How to Become a Licensed Practical Nurse in Iowa

Iowa map

Becoming a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) in Iowa is an easy and exciting way to jump into the healthcare industry.

You’ll get to monitor patients, assist doctors, and more.

You can work in a number of different establishments, too, ranging from doctor’s offices to hospitals to mental facilities.

Learning what it takes to become an LPN can help you to decide if it’s the right career path for you.

5 Licensed Practical Nurse Schools in Iowa

A variety of schools will help you to become an LPN in Iowa.

Consider location, program length, and more so that you can choose the right educational path.

Western Iowa Tech Community College

Western Iowa Tech Community College Logo

You can choose to earn your Practical Nursing Diploma at Western Iowa Tech Community College.

There are three campuses – Sioux City, Cherokee, and Denison.

The time to complete the program is about one year, and there are hybrid options with some of the classes.

You will earn a total of 36 credit hours and spend approximately $7092 for in-state tuition.

There will also be added expenses including equipment, books, and educational fees that will add up to close to $800.

The classes you will take will span three semesters (fall, spring, and summer).

You will take Intro to Psychology, Nursing, Developmental Psychology, and more.

Southeastern Community College

Southeastern Community College Logo

You can choose to attend Southeastern Community College at either the West Burlington or the Keokuk campus.

You will be able to earn your Practical Nurse Diploma in approximately one year or your Associate Degree in Nursing in two.

Typically, you will complete the Practical Nursing Diploma program in 11 months, spanning the summer, fall, and spring semesters.

A hybrid format works, too, so that you can take your classes in the classroom and online.

You’ll earn 46.5 credit hours at the college.

The cost of tuition is based on credit hours, which are billed at a rate of $200 per credit hour.

There will also be added fees for labs, books, and more.

Eastern Iowa Community College

Eastern Iowa Community College Logo

Eastern Iowa Community College offers three campuses (Clinton, Muscatine, and Scott) for you to choose from.

You can choose to obtain a diploma or an associate degree.

The Practical Nursing Program provides you with in-classroom and hands-on experience while you are under the supervision of registered nurses.

You will complete the program in one year so that you can sit for the licensure exam.

There are a total of three terms for 47 credits.

You will take such classes as medical terminology, pharmacology, health concepts, and developmental psychology.

Instate tuition is billed at $179 per credit hour, assuming you are a resident of Iowa.

The cost for out-of-state is higher.

Additionally, the school offers financial aid as well as an array of activities on campus to ensure you get the most out of your experience.

Hawkeye Community College

Hawkeye Community College Logo

Located in Waterloo, Iowa, you can attend Hawkeye Community College for either a diploma or an Associate Degree.

The Practical Nursing Diploma Program will ensure you learn skills that include lifespan growth and development, pharmacology, vital signs, and infection control.

All coursework can be completed within one year, and how many classes you take per semester is up to you.

The school has a simulator lab as well as the opportunity to gain clinical hours in the real world.

There are face-to-face, hybrid, and online classes.

The cost to attend the program is $13,897 but does not include textbooks and other supplies.

Various scholarships and financial aid are available through the school.

Iowa Lakes Community College

Iowa Lakes Community College Logo

Iowa Lakes Community College is located in Emmetsburg.

You can choose to complete the Practical Nursing Certificate program or spend an extra year to get an Associate Degree in Nursing.

The program spans three terms, where you’ll earn 46 credit hours.

You will take courses in everything from practical nursing concepts to nutrition to pharmacology.

Upon completing the program, you will have the ability to sit for your NCLEX exam to become licensed.

The total cost of the program is $10,402 to earn the certificate.

This includes all of the program and activity fees, too.

Licensed Practical Nurse Schools in Iowa – Summary Table

Top 5 Schools in Iowa

School NameAddress
Western Iowa Tech Community College4647 Stone Ave, Sioux City, IA 51106
Southeastern Community College1500 W Agency Rd, West Burlington, IA 52655
Eastern Iowa Community College101 W 3rd St, Davenport, IA 52801
Hawkeye Community College1501 E Orange Rd, Waterloo, IA 50701
Iowa Lakes Community College300 S 18th St, Estherville, IA 51334


Licensed Practical Nurses do not need a college degree, just a certificate.

As such, salaries are not as high as for RNs.

However, the pay is still strong.

An average LPN in Des Moines will earn a salary of $48,872.

Those in the top 90% may even earn $59,362.

Much of what you are paid will depend on your education, experience, and whether you are supervising other employees.

LPNs are in high demand, so you will always want to know your worth and negotiate for the best pay and benefits package possible.

Annual Salary Range:

Average Salary of Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)s in Iowa

City NameSalary
Des Moines$48,872
Cedar Rapids$48,016
Sioux City$43,072
Iowa City$47,621
Council Bluffs$47,846
West Des Moines$48,873
* Salary information last updated 2024

Regional Salary in Iowa

RegionEmployedAvg. Annual SalaryAvg. Hourly PayTop 10% Annual SalaryBottom 10% Annual Salary
Ames, IA100$49,930$24.01$59,300$39,410
Cedar Rapids, IA350$53,120$25.54$63,190$42,250
Davenport-Moline-Rock Island, IA-IL700$52,180$25.09$60,410$45,450
Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA980$52,180$25.09$63,880$34,030
Dubuque, IA200$50,970$24.51$60,350$40,490
Iowa City, IA230$53,490$25.72$63,810$41,630
Sioux City, IA-NE-SD290$50,530$24.29$61,050$40,410
Waterloo-Cedar Falls, IA390$50,440$24.25$59,870$40,680
* Salary information based on the May 2022 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses, OCC Code 29-2061, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the licensing process for LPNs in Iowa?

To become licensed in Iowa, you will need to graduate from an approved nursing program and pass the NCLEX-PN exam.

You will also need to submit to fingerprinting and a background check.

Which cities in Iowa provide the most opportunities for LPNs?

The cities where the most opportunities exist are the ones with the highest populations.

Consider exploring jobs in Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, Davenport, and Sioux City.

What are the top employers for LPNs in Iowa?

Some of the top healthcare employers hiring LPNs in Iowa include CVS Health, University of Iowa Health Care, UnitedHealth Group, LabCorp, and Aspen Dental.

How often does a license need to be renewed in Iowa?

You will need to renew your LPN license in Iowa every three years, which has to be done at least 30 days prior to the 15th of your birthday month.

The Iowa Board of Nursing also identifies that 36 contact hours of continuing education have to be completed to renew your license.

What is the cost of a license in Iowa?

It costs $143 for the application.

Then, there is a $99 renewal fee.

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