How to Become a Crime Lab Analyst

The job of a crime lab analyst is to collect, identify, classify and process evidence collected from crime scenes. Crime lab analysts basically use the evidence gathered to help investigators identify the methods used to commit the crimes, the types of materials present and possible suspects based on the evidence submitted to the crime lab.

Responsibilities of the crime lab analyst are to process physical evidence submitted by investigations to help identify what is and is not significant to the investigation. Basically, the job of the crime lab analyst is to solve the crime scene puzzle based on the pieces presented. They examine evidence and prepare reports for grand jury and court presentation. Crime lab analysts prepare for and testify in court. Many crime lab analysts specialize in certain areas of evidence identification such as ballistics, fingerprinting, handwriting, blood splatter analysis, tire impressions, and other areas.

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Crime lab analysts work for both the public and private sectors; however, most work in the public sector through local, state and federal law enforcement agencies. Most work a 40 hour week inside the crime lab; however, there may be some irregular hours and travel involved.

Crime Lab Analyst Requirements and Training

To become a crime lab analyst require meeting a couple key requirements and traits. Most crime laboratory analysts are required to have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in forensic science, criminology, criminal justice or physical sciences. Many state and federal crime labs, however, require a master’s degree or higher. In addition, the crime lab analyst must possess excellent communication skills and the ability to prepare and present reports.

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Crime Lab Analyst Salary and Job Outlook

Individuals with technology experience (such as computers and other lab equipment) are expected to have greater success in finding employment as a crime lab analyst. Additionally, some specialized areas are expected to grow faster than others. Salaries for these positions vary depending on agency, geographic location, education and area of expertise. The Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn’t provide salary data for this occupation but does report a median salary of $52,840 per year for the related occupation of forensic science technicians.1

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1. Bureau of Labor Statistics: http://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/forensic-science-technicians.htm

Page Edited by Charles Sipe.