Guinea moray eel, tropical Pacific Ocean.

Christine L. Case, Ed.D.
Biology Professor
Skyline College


"The most important discoveries of the laws, methods and progress of nature have nearly always sprung from the examination of the smallest objects which she contains." -Jean Baptiste Lamarck

Careers in Biology
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About Forensics DNA Testing Laboratory Personnel

Educational Requirements Depend on level (see below) but generally the following courses are required or courses that cover the topic areas:

  • Molecular Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Genetics
  • Statistics or Population genetics


Forensics web sites to visit are:

American Board of Criminalistics
State Forensics Bureau
American Society of Crime Lab Directors
Career Advice

Below is a section of National Standards that is required for forensic DNA testing lab personnel. Usually entry level folks in support positions require 2 year degree or BA/BS.

The BA/BS is in science (biology, chem, physical science or forensics).



The technical manager or leader shall have the following:

5.2.1 Degree requirements: The technical manager or leader of a laboratory must have at a minimum a Master's degree in biology-, chemistry- or forensic science related area and successfully completed a minimum of 12 semester equivalent credit hours of a combination of undergraduate and/or graduate course work covering the subject areas of biochemistry, genetics and molecular biology, statistics and/or population genetics. The American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors (ASCLD) or other appropriate body shall establish, within 6 months after issuance of these standards, criteria for waiving the requirements for current technical managers or leaders who do not meet the requirements of 5.2.1. The waiver process shall be completed within two(2) years after the issuance of the standards. This waiver shall be permanent and portable.

5.2.2 Experience requirements: A technical manager or leader of a laboratory must have a minimum of three years of forensic DNA laboratory experience.

5.2.3 Duty requirements: General: manages the technical operations of the laboratory. Specific duties

(a) Is responsible for evaluating all methods used by the laboratory and for proposing new or modified analytical procedures to be used by examiners. (b) Is responsible for technical problem solving of analytical methods and for the oversight of training, quality assurance, safety and proficiency testing in the laboratory. The technical manager or leader shall be accessible to the laboratory to provide onsite, telephone or electronic consultation as needed.


Examiner/analyst shall have:

5.3.1 Degree requirements: At a minimum a BA/BS degree or its equivalent degree in biology-, chemistry- or forensic science related area and must have successfully completed college course work (graduate or undergraduate level) covering the subject areas of biochemistry, genetics and molecular biology (molecular genetics, recombinant DNA technology) or other subjects which provide a basic understanding of the foundation of forensic DNA analysis, as well as course work and/or training in statistics and population genetics as it applies to forensic DNA analysis.

5.3.2 must have a minimum of six (6) months of forensic DNA laboratory experience, including the successful analysis of a range of samples typically encountered in forensic case work prior to independent case work analysis using DNA technology.

5.3.3 successfully completed a qualifying test before beginning independent casework responsibilities.


Technician shall have:

5.4.1 On the job training specific to their job function(s).

5.4.2 successfully completed a qualifying test before participating in forensic DNA typing responsibilities.


Laboratory support personnel shall have:

5.5.1 training, education and experience commensurate with their responsibilities as outlined in their job description.


Schools with bacalaureate programs:
CSU Stanislaus
CSU Sacramento

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