Forensic Science Colleges & Degree Programs
The word "forensic" essentially means "pertaining to the law." The forensic science technician serves law enforcement in two important ways. The first is crime scene investigation and evidence collection. Evidence is subjected to comprehensive physical and chemical analysis. The second service to law enforcement is courtroom testimony concerning the nature of the evidence and how it applies to the case at hand.
Forensic Science Degree Programs
Educational requirements for forensic technicians vary according to the level of responsibility. An associate's degree or a certificate in science or related technology is usually the minimum requirement for a basic science technician whose duties are limited to assisting forensic technicians. A bachelor's degree is usually required of forensic technicians.
Students at forensic science colleges typically study coursework that includes: biology, chemistry, science, law and legal issues; and, technical specialties. Most hiring agencies prefer to hire graduates of forensic science colleges or technical schools. Bachelor's degrees equip graduates to assume more complex duties in forensic science and position graduates favorably during promotions into supervisory positions.
Additional Training for Forensic Science Jobs
Internships and hands-on experience complete the training process. Technicians find employment with crime laboratories funded by federal, state, or local government law enforcement entities and begin their careers assisting more experienced technicians. As technicians become more proficient in the performance of their duties and gain needed experience, they increasingly work alone.
Job Prospects for Forensic Scientists and Technicians
Forensic science technicians have several responsibilities.
- Crime scene analysis
- Evidence collection and storage
- Chemical analysis of evidence
- Report writing
- Testifying in court
Some technicians work in the field while others work in laboratories. Many technicians regularly work in both venues. Forensic science technicians earned a mean annual wage of $55,070 in 2009, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The prospects for employment of new forensic technicians are expected to be consistent with the growth of other occupations.