As an Iowa resident interested in becoming a forensic scientist, you probably have a lot of questions about just how to get started in this field. What you should know, above all else, is that there are a lot of different ways in which to go about this.

People come to the forensic science field from a variety of different personal, educational, and career backgrounds. One thing that they all have in common, though, is that they all will have a formal education of some sort. The vast majority of forensic scientists, in fact, have at least a bachelor’s degree.

In some cases, some forensic scientists may choose to opt for only an associate’s degree. However, the positions for such individuals are very limited and extremely entry level with little chance for promotion without further education. It is for this reason that those who choose to pursue associate’s degrees in the field usually do so with the intention of transferring earned credits to an approved undergraduate institution.

In the end, though, only you can decide what degree is right for you and what your own personal career and educational aspirations are.

Whatever level of degree you decide to pursue, you will, of course, have to choose a major. Most people choose to major in forensic science, forensic studies, a specialized type of forensics, or in criminal justice or a criminal justice related field. The degree that you will need to pursue will depend heavily upon the career you wish to have.

Do keep in mind, however, that many careers are quite flexible in terms of their educational requirements, so you might have more choice than you think. The only way to know this is to know the job you want to have and what its requirements and preferences are.

Whatever you choose to do and whatever you decide to major in, you can likely find a school in Iowa that will help you to reach your goals. This beautiful state is full of lots of wonderful opportunities for those committed to working in the forensic science field. One school commonly chosen by prospective forensic scientists in the state is the AIB College of Business, located in Des Moines.

Briar Cliff University, in Sioux City, is also popular, and has a well known bachelor’s degree program in criminal justice. Buena Vista University of Storm Lake has its own bachelor’s degree program in criminal justice, as well as one in criminology.

For those who aren’t quite ready for a traditional college experience, Des Moines Area Community College at Ankeny is an excellent choice, and offers associate’s degree programs in criminal justice. Similarly, Eastern Iowa Community College District, in Davenport, offers certification programs in law enforcement, which is ideal for those hoping to supplement or specialize an education. Then, there’s Ellsworth Community College of Iowa Falls, which offers an associate’s degree program in criminal justice.

Another choice is Hawkeye Community College in Waterloo, with its associate’s degree programs in criminal justice and its certification program in law enforcement. Then, there’s Indian Hills Community College of Ottumwa, offering an associate’s degree program in criminal justice, and Iowa Community College at Fort Dodge, which has an online associate’s degree program in criminal justice, and a traditional associate’s degree program in the same.

Not to be outdone, Iowa Lakes Community College, located in Estherville, has an associate’s degree program in criminal justice, and ITT Technical Institute of Clive offers an associate’s degree program in the same.

There is also Dordt College, located in Sioux Center, with its bachelor’s degree program in criminal justice. Graceland University at Lamoni is also important to mention with its unique bachelor’s degree program in sociology with a focus on criminology and justice, as well as its bachelor’s degree program in pre forensic science, which also counts as a biology and/or chemistry degree.

Grand University, located in Des Moines, is yet another fine choice, with its bachelor’s degree program in criminal justice, as well as a starter certification program in criminology. Iowa Wesleyan College, in Mouth Pleasant, has a bachelor’s degree program in criminal justice.

Kaplan Falls is also popular, with its locations in Cedar Falls, Cedar Rapids, Council Bluffs, Davenport, and Mason City, and its online bachelor’s degree programs in corrections and traditional master’s degree programs in fire and emergency services.