Career Definition for a Forensic Laboratory Technician
Forensic laboratory technicians perform and assist with the technical duties related to forensic analysis of evidence and crime scenes. Forensic laboratory technicians collect and secure evidence at crime scenes; collect fingerprint images; assist in photographing crime scenes; and prepare samples and solutions for processing, filing, and record keeping. They are also often responsible for calibrating and documenting equipment, tools, instruments, and safety devices.
|Education||Bachelor's degree in biology, chemistry, biochemistry, or forensic science|
|Job Skills||Attention to detail, interpersonal skills, work well in team settings, knowledge of safety standards|
|Median Salary (2015)*||$56,320 (all forensic science technicians)|
|Job Growth (2014-2024)*||27% (all forensic science technicians)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
While some labs may accept a combination of education, relevant work experience, and training, many require a bachelor's degree in a relevant field to become a forensic laboratory technician. A four-year degree program in biology, chemistry, biochemistry or forensic science and experience working in a laboratory environment is preferred. Courses in analytical and organic chemistry, biology, criminal justice, criminal procedure, and criminology will help prepare you for a career in forensic science.
To be successful as a forensic laboratory technician, you should have a good attention to detail, good interpersonal skills, and work well as part of a team. Depending on the state, the workplace and your specific role, you may need more specialized knowledge, such as OSHA safety requirements or information from material safety data sheets.
Career and Economic Outlook
According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov), employment of forensic science technicians will grow 27% from 2014-2024, which is much faster than the average for all occupations. Growth in this field is expected due to the continued importance of forensic evidence in conducting investigations and prosecuting offenders. The BLS states that the median annual salary for forensic laboratory technicians was $56,320 as of May 2015.
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Alternate Career Options
Other career options within this field include:
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Aspiring police officers usually have to be 21 years old and have a high school diploma to qualify for admission to their jurisdiction's training academy. Minimum physical and written test scores may also apply; some agencies require that applicants have some college education or a degree. A driver's license is also required. The BLS predicts that jobs for police officers will increase 4% from 2014-2024. Police officers earned a median salary of $58,320 in 2015, according to the BLS.
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