What will I do as a forensic technician?

General Duties and Responsibilities

A forensic technician applies the natural sciences in interpreting and analyzing evidence found at crime scene in order to solve a crime. Physical evidence such as, a blood stain, hair or a piece of clothing is identified and examined to create a link between the suspected criminal and his/her victim. These links are also provided by shoe impressions, bullets and fingerprints that may be found by the crime scene investigators. Once the physical evidence is received by a forensic technician, specific tests are conducted depending on the kind of evidence submitted. It is not unusual for a forensic technician to appear in court to render an expert testimony.

Below is a breakdown of criminal and physical evidence used, along with the processes needed that lead to crime-solving:

- Chemical substances, ballistics evidence, tissue samples and physical materials are examined, tested and analyzed.

- Laboratory and test results are interpreted.

- Criminal evidence is collected and preserved.

- Other experts are consulted concerning the interpretation of evidence such as, fingerprint, documents, medical and handwriting.

- The crime scene is reconstructed to relate the presented pieces of evidence.

- Reports and presentations are prepared for explanation of the lab and investigative techniques.

Important Skills Required

It is crucial for a forensic technician to be knowledgeable and able to perform their jobs well. That knowledge includes being capable of gathering and identifying essential information pertinent to the case. When the information is gathered, it must be organized in a fashion where it is easily classified. Forensic technicians must have good reading comprehension skills, as they will need to interpret written documents as well. They must have the ability to identify the nature of a problem and apply scientific methods to solve them. Critical thinking is often needed with the use of analytics and logic to measure the weight of various approaches.

Job Preparation Through Education and Training

A forensic technician is required to have a bachelor’s degree, preferably from a criminal justice college. A major of chemistry, physics, criminalistics or biology. There are crime labs that require a master’s degree in the area of forensic science. High school students are required to enroll in a college program with a concentration in math and science. Furthermore, the American Academy of Forensic Sciences provides a listing of universities that offer several degree program options.

Certification and Licensing Requirements

Crime labs are considered nationally accredited institutions, therefore, no licensing or certification is required. However, proficiency tests are regularly conducted for forensic technicians.

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