Criminal Justice

Criminal Justice

Justice Careers Start Here

Examine issues relating to crime, law, and justice. You’ll learn to analyze situations and events in a logical way, organize the parts of a problem effectively, appreciate diversity, work with a wide cross-section of the community, and believe in your abilities and judgment – all while recognizing your personal limitations and developmental needs.

Go straight into the workforce to begin your career in this exciting field after graduation, or if you're interested in transferring to a four-year college or university to continue your studies, take a look at our Liberal Arts degree in Criminal Justice.

How to ApplyProgram Details

Kirkwood offers more than $3 million in scholarships for students each year, and there are many specifically for students enrolled in the Criminal Justice program.

Graduates of the Criminal Justice program will be able to:

  • Develop a working vocabulary of criminal justice terminology.
  • Demonstrate basic knowledge of the methods used in criminal justice research, including sources and data.
  • Identify career opportunities in the field of criminal justice.
  • Describe the components of the American criminal justice system, their functions, and their organization.
  • Relate the structure and function of the American criminal justice system to contemporary society (e.g. Democratic values).
  • Construct and evaluate strategies to address ethical/moral challenges faced by criminal justice practitioners.

It is highly recommended that students earn an Associate of Arts degree and transfer to a four-year institution.

Students typically transfer to Mt. Mercy University, the University of Northern Iowa, Central Missouri State, Upper Iowa University, St. Ambrose University, Simpson College, Iowa State University and Iowa Wesleyan, and pursue bachelors degrees in Criminal Justice, Criminology or Crime Analysis.

Explore future career opportunities:

Career Coach

Criminal Justice students are encouraged to join the Kirkwood chapter of SkillsUSA, a workforce development organization for students with nearly 400,000 members nationally. 

SkillsUSA is one of eight recognized members of the National Coordinating Council for Career and Technical Student Organizations (NCC-CTSO). CTSOs are co-curricular groups that help students in career and technical education programs further their knowledge and skills by participating in activities, events, and competitions.

Program Costs

Criminal Justice 

School Year: 2024–25

Program Entry Semester: Fall, Spring

Fall Spring Fall Spring Total
Credit Hours per Semester 15 17 15 15 62
In-State Tuition $3,255 $3,689 $3,255 $3,255 $13,454
Technology Fee per Semester $50 $50 $50 $50 $200
Clinical Expenses (mileage, lodging, screenings, etc.) $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Conferences/Seminars $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Course Resources (textbooks, software, etc.) $257 $367 $446 $357 $1,427
Course/Section Fees $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Laptop (required devices) $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Testing Fees $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Third Party Credentials $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Tool Sets $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Uniforms $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Other $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Total Estimated Cost $3,562 $4,106 $3,751 $3,662 $15,081


Costs provided are estimated and based on the following current tuition rates: $217 (In-State), $290 (Out-of-State), $400 (International).

Fees and costs are subject to change. To view all costs associated with attending college visit our Tuition and Costs page.

What career could this lead to?

Graduates with a Criminal Justice degree can obtain jobs in a variety of different career opportunities.
Explore Careers

Meet Our Faculty


Andrea Wilson
Title: Program Coordinator
Phone: 319-398-5534
Office: 1033 Cedar Hall


Jeff Hembera
Title: Faculty
Phone: 319-398-5716
Office: 1020 Cedar Hall

Adjunct Faculty

Mike Penrod
George O'Donnell

Mission Statement

At Kirkwood Community College, our mission is to provide high school students with a comprehensive and engaging Introduction to Criminal Justice program that not only equips them with fundamental knowledge but also fosters critical thinking, ethical awareness, and a passion for justice. Through a combination of rigorous academic content and practical experiences, we aim to prepare our students for further studies and potential careers in the field, all while instilling a strong sense of social responsibility and respect for the principles of justice, fairness, and equality.

Photo of Grace Nichols

“As a Nursing student, I really appreciate the smaller class sizes. If I need extra help, I can get it from my instructors. They care about every student and want to see us succeed.”

Grace Nichols,
Cedar Rapids, Iowa


Social Sciences Department
2092 Cedar Hall