Associate Degrees in Criminal Justice in Iowa
As a Midwestern state, the criminal justice needs of Iowa may be extremely different from those of states with large metropolitan populations or coastal communities. Those who work in the criminal justice system of Iowa must be cognizant of federal standards while following state laws and working to meet the needs of Iowa residents.
This manifests in several different ways. The Gazette reports that legislators and researchers in Iowa have identified racial disparities in the juvenile justice system that may indicate systemic issues in policing and corrections (2016).
With a criminal justice associate degree, Iowa graduates may have the insight and experience needed to stop these issues and ensure fair treatment throughout the state.
Whether you are completely new to this field or you would like to enhance your work experience with a degree, you can learn more about the benefits of a criminal justice degree by contacting Iowa schools with our list below.
Criminal Justice Associate Programs in Iowa
Numerous community colleges and technical schools in Iowa offer criminal justice programs. General credit ranges, completion times, and costs can be found below:
- Timeframe: 4 to 6 semesters
- Credits: 60 to 69 credits
- Average tuition cost per year: $4,751 (College Board, 2016)
In addition to criminal justice programs, you may want to consider options in specialized areas of study in criminal justice. Some of the programs available at Iowa schools include paralegal studies, fire science, legal assistant, corrections, law enforcement, and cyber security.
As you investigate different programs and the career paths they may prepare you for, you may find significant differences in curricular requirements.
For example, an Iowa fire science program may require the following courses:
- Fire Behavior and Combustion
- Fire Protection Hydraulics
- Hazardous Materials Operations
- Fire Investigation
- Fire Prevention, Inspection and Codes
While spending two to three years earning a criminal justice AA degree, you may spend most of your time in theory courses and courses on Iowa law. However, you should make time in your schedule for an internship. An internship is generally not an excessive drain on your time, but the benefits it provides can be priceless.
As you work through your early courses, give some thought to different work environments and where you would like to get some experience. This is beneficial when it comes time to choose an internship site and plan for your future career.
When attending an accredited school, you may take advantage of different financial aid options. State and federal aid options may be based on financial need, but many schools offer merit-based financial aid as well.
Local organizations for criminal justice professionals may support students in this field. The Reynold C. Hentges Memorial Scholarship is intended for students pursuing criminal justice degrees.
What Can I Do With a Criminal Justice Degree in Iowa?
If you have done your research, your career path should be crystal clear to you by the time you graduate. Career preparation during school may be the key to post-graduation success. Those who study fire science at the associate degree level may go on to become fire inspectors.
From 2012 through 2022, O*Net hopes to see a 7% boost in fire inspector jobs (2016). Job openings for security guards may swell 12% during this time frame (O*Net, 2016). Statewide need for bailiffs may grow 7% through 2022 (O*Net, 2016).
The salary you earn may be influenced by your experience, academic performance, and choice of employer. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, security guards bring in an average of $31,730 per year (2016). Bailiffs in Iowa report an average salary of $42,320 per year (BLS, 2016). Iowa patrol officers currently earn an average annual income of $54,300 (BLS, 2016).
There are numerous areas in which you can use your criminal justice knowledge and skills to build a career you love. From maintaining order in prisons to preventing crime in the community, a criminal justice associate degree can help you build the skill set needed in this field.
If you are ready to earn an associate degree in criminal justice, get in touch with Iowa schools to get started.
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