Police officers protect lives and property. Detectives and criminal investigators, sometimes called agents or special agents, gather facts and collect evidence of possible crimes. Law enforcement officers’ duties depend on the size and type of organization in which they’re employed. Police and detective work can be physically demanding, stressful, and dangerous. Education requirements range from a high school diploma to a college degree or advanced degree. Most police officers and detectives must graduate from their agency’s training academy before getting on-the-job training; candidates must be U.S. citizens, usually at least 21 years old, and meet rigorous physical and personal qualifications.
ECC students receive a hands-on Criminal Justice education:
- Participate in field trips to Criminal Justice facilities including local, county and state jails and prisons; the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy in Des Moines; and the Department of Criminal Investigations (DCI) lab in Ankeny.
- Participate in real-world scenarios conducted with local law enforcement agencies, gaining an appreciation for the diverse environment in which Criminal Justice professionals operate.
- Network and participate in actual police training with local law enforcement agencies as part of ECC’s Criminal Justice Club.
- Take photos and construct sketches of simulated crime scenes and traffic accidents.
- Fire at least 700 rounds of live ammunition, and complete the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy course of fire using Glock 40 caliber semi-automatic pistols.
- Develop leadership skills as a member of the student-led Criminal Justice Club and participate in its activities, field trips, and training opportunities.
- Apply the correct constitutional criminal procedures in search and seizure situations.
Ellsworth Community College offers three Criminal Justice programs, depending on your career goals:
- A two-year Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree with an emphasis in Corrections for those who want to go directly into the Corrections workforce (corrections, probation and parole, juvenile justice, or county jails) after graduation.
- A two-year Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree with an emphasis in Law Enforcement for those who want to go directly into the Law Enforcement workforce (law enforcement, security, loss prevention, and social work) after graduation.
- A two-year Associate of Arts (AA) degree for those who want to transfer their ECC credits and complete a baccalaureate/bachelor’s degree at a university.
The links under Degrees Awarded (below) outline our different program options.
Criminal Justice careers may include service as a municipal police officer, investigator, canine handler, county deputy sheriff, jail detention officer, state patrol trooper, Department of Criminal Investigations investigator, Department of Narcotics Enforcement investigator, correctional officer, park ranger, juvenile probation officer, and juvenile case worker. At the federal level, job titles include FBI special agent, U.S. marshall, DEA special agent, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement special agent, border patrol officer, U.S. Secret Service special agent, and military police officer.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook, the 2012 median pay for Police and Detectives with a high school diploma (or equivalent) was $56,9850 per year. The job outlook through 2022 calls for a 5% growth in employment, a bit slower than average for all occupations, which may provide a significant advantage to those with an associate degree.
A criminal background check is required of all individuals applying for employment with law enforcement agencies and corrections facilities. Learn more on the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy’s website.
ECC’s two-year Associate of Arts (AA) transfer degree is designed to meet the requirements of colleges and universities to which students may wish to transfer for completion of baccalaureate (BA or BS) degrees. In many instances, transfer colleges accept this degree as equivalent to their own general education requirements.
Because the requirements for an AA degree change periodically, students should check with their academic advisor or the ECC Admissions Office to confirm that they have the most current information. Students are responsible for knowing the requirements for the degree they hope to obtain and for planning their schedule accordingly.
Admissions Partnership Program with Iowa State, UNI and Iowa
ECC participates in the Admissions Partnership Program with Iowa State University, the University of Northern Iowa and the University of Iowa to enable ECC students to transfer credits seamlessly to any of the state universities. Participants are dual-enrolled at ECC and the university with access to academic advising and student services at both institutions. The universities guarantee admission into the desired degree program, provided all requirements are met. Ask the ECC Admissions Office for more information!
THE ELLSWORTH EXPERIENCE
- Criminal Justice Club is a great place to meet other students, enjoy field trips and service projects, and socialize outside the classroom.
- ECC currently has the 17th highest student success rate (graduation rate + transfer rate) of any community college in the nation.
- The College offers generous scholarships and financial aid packages, which is why our graduates have one of the lowest average student debt loads of any college in Iowa, public or private, two-year or four year!
- What students appreciate about ECC is our smaller class sizes, which results in more one-on-one attention from the instructor and greater classroom success.