Become a CNA in Iowa

How to Become a Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA) in Iowa

All nurse assistants in Iowa that desire to work in a Medicare or Medicaid certified nursing facility must be certified. To gain certification, nursing assistant should first contact the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals (IDIA) to obtain a “Direct Care Worker Registry Application.” This application can be accessed through the IDIA website. One of the requirements to register includes the completion of a nursing aide program.


This program must consist of at least seventy-five hours of nurse aide educational training and incorporate a competency test. In addition, at least thirty of the seventy-five hours must be dedicated to clinical or practical training. The application will also request the following data:

  • Personal information (legal name, address, social security number, phone number)
  • Whether a training program has been completed or not
  • Employment history
  • Present employment details
  • Employer or hiring facility
  • Proof of employer’s certification
  • Location of work site
  • Date of hire

It is mandatory that the CNA certification program in Iowa be completed within four months of being hired to maintain employment. CNAs that have recently transferred from another state registry, or have changed their legal name or address, must also re-register by submitting this application. Lastly, if a nurse’s assistant has been unemployed for over two years, they must re-take a written competency exam in order to appear on the current state registry.


The written and practical examination is administered by whatever nurse’s aide training provider a student enrolled through. Fees vary between training program providers, however, exams typically cost between $15-45. Furthermore, students can expect training programs to cost at least $150, unless training is sponsored by a CNA employer.


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