Collect, identify, classify, and analyze physical evidence related to criminal investigations. Perform tests on weapons or substances, such as fiber, hair, and tissue to determine significance to investigation. May testify as expert witnesses on evidence or crime laboratory techniques. May serve as specialists in area of expertise, such as ballistics, fingerprinting, handwriting, or biochemistry.
- Ballistic Expert
- Ballistic Technician
- Ballistics Expert
- Computer Forensics Technician
- Crime Lab Technician
- Crime Laboratory Analyst
- Crime Scene Analyst
- Crime Scene Examiner
- Crime Scene Investigator
- Collect evidence from crime scenes, storing it in conditions that preserve its integrity.
- Keep records and prepare reports detailing findings, investigative methods, and laboratory techniques.
- Use chemicals or other substances to examine latent fingerprint evidence and compare developed prints to those of known persons in databases.
- Testify in court about investigative or analytical methods or findings.
- Take photographs of evidence.
- Visit morgues, examine scenes of crimes, or contact other sources to obtain evidence or information to be used in investigations.
- Collect impressions of dust from surfaces to obtain and identify fingerprints.
- Reconstruct crime scenes to determine relationships among pieces of evidence.
- Operate and maintain laboratory equipment and apparatus.
- Train new technicians or other personnel on forensic science techniques.
People who work in this occupation generally have the interest code: IRC.
This means people who work in this occupation generally have Investigative interests, but also prefer Realistic and Conventional environments.
People who work in this occupation generally prize Support, but also value Recognition and Achievement in their jobs.
- English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- Law and Government - Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.
- Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
- Public Safety and Security - Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
- Chemistry - Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.
- Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
- Complex Problem Solving - Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
- Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
- Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
- Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
- Monitoring - Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
Most of these occupations require a four-year bachelor's degree, but some do not.
In 2012, the average annual wage in California was $72,000.00 with most people making between $43,290.00 and $107,000.00
During 2010, this occupation employed approximately 1,700 people in California. It is projected that there will be 2,000 employed in 2020.
This occupation will have about 30 openings due to growth and about 70 replacement openings for approximately 100 total annual openings.
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collegeLong Beach City College
onetCriminal Justice and Law Enforcement Teachers, Postsecondary
collegeUniversity of Southern California
majorCriminalistics and Criminal Science
collegeCalifornia State University-Los Angeles
majorCriminal Justice/Police Science
collegeUniversity of California-Davis
onetCriminal Investigators and Special Agents
majorForensic Science and Technology