A forensic science technician is a scientist who examines evidence recovered from crime scenes. In criminal trials, he or she is responsible for gathering, preserving, and testing relevant evidence, as well as presenting findings to investigators or judges. Local, state, and federal agencies employ forensic science technicians to assist in the investigation of crimes and the pursuit of justice.
A forensic science technician’s main concern is determining the exact nature of a crime. Technicians examine the aftermath of a crime scene to see what might be relevant to the investigation. They collect and store physical evidence such as firearms, blood, clothing, fingerprints, and chemical substances with care. They also record data and details from a crime scene, such as ballistics data, in order to get a more accurate picture of what happened.
Following the collection of physical evidence and data, forensic scientists begin a detailed analysis process, which frequently involves the use of specialized laboratory equipment. Technicians must be computer literate because they conduct background checks, retrieve archived data, and search databases to match fingerprints and DNA samples. Forensic science technicians may also be called upon to conduct tests on weapons, such as firearms, in order to determine whether, how, and whom specific weapons were used. To compound evidence and confirm information, technicians frequently collaborate with other laboratory or medical specialists.
Following the completion of lab testing, a forensic science technician is usually required to write a detailed lab report that details the testing methods and results. Technicians frequently meet with investigators and police officers to discuss their findings, exchange information, and offer their perspectives on a case. When a case goes to trial, a technician who has unearthed relevant evidence may be called as an expert witness.
A bachelor’s degree in forensic science or a related scientific field is required to work as a forensic science technician. Getting hands-on experience as an apprentice or laboratory assistant is a good way to get started as a forensic science technician. Although official certification is not usually required, there are a number of certification agencies and exams that can help improve one’s chances of landing a job.
The concept of using forensic science to solve crimes is relatively new. However, the demand for qualified technicians is increasing. The demand for professional technicians is expected to continue to rise as the field of DNA research expands and laboratory techniques and equipment improve.