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Projected Job Growth: 19%
Projected Employment Change: 2,400
Otherwise known as crime scene investigators, forensic science technicians examine crime scenes for the purpose of finding and collecting evidence. This includes physical evidence like fingerprints, bodily fluids, and weapons, which they preserve for crime lab transfer. They might also photograph crime scenes, make notes of their findings, and attend autopsies. In the lab, these technicians analyze and conduct scientific tests on crime scene evidence, identify links between criminal activity and possible suspects, consult experts, reconstruct crime scenes, and more. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projections, such as those listed above, employment in this occupation is expected to increase just about as fast as average for all occupations, yet it is among the faster-growing careers in the field.
Why Forensic Science?
Technological advances and potential jurors who are increasingly aware of forensic evidence are just a few reasons why the employment of forensic science technicians is expected to increase. Criminal proceedings are expected to experience an increase in the use of forensic evidence, and therefore technicians who can quickly provide forensics information to law enforcement and courts will be needed. While competition for jobs can be expected, as this is a popular field of work, those with an adequate level of education, such as that which can be obtained in accredited online degree programs, may enjoy better job prospects. In addition, technicians who keep up with advances in technology that aid in evidence collection and analysis may be more likely to experience opportunity for advancement.
Getting Into Forensic Science
One way to embark upon the path to a career as a forensic science technician is to pursue a degree in forensic science or a natural science like chemistry or botany. These types of majors will help you obtain the necessary knowledge and critical-thinking and problem-solving skills required of crime scene investigation. For example, on-campus or online degree programs in forensic science generally cover topics like criminal law, law enforcement, criminal justice, criminalistics, and more. An educational background in forensic science or a related area can also help one obtain better positions in the field. Experience is also a valuable asset. In general, forensic science technicians need extensive on-the-job training before they can handle investigations independently. Apprenticeships and entry-level positions can help one obtain this level of experience. Further education, such as that available in online graduate degree programs, may improve one’s chances of advancing in the field.