Forensic Science Technicians

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Also known as:  Ballistic Technician, Ballistician, Ballistics Expert, Crime Lab Technician, Crime Scene Technician, Criminalist Technician, Fingerprint Expert, Forensic Analyst, Forensic Science Technician, Handwriting Expert

ABOUT FORENSIC SCIENCE TECHNICIAN CAREERS

VIDEO TRANSCRIPT Expand
Books and TV programs make the work of forensic science technicians seem fast-paced and exciting. In real life, however, their job is more likely to be as slow and painstaking as it is important. Forensic science technicians work at the scene of a crime - and in laboratories. They perform tests on w ...
eapons or they examine substances such as fiber, hair, and tissue to determine a connection to the crime, and to a suspect.

Some forensic science technicians specialize in particular areas such as fingerprinting, DNA and handwriting analysis, biochemistry, or ballistics. They prepare reports to document their findings and the laboratory techniques used.

While much of their expertise and deductive abilities come from experience, forensic science technicians are usually college graduates, having taken courses in subjects ranging from criminology to biology. Forensic science technicians are a crucial part of our legal system. They might be called upon to testify as expert witnesses. Their evidence and testimony can help send the guilty to prison, or clear the innocent.
SNAPSHOT Expand
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.
Leadership
HIGH
Critical decision making
HIGH
Level of responsibilities
HIGH
Job challenge and pressure to meet deadlines
HIGH
Dealing and handling conflict
LOW
Competition for this position
HIGH
Communication with others
HIGH
Work closely with team members, clients etc.
HIGH
Comfort of the work setting
HIGH
Exposure to extreme environmental conditions
LOW
Exposure to job hazards
LOW
Physical demands
LOW
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DAILY TASKS Expand
Train new technicians or other personnel on forensic science techniques.
Examine and analyze blood stain patterns at crime scenes.
Reconstruct crime scenes to determine relationships among pieces of evidence.
Collect impressions of dust from surfaces to obtain and identify fingerprints.
Prepare solutions, reagents, or sample formulations needed for laboratory work.
Collect evidence from crime scenes, storing it in conditions that preserve its integrity.
Operate and maintain laboratory equipment and apparatus.
Visit morgues, examine scenes of crimes, or contact other sources to obtain evidence or information to be used in investigations.
Testify in court about investigative or analytical methods or findings.
Confer with ballistics, fingerprinting, handwriting, documents, electronics, medical, chemical, or metallurgical experts concerning evidence and its interpretation.
Take photographs of evidence.
MAIN ACTIVITIES Expand
Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
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.
Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Interacting With Computers Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
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.
AREAS OF KNOWLEDGE Expand
English Language Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Law and Government Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.
Customer and Personal Service Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
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.
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.
Clerical Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.
Computers and Electronics Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
Education and Training Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
KEY ABILITIES Expand
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 Expression The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
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.
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).
TOP SKILLS Expand
Critical Thinking Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
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.
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.
Speaking Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Reading Comprehension Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
Active Learning Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
Monitoring Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
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