Iowa schools offer plenty of choices for people interested in criminal justice degrees, certificates or diplomas. An associate's degree can prepare students for careers as police officers, security guards, and customs officers, while a bachelor's degree may be suitable for those wishing to work for the federal government as FBI agents, Secret Service agents or Homeland Security agents. Certificate and diploma programs can help supplement one's work experience or existing degree in the field, as well as provide studies in a specialization. Criminal justice programs may include internship opportunities, field experiences, and tracks geared toward specific careers.
Des Moines Area Community College
Located in Ankeny, Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) offers associate's degree programs in criminal justice. In addition to the core courses required for an associate's degree, students can tailor their degrees by choosing from a variety of major courses, such as penology, criminal law, and juvenile law.
Ellsworth Community College
Nestled in the quiet town of Iowa Falls, Ellsworth Community College boasts the lowest average student debt load for graduates, due largely to its generous financial aid packages. The criminal justice associate's degree program offers law enforcement and corrections career tracks and a general associate's degree track.
Grand View University
Affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church, Grand View University has two campuses located in greater Des Moines. Many criminal justice majors at Grand View complete their first two years of study at nearby DMACC before transferring into the bachelor's degree program. Students complete coursework in sociology, public administration and national government, and they have the opportunity to do an optional internship.
Indian Hills Community College
With its main campus in Ottumwa, Indian Hills Community College has campuses in 10 southeast Iowa counties. Not only does the college offer an associate's degree program in criminal justice, but it also has a cooperative bachelor's degree program with Buena Vista College in Storm Lake, Iowa. Students, upon passing a background check, can complete the final two years of their bachelor's degree at the Ottumwa campus.
Iowa Lakes Community College
Iowa Lakes Community College has several locations across the northern part of the state, with the main campus in Estherville. This school offers an associate's degree in criminal justice for those starting their studies from scratch.
Iowa Wesleyan College
One of the oldest colleges in the state, Iowa Wesleyan College is located in Mount Pleasant. Affiliated with the United Methodist Church, the school was first chartered as Mount Pleasant Literary Institute in 1842. The criminal justice bachelor's degree programs familiarize students with the courts, police operations and corrections. The student will also complete field experiences in the area they choose to pursue.
A Catholic liberal arts school, Loras College is located in the Mississippi River town of Dubuque. Many students who enter the criminal justice program double major in one of the social sciences. Police ride-alongs and courtroom observations are common for students in the program. Graduates may go on to pursue graduate degrees in law.
Marshalltown Community College
Located in Marshalltown, Marshalltown Community College is part of the Iowa Valley Community College District. The school offers associate's degree programs with career tracks in law enforcement and corrections.
Founded in 1860 by the Iowa United Methodist Church, Simpson College is located in Indianola. The criminal justice bachelor's degree program is part of the school's social science department and prepares students to enter the workforce or graduate school. Past internship opportunities have included working at the Iowa Attorney General's Office and the Iowa Department of Public Safety. Simpson also offers a master's degree program in criminal justice.
University of Dubuque
Affiliated with the Presbyterian Church, the University of Dubuque is located in the city of Dubuque. The school's criminal justice bachelor's degree program takes a scientific and systematic approach that enables students to explore their personal, political and religious beliefs as they pertain to their studies. Some of the courses students complete cover race and class inequality, social stratification and social theory.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School||School Type & Setting||Programs Offered||Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2018-2019)|
|Des Moines Area Community College||2-year, public; large suburb|| AA in Criminal Justice,
AS in Criminal Justice
|$4,680 (in-state), $9,360 (out-of-state)*|
|Ellsworth Community College||2-year, public; distant town|| AAS in Criminal Justice,
AA in Criminal Justice Career Option
|$4,776 (in-state), $5,712 (out-of-state)*|
|Grand View University||4-year, private nonprofit; midsize city||BA in Criminal Justice||$27,608*|
|Indian Hills Community College||2-year, public; remote town|| AAS in Criminal Justice,
BA in Criminal Justice
|$4,224 (in-state), $5,760 (out-of-state)*|
|Iowa Lakes Community College||2-year, public; remote town|| AS in Criminal Justice,
Diploma in Computer Forensics,
Certificate in Digital Forensics
|$6,460 (in-state), $6,812 (out-of-state)*|
|Iowa Wesleyan College||4-year, private nonprofit; remote town|| BA in Criminal Justice,
BS in Criminal Justice
|$24,600 in-state; $30,500 out-of-state*|
|Loras College||4-year, private nonprofit; small city||BA in Criminal Justice||$34,184*|
|Marshalltown Community College||2-year, public; rural fringe|| AA in Criminal Justice,
AS in Criminal justice Career Option
|$4,776 (in-state), $5,112 (out-of-state)*|
|Simpson College||4-year, private nonprofit; fringe town|| BA in Criminal Justice,
MA in Criminal Justice
| $39,144 (undergraduate);
|University of Dubuque||4-year, private nonprofit; small city||BA in Criminal Justice||$34,110*|
Source: *NCES College Navigator.