Massachusetts residents who are interested in having a career in forensic science should know that they will absolutely need a degree in order to have success in this field. The vast majority of Massachusetts forensic science professionals possess at least a bachelor’s degree, with many having master’s degrees or even PhDs.

Associate’s degrees are of little use in this industry, and are generally used as nothing more than a starting off point to eventually pursue a bachelor’s degree. You should know that your degree, no matter what level you choose, does not have to be in forensic science or forensic studies specifically.

People come to work in the forensic science field from a wide variety of different backgrounds. Some certainly do major in forensic science, forensic studies, or the increasingly popular computer forensics, but many others major in fields like criminal justice, criminology, crime scene investigation, and related areas.

The only real way to determine what major is the right fit for you is to have some real, well thought out career goals in place and to work from those. Setting such goals only requires some thought and research on your part, and can make a world of difference.

You can set career goals by researching the forensic science field in general. As you learn about the field, also read up on the wide variety of different capacities in which forensic scientists can choose to work. Be sure that you take special note of any job titles and/or descriptions that specifically appeal to you.

You will want to study these in more depth, paying careful attention to the preferred educational backgrounds and other requirements of professionals doing these jobs. When you find a job that you want to do and that you can realistically meet the requirements for, and then you have a career goal in place.

After setting your career goal, you will see just how much easier planning out your education becomes. You can center your entire plan on the job that you ultimately want to have. Plus, once you know what level degree you want and what major you want, all that is really left to do is to choose a good accredited college or university. Fortunately, Massachusetts is home to many fine institutions that can give you every opportunity you need for real success and happiness within the forensic science field.

One popular choice among prospective forensic scientists in the state is American Intercontinental College, located in Springfield, which offers a bachelor’s degree program in criminal justice, as well as a master’s degree program in forensic psychology.

There’s also Anna Maria College in Paxton, which has an online bachelor’s degree program and a traditional bachelor’s degree program in criminal justice, as well as an online master’s degree program in the same and in security management, and Assumption College of Worcester, offering a bachelor’s degree program in sociology and anthropology with a specialized concentration in criminology. Both of these are private institutions, and thus tend to cost more to attend than public institutions in the state.

A common and less costly choice is Bay Path College at Longmeadow; with bachelor’s degree programs in legal studies, criminal justice, forensic psychology, and forensic science, as well as a master’s degree program in general forensics.

As you may have noticed, some of the schools above are community colleges and only offer associates’ degrees. Community colleges often get a bad reputation, but the right one can be a great starting point. Individuals can generally transfer the credits they earn from such an institution to a traditional undergraduate program, which allows them to complete their bachelor’s degree more quickly in many cases.

Plus, community colleges are an excellent fit for those on a budget, because they are extremely affordable and have much lower tuition than traditional colleges and universities.

Keep in mind too that you aren’t just limited to Massachusetts terms of your education, thanks to the world wide web. If you can’t find a program you want to attend in the state, all you have to do is turn on your computer and hop online to have a world of choices at your fingertips. Just be sure any online school you select is accredited.