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Crime Lab Analyst

Career Overview

A crime lab analyst is known these days as a "forensic science technician," according to the Department of Labor. Whatever the title, crime lab analysts participate in gathering evidence at the scene of a crime along with investigative officers. The evidence is then analyzed in a laboratory setting, during which the crime lab analyst prepares a report.

Crime lab analysts may conduct DNA analysis or firearm examination, performing tests on weapons or on substances such as fiber, glass, hair, tissue, and body fluids. Some direct the collection of evidence, as collection methods must ensure that evidence is not contaminated. Crime lab analysts may find themselves providing expert testimony to a jury in a criminal case.

Education

Many crime lab analysts gain entry into their chosen field with an associates degree in forensic sciences or a closely related field. Experience with lab equipment and computers are important for this job, and employers value lab experience on a resume. Many schools require lab work as part of the curriculum for a forensic science degree.

Some schools are now offering bachelors degrees in forensic science, a broader education in the field and more lab experience at the classroom level.

Current Employment

The most current employment figures from the Department of Labor are from 2006; they show 13,000 crime lab analysts - or forensic science technicians - working in the United States that year.

Job Outlook

Strong job growth is expected in this field. State and local law enforcement agencies are increasingly relying on scientific evidence to tie suspects to crime scenes.

Salary Range

Lowest 10%  $14.03  $29,170
Median Salary  $22.92  $47,680
Highest 10%  $36.75  $76,440

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