How to Become a Registered Nurse in Iowa
The field of nursing is very competitive career choice, and the work is challenging and rewarding. The state of Iowa requires nurses to be licensed before practicing as a nurse. Registered nurses (RN) must meet certain education and exam requirements in order to become licensed. Nurses must be of good moral character and have the stamina to be on their feet for an entire shift.
Nursing in Iowa is expected to continue to grow by 23% through the year 2020. New nursing opportunities in Iowa are due to advances in medical technology and increased health options. Since the general population is living longer, the aging population is requiring more healthcare.
The Iowa Board of Nursing (IBON) requires RNs to complete a nursing program approved by the IBON and earn a minimum of an Associate’s Degree in Nursing. The program must be completed at a college or university accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). An Associate’s degree program typically takes two years to complete and will include class work and clinical training.
Once the educational requirement has been completed, students must take the National Council for Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). The student must submit an application to test to the IBON and then register with Pearson VUE, the exam administrator. There are separate fees due to the IBON and Pearson VUE. Applicants must complete a criminal background check and submit a fingerprint card as part of the application to test.
The IBON will review each application submitted to test and when declared complete, the applicant will be issued an authorization to test (ATT). Once the ATT has been received, the applicant has 90 days to schedule and take the NCLEX-RN test with Pearson VUE. If the applicant passes the exam, they will be issued an RN license. If the student does not pass the exam, the applicant will receive a breakdown of their score and an invitation to take the exam again.
RNs must renew their license every two years. Nursing licenses expire either on 15 September or 15 October. September renewals can be executed anytime after 15 July and the deadline to submit renewal applications is 15 August. October renewals can be executed anytime after 15 August and the deadline to submit renewal applications is 15 September. By meeting the renewal submission deadlines, the RN will have a new license in hand before the previous license expires.
RNs will find a variety of employment opportunities and include staff nurses in hospitals, nursing homes and assisted care facilities, rehabilitation facilities, occupational healthcare centers, visiting nurse and hospice organizations, government, educational and correctional facilities, vacation outlets such as cruise ships, blood collection centers, American Red Cross and insurance companies evaluating medical claims.
The average RN salary is $59,000 annually and based on a 40 hour workweek. The average starting salary for an entry level RN is $48,000 annually. The actual salary will vary depending on the geographic location and type of facility where employed. RNs that assume a supervisory position such as a director of nurses or unit manager, and may approach the $110,000 annually.
RN Nursing Schools in Iowa
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- Doctor of Nursing Practice with an Emphasis in Educational Leadership
- M.S. in Nursing with an Emphasis in Leadership in Health Care Systems (Bridge)
- Doctor of Nursing Practice
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- Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)