Forensic computer examiners: Salary, career path, job outlook, education and more

Some forensic science technicians, called forensic computer examiners or digital forensics analysts, specialize in computer-based crimes. They collect and analyze data to uncover and prosecute electronic fraud, scams, and identity theft. The abundance of digital data helps them solve crimes in the physical world as well. Computer forensics technicians must adhere to the same strict standards of evidence gathering found in general forensic science because legal cases depend on the integrity of evidence.

All forensic science technicians prepare written reports that detail their findings and investigative methods. They must be able to explain their reports to lawyers, detectives, and other law enforcement officials. In addition, forensic science technicians may be called to testify in court about their findings and methods.

Education Required
Forensic science technicians typically need at least a bachelor’s 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 master’s 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

Careers for Forensic Science Technicians

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  • Crime scene investigators
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  • Criminalist technicians
  • Criminalists
  • Digital forensics analysts
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  • Fingerprint experts
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