How to Become a Crime Lab Assistant: Career Path Guide
To become a crime lab assistant, you need to first determine if this is a suitable career path for you. Can you handle high-pressure and distressing work conditions? Are you interested in helping to investigate crimes by collecting and analyzing physical evidence? If you’ve answered ‘yes’ to these questions, then you may be well suited for a career in this field.
Below we've outlined what you'll need to succeed in a career as a crime lab assistant. We've also included helpful information for a crime lab assistant career, such as job description, job duties, salary expectations, a list of possible employers and much more!
Education Needed to Become a Crime Lab Assistant
To become a crime lab assistant, you typically need a diploma or bachelor’s degree in either forensic science or a natural science such as biology, biochemistry or chemistry. If you major in forensic science, you should ensure that you do extensive coursework in mathematics, chemistry, and biology.
Please Note: Some employers may also consider you for a role if your background is in medical lab assisting.
Success Tip: If you have a graduate level education you are more likely to be eligible for a higher pay grade, or qualify for positions of more responsibility, such as Forensic Lab Analyst, or Laboratory Manager.
Crime Lab Assistant Job Description
Crime lab assistants are responsible for collecting, analyzing and testing crime scene evidence such as weapons, fingerprints, and bodily fluids and tissues. They must also collaborate with experts, including medical professionals, ballistic experts and handwriting analysts. They are also known as Forensic Laboratory Assistants, Forensic Science Technicians and Forensic Science Technologists.
Crime Lab Assistant Job Duties
• Operate and maintain laboratory equipment
• Gather and store evidence from a crime scene
• Identify, classify and test crime scene evidence
• Maintain detailed records of research findings and investigative methods
• Prepare reports based on the results of findings
• Follow safety procedures and protocol in the collection of crime scene evidence
• Provide testimony in court regarding crime scene evidence and related test results
Who Hires Crime Lab Assistants?
Crime lab assistants are typically hired by government departments (municipal, provincial/state and federal), as law enforcement is administered in the public sector. These departments may also outsource the work to private laboratories and research organizations (including colleges and universities). Organizations that hire Crime Lab Assistants include:
• Police departments
• Crime laboratories
• Medical examiner/coroner offices
• Private laboratories
• Colleges and universities
Crime Lab Assistant Job Opportunities
Crime Lab Assistant Jobs - Canada
Crime Lab Assistant Jobs - United States
Work Environment for Crime Lab Assistants
Work Conditions: The work conditions of a crime lab analyst can be quite stressful, as workers must be very diligent in order to ensure mistakes are not made, and the work is completed in a timely manner. There may be some exposure to risk in this job, as assistants may have to work around dangerous chemicals and other substances.
Work Schedule: Crime lab assistants usually work a traditional weekday-working schedule, although they may have to work during evenings, weekends and holidays if they are needed to work immediately, or if there are high volumes of work.
Crime Lab Assistant Salary
The salary level of crime lab assistants can vary depending on factors such as their level of experience, their level of education, where they work, and many others.
Crime Lab Assistant Salary Alberta: According to the 2011 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans in the Chemical Technologists and Technicians occupational group earned on average from $31.01 to $38.25 an hour.
Crime Lab Assistant Salary Canada: According to Service Canada, the average salary of workers in the Medical Laboratory Technicians occupational group (who perform similar duties as those of crime lab assistants) is $40,543 per year.
Crime Lab Assistant Salary United States: According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for workers in the Forensic Science Technicians occupational group is $51,570 per year.
Careers Similar to Crime Lab Assistant
Listed below are jobs that are similar in nature to Crime Lab Assistant, as they may involve many of the same skills, competencies and responsibilities.
References: How to Become a Crime Lab Assistant
Please use the references below to find more information on the various aspects of a career as a crime lab assistant.
Alberta Learning and Information Services website: alis.alberta.ca
Service Canada website: www.servicecanada.gc.ca
United States Bureau of Labor Statistics website: www.bls.gov
Scholarships for Becoming a Crime Lab Assistant
Scholarships listed for majors that apply to becoming a Crime Lab Assistant can be found on our the following pages:
Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any scholarships that you even barely qualify for, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants!
Becoming a Crime Lab Assistant: Applicable Majors
Studying one of the university majors listed below is an excellent starting point to becoming a crime lab assistant. Click on the links to find out what else you can do with these majors!