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Iowa Nurse Aide Registry

Becoming a New CNA in Iowa

A CNA is able to work in in Iowa’s care facilities provided that he/she:

  • Is able to partake in a 75-hour instruction program approved by the sate.
  • Has passed the nurse aide competency exam.

Alternative ways to work as a CNA in Iowa:

  • Registered nurses and licensed practical nurses can bypass the registration in the Direct Care Worker Registry and get listed listed in the nursing license registry and start working as a CNA.
  • Nursing students that have completed the state-approved Fundamental of Nursing courses can be placed in the Direct Care Worker Registry or DCWR.
  • Challenge exam provides an alternative to candidates that have completed any CNA program that has yet to be approved by the state of Iowa. By the same token, foreign-trained nurses and military trained healthcare professionals are eligible to be registered.

Useful Links:


CNA License Verification in Iowa

License verification is done via DCW Registry Website. Note: A Social Security Number is required.

License Verification


Renewing a Nurse Aide Certificate in Iowa

Candidates will receive recertification form via email which will be sent 2 to 3 months before the expiry date of the certification. Certification renewal is then carried out by the state of Iowa every 24 months on Jan 31st of even-numbered by completing 8 hours of CNA work in a long-term care facility.

Note: Volunteer work or education is unfortunately not counted towards recertification.

Renewal Information


Reinstating a Lapsed Nurse Aide Certificate

A CNA whose license has expired will be required to re-take both the written and skills evaluations and competency exam.

FAQ List


Out-of-state CNA Certification Transfer

A CNA transferee is automatically eligible after filling out an application form issued by Direct Care Worker Registry under the condition that the transferee in question is currently in good standing from the state the certification was originally obtained from.

Reciprocity application


If you have additional questions, you may contact the Iowa Nurse Aide Registry at:

Iowa Direct Care Worker Registry
Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals
Health Facilities Division
Lucas State Office Building
321 East 12th Street, Des Moines, IA 50319
Phone: (515) 281-4077
Fax: (515) 242-5022
License Verification: (866) 876-1997