Career and Education Opportunities for Forensic Investigators in Austin, Texas
There is a wide variety of career and education opportunities for forensic investigators in the Austin, Texas area. About 1,290 people are currently employed as forensic investigators in Texas. By 2016, this is expected to grow by 33% to about 1,710 people employed. This is better than the national trend for forensic investigators, which sees this job pool growing by about 19.6% over the next eight years. In general, forensic investigators collect, identify, and analyze physical evidence related to criminal investigations.
Income for forensic investigators is about $19 hourly or $40,240 annually on average in Texas. Nationally, their income is about $23 hourly or $49,860 per year. Incomes for forensic investigators are better than in the overall category of Life Science Technical in Texas, and better than the overall Life Science Technical category nationally. Forensic investigators work in a variety of jobs, including: detective, ballistic expert, and ballistician.
The Austin area is home to thirty-five schools of higher education, including one within twenty-five miles of Austin where you can get a degree as a forensic investigator. The most common level of education for forensic investigators is a Bachelor's degree. It will take about four years to learn to be a forensic investigator if you already have a high school diploma.
CAREER DESCRIPTION: Forensic Investigator
In general, forensic investigators collect, identify, and analyze physical evidence related to criminal investigations. They also perform tests on weapons or substances, such as fiber, hair, and tissue to determine significance to investigation.
Forensic investigators keep records and ready reports detailing findings and laboratory techniques. They also testify in court about investigative and analytical methods and findings. Equally important, forensic investigators have to take photographs of evidence. They are often called upon to operate and maintain laboratory equipment and apparatus. Finally, forensic investigators talk with ballistics or metallurgical experts concerning evidence and its interpretation.
Every day, forensic investigators are expected to be able to listen to and understand others in meetings. They need to think through problems and come up with general rules. It is also important that they solve different sorts of problems in different ways depending upon circumstances.
It is important for forensic investigators to visit morgues, examine scenes of crimes, or contact other sources to obtain evidence or data to be used in investigations. They are often called upon to collect evidence from crime scenes, storing it in conditions that preserve its integrity. They also use chemicals and other substances to examine latent fingerprint evidence and compare developed prints to those of known persons in databases. They are sometimes expected to ready solutions and sample formulations needed for laboratory work. Somewhat less frequently, forensic investigators are also expected to testify in court about investigative and analytical methods and findings.
Forensic investigators sometimes are asked to identify and quantify drugs and poisons found in biological fluids and tissues and at crime scenes. They also have to be able to examine physical evidence such as hair, fiber, wood or soil residues to obtain data related to its source and composition and decide on types of bullets used in shooting and if fired from a specific weapon. And finally, they sometimes have to train new technicians and other personnel on forensic science techniques.
Like many other jobs, forensic investigators must have exceptional integrity and be thorough and dependable.
Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Austin include:
- Agricultural Technician. Set up and maintain laboratory equipment and collect samples from crops or animals. Prepare specimens and record data to assist scientist in biology or related science experiments.
- Biological Sciences Technician. Assist biological and medical scientists in laboratories. Set up, operate, and maintain laboratory instruments and equipment, monitor experiments, and calculate and record results. May analyze organic substances, such as blood, food, and drugs.
- Environmental Technician. Perform laboratory and field tests to monitor the environment and investigate sources of pollution, including those that affect health. Under direction of an environmental scientist or specialist, may collect samples of gases, soil, and other materials for testing and take corrective actions as assigned.
- Food Science Technician. Perform standardized qualitative and quantitative tests to determine physical or chemical properties of food or beverage products.
- Forestry and Wildlife Manager. Compile data pertaining to size, content, and other characteristics of forest tracts, under direction of foresters; train and lead forest workers in forest propagation, fire prevention and suppression. May assist conservation scientists in managing, improving, and protecting rangelands and wildlife habitats, and help provide technical assistance regarding the conservation of soil, water, and related natural resources.
EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Forensic Investigator Training
Saint Edward's University - Austin, TX
Saint Edward's University, 3001 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704. Saint Edward's University is a medium sized university located in Austin, Texas. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 5,348 students and an admission rate of 64%. Saint Edward's University has a bachelor's degree program in Forensic Science and Technology which graduated eleven students in 2008.
Certified Cyber-Crime Expert: High-profile cases of corporate malfeasance and increased attention paid to cybercrime and cyberterrorism have elevated electronic evidence discovery to an indispensable component of any organization's security plan.
For more information, see the E-Business Process Solutions website.
Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator: Computer hacking forensic investigation is the process of detecting hacking attacks and properly extracting evidence to report the crime and conduct audits to prevent future attacks.
For more information, see the International Council of E-Commerce Consultants website.
Licensed Penetration Tester: The licensed penetration tester is a program which trains security professionals to analyze the security posture of a network exhaustively and recommend corrective measures authoritatively.
For more information, see the International Council of E-Commerce Consultants website.
Certified Forensic Video Technician: Forensic video analysis is an important science that can have a significant impact on the investigation process.
For more information, see the Law Enforcement and Emergency Services Video Association website.
Licensing agency: Polygraph Examiners Board
Address: PO Box 4087, Austin, TX 78773-0001
Phone: (512) 424-2058
Website: Polygraph Examiners Board
LOCATION INFORMATION: Austin, Texas
Austin is located in Travis County, Texas. It has a population of over 757,688, which has grown by 15.4% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Austin, 88, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Austin are valued at $139,500 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, 1,928 new homes were constructed in Austin, down from 3,155 the previous year.
The three big industries for women in Austin are educational services, health care, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 22 minutes. More than 40.4% of Austin residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 14.7%, is higher than the state average.
The unemployment rate in Austin is 6.5%, which is less than Texas's average of 8.1%.
The percentage of Austin residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 46.2%, is less than both the national and state average. Pilgrim Rest Primitive Baptist Church, Adam and Eve Garden Baptist Church and Pleasant Hill Baptist Church are all churches located in Austin. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist Convention and the United Methodist Church.
Austin is home to the Morris Williams Golf Course and the Sixth Street Historic District as well as Wild Basin Wilderness Park and Rudolph Gamblin Field. Shopping centers in the area include Capital Plaza Shopping Center, Capital Plaza Shopping Center and Lamar Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to Austin can choose from Club Hotel by Doubletree Austin University Area, Austin Folk House and AmeriPark at Austin for temporary stays in the area.