Criminal Justice | Careers

Policing & Law Enforcement

While many entry-level positions in policing do not require a 4-year degree, a college degree often makes an applicant more "marketable" and promotable. Participation in reserve and internship programs is also usually a plus.

Municipal & county level

State & federal


Cedar Rapids, Marion, Hiawatha, Iowa City police departments

Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation

Wackenhut Security

Linn, Cedar, Johnson County sheriff's offices

Motor Vehicle Enforcement Investigation Unit (D.O.T.)

Private Investigator

Las Vegas Police Department

Iowa State Trooper



Criminal Investigator for State Public Defender's Office



U.S. Marshal



Coast Guard



The corrections field is one of the most rapidly growing segments of the criminal justice system.  Because the United States has more people incarcerated than any other country in the world, there are (and predictably will continue to be) a wealth of occupational opportunities in corrections.  Internships and volunteering are often excellent ways to break into this field.



Treatment Programs

Correctional Officer

Residential Officer

Substance Abuse Counselor

Correctional Counselor

Probation/Parole Officer

Youth Worker

Juvenile Counselor

Juvenile Court Officer

Social Worker

Anamosa, Oakdale, Linn County Juvenile Detention, Nebraska State Prisons

Pre-Trial/Pre-Sentence Investigator

ASAC, Tanager, Four Oaks, Heart of Iowa, Wisconsin Social Services


Cedar Rapids, Des Moines, Grand Junction, Colorado

Legal Field

A student who plans to attend law school is not required to have a specific undergraduate major.  Students going on to law school typically study a variety of subjects including, but not limited to, political science, criminal justice, philosophy, history, English, and economics.  Law schools look at a variety of criteria in admitting new law students.  Some of the most important criteria are the undergraduate grade point average (GPA) and scores on the Law School Admission Test (LSAT).  Criminal justice majors are urged to consider a double-major to prepare for law school admission.

Legal Assistant 


Law School

Local law firms

Kirkwood program


Graduate School

As a relatively new discipline there are a small, but growing, number of graduate programs in criminal justice.  Many teaching and research careers are now available for those going on for the Master's degree, and especially the PhD degree.  Other criminal justice graduates have gone onto graduate studies in psychology, social work, criminology, and public policy.  

Need a professional reference?

As part of a background investigation, students who are applying for jobs often need a character reference.

Learn how our faculty can help.