Iowa | Training to Become a Police Officer

In Iowa, those wishing to attend a police academy for law enforcement training must be hired by or sponsored by a specific police department. Therefore, a candidate must first apply for a job and go through all the requirements prior to being selected for academy training. The nice thing about this is that those who make it to the academy have a job waiting for them if they graduate, and they don’t have to pay for police academy training out of their own pocket.

If you meet the minimum requirements (which are listed below) for the state of Iowa, you may apply with a police department for an open position. If you are selected to continue in the process you will go through a series of tests and interviews to make sure you are worthy candidate. If a candidate passes all the tests and interviews and is selected, they will attend academy training. If a candidate is able to successfully graduate the academy, they will then be trained on the field under the supervision of a field training officer. After completing field training a cadet finally becomes a police officer in the state of Iowa.

State Requirements for Police Officer Jobs in Iowa

The Iowa police science handbook lists all the requirements of anyone wishing to apply as a police officer in the state of Iowa:
1. Be a U. S. Citizen and a resident of Iowa
2. Be 18 years of age
3. Have a valid Iowa driver’s license
4. Not be addicted to drugs or alcohol
5. Be of good moral character as determined by a thorough background investigation including a fingerprint search conducted of local, state and national fingerprint files and have not been convicted of a felony or a crime involving moral turpitude
6. Successfully pass physical fitness tests
7. Not be opposed to use of force to fulfill duties
8. Be a high school graduate or have a GED certificate
9. Have uncorrected vision of not less than 20/100 in both eyes, corrected to 20/20, and color vision consistent with the Occupational demands of law enforcement
10. Have normal hearing in each ear (hearing aids are acceptable if a candidate can demonstrate sufficient hearing proficiency to perform all necessary duties of a law enforcement officer)
11. Be examined by a physician and meet the physical requirements necessary to fulfill the responsibilities of a law enforcement officer.
12. Undergo psychological testing. (MMPI Testing)
13. Undergo cognitive (Basic Skills) testing.

Average Law Enforcement Salary in Iowa

On average, police officers in Iowa make approximately 49,120 a year on average. This means that depending on the department, location, your education background and other factors you can expect to make 42 and 53 thousand a year when you first begin your career. As with any career, you can earn more pay through years of experience and through promotions. Detectives and criminal investigators in Iowa make an average salary of 63,140 a year. In order to become a detective, police officers are required to work at least 3-5 years before even being eligible for a promotion. Once eligible, and officer needs to be in good standing and pass a test to gain a higher ranking.

Iowa Law Enforcement Schools and Training

One way to have an edge on other candidates applying for police work in Iowa, and also a way to start out at a higher pay, is to pursue a degree prior to applying for a job at a police department. Many people planning on pursuing law enforcement first get a degree in criminal justice or criminal law, or some other related subject. The following is a list of some schools and programs in Iowa pertaining to criminal justice.

  • Briar Cliff University

3303 Rebecca Street, Sioux City, IA 51104


  • Buena Vista University

610 W Fourth Street, Storm Lake, IA 50588


  • Des Moines Area Community College

2006 Ankeny Blvd., Ankeny, IA 50023


  • Eastern Iowa Community College District

306 W River Drive, Davenport, IA 52801


  • Ellsworth Community College

1100 College Avenue, Iowa Falls, IA 50126


  • Grand View University

1200 Grandview Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50316


  • Hawkeye Community College

1501 E Orange Road, Waterloo, IA 50701


  • Iowa Central Community College

1 Triton Circle, Fort Dodge, IA 50501


  • Iowa Wesleyan College

601 N Main Street, Mount Pleasant, IA 52641


  • Kirkwood Community College

6301 Kirkwood Blvd. SW, Cedar Rapids, IA 52406


  • North Iowa Area Community College

500 College Drive, Mason City, IA 50401


  • Saint Ambrose University

518 West Locust Street, Davenport, IA 52803


  • Upper Iowa University

605 Washington Street, Fayette, IA 52142


  • Western Iowa Tech Community College

4647 Stone Avenue, Sioux City, IA 51106