregon $65,560
Pennsylvania $50,820
South Carolina $45,070
South Dakota $51,620
Tennessee $51,090
Texas $59,340
Virginia $70,290
Washington $60,670
West Virginia $50,320
Wisconsin $53,900
Wyoming $55,210

Tools & Technologies Used by Forensic Science Technicians

Below is a list of the types of tools and technologies that Forensic Science Technicians may use on a daily basis:

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Office
  • Microsoft Outlook
  • Web browser software
  • Microsoft Access
  • Microsoft Visio
  • Adobe Systems Adobe Photoshop
  • IBM Notes
  • Graphics software
  • Corel WordPerfect Office Suite
  • Computer aided design and drafting CADD software
  • Laboratory information management system LIMS
  • National Crime Information Center NCIC database
  • Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System IAFIS
  • National Integrated Ballistics Information Network NIBIN
  • DesignWare 3D EyeWitness
  • The CAD Zone The Crime Zone
  • SmartDraw.com SmartDraw Legal
  • DataWorks Plus Digital CrimeScene

How to Become a Forensic Science Technician

Education needed to be a Forensic Science Technician:

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How Long Does it Take to Become a Forensic Science Technician?

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Forensic Science Technicians Sector

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The table below shows some of the most common industries where those employed in this career field work.

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You May Also Be Interested In…

Those thinking about becoming a Forensic Science Technician might also be interested in the following careers:

Those who work as a Forensic Science Technician sometimes switch careers to one of these choices:

References:

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More about our data sources and methodologies.

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