Criminal justice is an exciting and rewarding career choice for those who desire to find employment in a field which offers variety and new challenges on a daily basis. Individuals involved in criminal justice have opportunities to make contributions to their communities as well as society as a whole.  Southwestern's criminal justice program is designed to provide students with the knowledge and skills necessary for entry-level employment in the areas of law enforcement, courts, and/or corrections.  The program provides an interdisciplinary sequence of study merging the liberal arts and technical studies into a well-balanced curriculum.  This program does not replace the training requirements of the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA), however completion of the program can make students eligible for the eight-week ILEA.

Awards Available

Criminal Justice: Associate of Applied Science Degree

Criminal Justice Degree Sheet

NOTE: If you plan to transfer and earn a bachelor's degree, the Associate of Arts or Associate of Science degree is recommended for your course of study. 

Potential Careers

  • law enforcement officers (police and sheriff)
  • bailiffs
  • correctional officers and jailers
  • probation officers and correction treatment specialists
  • security officers
  • police, fire, and ambulance dispatchers

Upon completion of the program, the student will be able to:

  • Identify and understand the inter-relationship of the components of the criminal justice system.
  • Recognize and relate to current trends and issues in criminal justice.
  • Critically analyze criminal behavior as both personal and societal issues.
  • Demonstrate effective written and oral communication skills.
  • Exhibit effective critical thinking skills and techniques appropriate for the profession.
  • Apply learned skills and ethics in facing the ever-increasing issues in a diverse society.
  • Demonstrate the knowledge gained in the day to day practice of the criminal justice profession.


Instructor: Marc Elcock

Questions: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Criminal Justice Major: Associate of Arts