Navigating the Nursing Profession in Iowa

Updated: Oct 6



Let us help you land on your dream job here in Iowa! Read on this article to know more about the licensing process in Iowa, and more!

 

Through this article, you will be able to know the following:

  • Fees for the licensing

  • Licensing renewal process (step-by-step)

  • Requirements for Continuing Education in Nursing

  • Licensing and certification

  • Job and Salary Expectations of Nurses in Iowa

  • Popular hospitals in Iowa

  • Nursing associations in Iowa

  • Contact details


 

Fees for the Licensing

The table below shows the required payments for the licensing, whether you are a first-time nurse, applying by endorsement, or renewing your license. For more information, visit the Iowa licensing page.



As a nursing compact state, Iowa lets nurses hold multi state licenses.


*Fees may change without any notice.

**A background check is required in most states, but prices are not usually indicated.



 

Licensing Renewal Process

  1. Check when your license expires by visiting the Iowa Board of Nursing website. Iowa has a Verification page for you to verify your license.

  2. Complete all your continuing education requirements BEFORE your license expires.

  3. Apply for your renewal process by going to the Iowa Board of Nursing. You may check on the Renewal Information page for more specific information. Be reminded that if your Primary State of Residency is not Iowa, you can not apply for a licensure in Iowa because it is a compact state. You must declare that Iowa is your Primary State of Residency to be able to do so.


 

Requirements for Continuing Education in Nursing

The following are the Continuing Education Requirements for nurses in Iowa.

  • For RN, you must complete 36 hours every 3 years

  • For LPN, you must complete 36 hours every 3 years

  • For APRN, you must maintain current certification in a specialty that should be in compliance with Continuing Education (CE) requirements of Iowa.

Starting 1st of July 2019, It is a requirement for licensees that are mandatory reporters to complete 2 contact hours in identifying and reporting children that are abused, and 2 contact hours in identifying and reporting abuse independent adults. Every 3 years, licensees are also required 1 hour of recertification training (for each course) for all subsequent renewals.

The Iowa Board of Nursing accepts courses that are ANCC accredited. For more details, you may also check on Iowa Board of Nursing CE.

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Licensing and Certification


Step 1: Education

To earn an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN), you must attend an accredited institution that offers ADN for 18-24 months. You can also take a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) Degree in an accredited institution. These programs typically take 4 to 5 years to complete. If you have an ADN but you wanna pursue your bachelor’s, there are certain programs that let you earn your BSN in 12 to 18 months. There is also an RN to BSN program that will take one year for you to earn the degree. Said programs let you save on time and money as you work towards advancing your career.


Step 2: Licensing

Six weeks before your graduation, you can start the process of your application for the NCLEX-RN exam. This exam is composed of 75-265 items and you will be given a limit of 5 hours to finish all of it. Failing the exam does not necessarily mean that you do not have the chance anymore. After your first try, you just have to wait for 45 days and you can apply again.

The scope of NCLEX includes questions about: (1) health promotion and maintenance; (2) safe and effective care environment; (3) physiology and integrity; and (4) psychology and integrity.


Step 3: Experience

This time, you must learn how to take the opportunities in gaining first-hand experiences in dealing with patients, with colleagues and superiors, and with the different situations that you might face. These invaluable experiences will make you more attractive to bigger employers in the future.

Step 4: Certification

Your last step is to obtain certifications for your chosen career. There are different requirements for earning a certification, depending on your preferences so it is important to check with the governing provider for information. You can attend several trainings, seminars or workshops in varied institutions for this purpose.

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Job and Salary Expectations of Nurses in Indiana

Shortage of healthcare professionals, specifically nurses, has been a perennial issue in the country. This makes nurses highly in demand during this period of time. This profession will increase by about 9% from 2020 to 2030. The average annual salary is $64,990.

Let us help you check out average wages of nurses to help determine if Iowa is the right place for you.


 

Popular Hospitals in Iowa

Still not decided on whether to work as a nurse in Iowa or not? This list of the best hospitals in the state will surely help you make that decision to go in the right direction. U.S. News and World Report made a list of the best and popular hospitals in Iowa. Here are some of them:

  • University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics – (Iowa City, IA):

  • Regionally ranked #1 in Iowa

  • Nationally ranked in 4 adult specialties and 5 pediatric specialties

  • Rated high performing in 6 adult specialties and 12 procedures and conditions

  • General medical and surgical facility and a teaching hospital

  • Part of the Magnet Recognition Program®.

  • Specialties include Hospitalist care or hospital medicine, Ophthalmology, Ear, nose, & throat, Gynecology, and Cancer

  • MercyOne Des Moines Medical Center – (Des Moines, IA):

  • Regionally ranked #2 in Iowa, and #1 is Des Moines

  • Rated high performing in 12 adult procedures and conditions

  • General medical and surgical facility

  • Specialties include Abdominal aortic aneurysm repair, Aortic valve surgery, Heart bypass surgery, Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and Hip replacement and knee replacement

  • UnityPoint Health-St. Luke’s Hospital – (Cedar Rapids, IA):

  • ✔regionally ranked #3 in Iowa

  • ✔ rated high performing in 10 adult procedures and conditions

  • ✔general medical and surgical facility

  • ✔part of the Magnet Recognition Program®.

  • ✔Some specialties of the hospital include Abdominal aortic aneurysm repair, Aortic valve surgery, Heart bypass surgery, Heart failure, Hip replacement and knee replacement

  • UnityPoint Health-Iowa Medical Center – (Des Moines, IA):

  • Regionally ranked #4 in Iowa, and #2 in Des Moines

  • Rated high performing in 8 adult procedures and conditions

  • General medical and surgical facility

  • Specialties include Cancer, Cardiology & Heart Surgery, Diabetes & Endocrinology, Gastroenterology & GI Surgery, Neurology & Neurosurgery, and Orthopedics.

  • Mercy Medical Center-Cedar Rapids – (Cedar Rapids, IA):

  • Regionally ranked #5 in Iowa

  • Rated high performing in 6 adult procedures and conditions

  • General medical and surgical facility

  • Specialties include Cardiology & Heart Surgery, Nephrology, Orthopedics, and Pulmonology & Lung Surgery.

*The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) awards Magnet Status to Hospitals that apply and meet certain criteria. This award is also considered as the “gold standard” for excellence in nursing practice and care.

 

Nursing Associations in Iowa

Becoming a member of a nursing association opens a lot of opportunities to your career growth. It gives you the advantages of varied job offers and networking, and a bunch of information and experiences shared between you and your fellow nurses. Through these organizations, learning and professional growth never stop. Listed below are just a few of the nursing organizations that you can find and join once you are in Iowa.

Iowa Organization of Nursing Leadership: “This organization of nurses is determined to mold Iowa’s healthcare innovation, leadership, professional growth, expertise, advocacy and education.”

Iowa School Nurse Organization: “The nurses in this association are committed to optimizing the academic and health achievement of all students by education and advocacy for each and every school nurse.”

Iowa Nurses Association: “This institution envisions working together in promoting professional development, nursing practice guide, and resolving current issues in nursing.”

For more information about the nursing associations, you may visit the comprehensive list of national organizations as well.


 

Contact Details

Iowa Board of Nursing

Phone: (515) 281-3255

Fax: (515) 281-4825

Website: https://nursing.iowa.gov/

400 SW 8th Street

Suite B

Des Moines, IA 50309


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