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Forensic Science Technicians Career

Career 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.

What Job Titles Forensic Science Technicians Might Have

  • Crime Laboratory Analyst
  • Crime Scene Technician (Crime Scene Tech)
  • CSI (Crime Scene Investigator)
  • Forensic Scientist

What Forensic Science Technicians Do

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

What Forensic Science Technicians Should Be Good At

  • Inductive Reasoning - The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
  • Flexibility of Closure - The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Near Vision - The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Written Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
  • Problem Sensitivity - The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
  • Information Ordering - The ability to 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).
  • Speech Clarity - The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
  • Category Flexibility - The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.

What Forensic Science Technicians Should Be Interested In

  • 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.

What Forensic Science Technicians Need to Learn

  • 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.
Sun iconThis career has a bright outlook.
Median Salary: $56,750

This page includes information from O*NET OnLine by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA). Used under the CC BY 4.0 license.