Forensic Science Technicians

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.

Tasks

  • Collect evidence from crime scenes, storing it in conditions that preserve its integrity.
  • 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.
  • Testify in court about investigative or analytical methods or findings.
  • Take photographs of evidence.
  • 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.
  • Reconstruct crime scenes to determine relationships among pieces of evidence.
  • Operate and maintain laboratory equipment and apparatus.
  • Train new technicians or other personnel on forensic science techniques.
  • Examine and analyze blood stain patterns at crime scenes.
  • Prepare solutions, reagents, or sample formulations needed for laboratory work.
  • Confer with ballistics, fingerprinting, handwriting, documents, electronics, medical, chemical, or metallurgical experts concerning evidence and its interpretation.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Compare objects, such as tools, with impression marks to determine whether a specific object is responsible for a specific mark.
  • Determine types of bullets used in shooting and if fired from a specific weapon.
  • Identify and quantify drugs or poisons found in biological fluids or tissues, in foods, or at crime scenes.

Skills

Equipment Maintenance
Performing routine maintenance on equipment and determining when and what kind of maintenance is needed.
Repairing
Repairing machines or systems using the needed tools.
Installation
Installing equipment, machines, wiring, or programs to meet specifications.

Abilities

Explosive Strength
The ability to use short bursts of muscle force to propel oneself (as in jumping or sprinting), or to throw an object.
Dynamic Flexibility
The ability to quickly and repeatedly bend, stretch, twist, or reach out with your body, arms, and/or legs.

Work Activities

Staffing Organizational Units
Recruiting, interviewing, selecting, hiring, and promoting employees in an organization.

Interests

Investigative
Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
Realistic
Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
Conventional
Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
Artistic
Artistic occupations frequently involve working with forms, designs and patterns. They often require self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules.
Social
Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.
Enterprising
Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.

Work Style

Integrity
Job requires being honest and ethical.
Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Dependability
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Cooperation
Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
Stress Tolerance
Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
Analytical Thinking
Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
Persistence
Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
Self Control
Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
Initiative
Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
Independence
Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.

Work Values

Support
Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
Recognition
Occupations that satisfy this work value offer advancement, potential for leadership, and are often considered prestigious. Corresponding needs are Advancement, Authority, Recognition and Social Status.
Achievement
Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.
Independence
Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
Working Conditions
Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.
Relationships
Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.

Lay Titles

Ballistic Expert
Ballistic Technician
Ballistician
Crime Lab Technician
Crime Laboratory Analyst
Crime Scene Analyst
Crime Scene Examiner
Crime Scene Investigator
Crime Scene Technician
Crime Specialist
Criminalist
Criminologist
Detective
Detective-Crime Scene Investigations
Dna Analyst
Evidence Technician
Fingerprint Classifier
Fingerprint Expert
Forensic Analyst
Forensic Ballistics Expert
Forensic Chemist
Forensic Investigator
Forensic Scientist
Handwriting Expert
Keeler Polygraph Operator
Latent Fingerprint Examiner
Lie Detector Operator
Polygraph Examiner
Polygraph Operator

National Wages and Employment Info

Median Wages (2008):
$25.41 hourly, $52,840 annual.
Employment (2008):
12,440 employees