Laboratory Technician Career Overview
Laboratory technicians, or forensic science technicians, are a crucial part of the law enforcement community. A laboratory technician collects physical evidence from crime scenes including fiber, hair, tissue, and weapons, and performs analysis to track down suspects. They are often called upon as expert witnesses when evidence or crime lab techniques are discussed in court. Many laboratory technicians specialize in a given area, such as fingerprinting or ballistics.
Laboratory Technician Education
Laboratory technicians require specific training in applied science or science-related technology, and most also hold bachelor's degrees. Online degree programs and criminal justice degrees in particular, offer training in forensic science and prepare students for work as laboratory technicians. On-the-job training is also important, and many employees lacking formal education begin as trainees until they have completed a 2-year applied science degree.
Laboratory Technician Employment
There are approximately 12,000 forensic science technicians working today, with the majority employed by local and state government. Wisconsin and Massachusetts are the highest paying states, while Florida and California offer the most job opportunities.
Laboratory Technician Job Description
As forensic science is increasingly used to solve crimes, job growth for laboratory technicians is expected to grow much faster than average from 2006 to 2016. Demand in county and state crime labs should be particularly high.
Laboratory Technician Salary Range
Salary for laboratory technicians varies by location, employer, and experience. *Those employed by the Federal government earn the most, while others make an annual salary that falls between the following ranges:
Bottom 10 percent: $30,990
Top 10 percent: $80,330
*Bureau of Labor Statistics