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Forensic Science Technician

At crime scenes, forensic science technicians, also known as crime scene investigators, typically do the following:
  • Walk through the scene to determine what and how evidence should be collected
  • Take photographs of the crime scene and evidence
  • Make sketches of the crime scene
  • Keep written notes of their observations and findings, such as the location and position of evidence as it is found
  • Collect all relevant physical evidence, including weapons, fingerprints, and bodily fluids

In laboratories, forensic science technicians typically do the following:  

  • Identify and classify crime scene evidence through scientific analysis
  • Explore possible links between suspects and criminal activity using the results of chemical and physical analyses
  • Consult with experts in related or specialized fields, such as toxicology, about the evidence and their findings
  • Reconstruct crime scenes based on scientific findings

Minimum Education Required for this Career

Basic Certificate
Advanced Certificate
Associate's Degree
4+ year Degree
4+ Year Degree
$32,900

City Colleges Program Options

Criminal Justice Focus

Chemistry Focus

Biological Sciences Focus

Nature of the Work

Forensic science technicians reconstruct crime scenes by carefully studying information gathered by investigators and conducting scientific tests on physical evidence. They also use computer databases to examine fingerprints, DNA, and other evidence collected at crime scenes in order to match them to people and things that have already been identified.​ All forensic science technicians prepare written reports that detail their findings and investigative methods. They must be able to explain their reports to lawyers, detectives, and other law enforcement officials. In addition, forensic science technicians may be called to testify in court about their findings and methods. 

Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement

Many crime scene investigators are sworn police officers and have met educational requirements necessary for admittance to the police academy. Applicants for non-uniform crime scene investigator jobs at larger law enforcement agencies should have a bachelor’s degree in either forensic science or a natural science. Technicians who work in crime laboratories typically need a bachelor’s degree in either forensic science or a natural science such as biology or chemistry. Students who major in forensic science should ensure that their program includes extensive course work in mathematics, chemistry, and biology​.

Future Trends

Competition for jobs should be stiff because of the substantial interest in forensic science and crime scene investigation spurred by its portrayal in popular media. Employment of forensic science technicians is projected to grow by 19 percent from 2010 to 2020, about as fast as the average for all occupations. 

Career Pathways

Success at City Colleges