Crime Scene Technician Job Description, Skills, and Salary
Get to know about the duties, responsibilities, qualifications, and skills requirements of a crime scene technician. You can use our job description template in this article to produce your own. We also provide you with information about the salary you can earn as a crime scene technician.
Who is a Crime Scene Technician?
A crime scene technician is someone who analyzes and processes evidence discovered at a crime scene. They may conduct DNA tests on blood, hair, or other samples to determine the identity of the person who left the samples. They may also use evidence from the scene to construct a model of what they believe occurred. They can also be called upon to give expert testimony.
Many people confuse a crime scene technician with a crime scene investigator but the two differ from each other in terms of scope and job responsibilities.
The following are the primary distinctions between a crime scene technician and a crime scene investigator:
By way of definition, a crime scene investigator is in charge of searching the crime scene for murder weapons, hair samples, and other evidence. It is their responsibility to photograph and catalog evidence, including the location and spatial relationship of the item. They may be asked to sketch the crime scene in some cases.
- The crime scene technician’s duties include the interpretation of evidence.
- A crime scene investigator is in charge of locating, collecting, and transporting evidence for analysis.
- A crime scene technician uses scientific evidence to determine what happened when it happened, and who did it.
- When a crime scene investigator arrives, he or she is responsible for documenting the scene.
Crime Scene Technician Job Description
Below are the crime scene technician job description examples you can use to develop your resume or write a job description for your employee. Employers can also use it to sieve out job seekers when choosing candidates for interviews.
The duties and responsibilities of a crime scene technician include the following;
- Test DNA samples to see if they match any other samples in a database.
- Check crime scenes for forensic evidence and collect them to determine when, where, and how a crime occurred.
- Document crime scenes with specialized photography equipment to preserve evidence.
- Conduct autopsies on deceased people following state laws, employing techniques such as dissection, microbiology, and toxicology testing.
- Use specialized equipment such as fingerprint scanners, chemical reagents, and small brushes to collect and preserve physical evidence at the scene of a crime.
- Collaborate with local law enforcement to gather evidence and identify suspects.
- Collect evidence at the crime scene and transport it to a lab where it will be analyzed by a crime lab technician or scientist.
- Examine crime scene photos, video footage, and other types of evidence to figure out what happened there.
- Collect blood samples for DNA testing or other types of testing, such as toxicology tests to determine whether drugs were present in a person’s system at the time of an accident or crime.
- Ensure that crime scenes are effectively secured to avoid contamination and tampering.
- Identify, collect, and package evidence such as weapons, fingerprints, fibers, DNA, and other biological evidence at the crime scene.
- Photograph, videotape, and sketch the crime scene for future use.
- Deliver evidence to a laboratory for further examination.
- Gather evidence and create detailed reports.
- Testify in court concerning the evidence gathered.
A crime scene technician should typically have the following skills:
- Education: A bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, forensic science, biology, or another closely related field is typically required for crime scene technicians. Courses in criminal law, forensic science, crime scene investigation, criminalistics, and biology are common in these programs.
- Training and experience are required: Many employers require candidates to complete a training program before beginning work as crime scene technicians. Training programs can range from a few weeks to several months in length and may include both classroom instruction and hands-on practice.
- Licenses and certifications: Before applying for jobs, crime scene technicians must be licensed or certified in their state. Because each state has different requirements, you must review the standards for your state.
To be successful, crime scene technicians must possess the following abilities.
- Technical abilities: A crime scene technician’s ability to use technology and tools is critical. This includes knowing how to operate and maintain a variety of equipment, such as cameras, computers, radar, and other evidence-gathering tools. Technical abilities also include data analysis and interpretation.
- Excellent communication abilities: Crime scene technicians must be able to communicate effectively because they frequently work with law enforcement and other technicians. They also frequently need to communicate with crime victims and witnesses. Effective communication skills can assist them in gathering information and evidence from various sources, as well as explaining procedures to others.
- Keen attention to detail: The ability to notice small changes in a scene is referred to as attention to detail. When gathering evidence, the smallest change in a scene can mean the difference between finding evidence and not finding evidence. A crime scene technician with attention to detail, for example, would notice that a suspect entered a room and turned on a light switch even though the room was dark.
- Scientific understanding: The scientific knowledge of crime scene technicians can help them understand the processes and procedures used in forensic science. This can assist them in identifying evidence and determining how to properly collect it. They can also apply their scientific knowledge to interpret data and evidence and deduce their significance.
