Careers in Forensic Science 

forensic science technician

Forensic science technicians generally fit into one of two categories: crime scene investigators or laboratory analysts. Both professionals play particular roles in investigating crimes. It's up to the forensic science technician to collect and analyze physical evidence from crime scenes to aid law enforcement in catching criminals. How they do this varies.

Forensic science technicians that specialize as crime investigators do the bulk of their work at crime scenes. They photograph areas and pieces of evidence that could be important to a case while carefully collecting and cataloging material for further analysis. At the same time, they record any peculiar or intriguing observations that may become important later in an investigation.

On the other hand, forensic science technicians that specialize in laboratory analysis work in a controlled setting. They perform biological, chemical and physical tests on collected evidence, reconstruct crime scenes and consult with other scientific professionals to glean information.

With online forensic science technician schooling, you may learn what it takes to pursue a career in investigating crimes using scientific analysis and keen observational skills. Online courses are often flexible, allowing students to complete coursework and study on their own time. Moreover, online schooling frequently does not require commuting, which may be beneficial for parents and full-time employees.

 
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Are Online Forensic Science Technician Programs for You?

Here are some things to consider when choosing an online forensic science technician program:

  • Forensic science technicians often need a bachelor's degree to pursue employment. Those that work in criminal investigations frequently require on-the-job training with professionals both at crime scenes and in labs, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics[i].
  • Professionals may need a strong background in chemistry, mathematics and biology for employment.
  • Some forensic science technicians are also sworn police officers, but this is not a requirement.
  • Before signing up for online courses, explore how a particular forensic science technician program prepares you in subjects such as chemistry, biology and mathematics. Also, inquire about possible training and experience-based programs you can take advantage of.

Forensic Science Technician Career Paths and Potential Salaries

There are many career paths you may choose to pursue after forensic science technician schooling. While some of the responsibilities for a forensic science technician are very specialized, the broad math, biology and chemistry skills you learn may help you pursue other occupations. Investigate your options using statistics and information from the BLS.

Forensic Science Technician[i]

The roles of forensic science technicians vary greatly by workplace. Some professionals are responsible for a broad range of duties both at crime scenes and in labs. Others handle very specific elements of the investigation process. They often conduct tests and write reports to aid law enforcement officials.

  • See BLS for median annual salary
  • Job growth through 2022: 6 percent (slower than average)
  • Entry-level education: Bachelor's degree

Chemical Technicians[ii]

Whereas forensic science technicians aid law enforcement officials, chemical technicians help chemical engineers research, test and ultimately produce chemical products and processes. They often use very specialized lab equipment and prepare graphs, charts and reports for analysis.

  • See BLS for median annual salary
  • Job growth through 2022: 9 percent (average)
  • Entry-level education: Associate's degree

Biological Technicians[iii]

Biological technicians assist biological and medical scientists. They care for laboratory equipment, organize and catalog biological samples, conducts tests and take notes about all of their completed work. They analyze collected data and write reports about their findings for other professionals.

  • See BLS for median annual salary
  • Job growth through 2022: 10 percent (average)
  • Entry-level education: Bachelor's degree

[i] bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/forensic-science-technicians.htm#tab-1

[ii] bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/chemical-technicians.htm

[iii] bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/biological-technicians.htm