Iowa Board of Nursing

Online Services

Board Information

Iowa Board of Nursing
RiverPoint Business Park
400 S.W. 8th Street, Suite B
Des Moines, IA 50309-4685
Tel: 515/281-3255
Fax: 515/281-4825

Office Hours:
8:00 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
Monday – Friday

Licensure By Exam - Frequently Asked Questions

Q. How do I apply to take the examination in Iowa?
Q. What are the requirements for license by exam in Iowa?
Q. What documents and fees are required for license by exam?
Q. If my packet is returned to me due to being incomplete or incorrect, may I return the same paperwork and payment?
Q.After I have mailed my application to the Iowa Board of Nursing and have registered With NCLEX, how long will it take to receive my authorization to test?
Q. Do I have to register with NCLEX to receive Authorization to Test?
Q. Can I apply for license by examination in more than one state?
Q. What if my NCLEX registration is submitted for a different state than my application for license?
Q. How will I receive Authorization to Test?
Q. What if I have a name or address change after I have applied to take the examination?
Q. What if I get married between the time I apply for the examination and the actual  date that I test?
Q. Can an RN student take the LPN exam?
Q. Does the Iowa Board of Nursing require a photo?
Q. What type of Identification is accepted at the testing center?
Q. How soon are the exam results processed by the board office?
Q. What if I fail the examination and wish to reapply?
Q. If I fail the examination, how soon can I reapply?
Q. If I graduated several years ago am I still eligible to apply for the examination?
Q. How many times can I take the examination?
Q. Can I apply to one state for licensure and then test in another?
Q. If I reside in a compact state, can I apply for licensure by examination in another compact state?
Q. If I reside in a non-compact state, can I apply for licensure in Iowa by examination?
Q. How do I know if I reside in a compact state?

      




Q. How do I apply to take the examination in Iowa?

A. Out of State graduates may apply for examination online or receive a packet by mail or apply by contacting the board at (515) 281-6488 or newnurs@iowa.gov.

Iowa graduates who are graduating with a class should receive the online application information and the packet from the Head of their Nursing Program.    Individuals completing the application separate from a class can check with the program head or contact the board for an examination packet or apply online.

Q. What are the requirements for license by examination in Iowa?

A. Graduation from an approved nursing program. The program MUST be approved by the State Board of Nusing in the state where it is located. Licensee must have a valid Social Security Number. Licensee must have graduated from a High School or have obtained a GED.

Q. What documents and fees are required for license by exam?

A. The Application for licensure in Iowa by examination either completed online or by paper. Waiver form for criminal history background check, two (2) applicant fingerprint cards with all required boxes completed and total fee of $143.00 (personal check accepted) to the Iowa Board of Nursing or payment by credit card online. 
NCSBN no longer provides the paper NCLEX Registration Form.  The registration form is available to complete online at www.pearsonvue.com/nclex or by telephone 1-866-496-2539. An official transcript denoting date of graduation and degree awarded MUST be submitted by the School of Nursing to the board office.

Q. If my packet is returned to me due to being incomplete or incorrect, can I return the same paperwork and payment?

A. Yes, just complete the information that was not provided and return all materials to the board office.

Q. After I have completed my application online or mailed the application to the Iowa Board of Nursing and have registered with NCLEX, how long will it take to receive my authorization to test?       

A. If the board has received your transcripts, it will usually take 5 to 7 working days and not more than 10 business days. Your ATT will be sent through the email address provided unless you indicated that the ATT be mailed.       

Q. Do I have to register with NCLEX to receive Authorization to Test?

A. Yes.

Q. Can I apply for license by examination in more than one state?

A. No

Q. What if my NCLEX registration is submitted for a different state than my application for license?

A. If your NCLEX registration is incorrect, you MUST contact them to correct the error. There will be a fee for this service. If you register with a Board of Nursing and need to change to a different state, you will need to contact that State Board of Nursing to receive their application information. Iowa does not issue a refund after the paperwork has been received and processed.

Q. How will I receive my Authorization to Test?

A. By the email address provided.

Q. What if I have a name or address change after I have applied to take the examination?

A. Please notify the board office of the change by email to newnurs@iowa.gov or fax the change to (515) 281-4825 to the attention of the Examination Division.

Q. What if I get married between the time I apply for the examination and the actual  date that I test?

A. Take your marriage license to the test center with you if  the name on your photo ID is different than the name on your authorization to test.

Q. Can an RN student take the LPN exam?

A Only if you have graduated from an approved LPN Program.

Q. Does the Iowa Board of Nursing require a photo?

A. No.

Q. What type of identification is accepted at the testing center?

A. A valid picture identification in English that includes their signature in English. Types of appropriate identification are: U.S. issued Driver's License, Passport, U.S. State Identification (Department of Motor Vehicle issued), U.S. Military Identification. (ID MUST not be expired, grace periods are NOT recognized by the testing centers)

Q. How soon are the exam results processed by the board office?

A. Exam results are processed three times per week. If you took the examination without incident on a Monday your results will be processed on Wednesday.

Q. What if I fail the examination and wish to reapply?

A. A packet providing all the information to reapply will be mailed to your address of record within two weeks of your test date. Test result will also be mailed with this packet.

Q. If I fail the examination, how soon can I reapply?

A. You can reapply as soon as you receive the packet from the board office; however, your authorization to test will begin 45 days from the date you last tested including weekends.

. Q. If I graduated several years ago am I still eligible to apply for the examination?

A. Yes, there are no time limitations from when you graduated nursing school.

Q. How many times can I take the examination?

A.The examination can be taken as many times as you like. Iowa has no limitations to the number of times a candidate tests.

Q. Can I apply to one state for licensure and test in another state?

A. Yes.

Q. If I reside in a compact state, can I apply for licensure by examination in another compact state?

A. No, you must apply to the board of nursing in your primary state of residence according to the nurse licensure compact agreement.

Q. If I reside in a non-compact state, can I apply for licensure in Iowa by examination?

A. Yes.

Q. How do I know if I reside in a compact state?

A. Check the National Council State Boards of Nursing website at www.ncsbn.org.


IMPORTANT INFORMATION TO REMEMBER

If you reside in another compact state, do not apply for licensure in Iowa unless you will be moving to Iowa and have established residency in Iowa.

Your fingerprint cards and transcript is valid for one year from the date it is received by the board of nursing office.

When testing if your ID is expired upon presentation to the proctor, you will NOT be allowed to test and will have to reapply and pay the fees to both NCLEX and the Iowa Board of Nursing.

If you use a different address on your NCLEX application than on your Iowa Board of Nursing application, the board will use the one on the NCLEX application unless you include a note with your Iowa Board of Nursing application to use a different address.

If you have a question not answered here, please contact the board office at newnurs@iowa.gov or (515)281-6488.