Forensic Science Technicians
SOC: 19-4092.00

Description:

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.


National Salary Information:

Hourly Statistics:

Annual Statistics:

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2015 wage data.


Employment Projections:

Employment (2014):
14,400 employed

Projected (2024):
18,200 employed

Projected growth (2014-2024)


Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2015 2014-2024 employment projections external site. "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2014-2024). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.


Alternate Titles:

  • Ballistic Expert
  • Ballistic Technician
  • Ballistician
  • Ballistics Expert
  • Biometric Fingerprinting Technician
  • Computer Forensics Technician
  • Crime Lab Technician
  • Crime Laboratory Analyst
  • Crime Scene Analyst
  • Crime Scene Examiner
  • Crime Scene Technician (Crime Scene Tech)
  • Crime Specialist
  • Criminalist Technician
  • Criminologist
  • CSI (Crime Scene Investigator)
  • Digital Forensic Examiner
  • DNA Analyst (Deoxyribonucleic Acid Analyst)
  • Evidence Specialist
  • Evidence Technician
  • Fingerprint Classifier
  • Fingerprint Expert
  • Fingerprint Technician
  • Firearms Specialist
  • Forensic Ballistics Expert
  • Forensic Computer Examiner
  • Forensic Document Examiner
  • Forensic Investigator
  • Forensic Science Examiner
  • Forensic Scientist
  • Forensic Specialist
  • Forensic Technician
  • Forensic Toxicologist
  • Handwriting Expert
  • Keeler Polygraph Operator
  • Latent Fingerprint Examiner
  • Latent Print Examiner
  • Lie Detector Operator
  • Polygraph Examiner
  • Polygraph Operator
  • Trace Evidence Technician
  • Wildlife Forensic Geneticist


  • Job Zone Four: Considerable Preparation Needed

    Experience:

    A considerable amount of work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is needed for these occupations. For example, an accountant must complete four years of college and work for several years in accounting to be considered qualified.

    Education:

    Most of these occupations require a four-year bachelor's degree, but some do not.

    Job Training:

    Employees in these occupations usually need several years of work-related experience, on-the-job training, and/or vocational training.


    Required Skills:

  • Reading Comprehension
  • Active Listening
  • Writing
  • Speaking
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Critical Thinking
  • Active Learning
  • Learning Strategies
  • Monitoring
  • Social Perceptiveness
  • Coordination
  • Persuasion
  • Negotiation
  • Instructing
  • Service Orientation
  • Complex Problem Solving
  • Operations Analysis
  • Technology Design
  • Equipment Selection
  • Programming
  • Operation Monitoring
  • Operation and Control
  • Equipment Maintenance
  • Troubleshooting
  • Repairing
  • Quality Control Analysis
  • Judgment and Decision Making
  • Systems Analysis
  • Systems Evaluation
  • Time Management
  • Management of Financial Resources
  • Management of Material Resources
  • Management of Personnel Resources

  • Knowledge Used:

  • Administration and Management
  • Clerical
  • Economics and Accounting
  • Customer and Personal Service
  • Personnel and Human Resources
  • Production and Processing
  • Computers and Electronics
  • Engineering and Technology
  • Design
  • Building and Construction
  • Mechanical
  • Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Chemistry
  • Biology
  • Psychology
  • Sociology and Anthropology
  • Geography
  • Medicine and Dentistry
  • Therapy and Counseling
  • Education and Training
  • English Language
  • History and Archeology
  • Philosophy and Theology
  • Public Safety and Security
  • Law and Government
  • Telecommunications
  • Communications and Media
  • Transportation


  • Tasks:

