CNA Classes in Iowa (IA)

In Iowa, CNAs are known as Direct Care Workers (DCW). To become certified, enroll in a training program approved by the state’s Health Facilities Division. Next, pass an exam to get your name on the Iowa nurse aide registry.

Unlike most states, Iowa doesn’t mandate NNAAP testing. Instead, you take the CNA exam where you’re trained. Several nursing homes, technical schools and colleges offer CNA training.


To apply for a state-approved CNA program, you must:

  • Be at least 16.
  • Have a high school diploma or GED.
  • Take a complete physical exam, including a TB and drug test.
  • Give proof of current vaccines.
  • Pass a criminal background check.

Training Requirements

State-approved CNA training is offered at community colleges and nursing homes in Iowa.

Programs include at least 75 hours of coursework: 45 hours in the classroom, and 30 hours of clinical work.

Training requirements may be waived if:

  • You were trained before 1989 in a program that meets current standards.
  • You’ve completed 100 hours of training that meets in-state CNA standards.
  • You are currently an RN, LPN or military personnel.
  • You’ve worked as a CNA for the last 2 years in Iowa.


CNA training fees start at $150 in Iowa. Exam fees range from $15-$45, depending on the testing location. Oral exams cost more than written testing.

If you already work in a health care facility, your employer will bear the cost of training and testing. If not, you’ll have to pay out-of-pocket. If you enter the state nurse aide registry within 112 months of training, however, your fees will be reimbursed.

License Renewal

Your CNA license expires after 24 months. You have to work as a paid CNA during that period to renew your license. Otherwise, you must retake your manual skills and written tests.

Key Facts

  • If you’re employed by a certified nursing facility, your employer is responsible for your training and testing fees.
  • You need at least 12 hours of training to work as a CNA in a long-term care facility.

Traditional Classes Training Centers

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