How to Become a Licensed Fingerprint Technician
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Fingerprint technicians, or latent print examiners, investigate crime scenes and pieces of evidence and look for fingerprints on various objects to find potential criminals, witnesses or victims. Technicians use a large database to match these fingerprints with their owners. This database is called the Automated Fingerprint Identification System and compares the fingerprints found at a crime scene to those in the database. While there is no standard process of becoming a fingerprint technician, you must complete the necessary certification and work experience requirements. According to Indeed.com, as of 2017, fingerprint technicians earn anywhere from $25,000 to $45,000 per year, depending on their place of work and years of experience.
Complete your high school degree or GED program. While in high school, you should focus on courses involving math and science, and talk with your guidance counselor about strong programs that will train you for a career as a fingerprint technician.
Enroll in a law enforcement, forensic science or criminal justice program. These programs give you a foundation in police work and prepare you for a career in this field.
Gain experience as an intern. To become certified, applicants must have at least two years of experience in this field. An internship allows you to work under an experienced fingerprint technician and teaches you to perform basic functions in this profession.
Become certified through the International Association of Identification. This agency is a forensic science organization that offers voluntary certification. This certification gives you the necessary credentials to work as a fingerprint technician and proves to potential employers that you have the knowledge and skills to work in this profession. Because specific fingerprint programs can be difficult to find, this agency offers training in this field as well.
Look for fingerprint technician career opportunities. Many organizations and agencies may want to hire and train prospective fingerprint technicians from within their own departments. Opportunities are available with police departments, crime labs and government agencies. Continue to educate yourself on new techniques and advancements in this field.
Ted Marten lives in New York City and began writing professionally in 2007, with articles appearing on various websites. Marten has a bachelor's degree in English and has also received a certificate in filmmaking from the Digital Film Academy.