Crime Laboratory Analyst

Examine crime scene specimens in the lab.

What does a Crime Laboratory Analyst do?

Crime Laboratory Analysts, or Crime Lab Technicians, work in laboratories analyzing evidence found at crime scenes. They’re all over your favorite crime dramas, but you can’t believe everything you see on TV. Despite what they say, for instance, there’s no national quick-search database of hairstyles and shoe sizes, no computer program that magically matches fingerprints, and no unsolved murder that’s solvable in 60 minutes or less.

One thing you can believe, however, is this: If you love shows like “CSI,” not only for their stories but also for their science, there’s a good chance you’d enjoy a career as a Crime Laboratory Analyst.

When you’re a Crime Laboratory Analyst, you don’t interview suspects or make arrests like your TV counterparts, and very rarely do you leave the lab to physically visit crime scenes (that’s up to Crime Scene Technicians). Instead, you spend your days doing tests — analyzing DNA, weapons, blood spatter, soil, hair, handwriting, fibers, fluids, fingerprints, and chemicals — in order to determine what happened at a crime scene and, hopefully, link it to a suspect.

Although you might have a specialty, such as ballistics, you’re an expert in many fields, including genetics, chemistry, and biology. Part Sleuth, part Scientist, you’re also a master of specialized equipment such as X-ray machines, microscopes, infrared cameras, ultraviolet light, and spectrographs, all of which help you discover, enlarge, and identify evidence.

Whether it’s a bite mark or a blood stain, it’s up to you to figure out what it is and what caused it so the criminal justice system can answer the ultimate crime scene question: Whodunit?