Wednesday, October 3, 2012

If You Love Science And Solving Mysteries, Consider Going To School To Become A Crime Lab Technician

You might think the only thing a biology degree is good for is being a biologist; that is not the case. Majoring in this field provides a solid foundation that can help students prepare for a number of fascinating careers. One profession such a degree can be used for is a crime laboratory technician.
Crime lab technicians (CLT) search for and collect photographs and preserve evidence. CLTs have the capability (and technology) to link almost every kind of criminal to the scene of the crime or to the victim. They work with fingerprints, blood, clothing, and even teeth marks to help piece together the crime scene. Everything that they do helps to determine if a crime has been committed.
Crime lab technicians not only find evidence for the purpose of the incriminating the suspect, they also find evidence that helps protect an innocent person from possible misinterpretation of evidence. In other words, the CLT works the crime scene to possibly implicate or exonerate an individual. Consequently, one must be objective and without bias. Of course, these are traits scientists are renowned for.
You have probably seen scenes in television cop shows when the detective comes on the scene; there is a mass of people moving, gather items, and taking photos. They are representative of the crime lab technician. When in the field, the technician's job is to reconstruct the crime, look for evidence, and take photographs of the setting. This individual also preserve tire tread prints, footprints, and other marks by making plaster casts.
The CLT works in the laboratory as well as at the crime scene. In the lab, the technician uses his or her scientific skills by analyzing evidence using instruments like microscopes, spectroscopes, and infrared and ultraviolet light. Substances that may have been digested or injected into the victim such as poisons, alcohol, and narcotics are examined in the lab, and the results are carefully documented for report purposes.
Good communications skills, oral and written, are essential for being a crime laboratory technician. These professionals must be able to prepare detailed reports of all of their findings. They also must be orally proficient, as they are often times required to testify in court as expert witnesses on evidence or laboratory techniques used. Crime laboratory technicians should be naturally curious, conscientious, and responsible and have a good sense of judgment.
There are programs in crime laboratory technology at some colleges; it may be listed as "forensic science." There also are programs at two-year colleges that offer Associate's degree programs in "forensic technician." Both of these programs require similar courses such as biology, chemistry, physics, zoology, and physiology, to name a few. Advanced degrees and specialization in a given area like ballistics, medicine, or drugs qualify a person as a criminologist. This professional supervises crime lab technicians.

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