- Physical endurance: Physical fitness is essential for crime scene technicians because they frequently work long shifts and may have to carry heavy equipment or evidence. They can work more efficiently and safely if they have physical stamina.
- Understanding of Toolmark Analysis: The ability to identify and analyze tool marks left on surfaces is referred to as “toolmark analysis.” This can help technicians determine what tools were used during a crime scene investigation. For example, if a suspect claims they did not commit a crime but tool marks are found at the scene, technicians can use their toolmark analysis skills to prove or disprove the suspect’s story.
- Flexibility: The ability to adapt to changing circumstances is referred to as flexibility. Because crime scene technicians frequently work in unpredictable situations, flexibility is an important skill to have. A crime scene, for example, may change over time as evidence deteriorates or new evidence emerges. A flexible crime scene technician can adjust their investigation as needed and collect all the necessary evidence.
- People abilities: Interpersonal skills are the ability to communicate with others and work effectively in groups. Because crime scene technicians frequently work in groups, these skills are essential for success in this field. They must also have interpersonal skills to interact with law enforcement personnel, crime victims, and others who may be distressed by their job duties.
- Ability to Gather Evidence: The process by which crime scene technicians locate and record physical evidence at a crime scene is known as evidence collection. This includes photographing the scene, collecting fingerprints, analyzing blood samples or DNA, and locating any other physical clues that can assist investigators in solving a case. Crime scene technicians require evidence-collection skills to do their jobs effectively and efficiently.
- Crime Scene Reconstruction: Crime scene technicians use crime scene reconstruction skills to analyze and recreate the scene of a crime to understand what happened. This can assist them in locating evidence, identifying suspects, and solving cases. They may also use this skill when assisting law enforcement in the reconstruction of unsolved crimes.
- Knowledge of Fingerprinting: The process of identifying and recording fingerprints is known as fingerprinting. Fingerprinting is used by crime scene technicians to identify suspects, victims, and objects at crime scenes. This skill necessitates attention to detail and patience, as finding all of the fingerprints present can take some time. Crime scene technicians must understand how to collect fingerprints correctly so that they can be analyzed by law enforcement agencies.
- Understanding of Firearms Identification: The ability to identify various types of firearms and ammunition is referred to as firearm identification. This skill is used by crime scene technicians when they discover evidence at a crime scene, such as bullets or shell casings. This allows them to determine which type of firearm was used in the crime, allowing law enforcement to identify the correct suspect.
- Knowledge of Ballistics: The study of how projectiles move through space is known as ballistics. Ballistics are used by crime scene investigators to analyze bullet trajectories and determine where a shooter was standing when they fired their weapon. This can assist investigators in locating evidence, such as fingerprints or DNA on discarded ammunition, that may lead them to the suspect.
- Photography Skills: Crime scene technicians must be proficient in photography because they frequently photograph evidence and crime scenes. This is a necessary skill because it allows them to accurately and thoroughly document their work. It also assists them in keeping track of the evidence they’ve gathered so that they can locate it again if necessary.
- Understanding of Latent Print Processing: The ability to analyze and process fingerprints are referred to as latent print processing. When examining a crime scene, crime scene technicians frequently use this skill because they may find fingerprints that can help them identify suspects or determine how a crime occurred. This ability also enables technicians to examine the evidence for DNA samples, which can be used in court to convict criminals.
- Critical Thinking Capabilities: The ability to analyze a situation and draw logical conclusions is referred to as critical thinking. When analyzing evidence at a crime scene, crime scene technicians use critical thinking. They must be able to determine which pieces of evidence are the most important, how those pieces relate to one another, and what conclusions can be drawn from them. This ability also assists them in identifying potential safety hazards and risks that may affect their work or the people around them.
- Outstanding organizational abilities: The ability to keep track of multiple tasks and files is referred to as an organization. When handling evidence, crime scene technicians must use organizational skills because they must know where each item came from and what it means concerning the crime. They use the organization as well when taking notes during an investigation and writing reports at the end of their shift.
- Knowledge of Bloodstain Pattern Analysis: Bloodstain pattern analysis is the ability to determine how and where blood was transferred. This can assist crime scene investigators in determining what happened during a crime, such as whether anyone was injured or if there was an attack. It’s also useful for determining which areas of a crime scene should be tested for DNA evidence.
How to Become a Crime Scene Technician
- Graduate from high school (four years): Except for 3%, all crime scene technicians have a high school diploma or GED, making this step essentially mandatory. A solid foundation in lab sciences such as chemistry and biology will also be beneficial in taking the next steps in this career.
