Forensic science technicians play an important role in the criminal justice system and for their part they earn annual wages that range anywhere between USD 36,000 to USD 70,000. The job outlook for this profession in the coming years looks good according to analysts.
The job profile of a forensic science technician involves analyzing crime scene evidence to give investigative agencies clues to catch and prosecute criminals. They are mostly hired by federal government, local governments, hospital, diagnostic laboratories, educational institutes, and private investigation agencies. Most forensic science technicians will work 40 hours a week, however, most will have to work more and will at times work on weekends and holidays. However, they are compensated financially for working over time.
Rising crime rate and increase in government spending especially since the 9/11 attacks has meant that there has been a steady growth in the forensic science jobs. However, since most forensic science technicians are employed by government agencies new job openings depend on government budgets. Analysts predict that the job profile will see a steady growth in the coming years and students looking to pursue careers in forensic science should do well.
Employment for forensic science technicians is available with law enforcement agencies funded by the local or federal governments. They can expect to earn salaries that range anywhere between $35,000 to $55,000 for entry-level jobs. One of the denominators of higher pay packets is experience in the field, forensic science technicians with some experience can expect to earn wages that range between $60,000 to $75,000 per year.
Forensic science technicians working in cities with high cost of living like New York get annual salaries that touch the $80,000 mark. In places like California the salaries are reported at $74,000 per year making it comparable to other criminal justice professions. Places like Ohio where the cost of living is less the forensic science technician salaries stand at around $60,000 per year. In Colorado state you can expect to earn $62,000 annually, these numbers aren’t exclusive and can only be used for reference.
Factors like education and specialization will affect these salary figures considerably. For example, a forensic odontologist is a certified dentist and will command higher wages than their lesser qualified counterparts. Other factors like specialization in DNA analysis can also get you higher wages in this field. The type of employer also makes a difference federal government job tend to pay more than private laboratories.
If you have seen hit TV shows like CSI Miami you will have a general idea about the job description of a forensic science technician. Their main job is to visit the crime scene and collect physical evidence to give investigators clues that will help solve the crime and prosecute the criminals. They also take precaution to ensure that there is no contamination of the crime scene. A forensic science technician will collect hair, fiber, tissue, body fluids like blood, and semen samples for DNA analysis. Maintaining proper procedures of collecting and storing samples is as important as analyzing the samples.
They will have to work under laboratory conditions to analyze data collected from the crime scene and perform chemical tests. Forensic science technicians also have to conduct ballistic tests on fire arms and bullets recovered during investigations. Dusting the crime scene with a special powder to collect fingerprints and matching them with the criminal database is also a part of their job. Helping the coroner with deducing the cause and time of death is another aspect of their job. Forensic science technicians will also have to give their expert testimony in criminal cases. They are at times the most important prosecution witness in a criminal proceeding where there aren’t any other witnesses. Preparing reports to document their findings and the techniques used is also an integral part of their job description.
Individuals with good communication and interpersonal skills will do well in this profession as the job involves interacting and cooperating with law enforcement officers. Having keen observation skills and the ability to interpret scientific data are some of the personal qualities required in this profession.