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Summary Report for:
19-4092.00 - Forensic Science Technicians

Collect, identify, classify, and analyze physical evidence related to criminal investigations. Perform tests on weapons or substances, such as fiber, hair, and tissue to determine significance to investigation. May testify as expert witnesses on evidence or crime laboratory techniques. May serve as specialists in area of expertise, such as ballistics, fingerprinting, handwriting, or biochemistry.

Sample of reported job titles: Crime Laboratory Analyst, Crime Scene Analyst, CSI (Crime Scene Investigator), Crime Scene Technician (Crime Scene Tech), Evidence Technician, Forensic Science Examiner, Forensic Scientist, Forensic Specialist, Latent Fingerprint Examiner, Latent Print Examiner

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Tasks  |  Tools & Technology  |  Knowledge  |  Skills  |  Abilities  |  Work Activities  |  Work Context  |  Job Zone  |  Education  |  Credentials  |  Interests  |  Work Styles  |  Work Values  |  Related Occupations  |  Wages & Employment  |  Job Openings  |  Additional Information

Tasks

  • Keep records and prepare reports detailing findings, investigative methods, and laboratory techniques.
  • Collect evidence from crime scenes, storing it in conditions that preserve its integrity.
  • Testify in court about investigative or analytical methods or findings.
  • Use photographic or video equipment to document evidence or crime scenes.
  • Visit morgues, examine scenes of crimes, or contact other sources to obtain evidence or information to be used in investigations.
  • Reconstruct crime scenes to determine relationships among pieces of evidence.
  • Operate and maintain laboratory equipment and apparatus.
  • Confer with ballistics, fingerprinting, handwriting, documents, electronics, medical, chemical, or metallurgical experts concerning evidence and its interpretation.
  • Prepare solutions, reagents, or sample formulations needed for laboratory work.
  • Train new technicians or other personnel on forensic science techniques.

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Tools & Technology

Tools used in this occupation:

Biological evidence collection kits — Blood collection kits; Body fluid collection kits; Deoxyribonucleic acid DNA collection kits
Footprint lifters — Electrostatic dust print lifters; Gel lifters; Impression casting kits
Specimen collection container — Evidence collection containers; Glass specimen jars; Plastic specimen jars
Still cameras — 35 millimeter cameras; Large format cameras
Tape measures — Crime scene tape measures; Steel measuring tape

Technology used in this occupation:

Analytical or scientific software — DNA sequence analysis software; Laboratory information management system LIMS software
Data base user interface and query software — Automated Biometric Identification System ABIS; Combined DNA Index System CODIS *; Microsoft Access; National Crime Information Center NCIC database
Electronic mail software — IBM Lotus Notes; Microsoft Outlook
Graphics or photo imaging software — Adobe Systems Adobe Photoshop software; DesignWare 3D EyeWitness; Mideo Systems EZDoc Plus; Midwest Information Systems PAX-it
Word processing software — Corel WordPerfect software; Microsoft Word

* Software developed by a government agency and/or distributed as freeware or shareware.

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Knowledge

Law and Government — Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.
Public Safety and Security — Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Chemistry — Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.
Computers and Electronics — Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
Engineering and Technology — Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.

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Skills

Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
Science — Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.

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Abilities

Flexibility of Closure — The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
Far Vision — The ability to see details at a distance.
Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).

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Work Activities

Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
Communicating with Persons Outside Organization — Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
Interacting With Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.

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Work Context

Electronic Mail — How often do you use electronic mail in this job?
Face-to-Face Discussions — How often do you have to have face-to-face discussions with individuals or teams in this job?
Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — How important is being very exact or highly accurate in performing this job?
Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — How often does this job require working indoors in environmentally controlled conditions?
Telephone — How often do you have telephone conversations in this job?
Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets — How much does this job require wearing common protective or safety equipment such as safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hard hats or life jackets?
Freedom to Make Decisions — How much decision making freedom, without supervision, does the job offer?
Structured versus Unstructured Work — To what extent is this job structured for the worker, rather than allowing the worker to determine tasks, priorities, and goals?
Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — How do the decisions an employee makes impact the results of co-workers, clients or the company?
Frequency of Decision Making — How frequently is the worker required to make decisions that affect other people, the financial resources, and/or the image and reputation of the organization?

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Job Zone

Title Job Zone Four: Considerable Preparation Needed
Education Most of these occupations require a four-year bachelor's degree, but some do not.
Related Experience A considerable amount of work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is needed for these occupations. For example, an accountant must complete four years of college and work for several years in accounting to be considered qualified.
Job Training Employees in these occupations usually need several years of work-related experience, on-the-job training, and/or vocational training.
Job Zone Examples Many of these occupations involve coordinating, supervising, managing, or training others. Examples include accountants, sales managers, database administrators, teachers, chemists, environmental engineers, criminal investigators, and special agents.
SVP Range (7.0 to < 8.0)

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Education


Percentage of Respondents
Education Level Required
Not available Some college, no degree
Not available Bachelor's degree
Not available Associate's degree

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Credentials

Find Training Find Certifications Find Licenses Find Apprenticeships

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Interests

Interest code: IRC

Investigative — Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
Realistic — Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
Conventional — Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

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Work Styles

Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
Self Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
Independence — Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.

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Work Values

Support — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
Recognition — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer advancement, potential for leadership, and are often considered prestigious. Corresponding needs are Advancement, Authority, Recognition and Social Status.
Independence — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.

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Related Occupations

13-1041.01 Environmental Compliance Inspectors
19-1031.01 Soil and Water Conservationists Green Occupation
19-4041.01 Geophysical Data Technicians Green Occupation
19-4091.00 Environmental Science and Protection Technicians, Including Health   Green Occupation Green
25-2032.00 Career/Technical Education Teachers, Secondary School
29-2011.00 Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technologists
33-3021.02 Police Identification and Records Officers
33-3021.03 Criminal Investigators and Special Agents
33-3021.05 Immigration and Customs Inspectors
53-6051.08 Freight and Cargo Inspectors

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Wages & Employment Trends

Median wages (2013) $26.13 hourly, $54,360 annual
State wages Local Salary Info
 
Employment (2012) 13,000 employees
Projected growth (2012-2022) Slower than average (3% to 7%) Slower than average (3% to 7%)
Projected job openings (2012-2022) 5,800
State trends Employment Trends
 
Top industries (2012)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2013 wage data external site and 2012-2022 employment projections external site. "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2012-2022). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.

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Job Openings on the Web

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Sources of Additional Information

Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.

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