- Study for a bachelor’s degree (two to four years): For the best chance of employment, aspiring crime scene technicians should pursue an undergraduate education after high school focusing on Chemistry, biology, and forensic sciences. An undergraduate program is also a good time to look for internships or other work opportunities that will allow students to gain field experience. Work experience combined with a strong science background and laboratory experience is the best combination for finding work in this profession.
- Find entry-level work: Most prospective crime scene technicians should be able to find entry-level work with a local or state law enforcement agency after obtaining an undergraduate degree. This is the time for recent graduates to tap into their professional network from college, as well as professional organizations like the International Crime Scene Investigators Association (ICSIA). While traditional job sites will list opportunities for crime scene technicians, having a personal connection with the department usually gives candidates an advantage. Crime scene technicians will typically be required to pass a background check as well as physical and psychological evaluations as part of their application to law enforcement agencies.
- Consider certification: Although professional certification is not required to work as a crime scene technician, however, it can be beneficial in gaining new opportunities in this role.
- Study for a graduate degree (two years or more): Those crime scene technicians who want to advance in their careers, find new professional opportunities, or even teach may want to pursue additional academic training after gaining some professional experience. With a forensic science focus, master’s and doctoral degrees are available. It is important to note, however, that these types of programs rarely focus on crime scene investigation and instead focus on what happens in the laboratory.
Where to Work as a Crime Scene Technician
Crime scene technicians work in a variety of settings, including police departments, sheriff’s offices, state and federal law enforcement agencies, and correctional facilities. They may also work for private companies that offer forensic services to law enforcement. Crime scene technicians typically work 40 hours per week, but depending on the needs of the agency, they may be required to work overtime, evenings, weekends, and holidays. They may also be on call at all times to respond to crime scenes. The job can be stressful, and crime scene technicians must be emotionally prepared to deal with it. They must also be able to work in challenging and sometimes hazardous conditions.
Crime Scene Technician Salary Scale
The average gross salary for a crime scene technician in Florida, United States is $50,123, or $24 per hour. This is 7% less (-$3,512) than the national average for crime scene technicians. They also receive an average bonus of $852. Salary estimates are based on salary survey data gathered directly from employers and anonymous employees in Florida, USA. An entry-level crime scene technician (1-3 years of experience) earns $36,918 on average. A senior-level crime scene technician (8+ years of experience), on the other hand, earns an average salary of $61,139.
The average gross salary for a crime scene technician in the United Kingdom is £55,959, or £27 per hour. They also receive an average bonus of £1,640. Salary estimates are based on salary survey data from employers and anonymous employees in the United Kingdom. The average salary for an entry-level crime scene technician (1-3 years of experience) is £39,394. A senior-level crime scene technician (8+ years of experience), on the other hand, earns an average salary of £69,395.
The average gross salary for a crime scene technician in Ontario, Canada is $105,563, or $51 per hour. This is 1% higher (+$832) than the national average for crime scene technicians. They also receive an average bonus of $3,093. Salary estimates based on salary survey data from employers and anonymous employees in Ontario, Canada. The average salary for an entry-level crime scene technician (1-3 years of experience) is $74,315. A senior-level crime scene technician (8+ years of experience), on the other hand, earns an average salary of $130,911.
In Ireland, the average gross salary for a crime scene technician is €61,202, or €29 per hour. They also receive an average bonus of €1,579. Salary estimates are based on salary survey data from employers and anonymous employees in Ireland. the technician at a crime scene A senior-level crime scene technician (8+ years of experience), on the other hand, earns an average salary of €75,732.
In Australia, the average gross salary for a crime scene technician is $128,209, or $62 per hour. They also receive an average bonus of $3,757. Salary estimates are based on salary survey data collected directly from Australian employers and anonymous employees. The average salary for an entry-level crime scene technician (1-3 years of experience) is $90,404. A senior-level crime scene technician (8+ years of experience), on the other hand, earns an average salary of $159,252.
In Germany, the average gross salary for a crime scene technician is 45.974 € or an hourly rate of 22 €. They also receive an average bonus of 782 €. Salary estimates are based on salary survey data from employers and anonymous employees in Germany. An entry-level crime scene technician (1-3 years of experience) earns 33.862 € on average. A senior-level crime scene technician (8+ years of experience), on the other hand, earns an average salary of 56.078 €.
In Nigeria, a crime scene technician typically earns around 270,000 NGN per month. Salaries range from 101,000 NGN (lowest average) to 529,000 NGN (highest average) (highest average, the actual maximum salary is higher).