Criminal Justice

Gain the tools needed to pursue a career in law enforcement, corrections or private security while earning your Associate in Applied Science degree. Whether you want to enter the workforce upon graduation, transfer to a four-year college or brush up your  skills as a trained professional, our Criminal Justice program will set you on the right path.

Through field experience and simulation labs, you’ll gain real on-the-job training and exposure to be fully prepared for a career in criminal justice. Take advantage of specialized training offered in your field through seminars and independent study. If you’re  currently employed in law enforcement, you may choose to enhance your education with in-service training courses specially designed for you to complete your academic training.

Start your career in criminal justice with the skills and experience of a specialist. Whether you choose to work as a correctional officer, police officer, security guard or loss prevention specialist, you’ll establish the foundational knowledge and experience needed to thrive right here at Iowa Lakes.

Before enrolling in the program, determine if you meet the minimum hiring standards for the state where you will be seeking employment. Iowa standards are located in Section 550, Chapter I of the Iowa Administrative Code.

Faculty Contact

Christopher Gerstbrein
Associate Professor | Criminal Justice
712-362-7981 | cgerstbrein@iowalakes.educreate new email
Sonja Fagre
Assistant Professor | Criminal Justice
712-362-7986 | sfagre@iowalakes.educreate new email

Program Details


DEGREE: Associate in Applied Science (68 credits)

CAMPUS: Estherville


Did You Know?

Starting Salary: $42,362

Average Salary: $58,335

Projected Employment Growth: 0.5%

Online availability 50%


Term 1

Credits: 3

Survey of the American criminal justice system, the early, middle and late stages of the criminal justice system are analyzed within the framework of law and research.

Credits: 3

Scientific study of the nature and causes of criminal behavior and social deviance.

Credits: 3

Juvenile justice system is examined from historical constitutional and operational perspectives. Theories concerning juvenile delin­quency are explored.

Credits: 3

Emphasis on expository and argumentative writings including a review of usage and mechanics.

Prerequisites: Satisfactory score on the ACT, Accuplacer, ASSET,COMPASS as determined by Iowa Lakes policy

Credits: 3

Living a healthy lifestyle, a basic overview of fitness activities, the health benefits of fitness activities, nutrition and stress. Each unit contains basic information, choices and application toward estab­lishing a healthier lifestyle.

Term 2

Credits: 2

This program is designed to provide non-Spanish-speaking criminal justice students and police officers with functional skills in Spanish. Spanish phrases, commands, and questions practical to daily police and corrections work are covered. No prior knowledge of Spanish necessary.

Credits: 2

This course is designed to provide preparation to students for on-the-job experience in a criminal justice related field. The student will also learn certain requirements within the criminal justice profession. This class prepares you for Field Experience II, student internship.

Prerequisites: CRJ 100 – Intro to Criminal Justice

Credits: 3

CSC-110 is an introductory course that surveys a variety of topics to include history, hardware, software, terminology, com­munications, computer ethics, and societal impact of computers. In addition to computer literacy, students will complete hands-on modules using operating systems, word processing, database, presentation, and spreadsheet software; such as Microsoft Office programs.

Credits: 3

This is a general survey course which includes sets; number systems; elementary algebra; exponents; equations and inequalities; fractions; ratios; proportion and variation; probability and statistics; elementary graphing; consumer mathematics; and an introduction to geometry.

Prerequisites: Appropriate placement score

Credits: 3

Examines how humans communicate in one-on-one situations through personal and professional relationships.

Term 3

Credits: 3

Continuation of CRJ 218 Field Experience I. This is an internship course. Speak with instructor or see syllabus for prerequisites.

Prerequisites: CRJ 218 – Field Experience I

Term 4

Credits: 1

This course provides the student with the opportu­nity to become engaged in a community service project.

Credits: 3

This course examines the elements of criminal law. Including the categories of crime by type, defenses, and individuals involved. The course also includes the historical development of criminal law.

Prerequisites: CRJ 100 – Intro to Criminal Justice

Credits: 3

Designed to help the student understand sociological aspects of drug use, abuse and treatment.

Term 5

Credits: 3

This course examines the protections afforded to individuals by the US Constitution. Specific areas addressed include initial con­tact with law enforcement and continues through post-conviction relief. Students should gain an understanding of criminal proce­dures through statutory and precedent case review.

Prerequisites: CRJ 100 – Intro to Criminal Justice and CRJ 130 – Criminal Law

Credits: 1

Introduction to police firearms safety and care; use of deadly force; chemical agents; firing range safety; latest techniques of combat shooting; and recreational shooting.