CNA Certification in Iowa

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Direct Care Worker (DCW) is the name given to the CNAs of Iowa. The process of acquiring CNA certification begins with the enrolment for the training program (approved by the State’s ‘Division of Health Facilities’), taking the competency test and passing the exam to appear on the ‘Iowa Nurse Aide Registry.’

Most of the states use NNAAP testing but Iowa do not. Instead, the aspirants take the test in the same nursing facility from where they take the training.  Training is provides by several nursing homes, technical schools and colleges of Iowa.

Eligibility Requirement

Like other states, Iowa has also got some pre-requisites for candidates to become eligible for the state approved training programs. Here, they are

  • Minimum age of the spirant must be 16.
  • Proof of High School Diploma or equivalent GED;
  • Candidate must take the complete physical test that covers drug testing, TB testing and proof of immunization.
  •  No criminal background. A criminal background check is done for this and the candidates pay the fees that come along the check.

How to Apply

Aspirants can write the competency exam and earn the CNA credentials in Iowa without taking the CNA training programs, if

  • Candidates attended the training programs that would have met CNA standards set before 1989;
  • Candidates have completed the training (inside or outside the state) of 100 hours in a program that meets the CNA standard of Iowa;
  • RNs, LPNs or military personnel; or
  • Candidate has worked as a CNA for the last 2 years in one or more nursing homes of Iowa owned by the same employer.

For others who need to take the training can take it from community colleges and nursing home of Iowa.

In Iowa, the approved training programs are of at least 75 hours. These training hours divided between the classroom study of 45 hours and the clinical work of 30 hours. After completing the training, candidates can apply for the exam.


The cost of the CNA training in Iowa costs at least $ 150. Besides this, there are other test fees too, which differ from location to location. The testing fees fall somewhere between the $ 15 and $ 45. Higher fee (than written test fee) is charged for oral testing.

Employers pay all the certification concerning fees of the CNA certification inspiring employees. Other aspirants, who are not employed in any nursing facility, bear certification-expenses on their own. But, if they succeed in appearing on the state registry within 112 months, the paid fees is reimbursed to candidates.

Certification Renewal

If CNAs of the state stay out of the paid -employed for more than 24 month, CNA credentials lose their validity. To become active and work again as a CNA in Iowa, candidates need to take and qualify both the exams (Written and Practical).

Must Know Facts

  • According to the Federal Law, aspirants of Iowa’s CNA certification do not pay training and testing fees if they are employed at a medically certified nursing facility.
  • Candidates must receive training of at least 12 hours if they work as a CNA in a certified long –term care facility.