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Forensic Science Technicians

If you are highly analytical, have great attention to detail, good oral and written communication skills and can handle the sights and sounds of a crime scene, then a career as a forensic science technician may be the right choice for you.

A career in forensic science can be an enriching and rewarding occupational choice. Most forensic science technicians have a bachelor’s degree in a natural science field such as chemistry or biology and receive moderate on-the-job training in crime scene analysis and lab work.

Your roles and responsibilities as a forensic science technician typically remain consistent from job to job. Some of the major responsibilities include the following:

Crime scene investigation

  • Collect physical evidence.
  • Take photographs of the crime scene and evidence.
  • Make sketches of the crime scene.

Data analysis in laboratories

  • Perform chemical, biological and physical analysis of evidence.
  • Reconstruct crime scenes.
  • Research links between suspects and criminal activity based on evidence.
  • Write detailed reports regarding crime scene data analysis.

A few specialty fields exist inside the forensic science occupation. Having a specialized area of expertise help you progress to higher paying and senior positions. A few of the forensic science specialty fields include the following:

  • Generalists, criminalists or crime scene investigators
  • Forensic pathologists
  • Latent print examiners
  • Forensic computer examiners or digital forensic analysts

Finding employment

Once you have decided on a specialty field, if you are choosing one, you need to consider the many different places that forensic science technicians work. Some of the more common places you can find employment are local, state and federal government law enforcement agencies, local and state municipalities and private investigative companies.

It may not always be easy to find a job in your specific occupation, so you may want to consider similar types of employment. Many of these occupations require the same skills and knowledge and havesimilar work environments. A few of these occupations include the following:

  • Biochemists and biophysicists
  • Biological technicians
  • Chemical technicians
  • Environmental science and protection technicians
  • Fire inspectors and investigators
  • Medical and clinical laboratory technologists and technicians

When you are ready to start your job search, visit the Military Spouse Employment Partnership Job Search to search for positions with companies and organizations committed to recruiting, hiring, promoting and retaining military spouses.

Professional organizations and networking

Join a professional organization in your chosen field to gain a better understanding of current industry practices and policies. Professional organizations are great ways to continue your education through workshops and conferences, which will add to your transferable skill set as you move. Network with other professionals in your industry to give you an edge in meeting the right people who may have the connections you need to get an interview at your new location.

Read The Value of Professional Associations for more information on how becoming a member can help enhance your career. Since many recent graduates begin their careers as interns, you can always check with your nearest state and federal agencies to see if they have any internships available. Another popular internship and employment option for students and recent graduates is the USAJOBS Pathways program for federal service positions.

Licenses and certification

A range of licenses and certifications are available and aid in the professional development of many types of forensic science technicians. While certifications and licenses are not typically necessary for entry into the occupation, each jurisdiction sets its own standards on what certifications may be required to practice locally. You will need to check with your state agency to verify what, if any, credentials you need before applying for employment.

Be sure to visit the Military Spouse Interstate License Recognition Options for up-to-date legislation and licensure information for your specific state.

If you move due to a PCS, your service branch can now help reimburse licensure and certification costs up to $1,000. Each service has its own procedures for reimbursement, so be sure you know what your branch requires.

Next steps

To explore additional information related to starting your career as a forensic science technician, check out the Research Occupations tool on MySECO. Enter the keywords 'Forensic Science Technicians' to learn more about the occupational overview. If you need additional information on obtaining the proper license or certification as part of your specialty field, visit the Advantages of Licensure article in the Education, Training and Licensing lifecycle stage of MySECO.

Connect with a SECO career coach by calling Military OneSource at 800-342-9647 to discuss any questions or concerns you may have or use the Live Chat feature on the MySECO website for additional guidance.

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