Aspiring forensic science technicians are always looking for guides that can help them move one step forward towards their goal. If you are one of them, read through this guide as it will solve many queries that you may have in your mind. It has all the information about salary and job outlook of forensic science technicians. Along with this, it also consists of the steps that one may require to follow to become a certified Forensic Science Technician.
What is a Forensic Science Technician?
A forensic science technician is a professional who is trained to work with various officials, including crime scene investigators, to collect and analyze evidence. To become a forensic science technician, aspiring candidates have to get a bachelor’s degree, followed by advanced training and a proficiency exam to be able to enter this field. Forensic science technicians should be organized and detail oriented to make sure that no evidence is mishandled and that it follows a chain of command.
What Does a Forensic Science Technician Do?
Forensic technicians perform a variety of duties but some of these vary with the work environment. Forensic science technicians usually have the following responsibilities:
- Analyzing crime scenes to figure out which evidence should be collected and how
- Taking pictures and videos of the evidence and crime scene
- Making sketches of the crime scene
- Collecting evidence
- Recording findings
- Preserving evidence for crime labs
- Testifying in court
- Exploring possible connection between suspects and criminal activity
- Performing chemical, microscopic and biological analyses on evidence
- Consulting with experts in other specialized fields
- Reconstructing crime scenes
- Analyzing DNA results or other scientific analyses
- Overseeing the maintenance of laboratory equipment
- Writing reports based on evidence analysis
- Coordinating work within the forensic team and with outside agencies
- Inputting data into computer programs
- Using computer database information
- Making sure that all rules and regulations of the laboratory are followed
Where Does a Forensic Science Technician Work?
Forensic science technicians can work at multiple locations but they are generally hired by local or state governments. Some other work places include:
- Medical and diagnostic laboratories
- Testing laboratories
- Coroner office
- Government agencies
- Police department
Steps To Become a Forensic Science Technician
Following are the steps to become a forensic science technician:
The minimum educational requirement to become a forensic science technician is a bachelor’s degree. Most candidates choose a natural science subject like chemistry, biology or forensic science as their major. Some of the courses that students are required to study in a forensic science program include algebra, an overview of criminal justice, digital forensics, criminal procedure, impression-evidence analysis, ethics in criminal justice, criminal behavior and basic and applied research in criminal justice.
Most jobs require students to complete advanced training or an apprenticeship program to become a part of the workforce. During this program, students learn the procedure for collecting, recording and analyzing evidence. This training prepares them for their proficiency exam and also helps them to work on their cases independently.
Before you start working as a forensic science technician, you have to pass a proficiency exam which depends on the state you live in. The information is available to every state’s licensing website. Along with every state, each workplace may also have its own proficiency exam as well.
Even though certification is not mandatory, it is recommended. The American Board of Medicolegal Death Investigators provides the Diplomate of the ABMDI (D-ABMDI) certification which is an official recognition that an individual gained basic knowledge and has also demonstrated proficiency in practice which is required to conduct a medicolegal death investigation. To earn certification, there are a few requirements to be met which include:
- The candidate should be at least 18 years old.
- The candidate should have a High school diploma or GED.
- At the time of application and examination, the candidate should be working at a Medical Examiner or Coroner office or equivalent federal authority with the responsibility to conduct death scene investigations.
- The candidate should have experience as a Medicolegal Death Investigator.
How Long Does It Take To Become a Forensic Science Technician?
To become a forensic science technician, aspiring candidates would require around 6 years. A bachelor’s degree requires 4 years to complete, whereas certification and other competencies will take another 2 years.
How Much Do Forensic Science Technicians Earn?
As per the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, forensic science technicians had an annual median salary of $60,590 in 2020. The lower end of the salary range starts at around $36,630 per year, while the higher end reaches more than $100,910 annually. Since crime rates are higher in bigger cities, the demand for these professionals is higher in urban areas.
Job Outlook Of Forensic Science Technician
The employment rate of forensic scientists is expected to grow 16% from 2020 to 2030, according to the US Bureau Of Labor Statistics. The growth rate is much faster than the average of most other professions.