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State of Washington Classified Job Specification


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Class Code: 505A
Category: Science & Engineering

Class Series Concept

This category reflects the requirements and standards for conducting work in a forensic discipline such as DNA, controlled substances, chemistry, trace evidence, fire debris, explosives, questioned documents, latent prints, firearms and toolmarks, toxicology and crime scene investigation. Because the most responsible activity of a forensic scientist is to help prove or disprove the elements of a crime that may lead to the identification of the person(s) responsible, the primary functions include: examination and/or collection of evidence; analysis of the physical evidence using accepted and validated methods and analytical instrumentation; preserving evidence according to laboratory procedures; maintaining chain of custody, i.e., documentation establishing the receipt, handling, and disposition of evidence; interpreting observations and test results; preparing written opinion reports; testifying as an expert witness in courts of law; participating in proficiency testing; and receiving on-going training and professional development.


This is the entry level of the series. In a training capacity and under close supervision, positions perform beginning level analyses of physical evidence in criminal cases submitted to the forensic laboratory. Interprets analytical results, prepares written opinion reports, and may testify as an expert witness in courts of law. With on-the-job training, the incumbent learns entry-level casework in a limited area in order to become proficient in a discipline of forensic science.

Typical Work

Documents and protects evidence according to laboratory procedures, ensuring that the chain of custody is maintained;

In an assigned discipline, examines and analyzes evidence in routine-type case requests under close and detailed supervision using selected methods, techniques, and instruments;

Receives training in physical evidence examination and court testimony to gain expert witness status;

Reports findings in the form of a written laboratory report based on the interpretation of observations and analytical test results;

Provides peer review and participates in proficiency testing to maintain expertise;

Maintains laboratory instruments and equipment in good working order;

May utilize a specialized computer database for evidence comparisons.

Legal Requirement(s)

There may be instances where individual positions must have additional licenses or certification. It is the employer’s responsibility to ensure the appropriate licenses/certifications are obtained for each position.

Persons legally authorized to work in the U.S. under federal law, including Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients, are eligible for employment unless prohibited by other state or federal law.

Desirable Qualifications

Positions typically require a Bachelor of Science degree in forensic science, natural science, or closely related field which includes a minimum of 20 semester hours or 30 quarter hours of chemistry and 5 semester or 8 quarter hours of physics. Examples of related fields, including but not limited to, are: pharmacology, medical technology, genetics or molecular biology, analytical chemistry, biochemistry, clinical chemistry, nuclear chemistry, or toxicology.

Note: For DNA positions, applicants must have successfully completed at least one undergraduate or graduate level course in each of the following subjects: biochemistry, genetics, and molecular biology.

Class Specification History

New class replaces 53860 Forensic Scientist 1, effective June 1, 2005.
Revise class. General revision; adopted May 10, 2007, effective July 1, 2007.
Salary Adjustment, adopted 6/30/2015, effective 7/1/2015.
Base range salary adjustment adopted 6/30/2017, effective 7/1/2017.

Revised Legal Requirements; effective June 6, 2024, due to adopted legislative action.