How to Become a Forensic Lab Analyst


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 occupational information, 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 qualify for work in this field, you'll likely 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!





General 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 they primarily work with criminal evidence, they must follow strict protocol when handling and storing the samples.



Typical Job Duties & Responsibilities

• 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 - United States: According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for workers in the "Forensic Science Technicians" occupational group is $58,230 per year (May, 2018 figures). The BLS also states that the lowest 10 percent of salaries are less than $34,600 per year, and the highest 10 percent are above $97,200.


Salary - Canada: According to the 2018 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans in the "Biological technologists and technicians" occupational group earn an average salary of $71,632 per year. The Province of British Columbia states that those working in the same occupational group in B.C. earn an annual provincial median salary of $59,738. Unfortunately, no similar statistics were available from reliable sources for other Canadian provinces or territories at the time of writing (July 24, 2019).





Work Environment Typical to This Profession

Work Conditions: Forensic lab analysts spend the majority of their time conducting tests in a laboratory setting. At times, they 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.



Who Employs?

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 typically include:


• Municipal, provincial/state and federal crime labs

• Morgues

• Medical examiner/coroner offices

• Private research laboratories

• Colleges and universities



Forensic Lab Analyst Jobs - Current Opportunities

Our job board below has “forensic lab analyst” job postings in your area, when available. If you don't see what you're looking for, try using alternate terms to describe the profession, such as “forensic assistant”, "forensics" and other related terms:





Similar Career Guides in Our Database

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.


Clinical Technician

Crime Lab Assistant

DNA Analyst

Forensic Chemist

Laboratory Manager




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:

Province of British Columbia - WorkBC website:

Simon Fraser University website:

United States Bureau of Labor Statistics website:



Scholarships for Becoming a Forensic Lab Analyst

The scholarships in our database that are relevant for becoming a forensic lab analyst are all of those that can be found on the following pages:


Biochemistry Scholarships

Biology Scholarships

Chemistry Scholarships


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!



Relevant Fields of Study

Studying one of the university majors listed below is an excellent starting point for getting into this line of work:


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