What Do Forensic Science Technicians Do?
As a Forensic Science Technician your job will be to collect, identify, classify, and analyze physical evidence related to criminal investigations. There are an array of tests you must be able to perform on various pieces of evidence to determine any significance to ongoing investigations. Forensic Science Technicians are at times called to testify as expert witnesses on evidence or crime laboratory techniques. Many Forensic Science Technicians specialize in one area, such as ballistics or biochemistry.
Forensic Science Technicians Skills and Abilities
As forensic investigations typically involve criminal and legal matters, even if you are not a specialized Legal Forensic Scientist, your expertise may still be called upon to provide either aid or an expert opinion regarding such matters. One of the most helpful kinds of knowledge you can have is of your government and the laws which apply to the circumstances in which you will be working. This includes being up to date on recent changes, such as executive orders. When it comes to forensic analysis, much of what you will be doing involves analyzing and evaluating for the presence of certain chemical compounds, or the evidence of previous chemical reactions. For these purposes, a knowledge of Chemistry is invaluable. In terms of soft skills, you will certainly be honing your critical thinking ability. Another situation that comes into play is having to pick out subtle patterns beneath the surface, or concealed by more obvious ones. This ability to cut through distractions and hone in on what is important is key.
Forensic Science Technicians Duties
Much of what is done in this position is research: not the kind you do in a library, but field research. This means gathering evidence and conducting analytical procedures. In undergoing the scientific process you will be using and maintaining laboratory, technical, and field equipment. Much of the work will be in collaboration with other experts. It will be your duty to:
- Document events or evidence, using photographic or audiovisual equipment
- Prepare compounds or solutions for products or testing
- Interpret research or operational data
- Prepare scientific or technical reports or presentations.
- Record research or operational data.
Sometimes you will be called upon to testify at legal proceedings. You will also be in a position to provide training to those unfamiliar with required procedures.
Forensic Science Technicians Tools and Technology
Tools: The tools you will be using as a Forensic Science Technician are highly specialized:
- Biological evidence collection kits
- Different camera lens filters such as colored and UV
- Footprint lifters
- Laboratory scalpels
- Specimen collection containersIn addition, you will be using the following types of software:
- Analytical or scientific software
- Data base user interface and query software
- Electronic mail software
- Graphics or photo imaging software
- Word processing software
Education and Training for Forensic Science Technicians
In order to get a job in this Field what is required is at least a Bachelor’s degree. More than 15 percent of Forensic Science Technicians old a Master’s or above. Pursuing a program in Forensic Chemistry will really help provide the conceptual and factual understanding that comes into these investigations, and a program in Forensic Science and Technology will prepare you for the application of your skills and knowledge.
Forensic Science Technicians Salary
Forensic Science Technicians occupy a crucial position in criminal investigations and other mysteries that require forensic expertise, and as such receive a fairly high rate of pay. Even the lowest 10 percent of Forensic Science Technicians make over $33,000 yearly, which pays out at over $16 per hour. The median yearly salary across the nation is around $55,000, though the top 10 percent of Forensic Science Technicians regularly net over $90,000.
Forensic Science Technicians Jobs by Geography
The demand for Forensic Science Technicians has grown in every state except for Michigan, Maine, New Jersey, and Georgia. Expect the highest wages in Illinois, Washington DC, and California. The median wage in Illinois is significantly higher than anywhere else, making it a particularly appealing state in which to seek opportunities.