CNA Exams in Iowa

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To be qualified enough to get employed as a CNA in Iowa; you have to get yourself registered in the ‘Iowa Direct Care Worker Registry’. In order to get placed in the registry, you are required to pass the written and skills sections of the test, which are offered by several community colleges in the state.

Written exams:

The written nursing test in Iowa can be conducted as a paper-based or computer based exam for applicants. Once the written exams are finished and you receive the results, it becomes your accountability to keep your written and skills test results carefully, as the testing locations do not take responsibility for this.

The written test contains 100 multiple choice questions. You will be given four options for that, from which only one will be correct. It is advised to every applicant to answer all the questions, as there are no negative markings for the incorrect answers. Every candidate will be given only two hours of time to finish the test.

Skills evaluation:

Before conducting the skills test, candidates will be provided with a testing situation. Candidates will be familiarized with the resident unit. Those, who want to ask any questions, can ask them at this point of time, before the testing begins.

Candidates will get only 45 minutes to finish the examination from the moment; they have introduced themselves to the patient. It is the evaluator’s responsibility to let you know, when your test time is getting over. Once the candidate will stop, no extra points will be given, except those which he/she has gained until that point in time.

The skills tests are structured as a pragmatic nurse aide task for the applicants. They have to perform seven skills in front of the evaluator in the skills competency test. Every candidate will be told to show hand-washing skills. Proper transfer method of a patient is also frequently included in the skills test. Other skills are selected from the skills checklist of a nursing aide.

While the skills test will go on, candidates will be evaluated on:

  • Hand washing skills.
  • Providing oral hygiene.
  • Communication skills.
  • Transferring a patient on a wheel chair.
  • Measuring and recording TPR.
  • Intake and Output of a patient.

Hand washing

Once the candidate will be done with his written section of the exam, the evaluator will provide you a one-on-one skills exam. So, it is important to remember the rule to avoid the increase of infection. Hand washing skills is one the major skill, which every evaluator asks you to perform at the outset of any skill evaluation exam.

Even if, the examiner not specifies to demonstrate the hand washing, as it comes under one of the checked skills; you must still do it to avoid the risk of failing in the exam. Furthermore, keep washing your hands properly in between of every skill just as, you would have done in the real situation while dealing with a patient. Wear hands gloves, whenever it is required during the test, and throw them off properly after every particular task.

Pre-preparation of the CNA Exam:

  • Keep on preparing yourself for the exam.
  • Study the course materials by giving practice exams.
  • Request a co-mate to act as a sick person and practice your basic skills for the actual test.
  • Take a proper night’s sleep prior to going for the exam.
  • Eat the breakfast properly.
  • Dress yourself professionally while going for the test.
  • Set your hair pulled back and maintain trimmed fingernails.
  • Do not carry anything to the test location, except the stuffs your notice list specified, like photo ID, reading glasses, sack lunch, copy of exam notice, etc.
  • Do not bring the cell phone into the testing room.


After completing the training course, candidates have to qualify the competency exam, so that they can easily get enlisted in the ‘Iowa Nurse Aide Registry’. While going for the CNA test, applicants have to pass both portions of the CNA test including written and skills test. Upon successfully passing the test, CNAs will obtain a registry number and get enlisted in the ‘Iowa registry’.

Examination Fees:

The written test is charged with the state wise fee of $45. Applicants have to pay this, after the written test is planned. Your credit card related information will be needed, when you will call for scheduling your written test. You can make contact for the scheduling at 641-752-4645 to plan your written test. If personally you want to make the payments for the test scheduling; then cash and check payments may be accepted. The skill test fee is also paid at the time of skill evaluation schedule, which cost $75 for each applicant.

On the Exam Day:

If a student is not coming to the test location, he/she must inform. In case, the candidate is not able to inform, it will be considered, as a ‘No show’.

  • No show candidate will not be provided any refund.
  • No interpreters or language dictionaries are permitted during testing.
  • Candidates will receive their score straight away.
  • The skills scores of every candidate will be computed, once their test will be completed.
  • They will leave the testing location with a copy of their pass or fail status.

Identification required:

  • Candidates must show their photo ID, prior to the beginning of their test.
  • All candidates must arrive at least 15 minutes earlier the given testing time.
  • Candidates have to stay outside of the examination area, till the time they are called in for their test.
  • It is advised to every candidate appearing in the test, to wear a clinical uniform and a watch at the time of their testing.


A candidate has to gain around 70% or above as a passing score. Applicants can go for retaking the computer-based written test, only three times. After that further nursing training is necessary. The testing fees must be given every time, a test is completed.

Applicants must ensure that they have given correct address on the ‘Competency Test Application Form’ and the ‘Nurse Aide Registry’, so that the ‘Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals’ do not find any discrepancy in the given information of the applicant.

If any applicant has any query regarding their testing status related to passing or failing; they can directly call to the ‘Nurse Aide Registry’ at this number: 866-876-1997.

Maintaining CNA Certification

As per the regulations of the ‘Iowa Occupational Information Center’, the CNA certification in Iowa remains in upright position, on condition that the CNAs should not get involved in any violent, abusive or neglecting activity to lose it.

Moreover, as per the centre, CNAs, who have not worked for the duration of two or more years, will have to undergo both sections of the competency test, so that they can recoup on the list of the ‘Iowa registry’. Criminal background check-up must have done prior to the beginning of CNA training programme.