Employment Opportunity

Forensic Scientist I

Orange County Sheriff's Department, Santa Ana, California

Salary: $69,097.60 - $93,121.60 Annually

Final Filing Date: Continuous


This recruitment is being held to establish an Open Eligible List to fill current vacancies within the OC Crime Lab Division. This list may be utilized to fill positions of lower level classifications within the same occupational series.

Forensic Scientists are responsible for performing a wide range of scientific applications in one or more of the following specialty areas: crime scene investigation and autopsies, forensic biology (serology), forensic DNA analysis, trace evidence analysis, postmortem and ante mortem toxicology, blood and breath alcohol analysis, controlled substances, clandestine laboratories, firearms, tool marks, and administrative and computer support.

Forensic Scientist I is the entry level in the series. Incumbents work under a mentor or direct supervision of a Senior Forensic Scientist, typically learning more routine aspects of the laboratory such as the flow of evidence within the lab, evidence collection and preservation, and basic analytical techniques.

The Forensic Scientist I must demonstrate progressive proficiency, motivation, understanding, and independence in an effort to show their readiness to promote to a Forensic Scientist II.

Positions are not budgeted at this level, and there is no permanent status in this class. Incumbents who have not been promoted prior to the end of the fifty-two week probationary period will not pass probation.

Duties and Requirements Click to read more


  • Under supervision, assists in or conducts chemical or physical analyses and microscopic examinations to identify and compare evidence.
  • Under supervision, conducts field investigations at crime scenes and other related locations to search for, collect, and preserve physical evidence. Reconstructs situations using physical evidence to aid in the interpretation of relationships amongst persons, instruments, and/or materials and the crime.
  • Under supervision, uses existing or develops methodology to make chemical analyses and examinations in the identification of toxic agents in postmortem specimens; searches for and isolates toxic substances in biological fluids and tissues; and uses DNA methods and conventional or developing serological techniques.
  • Under supervision, uses various kinds of scientific instrumentation to analyze, compare, identify, and quantify such materials as blood, saliva, semen, hair, skin, other body fluids and tissues, poisons, drugs and controlled substances, debris, paint, glass, soil, fabrics, bullets, explosives, and tool marks; calibrates equipment, maintains robotics, and monitors test procedures to ensure accuracy and precision.
  • Under supervision, prepares detailed reports of forensic analyses and findings, including interpretation of results; drafts and retains contemporaneous case notes, reports, and instrument print-outs related to the examination and testing of evidence. Technically or administratively reviews reports and case notes.
  • Under supervision, consults with and interprets results for law enforcement officers and attorneys.
  • Under supervision, compares impressions and marks with tools and other objects.
  • Under supervision, conducts physical and microscopic examinations to compare and analyze bullets, cartridges, shot shells, gunshot residue, or other components; determines muzzle to first surface distances; identifies weapons, ammunition, and other components by manufacturer and other characteristics; collects and maintains reference materials on firearms and ammunition.
  • Under supervision, performs deconvolution of DNA mixtures and interpretation of the resulting data. Compares and interprets questioned DNA samples to known reference standards, with subsequent formation of conclusions and corresponding population frequency estimates.
  • Under supervision, provides educational seminars to outside agencies regarding proper collection, preservation, and storage techniques for property crime DNA samples.
  • Maintains appropriate records, reports, and databases.
  • May testify in court as an expert witness on results obtained and conclusions reached that are based on scientific principles and methods.
  • Under supervision, performs research to advance the field of forensic science and increase the effectiveness of a forensic laboratory.


Some Knowledge of
  • Laws of evidence, criminal trial, and court testimony procedures
  • Current trends in forensic sciences
  • Principles, methods, materials, and techniques of chemistry, physics, biochemistry, and photography as related to forensic science
  • Body distribution, metabolism, excretion, and toxicity of common drugs found in coroner investigations
  • Principles of firearm identification; preservation of physical evidence related to firearm identification
Ability to
  • Operate instruments and scientific apparatus carefully and skillfully
  • Follow highly technical oral and written instructions
  • Learn to conduct various types of scientific analyses; make accurate observations; prepare clear, concise, and comprehensive reports, and records of observations
  • Learn to explain technical findings to law enforcement officers and attorneys; testify in court and maintain composure under cross-examination
  • Establish and maintain effective working relationships with law enforcement officers, coworkers, and the public
  • Learn to modify existing analytical procedures to specific case situations
  • Learn to apply a wide variety of techniques to analyze new or different types of physical evidence
  • Learn to stay abreast of new techniques, methodology, and equipment while safeguarding against the use of emerging scientific technology that has not been properly validated
Education and Experience
  • Graduation from an accredited college with a bachelor's degree in forensic sciences, chemistry, biochemistry, biology, or a closely related scientific field with laboratory experience.
  • Must possess all state education requirements for Forensic Alcohol Analyst, including a course in quantitative analysis prior to passing probation.
  • Possession of, or ability to obtain, a valid California Driver License, Class C or higher, by date of appointment may be required for some positions.
Special Requirements
  • Applicant must not have been convicted of a felony. Applicant must pass a background investigation and polygraph to the satisfaction of the Sheriff-Coroner.
Physical and Mental Requirements
  • Must be able to identify and distinguish colors. Sufficient vision to utilize lab and field equipment in order to identify, describe, analyze, view, collect, and document evidence. Frequent walking, standing, sitting, kneeling, squatting, and twisting and bending at the waist. Ability to hear well enough to communicate and take direction. May be required to lift up to 50 pounds.
  • Ability to independently reason and analyze data, and to reach objective conclusions; work under stressful conditions, deadlines, and competing priorities; and successfully and collaboratively work with other individuals.
Environmental and Working Conditions
  • Depending on assignment, work environments may include office, lab, and/or field environments. Field work may be subject to inclement weather conditions, confined spaces, varying terrain, and/or uneven surfaces.
  • Use of standard office equipment. May be exposed to chemical or biological agents, fumes, blood and other bodily fluids, strong offensive odors, contagious diseases, and firearms. May be required to drive County vehicle or use County-approved means of transportation for job-related travel. May be required to use a Strongman unit to move vehicles, air tools to dismantle objects, and hand trucks and pallet jacks to move items.

Do you have the Education Required? See available on-line and campus-based degree programs now!

How to apply: Apply online

Posted: October 6, 2017

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