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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 a fitness test, as per Iowa Admin. Code r. 501-2.3(80B). All applicants must successfully complete motor vehicle enforcement 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, use tax fraud, odometer fraud and stolen vehicles.

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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 pseudoischromatic plates 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:

  • Possess four years experience in law enforcement, or the enforcement, interpretation and/or application of motor vehicle laws, rules or regulations, or
  • Possess an equivalent combination of training experience; substituting one year of course work in an accredited college or university with major course work in law enforcement, transportation, business or public administration for each year of the required experience; or
  • Be a current continuous employee in the state classified service that includes the equivalent of 18 months of full-time experience as a motor vehicle officer 2.


Pay scale under current contract (July 2010):
  • $1,556.00 to $2,357.60 (biweekly)
  • $40,456.00 to $61,297.60 (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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