Steps to Becoming an ARNP in Iowa

iowa nursing

1Get your Graduate Degree in Iowa
2Earn your National Certification in Iowa
3Apply for your Registration in Iowa
4Renewing your Registration in Iowa

The Iowa  Board of Nursing (515-281-4826 or allows qualified registered nurses to register as advanced registered nurse practitioners (ARNP) in four general categories:

  • Certified clinical nurse specialist (CNS)
  • Certified nurse-midwife (CNM)
  • Certified nurse practitioner (CNP)
  • Certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA)

If you wish to register as an ARNP in Iowa, you must hold an RN license issued by the Iowa Board of Nursing or a Board of Nursing from a compact states.

Iowa Job Statistics

  • 2015 mean salary for NPs in IA: $94,310
  • 2013 NCLEX-RN pass rate for Iowa: 82.2%
  • 2015 active RN licenses in Iowa: 53,513
  • Iowa Board of Nursing voted in 2013 to allow ARNPs to supervise fluoroscopy
  • If you hold a license in a compact state, do not apply for Iowa RN licensure unless you plan to declare Iowa as your permanent residence.
  • If you hold an RN license in another state, request a License by Endorsement Application Packet from the Iowa Board of Nursing at 515-281-4826 or by emailing
  • If you received nursing training in a country other than the United States, you must have your credentials verified by the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS).
  • If you have never held an RN license in Iowa or any other state, call or email the Board to request the Licensure by Examination Application Packet.
  • If your Iowa RN license is inactive, you must reactivate it. Contact the Board to request a Reactivation Form in order to do so.

Once you have your RN license, follow these steps to become a registered ARNP in Iowa.


Step 1. Get Your Graduate Degree

The Iowa Board of Nursing states, that to qualify as an ARNP registration candidate, you must hold at least a master’s degree specific to a nursing clinical specialty with appropriate clinical experience.

Qualified Graduate Programs

The Iowa Board of Nursing approves in-state nursing education programs but not out-of-state programs. If your program is out-of-state, make sure that the Board of Nursing of that state approves the program given that programs within that state are Board approved. If not, ensure that an institutional, programmatic, or specialized accreditation agency recognized by the United States Department of Education (USDE) has granted accreditation to the institution or program.

A list of pre-approved Master of Science in Nursing with formal advanced practice certificate programs may be found here. A list of pre-approved Master of Science in Nursing and Doctorate in nursing programs may be found here.

Course Requirements

All ARNP education should include courses in the following areas:

  • Advanced physiology/pathophysiology
  • Advanced health assessment
  • Advanced pharmacology
  • Education/counseling of patient/family
  • Health promotion and maintenance


You may choose to work in clinical settings that will require you to supervise the use of fluoroscopy x-ray equipment. If you plan to do so, you must complete coursework in radiation physics, radiobiology, radiological safety, and radiation management. This coursework must be repeated annually if you continue to supervise the use of fluoroscopy equipment.

You may also choose to specialize in a specific patient population (pediatrics, geriatrics, women’s health, etc), by taking pertinent coursework or choosing an MSN program with a concentration in you intended area of specialization.

Step 2. Earn Your National Certification

To meet ARNP registration requirements in Iowa, you must earn national certification in the category in which you intend to practice. National certification organizations exist that will certify you after meeting education and experience requirements, and passing a national certification exam.

The Iowa Board of Nursing registers the following ARNP general categories:

  • Certified nurse practitioner
  • Certified nurse-midwife
  • Certified registered nurse anesthetist
  • Clinical nurse specialist

This list of ARNP subspecialties and patient population foci within the general categories are recognized by the Iowa Board of Nursing:

  • Certified Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Certified Nurse-Midwife
  • Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner
  • Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist
  • Certified School Nurse Practitioner
  • Certified Women’s Health Care Nurse Practitioner
  • Certified Psych/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
  • Certified Adult Nurse Practitioner
  • Certified Clinical Nurse Specialist
  • Certified Gerontological Nurse Practitioner
  • Certified Neonatal Nurse Practitioner
  • Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
  • Perinatal Nurse Practitioner
  • Clinical Nurse Specialist – Adult Health
  • Clinical Nurse Specialist – Perinatal
  • Clinical Nurse Specialist – Medical/Surgical
  • Clinical Nurse Specialist – Adult Psych
  • Clinical Nurse Specialist – Oncology
  • Clinical Nurse Specialist – Gerontology
  • Clinical Nurse Specialist – Orthopedics
  • Clinical Nurse Specialist – Community Health
  • Clinical Nurse Specialist – Home Health
  • Clinical Nurse Specialist – Child/Adolescent Psych

Certification Programs

The Iowa Board of Nursing accepts ARNP certification programs that are administered by these organizations for the following patient population foci and subspecialties:

