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Registered nurses make up the largest healthcare occupation, with an estimated 2.7 million people employed as RNs across the country. They are responsible for independently administering many healthcare activities, and they also supervise nursing assistants and licensed practical nurses in their day-to-day duties. RNs are thus capable of improving their individual competency in discharging their responsibilities, while also playing an important role in nurturing future generations of nurses.

RN programs come in two forms: the four-year bachelor’s degree program and the two-year associate’s degree program. Iowa has over a dozen accredited bachelor’s degree programs and twenty state-approved associate’s degree programs. This diversity at both the BSN and ADN levels offers prospective candidates a wide range of program choices. Within either program, candidates must pass the national licensure examination, the NCLEX-RN, at the conclusion of their studies.

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The employment outlook for Iowa’s registered nurses is extremely positive. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are currently more than 32,000 employed registered nurses in Iowa. The state’s annual median wage is $52,610, and this can rise as high as $63,820 in large cities such as Des Moines. Employers of registered nurses range from government agencies like the Department of Veterans Affairs to private hospitals, which often hire via local staffing agencies like MedPro Healthcare Staffing.

To learn more about Iowa’s top RN programs, please peruse the following list of schools that offer state-approved BSN and ADN programs.

Featured Schools

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Cedar Rapids

Coe College
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 87.6% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through 2012)
Purdue University Global - Cedar Rapids
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 84.0% NCLEX pass rate (2012 through 2012)
Kirkwood Community College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 82.6% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through 2012)
Mount Mercy University
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 78.5% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through 2012)
School Program NCLEX score Time period
Coe College
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 87.6% 2009 to 2012
Purdue University Global - Cedar Rapids
Associate's Degree in Nursing 84.0% 2012 to 2012
Kirkwood Community College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 82.6% 2009 to 2012
Mount Mercy University
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 78.5% 2009 to 2012

Des Moines

Des Moines Area Community College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 92.3% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through 2012)
Mercy College of Health Sciences
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 90.6% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through 2012)
Grand View University
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 73.6% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through 2012)
School Program NCLEX score Time period
Des Moines Area Community College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 92.3% 2009 to 2012
Mercy College of Health Sciences
Associate's Degree in Nursing 90.6% 2009 to 2012
Grand View University
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 73.6% 2009 to 2012

Other Iowa cities

North Iowa Area Community College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 97.8% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through 2012)
Northwestern College
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 96.1% NCLEX pass rate (2010 through 2012)
St. Luke's College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 96.0% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through 2012)
Iowa Valley Community College District
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 95.6% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through 2012)
Allen College
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 94.9% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through 2012)
Southwestern Community College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 94.9% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through 2012)
Iowa Wesleyan University
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 93.7% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through 2012)
University of Iowa
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 93.5% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through 2012)
Northeast Iowa Community College District
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 92.2% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through 2012)
Northwest Iowa Community College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 91.5% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through 2012)
St. Ambrose University
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 90.7% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through 2012)
Clarke University
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 89.3% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through 2012)
Luther College
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 88.7% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through 2012)
Iowa Central Community College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 88.3% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through 2012)
Southeastern Community College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 85.9% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through 2012)
Morningside College
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 85.0% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through 2012)
Iowa Lakes Community College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 83.2% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through 2012)
Eastern Iowa Community College District
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 81.4% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through 2012)
Iowa Western Community College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 81.4% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through 2012)
Western Iowa Tech Community College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 81.3% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through 2012)
Hawkeye Community College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 80.7% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through 2012)
Indian Hills Community College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 77.8% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through 2012)
Briar Cliff University
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 69.7% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through 2012)
University of Dubuque
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 65.7% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through 2012)
School Program NCLEX score Time period
North Iowa Area Community College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 97.8% 2009 to 2012
Northwestern College
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 96.1% 2010 to 2012
St. Luke's College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 96.0% 2009 to 2012
Iowa Valley Community College District
Associate's Degree in Nursing 95.6% 2009 to 2012
Allen College
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 94.9% 2009 to 2012
Southwestern Community College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 94.9% 2009 to 2012
Iowa Wesleyan University
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 93.7% 2009 to 2012
University of Iowa
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 93.5% 2009 to 2012
Northeast Iowa Community College District
Associate's Degree in Nursing 92.2% 2009 to 2012
Northwest Iowa Community College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 91.5% 2009 to 2012
St. Ambrose University
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 90.7% 2009 to 2012
Clarke University
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 89.3% 2009 to 2012
Luther College
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 88.7% 2009 to 2012
Iowa Central Community College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 88.3% 2009 to 2012
Southeastern Community College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 85.9% 2009 to 2012
Morningside College
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 85.0% 2009 to 2012
Iowa Lakes Community College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 83.2% 2009 to 2012
Eastern Iowa Community College District
Associate's Degree in Nursing 81.4% 2009 to 2012
Iowa Western Community College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 81.4% 2009 to 2012
Western Iowa Tech Community College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 81.3% 2009 to 2012
Hawkeye Community College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 80.7% 2009 to 2012
Indian Hills Community College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 77.8% 2009 to 2012
Briar Cliff University
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 69.7% 2009 to 2012
University of Dubuque
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 65.7% 2009 to 2012