North Iowa Area Community College (NIACC) was founded in 1918 as Mason City Junior College. It began as a commuter college specializing in the liberal arts, and expanded rapidly in the 1960s and 1970s. The college added vocational programs (now its major area of focus), built housing to accommodate students, and opened new community education centers.
Now, in addition to its main campus in Mason City, NIACC runs learning centers in Charles City, Garner, Hampton, Lake Mills, and Osage. For students who want to enter the nursing field, NIACC offers several different options: a diploma program, an associate degree, and a college transfer major. The nursing programs are accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC).
Practical Nursing Diploma Program
Before enrolling in NIACC’s Practical Nursing Diploma program, a student must complete a nurse aide training course (available at NIACC) and take the state certification exam for Certified Nurse Assistants (CNA). This course must be completed prior to the summer semester, as the summer semester marks the start of the Practical Nursing Diploma course sequence. A student in this program progresses through the summer, fall, and spring semesters, earning forty-three credits in total. At the conclusion of the spring semester, she receives her diploma in practical nursing, and can take the National Council Licensing Exam for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN).
Associate Degree Nursing Program
The Associate Degree Nursing (ADN) program takes five semesters to complete. Like the practical nursing program, the ADN program requires incoming students to be CNAs. The curriculum includes both general education classes (English, sociology, psychology), science classes (microbiology, anatomy and physiology, nutrition), and nursing courses. In total, an ADN student must earn seventy-two credits. ADN students may begin in either the summer or the fall. After completing the five-semester course sequence, a graduate can take the National Council Licensing Exam for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN).
Associate Degree Nursing Program – ADN Option for Licensed Practical Nurses
After completing a practical nursing diploma program, either at NIACC or at another college, a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) can enroll in the ADN Option for LPNs. She must start in the summer with a transition nursing course. After this, she can join the second-year ADN students in the fall semester. After completing the upper-level nursing coursework in the fall and following spring semester, she earns her associate degree in nursing and is eligible to become a Registered Nurse (RN), as long as she passes the NCLEX-RN.
Nurse Aide Training
Through NIACC’s Continuing Education Division, students can enroll in the Nurse Aide Training Course. This is a prerequisite for all of NIACC’s nursing programs, but can also provide a direct entry into the nursing profession as well. After completing the seventy-five hour training course, a graduate may take the state certification exam for CNAs. The training course includes thirty hours of classroom instruction, fifteen hours of lab instruction, and thirty hours of hands-on training in a healthcare facility. NIACC offers the class multiple times each semester. Classes are available during the week and the weekend and in the evening and the day.
Bachelor of Science in Nursing – RN to BSN
While NIACC is a two-year college and cannot offer a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program, it does host the University of Iowa’s RN to BSN program. The program is open to RNs who are graduates of any associate degree or diploma program, but graduates of the NIACC ADN program are guaranteed to transfer smoothly into the RN to BSN program. NIACC guarantees that a graduate of the ADN program will have at least half of the required 128 credits for the BSN degree. The remainder of the coursework can be completed on NIACC’s campus and online.
North Iowa Area Community College
500 College Drive
Mason City, IA 50401