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Online Nursing Programs in Iowa

By Margaret Wack | Updated 10/28/2022

Several colleges in Iowa offer online nursing degrees, including Graceland University which has a 100% NCLEX pass rate. Located in Lamoni, Graceland University offers 100% online nursing degrees at the bachelor's, master's, doctoral, and certificate levels. Iowa is a compact state, which enables nurses who earned their license in any of the other compact states to practice in the state of Iowa and vice-versa. Licenses are renewed every three years. Nurses must complete 36 contact hours of continuing education and a course on mandatory approved identification and reporting of child and elderly abuse in order to be eligible for renewal.

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Comprehensive List of Online Nursing Schools in Iowa

School Annual Tuition NCLEX Pass Rate Locations
# Allen College $19,052 96.0% Waterloo
# Briar Cliff University $32,202 70.0% Sioux City
# Clarke University $34,670 64.52% Dubuque
# Graceland University $13,050 93.75% Lamoni
# Grand View University $30,508 89.47% Des Moines
# Iowa Wesleyan University $31,530 71.43% Mount Pleasant
# Mercy College of Health Sciences $18,150 88.0% Des Moines
# Morningside College $32,720 87.1% Sioux City
# Mount Mercy University $33,862 92.11% Cedar Rapids
# Northwest Iowa Community College $6,540 Not Reported Sheldon
# Saint Ambrose University $31,812 88.41% Davenport
# St. Luke's College $20,440 92.86% Sioux City
# University of Iowa $31,569 93.0% Iowa City
# University of Phoenix $9,552 90.0% Nationwide
# Upper Iowa University $31,685 Not Reported Fayette
# Waldorf University $8,700 Not Reported Forest City
# William Penn University $26,100 Not Reported West Des Moines

Becoming a Nurse in Iowa

Job growth among healthcare occupations, including nursing, is projected to continue at a higher rate than the average occupation amid the current shortage of healthcare professionals in the U.S. This shortage is particularly acute in Iowa, where the state's legislature has recognized it as a public health issue.

Attending a nursing school in Iowa gives students a strong platform on which to build a solid nursing career and set themselves up to play a critical role in helping address the shortage in care. The Iowa Board of Nursing is the regulatory body in the state responsible for controlling all levels of nursing licensure.

Learn about how to become a nurse in Iowa below, including information about licensure for the following types of nurses: certified nursing assistant (CNA), licensed practical nurse (LPN), registered nurse (RN), and advanced registered nurse practitioner (ARNP).

To learn about online nursing programs and requirements in other states, explore our list of accredited nursing degrees by state below:

How To Get CNA Certification in Iowa

To work as a CNA, candidates must register on the Direct Care Worker CNA registry maintained by the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals. To become certified, applicants must complete a state-approved training program and then pass two different evaluations for competency: one testing knowledge and the other testing practical skills. CNAs undergo multiple background checks during the application process, including criminal histories and abuse registries.

Training programs to obtain an Iowa CNA license require at least 75 hours, 30 of which must be in clinical work. Examples of clinical work relevant to the CNA license include the following:

  • First aid, CPR, and AED
  • Infectious disease control
  • Learning how to take and record patient vital signs
  • Workplace safety and protocol
  • Patient care and bedside manner
  • Range of motion exercises to accommodate patients who require rehabilitation
  • Communication skills, teamwork, and team building

CNA Certification Renewal

In order to stay on the Iowa CNA registry, applicants must perform nursing-related duties for at least one eight-hour workday during each two-year period. Applicants who do not meet this requirement must complete the certificate application process again.

How To Get an LPN License in Iowa

To obtain an Iowa LPN license, applicants must complete a state-approved nursing program. Afterward, LPN applicants must also complete the following:

1

Furnish an official transcript from the nursing program to the Iowa Board of Nursing detailing all the relevant clinical coursework proving competency for the RN licensure.

2

Request fingerprint cards from the board, which must be mailed in the same envelope as the rest of the application.

2

Take the National Council Licensure Examination for LPNs (NCLEX-LPN). Applicants should apply for the exam through Pearson Vue.

Applicants with an Iowa nursing license who wish to be authorized to supervise other nurses or perform intravenous therapy will require additional coursework, and LPNs who are employed as supervisors at long-term care facilities are expected to complete a board-approved course within six months of obtaining their LPN license.

How To Get an RN License in Iowa H2

Applicants for an Iowa RN license must have proof of graduation from an approved nursing program in Iowa, which can be an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or higher. Below are the steps for the RN application process:

1

Furnish an official transcript from the nursing program to the Iowa Board of Nursing detailing all the relevant clinical coursework proving competency for the RN licensure.

2

Request fingerprint cards from the board, which must be mailed in the same envelope as the rest of the application.

3

Take the NCLEX-RN. Applicants should apply for the exam through Pearson Vue.

How To Get an APRN/ARNP License in Iowa



In Iowa, an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) is referred to as an advanced registered nurse practitioner (ARNP).

To get an Iowa ARNP license, applicants must have completed at least a master's in nursing in one of the following capacities:

Applicants must also have a valid RN license and a nursing certification in one of the ARNP capacities by an approved national certifying organization. The ARNP application process includes the following steps:

1

Fill out an application through the Iowa Board of Nursing. If an applicant cannot complete the application online, they must call the board and request a paper application.

2

Pay a nonrefundable fee.

3

Furnish a copy of an active RN license.

4

Furnish a copy of any details that may arise during a criminal background check.

5

Provide a hard copy of official transcripts from an accredited master's level (or higher) nursing program.

In Iowa, ARNPs are also eligible to apply for prescriptive authority for Schedule II-V controlled substances.

FAQs About Online Nursing Programs in Iowa

How Many Nursing Schools Are in Iowa?


There are over 30 nursing schools in Iowa to choose from, including schools that offer ADNs and bachelor's degrees in nursing. When choosing a nursing program, you should look for accredited schools with a track record of student success. An online RN program in Iowa may be a good fit for students looking to balance school with work and family responsibilities.

Is Iowa Good for Nurses?


According to Wallethub, Iowa is the 11th best state for nurses in the country. If you're looking to pursue a nursing career in Iowa, you can look forward to competitive salaries and supportive work environments across the state.

Students looking to change careers may also pursue related work as a nutritionist, physical therapist, or lab technician, to name a few options.

How Do I Become an RN in Iowa?


There are several steps you'll need to take in order to become an RN in Iowa. These include completing an ADN or Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), completing the NCLEX-RN, and submitting an application for licensure.

How Long Does It Take To Become an RN in Iowa?


Students who choose to pursue an AND may complete the program and pass the required exam in as little astwo years. Students who want to obtain a BSN or a higher degree, such as a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), may take four or more years.

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