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Career opportunities for a motor vehicle investigator

In order to become an Iowa motor vehicle investigator, persons must successfully complete the following four required tests.
  1. Fitness (Cooper Standards)
  2. P.O.S.T (Peace Officer Selection Test)
  3. M.M.P.I (Minnesota Multiphasic Psychological Evaluation)
  4. Oral Board

Certified Iowa peace officers are not required to complete a fitness test, as per Iowa Administrative Code. All applicants must successfully complete Investigative Bureau's fitness requirements.

Applicants are responsible for all personal costs (e.g., transportation, lodging, meals) incurred during the testing process.

As peace officers with statewide jurisdiction, the primary job responsibility of a motor vehicle investigator is the investigation of motor vehicle dealer compliance, vehicle registration, salvage vehicles, driver license fraud, fee for new registration fraud, odometer fraud, and stolen vehicles.

Job duties

See motor vehicle investigator duties and responsibilities

Minimum qualifications

Applicant must:
  • Be a United States citizen and become an Iowa resident.
  • Be at least 18 years of age.
  • Possess a valid Iowa driver's license.
  • Possess a high school diploma or general educational development (GED) diploma.
  • Be in acceptable physical and mental condition to perform his/her duties under physically demanding conditions.
  • Have uncorrected vision no worse than 20/100 in each eye, corrected to 20/20 in each eye.
  • Have normal color vision as prescribed by Iowa Law Enforcement Academy rules:  Color vision is determined by the pseudoisochromatic plate tests such as, but not limited to, the American Optical Co. (Required identification of 14 out of 18 plates.)
  • Have normal hearing in each ear.  (Hearing is considered normal when tested by an audiometer and hearing sensitivity thresholds are within 25 dB measured at 1000 Hz, 2000 Hz and 3000 Hz averaged together.)
  • Have no history of epilepsy.
  • Have refrained from unlawful use or experimentation of any drug, with the exception of marijuana or steroids, will disqualify an applicant. Unlawful use or experimentation of marijuana or steroids within five years from date of application will disqualify an applicant. Unlawful use or experimentation of marijuana or steroids occurring more than five years prior to the date of application will be evaluated.
  • Not have a conviction of domestic assault.
  • Be willing to relocate.
  • Pass a background examination, including fingerprint search through state and national files.

In addition to these requirements, a motor vehicle investigator must meet these educational and experience requirements to be considered for employment:

Graduation and certification from an academy approved by the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) Director and Council and experience equal to two years of full-time peace officer work in the application, interpretation, investigation, and enforcement of motor vehicle laws and regulations;


post high school education with an emphasis in law enforcement, criminal justice, or police science may be substituted on the basis of 30 semester hours equals one year of the required experience to a maximum substitution of two years; no substitution for the graduation and certification from an ILEA approved academy is permitted;


employees with current continuous experience in the state executive branch that includes experience equal to 18 months full-time work as a Motor Vehicle Officer.


Pay scale under current contract (as of April 2014):
  • $1,700.80 to $2,578.40 (biweekly)
  • $44,220.80 to $67,038.40 (annual)


  • Paid vacation
  • Paid sick leave
  • $20,000 paid life insurance
  • Medical and dental insurance
  • Pretax conversion program
  • Iowa Public Employees Retirement System (IPERS) with retirement available at 55 after 22 years of service
  • Deferred compensation


If you believe you meet the minimum qualifications and with proper training can perform the essential functions of a motor vehicle investigator with the Iowa DOT, you are encouraged to request an employment application packet during open application periods.

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