How to Become a Cop in Iowa

With over 3.1 million people residing in Iowa, the need for formidable law enforcement is as high as ever. The prisoner count in the state saw the largest increase during 2017-2018, with a +4.4% hike (395 new prisoners). Idaho came in second with a +4.2% change, followed by Vermont, +3.6%. This data has been taken by a report from the nonprofit organization, Vera Institute of Justice.

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With an ever-increasing prison population, it comes as no surprise that the need for police officers in Iowa is high. If you want to join the force in this state, you ought to continue reading.

Requirements to Become a Police Officer in Iowa
How to Become a Police Officer in Iowa

Career Requirements

Educational Requirements High school diploma or equivalent
Experience/Training Training from Police Academy, Moderate on-the-job training
Key Skills Assertiveness, Sharp Instinct, Ethics & Integrity, Community Awareness, Arms Use, Bravery, Teamwork, Negotiation Skills, Problem Solving, Communication Skills, Mental Agility.
Annual Mean Salary – Iowa, IA (2021) $65,310 (Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers)
Job Outlook – Iowa, IA (2018-2028) 5% (Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2021) and O*Net Online

Steps for Becoming a Police Officer in Iowa

In order to become a police officer in Iowa, you will need to follow these general steps:

  1. Meet the basic eligibility criteria
  1. Fill out and submit the application
  1. Pass the written exam
  1. Clear the polygraph exam
  1. Clear the psychological exam
  1. Pass the interview stage
  1. Clear the medical examinations
  1. Clear the physical fitness test
  1. Attend the police academy training

Bear in mind that this is a generalized list of steps applicable to most areas in Iowa. For a detailed explanation, you are advised to check the websites of your respective jurisdictions.

Eligibility Criteria for Becoming a Police Officer in Iowa

Aspiring police officers in Iowa are required to meet the following basic eligibility criteria before they can apply to the law enforcement department in the state:

  • All candidates must be at least 18 years of age at least, and 65 years of age at maximum
  • Candidates should have excellent vision and normal hearing
  • All candidates must be citizens of the US
  • All candidates must be fluent in English
  • All candidates ought to be residents of Iowa or should plan on becoming residents upon employment
  • Candidates should not have a history of substance abuse
  • Candidates should have a valid driver’s license in the state of Iowa
  • Candidates should not have been convicted for felony, domestic assault or aggravated misdemeanor

The eligibility criteria may vary according to city and jurisdiction. So make sure you check with your local department before beginning the application process.

How long does it take to become a Police Officer in Iowa?

It takes approximately 2 years to become a police officer in Iowa, after you have completed your high school diploma or GED. These two years include the time taken for the application process, the time you will spend at the police training academy period and the probationary period on the job.

How much does a Police Officer make in Iowa?

O*Net Online forecasts a 5% increase in employment opportunities for Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers in Iowa, IA between 2018 and 2028. The corresponding national annual mean average for this occupation is 7%. $65,310 was the mean annual salary for this occupation in Iowa, IA as per BLS in 2021. Below are the top 5 highest paying states for this occupation in the US in 2021.

State Annual Mean Wage 
California $102,920
Washington $92,390
New Jersey $91,690
Alaska $87,510
Illinois $82,800

Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics (2021)

Similarly, states with the highest employment level in police and sheriff’s patrol officers are also as follows:

State Employment 
California 70,050
Texas 60,440
New York 49,910
Florida 45,360
Illinois 30,640

Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics (2021)

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