ADN Programs in Iowa

Why Be a Nurse in Iowa?
Iowa, located in the Midwest in the heartland of the United States, possesses a diversified economy which includes advanced manufacturing, processing, financial services, biotechnology and green energy production as well as agriculture. It also possesses an excellent educational system. Iowa students consistently put the state of Iowa into one of the top three states in the nation for college preparatory exams, including the ACT and SAT.

In addition, Iowa is one of the top three states for graduation rates. Iowa has been found by at least one survey as the safest state in which to live. All of these characteristics come together to make Iowa a desirable location in which to practice nursing

Does Iowa Recognize ADN Programs for Registered Nursing?

Yes, Iowa has several schools that offer ADN (Associate’s Degree in Nursing) programs which will allow the student to complete 2 or 3 years of coursework and obtain their Associate’s Degree in preparation for becoming a registered nurse. In addition, Iowa will permit a nursing student who has graduated from a nursing school approved by the State Board of Nursing in which it is located to apply to become a registered nurse as well. Most states have Associates Degree in Nursing programs approved by their State Board of Nursing for registered nurses as well, so in Iowa, graduation from any ADN state-approved nursing program will enable you to apply to the Iowa Board of Nursing for a registered nurse’s license.

What are the other requirements for a person with an ADN to become a registered nurse in Iowa?

In addition to graduating from an approved school of nursing with an ADN, a candidate for RN licensure in Iowa must also have a valid Social Security number and have graduated from high school or obtained a GED. The Iowa nurse applicant must also fill out an application, which will include a waiver form for a criminal background check by the State of Iowa, and register to take the NCLEX-RN test. Once the registration for the NCLEX-RN is complete, the student will receive an Authorization to Take Test (ATT) from Pearson Vue, the company that administers the NCLEX-RN test, and will be assigned a test date and location, normally in Iowa, at that time. Once the test is passed, and the application is approved, the requirements to become a registered nurse in Iowa have been met, and a registered nursing license from the Iowa Board of Nursing will be issued to the ADN graduate.

Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) Training Schools: 2 Year Nursing Programs in Iowa

Des Moines Area Community College

District Nursing Administration

2006 South Ankeny Boulevard, Building 24

Ankeny, Iowa 50023-8995

Phone number: 515-964-6324

DMACC has a total of six campuses. The ADN program is offered at the Ankeny (main) campus, the Boone Campus and the Carroll campus. Starting this coming fall, a pilot AND program begins at the Newton campus, while the Urban campus already provides a night-time, part-time ADN program. Liberal arts courses which are also required in nursing are selectively offered at any of the six campuses. The ADN program at any campus takes five terms to complete, although after two terms, a student does have the option of leaving the program, taking the practical nurse licensing exam and beginning work as a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN).

Eastern Iowa Community Colleges

Department of Nursing

– Clinton Community College

1000 Lincoln Boulevard

Clinton, Iowa 52732

Phone number: 563-244-7001

– Scott Community College

500 Belmont Road

Bettendorf, Iowa 52722

Phone Number: 563-441-4001

Eastern Iowa Community College is a consortium of three community colleges: Clinton Community College in Clinton, Iowa, Muscatine Community College in Muscatine, Iowa and Scott Community College in Bettendorf, Iowa. The ADN degree is only offered at the Clinton and Scott campuses, although LPN programs are offered at all three schools. Because the schools are associated into the Eastern Iowa Community College district, a student need only submit one application to either program to be considered for each school, if he or she desires.

Hawkeye Community College

1901 East Orange Road

Post Office Box 8015

Waterloo, Iowa 50704-8015

Phone number: 319-296-4013

Hawkeye offers an ADN degree in a career track fashion, requiring its students to first complete all necessary coursework for the LPN program before being allowed to apply for admission to the ADN program. One of the nice features of the Hawkeye program are two state of the art simulation manikins available for students to practice on in the nursing lab – one is a full-grown male and the other is a newborn baby. Each model comes with programmable features that will allow the nursing students to encounter many different medical scenarios to practice on before they embark upon their clinical work on people.

