How to Become a Forensic Science Technician

A forensic science technician analyzes the evidence found in a crime scene and helps solve the crime.  This is a challenging job needing medical and technical knowledge and familiarity with police procedures as forensic science technicians are mostly employed in federal, state and local government agencies. This profession is gaining popularity due to media exposure.

Go Through Job Description:  Collecting the evidence; examining, testing and analyzing it; use the laboratory findings and test results to identify the evidence; safe-guarding it; seek expert opinions if needed about the various evidence like fingerprints, ballistics and DNA samples etc; reconstructing the crime scene for logical happening of the crime; writing reports of the findings and testifying as an expert witness if needed.

Get Required Educational Qualification:  You need a science degree, preferably a 5-year bachelor’s degree in forensic science from a university accredited by American Academy of Forensic Science. You can get masters in any of the various forensic science technician specialties like ballistics, crime scene analysis, forensic pathology etc. For an entry-level technician, an associate’s degree in criminal justice may be enough.

Certificate Courses: You can increase your chances for employment with the following certificate courses offered by institutes like The American Board of Medico-legal Death Investigator, The American Board of Forensic Document Examiners, The American Board of Criminalistics, and National Registry in Clinical Chemistry.

Understand Job Development:  You can apply at the local private forensics laboratory or at the local medical examiner’s office for an entry-level opening. Working as a trainee technician with any forensic lab will familiarize you with the latest lab and computer techniques and equipment for tissue matching, analyzing etc under an expert senior technician’s guidance. After gaining experience, you can become a technician, senior technician and ultimately be responsible for overall responsibility of a state-of-art forensic lab.

Know About Career Growth and Salary: Since the importance of forensics is being more and more recognized, more job opportunities are opening up with better pay packages. The range is between $36,560 to $61,210 per annum. A federal job is better paid and with work experience, salary also grows. Location is also a factor for better pay.

Possess Necessary Aptitude & Skills: Much as the jobs are glamorized by the media, becoming a forensic science technician may not be everybody’s cup of tea. You should be good at math and science subjects; be comfortable handling and dealing with death scenes, accident spots, dead bodies, blood and body fluids, tissues etc; comfortable working in a lab, with lab equipments and computers; able to give evidence in courts etc clearly concisely; write accurate and regular reports; get to know about ballistics, arms and sometimes deal with perpetrators and criminals and the associated risks.

Acquaint Yourself with Different Types of Jobs: Lab technicians, fingerprint identification technician, crime scene and evidence room technicians are a few of different technician types but with the growing demand for experts in diverse fields like ballistics, crime scene analysis,  forensic psychology, forensic accounting, the field is wide open for one who has an aptitude for it.