Initial License by Examination for Graduates of Board Approved Nursing Education Programs
The License by Examination Application Process is available Online. Choose IBON Online Services and then License Examination.
NOTE: The License by Examination Fingerprint Cards are NOT available on this website. Upon request an Examination Packet will be mailed; fees cannot be paid with a credit card over the phone.
Please review this entire page to receive all the requirements necessary to obtain an Iowa nursing license.
Print the Following Examination Forms/Instructions and only request the Fingerprint Cards be mailed or call your local police station or sheriff's office to see if they have the Blue Applicant Fingerprint Cards Available:
Request Application forms for license by exam from your nursing education program or contact the Iowa Board of Nursing by sending an Email or by phone: 515/281-4826.
Examination Forms Available to Print:
Qualifications for Licensure in Iowa:
1. Graduation from a board-approved RN or LPN nursing program. (RN Program applicants or RN graduates who did NOT complete or graduate from an LPN Program are NOT eligible to take the LPN Examination.)
2. Prior to being licensed, approval by the board of those with a past felony conviction or a record of prior disciplinary action, regardless of jurisdiction.
3. Passing NCLEX examination as prescribed by the board.
Exam applications are valid for the dates indicated on the Authorization to Test (90 days). If your Authorization to Test expires you will be required to re-submit both applications and fees.
Exam applications MUST be completed with Black or Blue Ink.
Click here to review or print the NCLEX Candidate Bulletin or to register with NCLEX On-Line.
The following items are required before authorization to test is issued:
THE FEE IS NONREFUNDABLE AND MUST BE SUBMITTED WITH EACH APPLICATION TO TEST (Online or Personal Check, Money Order or Cashier’s Check)
- Iowa Application for Exam (Online or Paper) - Fee $93.00 Payable to the Iowa Board of Nursing – (Online Payment, Personal Check, Money Order or Cashier’s Check is acceptable.)
- Two Completed Fingerprint Cards and Signed Waiver Form - Fee $50.00 (All applications will be returned if received without the Fingerprint Cards)
- Exam and Fingerprint Card fees may be combined for a Total of $143.00
- Official Transcripts from the School of Nursing denoting date of graduation and degree conferred.
- NCLEX Registration including Fee of $200 submitted to NCLEX Operations (Payable to NCSBN-no personal checks accepted)
To avoid confusion if NOT submitting Online - PLEASE submit Iowa Application for Exam, Fingerprint Cards, Waiver Form and fee ($143) within the same envelope to the Iowa Board of Nursing.
REMEMBER: These applications will expire 90 days after you are authorized to test.
Nurse Licensure Compact Information:
If you reside in a state that is a member of the Nurse Licensure Compact Agreement, which includes Iowa, you MUST apply for licensure in your primary state of residence. Primary state of residence is defined as where you hold a driver’s license, vote and pay taxes. You can view the list of compact states at the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, Inc. at www.ncsbn.org by going to the Nurse Licensure Compact link.
The compact does not supersede federal law. Military and federal employees may apply for licensure by examination in Iowa.
Name and/or Address Changes:
Changes must be submitted to the Iowa Board of Nursing in writing or by fax ONLY if AN APPLICATION FOR EXAM HAS BEEN SUBMITTED TO THE IOWA BOARD OF NURSING. Submit changes to Exam Department: FAX 515/281-4825 or Email. RN candidates, please note on your change if you are currently an Iowa LPN.
Information regarding criminal conviction:
1. Send a copy of the Court records; i.e. trial information, judgment entry and sentencing order with the application by exam.
2. A written assessment of your life before, at the time of, and after the conviction.
3. Parole/Probation Officer’s assessment if currently under active supervision or a letter from your parole/probation officer stating that you completed the requirements of your probation.
4. Employment history (please include in your written assessment).
5. Enclose copies of all substance abuse evaluations with treatment discharge summary and aftercare recommendations.
6. Letters of recommendation may also be included.
Special Testing Circumstances:
Pursuant to 655 Iowa Administrative Code, Nursing Board, individuals with disabilities may request special testing accommodations. Inquiries should be directed to the Iowa Board of Nursing as early as possible, preferably prior to graduation, in order to expedite the approval process. You may phone 515/281-5535 or e-mail Lynn for additional information.
License numbers will not be released by phone.
If you passed the examination, you will receive your license and certificate in the mail. If you failed the examination, no information will be released by telephone and you will be notified of your result by mail. A paper copy of your exam results and Re-Exam Instructions will be mailed to you within two (2) weeks.
Online License Verification - NATIONAL COUNCIL OF STATE BOARD OF NURSING (NCSBN) - NURSYS.COM
Licensure QuickConfirm provides online license verification reports to employers and the general public at NO CHARGE. Verification can be obtained by license number or name. The information obtained at Licensure QuickConfirm is: name, jurisdiction(s), license type, license number(s), compact status (multi-state/single state), license status, expiration date and discipline.
NOTE: To find out the status of your application go to the Nursing Board Website (nursing.iowa.gov) and choose - “Check the Status of an Application in Process” prior to calling the Nursing Board office.
NOTE: It is very important to completely read the instructions within the NCLEX Examination Candidate Bulletin.
NCLEX Candidate Bulletin/Register with NCLEX On-Line