A crime analyst in times past was any detective working on a case. Today the term usually refers to the person who collects evidence at a crime scene and analyzes it in a laboratory setting. People who hold this job are called forensic science technicians, crime lab technicians or crime analysts. The forensic sciences are popular today, so that term is probably applied more often than any other.
Police crime labs are the same, however, and crime analysts still process evidence methodically there, searching for clues. A crime lab technician might do a DNA match, analyze a blood specimen, examine textile fragments and any other clues that a careful search of a crime scene has produced. Crime analysts write careful reports of their findings and may be called to testify in court.
A crime analyst should have a degree in criminal forensics, or criminal justice, or a related field. Experience in a laboratory setting is helpful. The technology used in a crime lab today gets more sophisticated every year; experience with computers is important as well.
There were 13,000 forensic science technicians, or crime analysts, working in the field in 2006. Nearly all of them worked for local, state or federal law enforcement agencies.
The job prospects for crime lab analysts are excellent. Criminal evidentiary presentations increasingly depend on technology to prove a prosecutor's assumption (or a defendant's claim). The job category is expected to grow much faster than the average job growth rate for all job classifications.
Lowest 10% $14.03 $29,170
Median Salary $22.92 $47,680
Highest 10% $36.75 $76,440
Source: U.S. Department of Labor