Forensic Science Technicians, also known as Crime Lab Technicians, collect and analyze evidence from crime scenes; and if needed testify in court to their findings as expert witnesses. They must be detail oriented and precise as they perform their daily duties. Forensic Science Technicians may choose to specialize in a field (such as DNA testing or testing firearms) or perform a wide range of duties in many fields as a generalist. Larger labs in large cities frequently prefer crime lab technician specialists, but smaller organizations and smaller cities will need generalist who is able to perform a variety of crime lab testing tasks.
Understand the working environment for a crime lab technician
Crime lab technicians will work with highly technical lab equipment and advanced computer equipment, on a daily basis. They must be able to communicate well both verbally and in writing, while reporting on their findings and presenting them in court. Technicians must also be able to handle the stressful and often unpleasant task of collecting evidence at the crime scene, and do so under time restraints.
Choose your educational program
Although a bachelor’s degree in forensic science is preferred by many employers, other degrees are available to prepare you for a career as a crime lab technician. You may also want to consider bachelor’s degrees in one of the natural sciences with a focus on criminology or forensic science; or a degree emphasizing pathology, criminology, investigation, jurisprudence, toxicology, odontology, or forensic accounting.
Further your skills as you complete your educational program
While working on your chosen program, it will be beneficial to take additional classes in law and technical report writing. These skills will make you more marketable when seeking a crime lab technician position.
Gain experience to enhance your credibility and marketability
Many colleges offer intern programs allowing their students to gain experience during off terms. If these programs are not available through your school, you can seek out a position through your local lab or police department. This will not only allow you to gain needed experience and ensure this is the career you wish to pursue, but also provide networking contacts needed for future job searches.