Indian Hills Community College

Nursing Department

525 Grandview Avenue

Ottumwa, Iowa 52501

Phone number: 800-726-2585, Ex. 5164

While Indian Hills has several campuses, the main campus in Ottumwa is the only one that offers the ADN nursing program. The college has a traditional 8 term program as well as an Online/Hybrid Completion program for LPN’s who wish to continue their education to become RN’s. Completion of either program will qualify the student to take the NCLEX-RN and, once that is passed, apply to receive his or her Iowa RN’s license.

Iowa Central Community College

Health Science Office – Nursing

One Triton Circle

Fort Dodge, Iowa 50501

Phone number: 800-362-2793, Ex. 1309

Iowa Central Community College has three campuses, one each located in Fort Dodge, Storm Lake and Webster City-Goldfield. Each campus offers the Associates Degree in Nursing program with separate faculty & staff at each location; however, only one application for admission is filed, and that goes to the Fort Dodge, Iowa campus. Each program offers an Associate’s in Applied Science nursing degree, and each program is designed so that a student can choose to leave the program after the first year, and obtain an LPN license to begin work, or continue on through the program to receive their ADN degree. Each ADN program requires 75 credit hours before graduation.

Iowa Lakes Community College

Nursing Department

3200 College Drive

Emmetsburg, Iowa 50536

Phone number: 800-242-5108

The ADN program at this school is offered only at its Emmetsburg Campus, and it is a full time, day time program. The purpose of the program is to prepare its students to perform well as entry-level registered nurses in many different health care scenarios. As do all programs approved by the Iowa Board of Nursing, completion of this program will allow the student to take the RN-NCLEX exam upon completion and, if the test is passed, to apply for their Iowa Registered Nurse (RN) license. When the number of prospective students who have filed their applications exceed the number of slots available, the school extends admission to students based upon the earliest file completion (i.e., when the school has every item it needs to review for admission in its file) through the latest. Once all the positions for the current year are filled, the remaining students are placed on a waiting list, and are placed into the program once spots become available. Students on the waiting list receive priority for the next available entry date.

Iowa Valley Community College District

Health Occupations Division

– Ellsworth Community College

1100 College Avenue

Iowa Falls, Iowa 50125

1-800-322-9235; 641-648-4611

– Marshalltown Community College

3700 South Center Street

Marshalltown, Iowa 50158

Phone number: 1-866-622-4748; 641-752-7106

The Iowa Valley Community College is made of two colleges: Marshalltown Community College and Ellsworth Community College. Each college offers both LPN and ADN degrees, and like most schools in Iowa, has a career track approach to nursing education, requiring the student to complete the entire LPN program before proceeding into the ADN program. As a whole, the ADN nursing graduates from the Iowa Valley District have achieved excellent passage rates on the NCLEX-RN. In 2010, the ADN pass rate was 100%, while in 2011 the pass rate was still a very high 93%. Also highly unusual in the field of nursing education, the Ellsworth campus often has no waiting list for its ADN program.

Iowa Western Community College

Nursing Department

2700 College Road

Council Bluffs, Iowa 51503

Phone number: 800-432-5852, ext 3392

The ADN program at Iowa Western is offered at two campuses: the Council Bluff campus and the Clarinda Center. The nursing program at Iowa Western offers a number of features designed to help the student prepare for the NCLEX-RN, including clinical study groups, tutoring support as well as faculty support. As are many Iowa ADN programs, this program is designed to require the student to obtain their LPN license before they can continue in the second year of the program to obtain their RN. Iowa Western requires, as a prerequisite, that each student that enters either the LPN or the ADN program possess a certified nursing assistant license.

Kirkwood Community College

Health Science Department

6301 Kirkwood Boulevard SW

Cedar Rapids, Iowa 53404

Phone number: 319-398-5563

Kirkwood’s ADN program is offered full-time both during the day and through an evening/weekend track. Each track allows students to practice nursing skills in supervised lab simulations as well as allowing students to begin clinical work as early as the first semester of the program. Students who need financial aid to obtain their nursing degree should be interested to learn that Kirkwood has at least 18 separate private scholarships available to either nursing or pre-nursing students.

