As a Missouri resident interested in pursuing a career as a forensic scientist, you should know that getting an education is the most important thing that you will do on your journey to having the career you’ve always dreamed of.

Therefore, you should take the decision of where to go to school and what to major in very seriously. In order to help you to do so, we have provided four key steps to majoring in forensic science in your state. If you follow these steps carefully, then you are bound to have success.

Step #1: Research the Field and Careers:

Did you know that, contrary to popular belief, forensic scientists don’t all do the same jobs? When most people think of forensic scientists, they think of shows like CSI, which showcase these professionals’ investigation murder scenes for forensic evidence.

While this is certainly a real job that one can have in forensic science, it is definitely not the only one or even the most common one. There are literally hundreds of different jobs that forensic scientists can do, and the only way to find the right one for you is to do your research.

Sit down at your computer or head to the local library to learn more about your career options and about the field in general. When you find a career that seems like a good fit for you, take your research one step further and learn about the educational and/or other requirements for that career.

When you find a job that you truly want to do and for which you are willing and able to complete the necessary degree, then you will know that you have found your perfect match, and you can start planning your career around your professional goals.

Step #2: Pick a Major

Even when you know what your career goals are, the major you will need will not always be clear cut. Sometimes, you will have several different options to choose from. In any case, it is better to select your major before you select your school.

This might sound counter intuitive, but doing so will ensure that you get the best possible major for you and your career goals, instead of just taking whatever the school happens to offer. Common majors include forensic studies, forensic science, computer forensics, criminal justice, criminology, crime scene investigation, and other related areas.

Step #3: Pick a Type of School

The next step is to decide what kind of a school you wish to attend. For the majority of forensic scientists in the field, traditional colleges and universities, which offer you the opportunity to earn your bachelor’s degree or other degree in one fell swoop, are the answer. Others, however, especially those who have to balance their educations with work or family responsibilities, make the decision to attend community colleges or trade or technical schools or even online schools.

With community colleges, you can earn your associate’s degree first and then transfer the credits you earn to an accredited undergraduate institution. With online colleges, you will be able to create your own schedule and to work at your own pace. In either case, earning your degree can often be quicker and much less expensive than if you had gone the traditional route.

Step #4: Choose and Apply for a School

Your final step is the one you have been waiting for all along- to choose a school. Since you already, at this point, know what major you want to pursue and what kind of a school you are interested in, this becomes so much easier and less overwhelming than it originally would have been. Once you have found the school that is right for you and have made sure it is fully accredited, then you are ready to apply.

The application for most schools typically consists of an application fee, a written essay ,and your answers to several, widely varied questions. Give your application your all. Always try to apply for more than one school when possible, ideally your school or schools of choice and then some backup schools, just in case. That way, you can be sure to start your education right away.