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Forensic Scientist

Forensic scientists perform comprehensive chemical and physical analyses on evidence submitted by law enforcement agencies. Their work is often instrumental in apprehending and convicting criminals.

Hours: Science technicians work under a wide variety of conditions. Most work indoors, usually in laboratories, and have regular hours. Some occasionally work irregular hours to monitor experiments that cannot be completed during regular working hours. Production technicians often work in 8-hour shifts around the clock. Others, such as agricultural, forest and conservation, geological and petroleum, and environmental science and protection technicians, perform much of their work outdoors, sometimes in remote locations.

Opportunities: About 30 percent of biological technicians worked in professional, scientific, or technical services firms; most other biological technicians worked in educational services, Federal, State, and local governments, or pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing. Chemical technicians held jobs in a wide range of manufacturing and service-providing industries. About 39 percent worked in chemical manufacturing and another 30 percent worked in professional, scientific, or technical services firms. Most environmental science and protection technicians worked for State and local governments and professional, scientific, and technical services firms.

Pay: In 2007, the average annual salary in the Federal Government was $40,629 for biological science technicians; $53,026 for physical science technicians; $40,534 for forestry technicians; $54,081 for geodetic technicians; $50,337 for hydrologic technicians; and $63,396 for meteorological technicians.

Training: Most science technicians need an associate degree or a certificate in applied science or science-related technology. Biological and forensic science technicians usually need a bachelor's degree. Science technicians with a high school diploma and no college degree typically begin work as trainees under the direct supervision of a more experienced technician, and eventually earn a 2-year degree in science technology.

Citation: Suggested citation: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2008-09 Edition , Science Technicians, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos115.htm (visited July 22, 2009 ).

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