Iowa Nursing Programs

Overview on Iowa’s Nursing Issues

Iowa is the pinnacle of a midwestern state: flat, beautiful, and unassuming. It enjoys the ranking of safest state in the nation, and also claims one of the lowest unemployment rates and lowest costs of living in a country where these rates have ballooned dangerously in recent years.

Among these figures, though, one also discovers that Iowa is struggling beneath the weight of one of the most severe nursing shortages in the US. If the offer of a picturesque state, cheap bills, reliable job security and safety for you and your family appeal to you, Iowa might be the ideal place for you to enter into a nursing career in one of its many home care centers, medical clinics, or other healthcare facilities.

Outlook for Iowa Nurses

The central state’s statistics from the US Bureau of Labor show that its dearth of nurses as compared to the population in need of care is alarming. In a state of three million people spread between big city Des Moines and small to mid-size towns, only 40,000 nurses are employed, including 32,000 RNS and 7000 licensed practical nurses. Several thousand new RNs are needed to make up for the slack and replace those over 55 in the workforce who will soon be retiring.

The bottom line for those wishing to provide care in Iowa is that the need is high, and the supply is low, but on the upswing. More and more nurses are beginning to flood into hospitals and clinics. And more and more RNs are receiving their BSN degree rather than their Associate’s degree than ever before. The positions are filling up, and the standards of education are increasing, but there is room for many more highly trained nurses to make up for the initial scarcity.

Jobs and Regulatory Licensing for Iowa Nurses

If you are seeking an advanced nursing education, you may want to look at the programs of a bordering state like Illinois, as the number of instructors and programs for DNP and PhD programs in nursing is dwindling in Iowa. However, if you are aiming to get an entry-level LPN/LVN diploma, or get an Associate’s or BSN to become a RN, you will find 30 university programs in the state with courses and degrees to offer you. Basic certifications like these can also be acquired simply and with low tuition through online coursework if a student can’t afford to take time off from work to advance their education.

Once you are in the market for a license and ready to begin putting your classroom work into practice, you can rely on the Iowa Board of Nursing to be your primary resource. The process of licensure is now entirely online, where you can apply for your license, get examination information, and validate your accreditation. Prospective nurses can even use the Board’s website to search for approved nursing school programs, view statistics on nursing education in Iowa, and network with other professionals. The Iowa Board also serves as the disciplinary authority and mediator in the state, intervening when necessary and ensuring that doctors, nurses, and patients comply with safety and ethical regulations under penalty of law.

The Iowa Health system of care, which serves a whopping third of the entire state patient population, is part of the Iowa Hospital Association (IHA). The IHA represents member institutions all over the state from Sioux City to Cedar Rapids to Centerville. The organization is educational, informative, and serves, along with the Iowa Nurses Association, as a voice of the people. Employers like Iowa Health and other major medical facilities are among the state’s most well-compensating care providers who are in major demand of nursing professionals.

Average Salaries for Nurses in Iowa

Data from BLS 2012 10th Percentile 50th Percentile 90th Percentile
Registered Nurses $38,760.00 $51,700.00 $70,880.00
Licensed Practical Nurses $29,240.00 $36,910.00 $46,830.00


The US Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook, Occupational Employment Statistics, and Employment Projections
The American Health Care Association
Kaiser Family Foundation
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Iowa Hospital Association
Iowa Board of Nursing