Forensic Science Technicians: Salary, career path, job outlook, education and more

Education Required
Forensic science technicians typically need at least a bachelors degree in a natural science, such as chemistry or biology, or in forensic science. Forensic science programs may specialize in a specific area of study, such as toxicology, pathology, or DNA. Students who enroll in general natural science programs should make an effort to take classes related to forensic science. A list of schools that offer degrees in forensic science is available from the American Academy of Forensic Sciences. Many of those who seek to become forensic science technicians will have an undergraduate degree in the natural sciences and a masters degree in forensic science.
Training Required
Forensic science technicians receive on-the-job training before they are ready to work on cases independently.
Job Outlook
The projected percent change in employment from 2016 to 2026: 17% (Much faster than average)
(The average growth rate for all occupations is 7 percent.)
A range of licenses and certifications is available to help credential, and aid in the professional development of, many types of forensic science technicians. Certifications and licenses are not typically necessary for entry into the occupation. Credentials can vary widely because standards and regulations vary considerably from one jurisdiction to another.
Median pay: How much do Forensic Science Technicians make?
$56,750 Annual Salary
$27.29 per hour

Forensic science technicians aid criminal investigations by collecting and analyzing evidence. Many technicians specialize in either crime scene investigation or laboratory analysis.

What do Forensic Science Technicians do?

Forensic science technicians work in laboratories and on crime scenes. At crime scenes, forensic science technicians typically do the following:

  • Analyze crime scenes to determine what evidence should be collected and how
  • Take photographs of the crime scene and evidence
  • Make sketches of the crime scene
  • Record observations and findings, such as the location and position of evidence
  • Collect evidence, including weapons, fingerprints, and bodily fluids
  • Catalog and preserve evidence for transfer to crime labs
  • Reconstruct crime scenes

In laboratories, forensic science technicians typically do the following:

  • Perform chemical, biological, and microscopic analyses on evidence taken from crime scenes
  • Explore possible links between suspects and criminal activity, using the results of DNA or other scientific analyses
  • Consult with experts in specialized fields, such as toxicology (the study of poisons and their effect on the body) and odontology (a branch of forensic medicine that concentrates on teeth)

Careers for Forensic Science Technicians

  • Ballistic technicians
  • Ballisticians
  • Ballistics experts
  • Ballistics technicians
  • Crime lab technicians
  • Crime scene investigators
  • Crime scene technicians
  • Criminalist technicians
  • Criminalists
  • Digital forensics analysts
  • Evidence technicians
  • Fingerprint experts
  • Forensic biologists
  • Forensic computer examiners
  • Forensic photographers
  • Handwriting experts
  • Latent print examiners
  • Medicolegal investigators
  • Property and evidence custodians
  • Trace evidence technicians
  • Wildlife forensic geneticists

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