Iowa Nurse Practitioner Licensure Steps - 2024

AKA: CNP License, APRN Licensure

by Staff

Updated: February 13th, 2024

Nurse Practitioner Licensure Requirements in Iowa

Follow below to learn how to become a nurse practitioner (NP) in Iowa.

Initial Registered Nurse (RN) License

Already have your RN License?  Skip to the next section

Applicants for an APRN license are required to hold a valid registered nurse (RN) license to practice in Iowa. As Iowa is a party to the enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact (eNLC), an exemption to this rule is the possession of a valid and unencumbered multistate/NLC license from one of the other member states.

Holders of such licenses are only required to apply for an RN license in Iowa when they want to change their state of permanent residency.

For those who need to acquire an Iowa RN license, there are two major application routes: RN by Examination and RN by Endorsement. The application process will include the submission of a complete application, the payment of the prescribed fees, and the submission of supporting documents as required.

RN by Examination

This is the route of application for graduates of board-approved nursing programs from approved institutions in Iowa.

  • The minimum academic qualification for an RN is an associate’s degree in nursing. However, a bachelor’s degree will get you closer to ultimately satisfying the NP education requirement for licensure. All applicants are required to have a copy of their transcript sent from the institution where they had their nursing education to the board. The transcript must include the date of graduation and the kind of degree obtained.
  • The board accepts applications all year long and can be completed online for a $93 application fee.
  • You are also required to submit proof of lawful presence in the US if you were foreign-trained. This may be a copy of your US visa, Green Card, or Social Security Number. Local applicants are also required to provide their social security number in their application. Foreign-trained nurses are also required to submit a report of the evaluation of their credentials by the CGFNS. They will also be required to show proof of taking and passing an English Language proficiency test if they were trained in another language or in a country or place where English is not the major language of communication.
  • All applicants via this route must register to take the National Council Licensure Examination for $200 to be paid to the NCSBN. Once you pass the examination, your license will be sent to the email address specified in your application. If you fail, however, you will receive your exam results and information concerning a retest.

RN by Endorsement

This is the preferred route of application for holders of a valid single state license in another state or jurisdiction in the US, particularly a state that is not a party to the NLC. This is also necessary for holders of single state licenses from NLC member states.

  • The process is completed online for an application fee of $119.
  • It is expected that applicants via this route have completed an undergraduate nursing program awarding at least a bachelor’s degree and have passed the NCLEX-RN.
  • You will be required to verify licensure which can be obtained from the Nursys platform if the state nursing board in question reports to Nursys. If they do not, you will need to contact the board of nursing in that state to obtain the verification.
  • You are also expected to show proof of lawful presence in Iowa, and the United States.
  • Foreign-trained nurses are also required to have their credentials evaluated by the CGFNS and the report of the evaluation sent to the board.

All applicants are required to declare any past convictions or felonies which will be evaluated by the board before a license is issued. If any falsehood is detected in the future, your license will be revoked. You are also mandated to partake in a compulsory fingerprint-based background check which is why you must submit two completed fingerprint cards. To this effect, a $50 fee is added to your application fee. The total bill is to be paid using a credit card and the non-refundable payment is to be made in US dollars.

Advanced Education Requirements

NPs are required to have gone through a graduate-level nurse practitioner program which awards at least a master’s degree in nursing (MSN).

Ideally, these programs should include courses such as advanced pathophysiology, advanced pharmacology, and clinical management. They should also include the coursework and clinical components. They should prepare you to pass certification-based exams for your chosen specialty area and population foci.

National Certification

The end goal of advanced education in the process of becoming a licensed APRN is certification. If you did the right program for your preferred specialty area and population focus, you will be able to pass the certification examination that applies to you. Certain national certification agencies have the responsibility of certifying prospective APRNs. You are to contact the certification agency specific to your chosen specialty area and population foci for the requirements for their certification. Here is a list of some certification agencies recognized in Iowa for NPs:

  • National Certification Corporation (NCC)
  • Pediatric Nursing Certification Board (PNCB)
  • American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP)
  • American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC)
  • National Board of Certification & Recertification of Nurse Anesthetists (NBCRNA)
  • Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation (ONCC)

Getting Licensed as a Nurse Practitioner in Iowa

IBON receives and processes applications for APRN licenses twice weekly, all year long. The applications are to be completed online or on paper and mailed to the board office. The application fee is $81 and is non-refundable. Applicants are required to request that a copy of their transcript be sent to the board by the institution where they completed their graduate-level nurse practitioner education. This transcript should include your date of graduation and the degree awarded.

You will also need to verify your current license and every license you have ever held. Since most state boards share reports with Nursys, you can use their platform to request for verification of license from the board in your state. If your state board does not use Nursys, contact them for the procedure for obtaining such verification and the cost expected.

Provide correct information about past convictions and felonies as these will be reviewed by the board before any license is issued. You are also mandated by law to participate in a fingerprint-based criminal background check. If you will be required to prescribe and dispense controlled medications, you will need to apply for a DEA number. You can reach out to the pharmacy board for application materials for these.