Registered Nurse (RN)

Department of Public Health


Registered nurses practice nursing skills in hospitals and clinics, schools, clients\' homes, workplaces, long-term care facilities, and many non-traditional settings. They practice independently, with other nurses, with physicians, and other health team members. Nursing care is provided to acutely and chronically ill patients and their families, and involves health education and health promotion for clients of all ages. Registered nurses may supervise other personnel including licensed practical nurses and nursing assistants.

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

Who Applies Individuals wishing to practice nursing at the RN-level in the State of Iowa. The registered nurse who resides in a compact state and holds a license in that compact state is authorized to practice as a registered nurse in Iowa.

When To Apply Upon completion of licensure requirements.

Initial Requirements An applicant must graduate from an approved school of nursing at the RN-level, complete fingerprint cards to conduct a criminal history record check and pass a national examination. Nursing education programs in Iowa vary in length from two to four years after graduation/equivalency from high school. Programs offered by community colleges require two years and lead to an associate degree; college and university programs require four years and lead to a baccalaureate degree. The Iowa Board of Nursing must approve applicants with a past criminal record. Foreign applicants seeking initial licensure in Iowa must complete the Credentials Evaluation Service provided by the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS) prior to taking the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) exam. Applicants must pass an English Proficiency Test pursuant to IAC 655, Chapter 3. CGFNS provides primary source verification of education and licensure in the native country.

Duration Twenty-four to thirty-six 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: Required for Exam, Endorsement and Reactivation. $50 Application for Iowa licensure $200 - NCLEX-RN 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-RN) is given year round at approved Pearson Professional Centers in Davenport, West Des Moines, Coralville and Sioux City.

Additional Information The Registered 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