Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)

Department of Public Health


Licensed practical nurses work as direct caregivers in a variety of settings including acute and long-term care under the supervision of a registered nurse or physician. They are members of the health care team working primarily with individuals and families. Nursing skills are based upon knowledge of natural, biological and social sciences, nursing theory and practice.

Code Citation IC, Chapters 17A, 147,152, 272C

Who Applies Individuals qualified to practice nursing at the LPN level in the State of Iowa. The licensed practical nurse who resides in a compact state and holds a license in that compact state is authorized to practice as a licensed practical nurse in Iowa.

When To Apply Upon completion of licensure requirements.

Initial Requirements An applicant must be a high school graduate or equivalent; graduate from an approved school of nursing at the practical nurse level; complete fingerprint cards to conduct a criminal history record check and pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN). Practical nurse programs are the equivalent of one year and include both classroom study and clinical practice. Foreign applicants seeking initial LPN licensure in Iowa must be reviewed by the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS) Credential Evaluation Service prior to taking the NCLEX-PN exam. CGFNS provides primary source verification of educational preparation and licensure in the native country. Applicants must pass an English Proficiency Test pursuant to IAC 655, Chapter 3.

Duration Twenty-four to 36 months for initial license and three years, thereafter.

Processing Time 3-5 business days after receipt of all required documentation and fees.  

Fee Structure Endorsement: $119 Renewal: $99 Examination: $93 Reactivation: $175 Criminal History Record Check: $50 - Iowa licensure by exam, endorsement and reactivation. $200 - NCLEX-PN registration

Renewal Requirements Thirty-six contact hours of continuing education are required for renewal of a license issued for three years.

Exam The national computerized examination (NCLEX-PN) is administered year round at approved Pearson Professional Centers in Davenport, West Des Moines, Coralville and Sioux City.

Additional Information The Licensed Practical Nurse practices nursing following the rules as stated in 655 Iowa Administrative Code.

Services Provided

Service Category

  • Service SubCategory
Contact Information
Kathy Weinberg
400 SW 8th Street, Ste. B
Des Moines, IA 50325