An article in the Des Moines Register reported that The Bureau of Labor Statistics had released information that indicated that 48 percent of Iowa’s registered nurses were 58 years old or older as of May, 2012. An aging nursing workforce has been a primary driver of the need for new nurses and the explosion of training programs and online colleges offering nursing education. As droves of nurses retire, new ones are needed to fill the growing medical needs of an aging population.
Iowa has plenty of both education and employment opportunities for registered nurses and nurse aides, but anyone who wants to work as a nurse in the state must be licensed by the Iowa State Board of Nursing. The state board offers licensure services for all the standard nurse types, including:
- Registered Nurses (RNs)
- Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs, including Nurse Midwives, Nurse Anesthetists, Nurse Practitioners, and Clinical Nursing Specialists)
- Licensed Vocational/Practical Nurses (LVN/LPN)
- Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA)
Nursing Licensure in Iowa
The Iowa State Board of Nursing controls all licensure operations for the state, although the licensure exam is written and administered by a national organization called the National Council of State Boards of Nursing. Iowa is a member of the Nurse Licensure Compact, and as such, under some circumstances, Iowa will accept a nursing license from any of the 23 other member states, and those states will accept an Iowa-issued nursing license. The requirements for being licensed as a nurse practitioner in Iowa include:
- Complete the National Council Licensure Examination for RNs (NCLEX-RN).
- Submit all required paperwork, including fingerprint cards, criminal background check, proof of completed nursing education, and copies of any other nursing licenses you hold, as well as proof of your completion of a nursing degree or training program.
- Pay the $143 application fee to the Iowa Board of Nursing.
- Meet all continuing education requirements, including 36 contact hours of assorted nursing courses, and submit for license renewal every two years. Details on the specific nature of continuing education courses, and which educators are approved by the state of Iowa, are available on the state nursing board’s website.
Average Nursing Salaries in Iowa
All salary data is as of May 2011.
The mean annual wage for RNs in Iowa is $53,300, which is well below the national mean for RNs, but above the overall national mean annual wage. The table below compares the mean annual wages for RNs in various metropolitan areas of Iowa to those of the state as a whole, and to the national rates.All data provided by The Bureau of Labor Statistics.
|Area||Registered Nurses||Average Salary|
|Cedar Rapids, IA||2,800||$49,590|
|Davenport-Moline-Rock Island, IA-IL||4,480||$51,640|
|Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA||6,910||$57,040|
|Sioux City, IA-NE-SD||1,450||$46,010|