What is a forensic technician

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A forensic technician is a member of the team that investigates crimes. He collects and documents or analyzes physical evidence from crime scenes. This evidence can include fingerprints, blood, hair, and bullets. Also called a crime scene investigator (CSI), crime scene technician, criminalist, or forensic scientist, a forensics technician may specialize in crime scene investigation, which involves the collection and cataloging of evidence.

Alternatively, he can specialize in laboratory analysis, which uses scientific methods to identify and classify evidence.

Quick facts

  • In 2016, the median annual earnings was $ 56.750.
  • A little more than 14,000 people worked in this profession in 2014.
  • Most forensic technicians work full time.
  • Anyone who wants to work in this area can look forward to excellent professional prospects. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that employment will grow much faster than the occupation average through 2024.

A day in the life of a forensic scientist

We looked at Indeed's job advertisements. com to learn about the job duties of forensic technicians. We found them out:

  • "Perform manual and automated tests on biological samples such as urine, blood, vitreous humor and other tissues"
  • "Fingerprints / handprints, tire and shoe prints, tool prints, firearms, wounds collect imprints of the deceased person (s) to facilitate positive identification and / or removal of hair, clothing, fibers and biological evidence"
  • "Receive and return evidence and use rigorous transfer procedures to complete appropriate forms to ensure and maintain the integrity of the recognized chain of evidence for each item."
  • "To testify in court as an expert in connection with laboratory analyzes; must be able to make credible statements in criminal or civil proceedings that result from the performance of tasks"
  • "Assistance in the maintenance of laboratory instruments and reagent preparation"
  • Results and maintenance of the examination documentation in accordance with the laboratory standard operating procedures "
  • "Maintaining the safety of the laboratory and keeping the research and technology up to date"

The truth about this activity

  • Forensic technicians work around the clock .. Expect your shifts to include days, evenings, nights, weekends, and holidays.
  • Many people find that they interfere with the aftermath of violent crime.
  • You may need to work overtime or be on call to gather evidence.
  • If your job is to gather evidence from crime scenes, you have to be outside in bad weather.

How to Become a Forensic Scientific Technician

If you want to become a Forensic Scientific Technician, you must earn a bachelor's degree in a natural science such as chemistry or biology, or in forensic science. If you're studying a science, you should take some forensics classes. Some crime scene investigators first train to become police officers.

Before you can work independently, you need extensive on-the-job training. By training with an experienced colleague, you will learn how to properly collect and document evidence.

You can continue your training in a laboratory specialty such as DNA or firearms analysis.

What soft skills do you need?

In addition to very specific technical expertise, forensic technicians also need certain soft skills. These are strengths or attributes that you were born with or that you develop through work or other experiences.

  • Communication Skills: Forensic technicians must have excellent speaking and writing skills to share information with colleagues and present the results in court.
  • Problem solving: You need to be able to identify problems and use scientific methods to solve them.
  • Critical thinking: The ability to identify and compare different solutions to problems is essential.
  • Detail-Oriented: When looking for evidence, you need to be able to spot minute details and subtle differences.
  • Physical Endurance: You must be able to spend long hours on your feet while doing your job.

What do employers expect from you?

In addition to skills and experience, what qualities do employers look for when hiring forensic science technicians? Here are some requirements from actual job advertisements that you can find under Indeed. com:

  • "Ability to work with frequent interruptions and changes in priorities"
  • "Proven ability to interact and collaborate with various partners"
  • "Ability to develop cooperative relationships with other law enforcement agencies"
  • "Must pass an intensive background investigation."
  • "Ability to work independently with minimal supervision."
  • "Professional with Excel, Word, record management systems and cameras"

Is this job right for you?

  • Holland Code: IRC (Investigative, Realistic, Conventional)
  • MBTI Personality Types: INTJ, ENTP, ISTJ, ISTP (Tieger, Paul D., Barron, Barbara, and Tieger, Kelly. (2014) Make What You Are NY: Hatchette Book Group.)

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Bureau of Labor Statistics, U ..S. Department of Labor,
Occupational Outlook Handbook , 2016-17 (visited November 4, 2016). Employment and Education Administration, US Department of Labor,
O * NET Online (visited on November 4, 2016).