How to Become a Forensic Lab Analyst: Career Path Guide
To become a forensic lab analyst, you need to first determine if this is a suitable career path for you. Are you interested in utilizing your abilities in science for the purpose of criminal justice? Are you able to follow strict and specific procedures? 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 forensic lab analyst. We've also included helpful information for a forensic lab analyst career, such as job description, job duties, salary expectations, a list of possible employers and much more!
Education Needed to Become a Forensic Lab Analyst
To become a forensic lab analyst, you typically need a bachelor's degree related to biology, microbiology, molecular biology, biochemistry, genetics or forensic sciences. Some employers may require you to have a graduate degree in one of these fields in order for you to be considered for a job.
Coursework that allows you to have a complete understanding of each stage of forensic processing and analysis, as well as provide you with strong communication skills, will help you break seamlessly into a career as a forensic lab analyst.
Applicable coursework towards a career as a forensic lab analyst includes Criminology, Microbiology, Research Methods, Statistical Analysis, DNA Analysis, Forensic Processing, Victimology, Laboratory Methods, Trace Evidence Evaluation, Immunology and other similar classes.
Success Tip: Consider a graduate degree in a field related to forensic science or biology, as it can put you ahead of the competition when applying for forensic lab analyst, and may entitle you to a higher pay grade!
Forensic Lab Analyst Job Description
Forensic laboratory analysts are responsible for analyzing, identifying, classifying and interpreting physical evidence that has been submitted by law enforcement and related agencies. As forensic lab analysts primarily work with criminal evidence, they must follow strict protocol when handling and storing the samples.
Forensic Lab Analyst Job Duties
• Plan and execute experiments, testing activities and analysis
• Testify in criminal court cases regarding the significance of specific pieces of physical evidence
• Oversee the activities of students, laboratory assistants and other personnel
• Develop new technologies and validation processes
• Interpret experimental or analytical results
• Prepare written reports and update relevant databases
Forensic Lab Analyst Salary
The salary level of forensic lab analysts can vary depending on factors such as their level of experience, their level of education, where they work, the range of their skill set, and many others.
Forensic Lab Analyst Salary Alberta: According to the 2011 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans in the Chemical Technologists and Technicians occupational group earn an average wage of $35.15 per hour.
Forensic Lab Analyst 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.
Forensic Lab Analyst 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.
Who Hires Forensic Lab Analysts?
The main employer of forensic lab analysts are government departments (municipal, provincial/state and federal), as law enforcement is a function of the public sector. These departments may also outsource the work to private laboratories and research organizations (including colleges and universities). Organizations that hire forensic lab analysts include:
• Municipal, provincial/state and federal crime labs
• Medical examiner/coroner offices
• Private research laboratories
• Colleges and universities
Forensic Lab Analyst Job Opportunities
Forensic Lab Analyst Jobs - Canada
Forensic Lab Analyst Jobs - United States
Work Environment For Forensic Lab Analysts
Work Conditions: Forensic lab analysts spend the majority of their time conducting tests in a laboratory setting. At times, forensic lab analysts may be required to visit crime scenes in order to collect evidence. Their work can be hazardous, as handling bodily fluids and firearms are also part of the job.
Work Schedule: The work hours of forensic lab analysts may vary substantially, depending on the needs of the law enforcement agency that employs them. Some forensic lab analysts may work regular weekday working hours, while others may work in laboratories that operate around the clock, thus giving them the opportunity to work a variety of shifts. Longer hours may be required for high profile, or complicated cases.
Careers Similar to Forensic Lab Analyst
Listed below are jobs that are similar in nature to Forensic Lab Analyst, as they may involve many of the same skills, competencies and responsibilities.
References: How to Become a Forensic Lab Analyst
Please use the references below to find more information on the various aspects of a career as a Forensic Lab Analyst.
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 Forensic Lab Analyst
Scholarships listed for majors that apply to becoming a Food Scientist can be found on 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 Forensic Lab Analyst: Applicable Majors
Studying one of the university majors listed below is an excellent starting point to becoming a Forensic Lab Analyst. Click on the links to find out what else you can do with these majors!