Iowa Nurse Aide Registry

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

In Iowa, a CNA, or a Certified Nurse Aide, is classified as a DCW, or a Direct Care Worker. To work as a CNA in any Iowa-based long-term care facility, one must be listed in the Iowa Direct Care Worker Registry. The Iowa Department of Inspections & Appeals maintains the IDCWR. Only CNAs that wish to work in long-term care must be added to the registry. CNAs that work in other types of healthcare facilities do not have to be added to the registry.

How to Become a NEW CNA in Iowa

In order to become a CNA and be able to work in a long-term care facility in Iowa, an individual must:

  1. Complete a 75-hour state-approved training program for CNAs
  2. Pass the nurse aide competency exam.

Other Routes to Become a CNA in Iowa

  1. If you are an RN or LPN

Both registered nurses and licensed practical nurses can perform CNA duties in the state of Iowa without prior registration in the Direct Care Worker Registry. Instead, RNs and LPNs will be listed in the nursing license registry.

  1. If you are a nursing student

Current nursing students may be placed on the DCWR if they have completed state-approved fundamentals of nursing courses.

  1. If you want a challenge examination

If an individual has completed a training program that was not approved by the state of Iowa can be placed on the registry upon taking an passing a challenge exam. In the same way, foreign-trained nurses and military trained healthcare professionals can request placement in the registry.

Certification Renewal for Nurse Aides in Iowa

The state of Iowa requires Certified Nurse Aides to renew their certification every 2 years on Jan 31st of even-numbered years. CNAs cannot continue to practice without an active certificate. Eligibility criteria for certification renewal include:

  • The completion of a minimum of 8 consecutive hours of CNA work in a long-term care facility in the last 24 months.

Volunteer work or education do not count towards recertification. CNAs will receive by mail a recertification form. It will be sent 2 to 3 months before the expiry date of the certification.

Reinstatement of a Lapsed Nurse Aide Certificate

If a CNA has allowed their certificate to expire, they must re-take and pass the competency exam, both the written and skills evaluations.

FAQ List

Out-of-state CNA Certification Transfer

CNAs from other states that are current and in good standing can become certified in Iowa if they fill out and submit an application form to the Direct Care Worker Registry.

Reciprocity application