If you love watching shows like CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and NCIS, you may want to become a crime lab analyst. While the actual job may not be exactly the same as how it’s depicted on television, it’s a challenging career choice that can be very fulfilling.
About the Job
The first thing that you need to do if you think that you may want to become a crime lab analyst is find out more about the job. As a lab analyst, you’ll be in charge of performing tests on certain kinds of evidence to help other professionals figure out facts about victims, perpetrators and suspects involved in a crime. You’ll probably end up working for the government in some way, shape or form. You’ll most likely be able to work during normal hours, but you may occasionally get overtime. The average crime lab analyst makes a little over $50,000 per year, and the most well-paid workers can make $85,000 or more. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment is expected to grow more slowly than average. As long as you work hard in school and get experience, though, you should be able to find a job.
To become a crime lab analyst, you’ll have to go to school. Most employers only want to hire people who have earned at least a bachelor’s degree. Considering that most lab workers have to have a strong understanding of the natural sciences, it makes sense that post-secondary education is required. Depending on your school, you may be able to major in forensic science, but it’s okay if you can’t. A chemistry or biology degree should qualify you for just as many lab analyst jobs as a forensic science degree. Some lab analysts choose to wait to start their career until after they get a master’s degree. In addition to taking science courses, you can also focus on math or take forensic science, legal studies or criminal justice courses as a way to stand out to future employers.
Internships and Experience
While you’re in school, it’s a good idea to take part in at least one internship if you want to become a crime lab analyst, and the more experience that you get in college, the better off you’ll be when it comes to landing your first job. An internship at a nearby crime lab would, of course, be great, but it may not be feasible. If you aren’t able to get experience at a crime lab, look for other internships. As long as you get one that’s related to your major, you’ll be able to gain valuable experience that will help you get hired after you graduate. Most interns are in their junior or senior year of college, so don’t be disappointed if you can’t land an internship during the first half of your college career. Instead, join a club that’s related to forensic science, get an on-campus job as a tutor for science classes or ask a professor if you can help with research.
Related Resource: Cyber Crime Investigation
As long as you’re willing to put in the effort, you shouldn’t have much trouble getting hired. Both working hard in school and gaining science-related experience will help you become a crime lab analyst.