4 Common Questions About Crime Scene Technicians

People are often drawn to the idea of becoming a crime scene technician because of how it's portrayed on shows like Law & Order. It's important to understand the realities of the job before pursuing actual employment. Below are some helpful things to know about this type of career. 

What is a Crime Scene Technician? 

crime scene tape

A crime scene technician is one of just a handful of jobs involved in the recovery of a crime scene. According to an article published by Wisegeek, “A crime scene technician is a person who works with law enforcement agencies to investigate crimes by evaluating details left on the scene. Their primary responsibilities are to collect evidence, analyze data in lab settings, and present findings in both written and oral reports.”

Although this career can be rewarding, it is not for everyone.  As a technician, you will be called to manage a wide range of bodily fluids and matter and you must be able to compose yourself professionally amongst even the most graphic scenes.

Crime Scene Technician FAQ

  • What are the educational requirements? Generally, you must have a high school diploma and a specialized certification in forensics. In some states, additional certifications are required to handle evidence and police files.
  • How much do crime scene technicians get paid? The average wage for a crime scene technician is $55,600 per year. As with most careers, however, your income can vary depending on your location, education, experience and other factors.
  • Is a crime scene technician the same as a biohazard technician? No. A crime scene technician is directly responsible for processing a crime scene and handling the evidence of a crime. A biohazard technician, on the other hand, enters a crime scene after it has been fully processed by a crime scene technician with the intent of cleaning up the scene and safely disposing of all biohazardous waste.
  • What skills are required to become a crime scene technician? Someone who wants to be successful as a crime scene technician should have great:
    • Communication skills. Technicians are often expected to work closely with law enforcement, biohazard cleanup personnel, other specialists, and must be able to effectively communicate with them on joint reports.
    • Critical thinking skills. Technicians should have knowledge of scientific methods and tests and should be able to compare crime scene evidence to database information.
    • Attention to detail. Collecting and analyzing evidence can be an extremely slow-moving and detail-oriented process, and crime scene technicians should possess patience and an acute attention to detail to be successful in the field.

Technical advances have improved job growth in this field over time, with an expected growth of 19% through the year 2020. If you feel like a career as a crime scene technician (or even as a biohazard technician) is for you, you will be entering a profession that is in high demand across the country.

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Sources

New England College: http://www.newenglandcollegeonline.com/resources/criminal-justice/crime-scene-investigator-career-outlook-and-salary/#.VPTYAfnF-ZA

Houston Chronicle: http://work.chron.com/much-crime-scene-technicians-earn-per-hour-6288.html

Wisegeek: http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-a-crime-scene-technician.htm

 

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