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CNA classes in Iowa are one of the most sought after programs in all of allied health. The demand is skyrocketing and shows no stopping in the future! Working at facilities that include everything from long-term care facilities to hospitals, nursing assistants are seeing some of the highest growth in new job openings in the country. It has also become a great first step towards more advanced jobs in the patient care field. We give you access to the best CNA training classes in Iowa and much more!

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How to become a CNA in Iowa

In the State of Iowa, Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) work under the joint jurisdiction of multiple state agencies. These include the Iowa Department of Inspections & Appeals (DIA) who maintains the state’s registry, the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) who regulates CNA certification in the state, and the Iowa Health Care Association (IHCA) who regulates training programs.

In order to be eligible to work as a nursing assistant, you must be listed on the Iowa Direct Care Worker Registry.

Step 1 – Take the Time to Make Sure you Meet all Requirements for Iowa CNA Courses

The list of requirements below are all the necessary steps you will have to take before you can enroll in to CNA training in Iowa.

Show required immunizations
Show proof of two step TB testing
Be 16 years old or older
Apply for admission to the school of your choice and then register for CNA program
Have HS diploma/GED (some schools allow enrollment of HS students if they have a HS counselor’s permission)
Attend student orientation
Pass any applicable background checks

Step 2 – Enroll in an IHCA-approved CNA training program

The Iowa Health Care Association (IHCA) is in charge of all certification and training of nursing assistants in Iowa. Becoming eligible to for CNA certification requires that you first graduate from an IHCA approved training program. We provide a list of approved CNA programs in Iowa for you below.

Which CNA programs in Iowa are approved by the IHCA?

Before you can challenge either of the two CNA certification exams (written or skills) administered in Iowa, you must first graduate from a program approved by the Iowa Health Care Association (IHCA). The approval statuses and locations where programs are offered is subject to change, so we advise you to contact the IHCA directly to review currently approved courses. You can find information from IHCA here.

Step 3 – Complete the state’s mandated training hours

CNA Courses in Iowa require you to satisfy the state’s mandatory minimum of 30 hours in a hands-on clinical environment, and 75 hours in classroom study. You need to know that you aren’t considered to be eligible to to sit for or take the state’s two CNA certification tests (the Iowa Nurse Aide Written and Skills Exams) unless you’ve met this prerequisite.

Step 4 – Pass the Iowa Nurse Aide Written and Skills Exams

In the Hawkeye State, you are legally required to pass two state-administered exams for nursing assistant certification – the Iowa Nurse Aide Written Exam and the Iowa Nurse Aide Skills Exam. These tests require the test taker to complete written problems, as well as a clinical demo.

Unlike most of the U.S., where a national test provider is used, Iowa offers multiple options for administering its state tests to aspiring nurse aides in the state. The locations where these tests are normally offered depend are often dictated by the program you attend. You will want to ask the staff at your CNA training program about test dates and times for when the next exams will be administered.

The fees for the exam is $50 for the written test and $85 for the skills test.

Step 5 – Become listed on the Iowa Direct Care Worker Registry

Iowa Direct Care Worker Registry is the CNA registry for the state of Iowa. It is operated by the Iowa Department of Inspections & Appeals (DIA) and it is the official list of all the licensed nursing assistants that are sufficiently approved for employment in the state. If you are not listed on the registry, you are not approved for employment as a CNA. The registry will be told by the exam providers after you’ve passed the state’s two certification exams. The waiting time to get your name placed on the Iowa CNA registry is commonly 2 to 3 weeks.

Iowa Direct Care Worker Registry
Iowa Department of Inspections & Appeals
Division of Health Facilities
Lucas State Office Building
321 East 12th Street – 3rd Floor
Des Moines, IA 50319-0083

CNA salary and jobs in Iowa

The 15% growth that is shown by bls.gov in the State of Iowa through 2024 for new CNA jobs will most likely be created in hospitals and nursing homes. Below is a listing of common salaries paid to nursing assistants across Iowa sorted by location and county.

LocationPay TypeLowMedianHigh
United StatesHourly$9.64$12.78$18.22
Yearly$20,040 $26,590 $37,900
IowaHourly$10.16$12.70$17.10
Yearly$21,120 $26,420 $35,570
Iowa City, IAHourly$11.01$14.01$17.83
Yearly$22,900 $29,150 $37,100
Ames, IAHourly$12.03$13.73$16.03
Yearly$25,030 $28,550 $33,350
Des Moines-West Des Moines, IAHourly$10.75$13.73$18.22
Yearly$22,360 $28,550 $37,890
Waterloo-Cedar Falls, IAHourly$10.25$12.91$16.59
Yearly$21,330 $26,860 $34,510
Southwest IowaHourly$10.18$12.64$17.61
Yearly$21,170 $26,300 $36,630
Cedar Rapids, IAHourly$10.19$12.56$16.25
Yearly$21,200 $26,130 $33,810
Omaha-Council Bluffs, NE-IAHourly$10.11$12.53$16.04
Yearly$21,030 $26,050 $33,370
Dubuque, IAHourly$10.08$12.36$17.46
Yearly$20,970 $25,710 $36,320
Northeast IowaHourly$10.05$12.34$16.14
Yearly$20,900 $25,670 $33,560
Davenport-Moline-Rock Island, IA-ILHourly$9.96$12.31$15.45
Yearly$20,720 $25,610 $32,130
Northwest IowaHourly$10.11$12.17$16.21
Yearly$21,040 $25,310 $33,710
Southeast IowaHourly$9.97$11.85$17.48
Yearly$20,730 $24,640 $36,350
Sioux City, IA-NE-SDHourly$9.96$11.68$15.54
Yearly$20,710 $24,280 $32,320

Nursing Assistant Courses in Iowa Near You