Police officer speaking to criminal justice class

Criminal Justice

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.

NOTE: This program is located on the Creston campus.

Awards Available

AAS Associate of Applied Science Degree 

The Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree is a specialized degree that can be used for immediate entry into the workplace.  Emphasis is placed on competence of applying basic principles, theories, and occupational skills.  These are two-year programs.

A certificate or diploma is a credential showing completion of a select group of courses that focus on job skills preparation in a 9– or 10–month format. These programs may be used toward completion of an AAS degree.

Southwestern Community College also offers a transfer pathway in criminal justice if your final goal is a bachelor's degree.

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

Want to find out more about the Criminal Justice program? Get Information

  • CRJ 100 Introduction to Criminal Justice
  • CRJ 130 Criminal Law
  • CRJ 155 Introduction to Child Maltreatment and Advocacy
  • CRJ 110 Patrol Procedures
  • CRJ 111 Police and Society
  • CRJ 200 Criminology
  • CRJ 120 Introduction to Corrections
  • CRJ 932 Internship
  • CRJ 128 Victimology
  • CRJ 132 Constitutional Law
  • CRJ 141 Criminal Investigation
  • PEA 121 Circuit Wellness
  • PHI 105 Introduction to Ethics
  • SOC 110 Introduction to Sociology
  • CRJ 201 Juvenile Delinquency
  • CRJ 207 Drug Use and Abuse
  • CRJ 230 Evidence
  • PEA 121 Circuit Wellness
  • PSY 111 Introduction to Psychology

Click on the course number in the list above to view the course description. This may not be a complete list of courses that may be included for the Criminal Justice program. To see all courses in a semester-by-semester plan, view the Criminal Justice program course outline.

Download the program outline

Degree requirement advising sheet

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.

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Want to learn more?

Our admissions representatives would love to answer your questions and give you more information about this program at SWCC. Contact them at: