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 (2017)*||$57,850 (all forensic science technicians)|
|Job Growth (2016-2026)*||17% (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 17% from 2016-2026, 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 $57,850 as of May 2017.
Alternate Career Options
Other career options within this field include:
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