Forensic Science Technicians

Law, Public Safety, Corrections & Security > Law Enforcement Services

Projected Growth: Much faster than average

2400+
Projected Job Openings

Considerable Preparation Needed

Job Description

Your job is to Collect, identify, classify, and analyze physical evidence related to criminal investigations. Perform tests on weapons or substances, such as fiber, hair, and tissue to determine significance to investigation. May testify as expert witnesses on evidence or crime laboratory techniques. May serve as specialists in area of expertise, such as ballistics, fingerprinting, handwriting, or biochemistry.

Common job titles of Forensic Science Technicians include:
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Experience and Education

A considerable amount of work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is needed for this occupation. For example, a person in this occupation must complete four years of college and work for several years in industry to be considered qualified.

  • 39.37% said they needed a Bachelor's Degree.

  • 39.18% said they needed a Some College Courses.

Tasks & Responsibilities

Wondering what Forensic Science Technicians REALLY do throughout a day at work? Perhaps you should know what you’ll be doing all day before pursuing a career. So here are some tasks that Forensic Science Technicians can be found doing during the work day. Hover over each task for information about relevance and importance. Scroll further to find a list of other careers that have similar tasks.


Essential Tasks

    Use chemicals or other substances to examine latent fingerprint evidence and compare developed prints to those of known persons in databases.

    Keep records and prepare reports detailing findings, investigative methods, and laboratory techniques.

    Use photographic or video equipment to document evidence or crime scenes.

    Interpret laboratory findings or test results to identify and classify substances, materials, or other evidence collected at crime scenes.

    Examine physical evidence, such as hair, fiber, wood, or soil residues to obtain information about its source and composition.


Regular Tasks

    Visit morgues, examine scenes of crimes, or contact other sources to obtain evidence or information to be used in investigations.

    Collect impressions of dust from surfaces to obtain and identify fingerprints.

    Collect evidence from crime scenes, storing it in conditions that preserve its integrity.

    Operate and maintain laboratory equipment and apparatus.

    Review forensic analysts' reports for technical merit.


Occasional Tasks

    Determine types of bullets and specific weapons used in shootings.

    Examine and analyze blood stain patterns at crime scenes.

    Train new technicians or other personnel on forensic science techniques.

    Compare objects, such as tools, with impression marks to determine whether a specific object is responsible for a specific mark.

    Confer with ballistics, fingerprinting, handwriting, documents, electronics, medical, chemical, or metallurgical experts concerning evidence and its interpretation.

    Examine firearms to determine mechanical condition and legal status, performing restoration work on damaged firearms to obtain information, such as serial numbers.

    Analyze gunshot residue and bullet paths to determine how shootings occurred.

    Identify and quantify drugs or poisons found in biological fluids or tissues, in foods, or at crime scenes.

    Prepare solutions, reagents, or sample formulations needed for laboratory work.

    Testify in court about investigative or analytical methods or findings.

    Reconstruct crime scenes to determine relationships among pieces of evidence.

What Tools and Technologies do Forensic Science Technicians use?

The future of work is gonna be… techy🤖. No matter the career path, you’ll have to understand what the experts use to get the job done. Employers want to see practical experience with these tools and technologies. Use these lists to figure out what tools you need to learn and see trends about up and coming tech. Scroll further to find a list of other careers that use similar tools.