Mercy College of Health Sciences

Nursing Division

928 6th Avenue

Des Moines, Iowa 50309-1239

Phone number: 515-643-6615

Mercy College is a non-profit, private college with ties to the Roman Catholic Church through Catholic Health Initiatives. As the name implies, it specializes in programs for various medical careers, including an Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) degree program. The ASN program takes 5 semesters to complete and requires a total of 72 credit hours from liberal arts (33 credits) and science (39 credits) classes. Over 90% of the students at Mercy receive some kind of financial aid, and the school offers scholarships that are both need-based as well as merit based. Mercy’s nursing school began in 1899, when Mercy Hospital, which is now affiliated with Mercy College, opened a formal nursing school. Mercy Hospital and another area hospital merged, and in the early 1990’s took their medical training programs, including the nursing school, and placed them into the Mercy School of Health Sciences, established in 1994. The following year, in July of 1995, Mercy School of Health Sciences officially became Mercy College of Health Sciences.

Northeast Iowa Community College

Nursing Department

– Calmar Campus:

1625 Highway 150

Post Office Box 400

Calmar, Iowa 52132


– Peosta Campus:

10250 Sundown Road

Peosta, Iowa 52068


The ADN program at Northeast is offered at both campuses of the college. It is a career ladder program, so a student must first complete the pre-nursing classes, after which they can apply for admission to the ADN program. In addition, students who obtained their LPN degree from Northeast can also apply to be a part of the ADN program, based upon space availability. LPN students will begin in the second year of the program, and graduate with the class from the previous year.

North Iowa Area Community College

Nursing Department

500 College Drive

Mason City, Iowa 50401

Phone number: 641-423-1264

The North Iowa ADN nursing program is one of the few in Iowa that is not structured along a career track. Instead, North Iowa offers both a five academic term program for beginning students along with an LPN to RN bridge program for persons who have an LPN license. North’s program is not only approved by the Iowa Board of Nursing but also accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission.

Northwest Iowa Community College

Nursing Department

693 West Park Street

Sheldon, Iowa 51201


Students entering NICC’s ADN program must meet the ADN program’s entrance requirements (as well as the school’s) and also possess their LPN license. Just as the LPN program at NICC is structured to allow a quick and seamless transition to the ADN program, the ADN program is structured to enable a student completing the program to move quickly over to complete their BSN degree if they wish. Graduates of the ADN program are eligible to take the NCLEX-RN program and obtain their RN license in Iowa if they prefer as well. The program is delivered in two ways –a traditional, full-time day program on campus and in clinical settings, and a hybrid setting, where individuals study online, attend classes once a week, and perform their clinicals at local health care facilities.

Southeastern Community College

Nursing Department

1500 West Agency Road

West Burlington, Iowa 52655


Southeastern offers its ADN program at two of its campuses. It offers both daytime and evening courses at its West Burlington campus, and day time classes at its Keokuk campus. Clinicals for the nursing program are offered during the summer sessions, while classes are offered in the fall and winter. In order to remain in the program, the student must maintain a 2.0 GPA on a 4 point scale, which is essentially a C average.

Southwestern Community College

Nursing Education Department

1501 W. Townline Street

Creston, Iowa 50801

Phone number: 641-782-7081

Southwestern offers its ADN program at two of its three campus sites, the Creston Campus and the Red Oak Center. Each year, the Creston campus is able to accept 45 ADN students, while the Red Oak campus can accept 25 students. The ADN program is a two year program, but one prerequisite for admission is the successful completion of the LPN program, or the possession of an LPN license from either Iowa or a mutual compact state.

St. Luke’s College

Department of Nursing Education

2720 Stone Park Boulevard

Sioux City, Iowa 51104

Phone number: 712-279-3149

St. Luke’s College is a private, non-profit college which provides education in the health sciences only. One of the associate’s degrees it offers is an Associate of Science degree in Nursing. One unusual aspect of St. Luke’s is that it makes the Kaplan Enrichment Program for RN’s, a study program designed to provide additional help to nursing students preparing to take the NCLEX-RN, available to its students.

Western Iowa Tech Community College

Nursing and Allied Health Division

4647 Stone Avenue

Sioux City, Iowa 51106

Phone number: 800-352-4649

Western’s ADN program is offered at its Sioux City campusin a traditional format as well as in a hybrid/online format. It is a career ladder program with a 1 + 1 design, which means that after the first year, students can choose to either graduate with a diploma and apply for their LPN license from Iowa or continue through to the second year, after which they will receive an ADN degree and be eligible to take the nursing licensure exam and, upon passage, apply for an Iowa RN license.