  • Testify in court about investigative or analytical methods or findings.
  • Interpret laboratory findings or test results to identify and classify substances, materials, or other evidence collected at crime scenes.
  • Operate and maintain laboratory equipment and apparatus.
  • Prepare solutions, reagents, or sample formulations needed for laboratory work.
  • Collect evidence from crime scenes, storing it in conditions that preserve its integrity.
  • Identify and quantify drugs or poisons found in biological fluids or tissues, in foods, or at crime scenes.
  • Reconstruct crime scenes to determine relationships among pieces of evidence.
  • Collect impressions of dust from surfaces to obtain and identify fingerprints.
  • Analyze gunshot residue and bullet paths to determine how shootings occurred.
  • Visit morgues, examine scenes of crimes, or contact other sources to obtain evidence or information to be used in investigations.
  • Examine physical evidence, such as hair, fiber, wood, or soil residues to obtain information about its source and composition.
  • Examine firearms to determine mechanical condition and legal status, performing restoration work on damaged firearms to obtain information such as serial numbers.
  • Confer with ballistics, fingerprinting, handwriting, documents, electronics, medical, chemical, or metallurgical experts concerning evidence and its interpretation.
  • Compare objects, such as tools, with impression marks to determine whether a specific object is responsible for a specific mark.
  • Keep records and prepare reports detailing findings, investigative methods, and laboratory techniques.
  • Use chemicals or other substances to examine latent fingerprint evidence and compare developed prints to those of known persons in databases.
  • Train new technicians or other personnel on forensic science techniques.
  • Examine and analyze blood stain patterns at crime scenes.
  • Use photographic or video equipment to document evidence or crime scenes.
  • Review forensic analysts' reports for technical merit.
  • Determine types of bullets and specific weapons used in shootings.

  • Tools & Technology:

  • 35 millimeter cameras
  • Benchtop mixers
  • Biohazard suits
  • Blood collection kits
  • Body fluid collection kits
  • Breathalyzers
  • Colored camera filters
  • Crime scene evidence flags
  • Crime scene tape measures
  • Cyanoacrylate fuming chambers
  • Deoxyribonucleic acid DNA collection kits
  • Desktop computers
  • Digital cameras
  • Digital video cameras
  • Distance measuring wheels
  • Drug testing kits
  • Electronic measuring devices
  • Electronic precision balances
  • Electrostatic dust print lifters
  • Evidence collection containers
  • Evidence scissors
  • Fingerprint brushes
  • Fingerprint evidence kits
  • Fingerprint recognition systems
  • Footwear protectors
  • Fuming hot plates
  • Gel lifters
  • Glass specimen jars
  • Glassware washers
  • Gunshot residue kits
  • Hand held magnifiers
  • Handheld digital thermometers
  • Handheld evidence collection computers
  • Impression casting kits
  • Infrared light sources
  • Insect collection containers
  • Insect swoop nets
  • Inspection mirrors
  • Laboratory benchtop centrifuges
  • Laptop computers
  • Large format cameras
  • Laser trajectory kits
  • Long-wave ultraviolet UV lamps
  • Medical hemostats
  • Metal detectors
  • Microscope slides
  • Mobile data computers
  • Navigational compasses
  • Optical compound microscopes
  • Personal computers
  • Photo markers
  • Photographic scales
  • Plastic evidence tweezers
  • Plastic specimen jars
  • Pointed scalpels
  • Police vans
  • Portable generators
  • Portable lasers
  • Portable two way radios
  • Postmortem print spoons
  • Protective latex gloves
  • Protective masks
  • Protractors
  • Reciprocating saws
  • Rounded scalpels
  • Safety glasses
  • Self-contained breathing apparatus
  • Sexual assault evidence collection kits
  • Shovels
  • Sifting screens
  • Spades
  • Spectrophotometers
  • Stainless steel scissors
  • Stainless steel spatulas
  • Stainless steel tweezers
  • Steam sterilizers
  • Steel measuring tape
  • Thermocyclers
  • Ultraviolet UV camera lens filters
  • Ultraviolet UV lights
  • Utility knives
  • UV forensic goggles
  • Adobe Systems Adobe Photoshop software
  • Automated Biometric Identification System ABIS
  • Combined DNA Index System CODIS
  • Computer aided design and drafting CADD software
  • Corel WordPerfect Office Suite
  • DataWorks Plus Digital CrimeScene
  • DesignWare 3D EyeWitness
  • DNA sequence analysis software
  • Eos Systems PhotoModeler
  • Graphics software
  • IBM Notes
  • Image enhancement software
  • Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System IAFIS
  • Laboratory information management system LIMS software
  • Microsoft Access
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Office software
  • Microsoft Outlook
  • Microsoft Visio
  • Microsoft Word
  • Mideo Systems EZDoc Plus
  • Midwest Information Systems PAX-it
  • National Crime Information Center NCIC database
  • 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
  • Web browser software


  • life physical and social science


    industry stats

    SOC: 19-0000

    Total Employed: 1,146,110

    Average Annual Salary: $71,220