When a crime is committed, there is always some evidence that must be processed. It is here that forensic science technicians step in to lend their expertise. It is their duty to properly analyse every piece of evidence and draw results that can be used by other parts of law enforcement agencies to apprehend criminals. This analysis of evidence is usually a physical and chemical process. There are two main roles under which a forensic scientist can fall- either as a lab technician who processes physical evidence of criminal cases, or as a handwriting analyst.
Forensic science technicians apply theories and principles for varied fields such as mathematics, biology, physics, chemistry, as well as understanding of simple and complex mechanical instruments in their examination of evidence. This job can be especially rewarding for those individuals who are eager to work with law enforcement agencies to bring thieves, murderers, and the like to justice. Once the evidence goes through all the necessary procedures, the forensic science technician prepares a detailed report of all his findings and presents it to the law enforcement officials he is working with. These reports usually include details pertaining to genetic matches on hair and fiber samples, articles of clothing, or other belongings found at the crime scene- either belonging to the victim or the perpetrator of the crime.
While general forensic science technicians can work in any crime lab, there are also experts present in the field who are usually specialised in a particular sub-field of forensic science. The broad areas that forensic experts work in are- finger print analysis, analysis of controlled substances and toxicology reports, DNA analysis, identification of firearm residue and tool marks, document examination and so on.
The largest scope career wise for any aspiring forensic science technician lies in crime laboratories. These labs could be in a town, a city, or even a county. The most reliable kind of work can be found in labs that are run by state or central governments or law enforcement agencies. In America, the main departments with which a forensic science technician could work are the Department of Justice, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Central Intelligence Agency, Secret Service, Drug Enforcement Administration, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, and Postal Inspection Services. Work can also be found in private labs employed by companies and University laboratories.
The general workload of a forensic science technician is often limited to about forty hours a week. However, it is not necessary that this will be the maximum amount of time that one has to work every week. In case of extraneous circumstances like emergencies, technicians could be called upon to work longer hours. Additionally, the technician may have to leave his own lab and travel to another area in order to look at evidence that was either gathered there or cannot be moved from there. When it comes to the earning scope of the job, research indicates that starting salaries for a forensic science technician start somewhere between $20,000 and $40,000. With time, some lab directors have also been able to start earning around $100,000.