Forensic laboratory technicians, also known as forensic science technicians, are professionals who collect evidence at the scene of the crime and analyze them in the laboratory in order to find useful information about them. Through their detective work and scientific skills forensic lab technicians are able to do their share in resolving a case and in pinning down the suspects.
If you want a career that combines detective work and laboratory science know-how, a career as a forensic laboratory technician may be something you want to consider. In this profession, you will get the chance to help in the resolution of crimes. Your work in the crime scene involves collecting physical evidence and preserving them, taking pictures and recording observations and findings. You will also be bringing evidence in the laboratory to do chemical, biological and physical analysis on it. With the results, you can try to look for relationships between the evidence and possible perpetrators of the crime.
Why Become A Forensic Science Technician
Only selected individuals can become forensic lab technicians. For those who are so inclined, one reason to pursue this career path is to help give justice to crime victims. Individuals who have always wanted a career in law enforcement but don’t want to really focus on the action-packed work that police officers and detectives do will find that becoming a forensic lab technician is the most ideal profession for them.
Aside from the technical knowledge in gathering evidence and performing laboratory tests, you must also pay attention to detail to succeed in this career. You should also possess excellent problem solving skills and critical thinking skills to be able to connect the dots when it comes to linking the results of laboratory tests on the evidence with the possible suspects.
Forensic Science Technician Work Environment
Forensic lab technicians are usually hired by the state and local governments. They can work in police departments, crime laboratories, medical examiner or coroner offices and morgues. Although they would need to go in crime scenes to collect evidence, bulk of the work of forensic science technicians is spent in laboratories. They follow a regular work schedule but can be called upon to work in the evenings or weekends if their expertise is required.
Forensic Science Technician Salary
Forensic science technicians received a mean annual wage of $57,340 in May 2017, according to the Occupational Employment and Wages report of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. The agency reported in 2017 that the highest paid forensic science technicians received more than $85,210 while the lowest paid got less than $32,200.
Average Forensic Science Technician Annual Salary
The average annual salary for forensic science technicians is $61,220 a year. Salaries start at $33,880 a year and go up to $95,600 a year.
Average Forensic Science Technician Hourly Wage
The average hourly wage for a forensic science technician is $29.43. Hourly wages are between $16.29 and $45.96 an hour.
Stats were based out of 15,070 employed forensic science technicians in the United States.
Highest Paying States For Forensic Science Technicians
1.California$39.73 / hr$82,650 / yr
2.Illinois$38.28 / hr$79,630 / yr
3.Nevada$36.62 / hr$76,160 / yr
4.Massachusetts$36.33 / hr$75,570 / yr
5.Connecticut$35.85 / hr$74,560 / yr
Top Paying Cities For Forensic Science Technicians
1.Sacramento, CA$44.51 / hr$92,580 / yr
2.Los Angeles, CA$44.35 / hr$92,250 / yr
3.Oxnard, CA$43.07 / hr$89,590 / yr
4.San Francisco, CA$42.62 / hr$88,660 / yr
5.Anaheim, CA$42.19 / hr$87,760 / yr
Data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
Forensic Science Technician Career Outlook
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that the employment rate of forensic science technicians is set to rise 6 percent from 2012 to 2022, a rate that is slower than the average for all job types. The use of forensic science in resolving crimes is set to grow as technology becomes more sophisticated but the availability of jobs is going to depend on the budgets of law enforcement agencies. As a result, there will be strong competition for jobs. Those who have advanced degrees in forensic science are going to have an edge.
Forensic Science Technician Degree
A bachelor’s degree in chemistry or biology is necessary to become a forensic lab technician. This won’t be enough, however, so most proceed to get a master’s degree in forensic science. The American Academy of Forensic Sciences provides a list of schools that give degrees in forensic science. They still get on-the-job training before they are allowed to handle cases on their own. Although forensic lab technicians don’t need to be certified or licensed, getting one can enhance their credentials.