Tools

UV forensic goggles

Utility knives

Ultraviolet UV lights

Ultraviolet UV camera lens filters

Thermocyclers

Steel measuring tape

Steam sterilizers

All Tools

Stainless steel tweezers

Stainless steel spatulas

Stainless steel scissors

Spectrophotometers

Spades

Sifting screens

Shovels

Sexual assault evidence collection kits

Self-contained breathing apparatus

Safety glasses

Rounded scalpels

Reciprocating saws

Protractors

Protective masks

Protective latex gloves

Postmortem print spoons

Portable two way radios

Portable lasers

Portable generators

Police vans

Pointed scalpels

Plastic specimen jars

Plastic evidence tweezers

Photographic scales

Photo markers

Personal computers

Optical compound microscopes

Navigational compasses

Mobile data computers

Microscope slides

Metal detectors

Medical hemostats

Long-wave ultraviolet UV lamps

Laser trajectory kits

Large format cameras

Laptop computers

Laboratory benchtop centrifuges

Inspection mirrors

Insect swoop nets

Insect collection containers

Infrared light sources

Impression casting kits

Handheld evidence collection computers

Handheld digital thermometers

Hand held magnifiers

Gunshot residue kits

Glassware washers

Glass specimen jars

Gel lifters

Fuming hot plates

Footwear protectors

Fingerprint recognition systems

Fingerprint evidence kits

Fingerprint brushes

Evidence scissors

Evidence collection containers

Electrostatic dust print lifters

Electronic precision balances

Electronic measuring devices

Drug testing kits

Distance measuring wheels

Digital video cameras

Digital cameras

Desktop computers

Deoxyribonucleic acid DNA collection kits

Cyanoacrylate fuming chambers

Crime scene tape measures

Crime scene evidence flags

Colored camera filters

Breathalyzers

Body fluid collection kits

Blood collection kits

Biohazard suits

Benchtop mixers

35 millimeter cameras

Technologies

Computer aided design and drafting CADD software

Automated Biometric Identification System ABIS

Combined DNA Index System CODIS

DataWorks Plus Digital CrimeScene

DesignWare 3D EyeWitness

DM2 Bills of Lading

Eos Systems PhotoModeler

All Technologies

Image enhancement software

Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System IAFIS

Laboratory information management system LIMS

Mideo Systems EZDoc Plus

Midwest Information Systems PAX-it

National Integrated Ballistics Information Network NIBIN

SmartDraw.com SmartDraw Legal

The CAD Zone The Crime Zone

Trancite Logic Systems ScenePD

Visual Statement Vista FX3 CSI

What Skills Do Forensic Science Technicians Need to Have?

Let’s be real… take a look in the mirror! Do you have the what it takes to join the other Forensic Science Technicians? The Skills? The Ability to succeed? If so, and you enjoy using these skills, then this job is for you. If not, GOOD NEWS, you can always pick up a new skill if you’re willing to put in the effort 💪

Skills

Reading Comprehension

Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

Active Listening

Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Writing

Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

Speaking

Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Critical Thinking

Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Complex Problem Solving

Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.

Science

Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.

Active Learning

Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.

Judgment and Decision Making

Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

Monitoring

Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.

Social Perceptiveness

Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.

Time Management

Managing one's own time and the time of others.

Learning Strategies

Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.

Systems Analysis

Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.

Abilities

Cognitive Abilities › Idea Generation and Reasoning Abilities › Inductive Reasoning

Combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).

Cognitive Abilities › Perceptual Abilities › Flexibility of Closure

Identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.

Cognitive Abilities › Verbal Abilities › Oral Comprehension

Listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.

Cognitive Abilities › Verbal Abilities › Written Comprehension

Read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.

Cognitive Abilities › Idea Generation and Reasoning Abilities › Deductive Reasoning

Apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.

Sensory Abilities › Visual Abilities › Near Vision

See details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).

Cognitive Abilities › Verbal Abilities › Oral Expression

Communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.

Cognitive Abilities › Verbal Abilities › Written Expression

Communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.

Cognitive Abilities › Idea Generation and Reasoning Abilities › Problem Sensitivity

Tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.

Cognitive Abilities › Idea Generation and Reasoning Abilities › Information Ordering

Arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).

Cognitive Abilities › Idea Generation and Reasoning Abilities › Category Flexibility

Generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.

Cognitive Abilities › Idea Generation and Reasoning Abilities › Fluency of Ideas

Come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).

Everything Forensic Science Technicians Should Know…

Forensic Science Technicians typically have vast knowledge of the subjects below. Think about this a lot… if you’re not a fan of the subjects, chances are this career isn’t for you. But, there’s plenty of time to learn and continue to learn throughout your career 🎓

Knowledge

Law and Government

Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.

Public Safety and Security

Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.

English Language

Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.

Chemistry

Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.

Computers and Electronics

Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.

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