  • ANCC (American Nurses Credentialing Center)
    • Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (ACNP)
    • Adult Nurse Practitioner (ANP)
    • Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)
    • Gerontological Nurse Practitioner (GNP)
    • Pediatric Nurse Practitioner PNP)
    • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP)
    • Clinical Nurse Specialist in Child & Adolescent Psychiatric & Mental Health Nursing (PMHCNS)
    • Clinical Nurse Specialist in Adult Psychiatric & Mental Health Nursing (PMHCNS)
    • Clinical Nurse Specialist in Gerontology Nursing (GCNS)
    • Cardiac and Vascular Nurse (RN-BC)
    • Ambulatory Care Nursing (RN-BC)
    • Diabetes
  • AANP (American Academy of Nurse Practitioners)
    • Adult-Gerontology Primary Care NP
    • Adult Nurse Practitioner
  • AACN Certification Corporation (American Association of Critical Care Nurses)
    • Adult, Pediatric & Neonatal Critical Care Nurse Specialist (CCNS)
  • NCC (National Certification Corporation)
    • Neonatal Nurse Practitioner (NNP)
    • Women’s Health OB/GYN Nurse Practitioner (WHNP)
    • Inpatient Obstetric Nursing (RNC-OB)
    • Maternal Newborn Nursing (RNC-MNN)
    • Low Risk Neonatal Nursing (RNC-LRN)
    • Neonatal Intensive Care Nursing (RNC-NIC)
  • PNCB (Pediatric Nurse Certification Board)
    • Pediatric Nurse Practitioner – Acute Care (ACPNP)
    • Pediatric Nurse Practitioner – Primary Care (PCPNP)
    • Pediatric Nurse (CPN)
    • Pediatric Emergency Nurse (CPEN)
    • Pediatric Primary Care Mental Health Specialist (PMHS)
  • ONCC (Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation)
    • Advanced Oncology Certified Nurse (AOCN)
    • Certified Pediatric Oncology Nurse (CPON)
  • AMCB (American Midwifery Certification Board)
    • Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM)
  • NBCRNA (National Board of Certification & Recertification of Nurse Anesthetists)
    • Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA)

    Step 3. Apply for Your Registration

    Once you have earned your degree and national certification, complete the Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner Application. With your application:

    • Submit the registration fee ($81 for a length up to three years)
    • Submit a copy of your RN license if it is from a compact state
    • Submit a copy of your national certification card or certificate (or letter specifying that you have passed the exam if you are applying for registration within 90 days of taking the exam)
    • Ask your college/university to submit an official transcript to the Board
    • If you have any criminal offenses or prior disciplinary action in the past, submit a copy of the sentencing order and/or documentation from the Board
    • If you are and will continue to be an active member of the military, submit evidence to attest to this

    Mail all of the above to Iowa Board of Nursing, River Point Business Park, 400 SW 8th Street, Suite B, Des Moines, IA 50309-4685. ARNP registration applications are processed and issued twice weekly.

    Criminal History Background Check

    You do not have to submit to a criminal history background check as part of the ARNP registration process in Iowa. You must, however, disclose any criminal offenses on the application and submit supporting documentation.

    Step 4. Renewing Your Registration

    Your Iowa ARNP registration and RN license are both valid for three years. Renewals for ARNP may not be done online. The Board will mail you a renewal form.

    Continuing Education

    The Iowa Board of Nursing does not require ARNPs to complete continuing education (CE) to renew registration, nor does it require CE to renew an RN license. You must, however, keep your national certification current, which may involve completing CE requirements. Contact the appropriate certification agency for more information.

    If you are selected for audit at renewal, you must submit proof that your national certification is current.

    If you are an ARNP who regularly examines, treats, and/or counsels adults or children in Iowa, you must complete at least two hours of training on identification and reporting of child/adult abuse every five years. The Iowa Department of Public Health Abuse Education Review Panel must approve the course. A list of approved courses may be found here.

    Registration Renewal Notice

    The Board will mail you an ARNP renewal application 60 days prior to expiration. If you do not received the application, contact the Board at 515-281-6488 or You must pay a renewal fee of $81 for each ARNP category you are renewing, plus an RN license renewal fee of $99.

    Expired Registration Renewal

    You are allowed a 30-day grace period in renewing registration/licensure. After that, you must contact the Board for reinstatement information. You will be assessed a late fee.

    Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner Associations in Iowa

    Consider becoming a member of one of the organizations that support advanced registered nurse practitioners in Iowa:

    Iowa Nurse Practitioner Salary

    The Plains region of the United States boasts the highest average total income for nurse practitioners in the country, where they earn an average of $124,540, according to a 2011 survey conducted by the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. Advance for NPs & PAs, a peer reviewed journal, reports that NPs in Des Moines earned an average salary of $85,450 in 2011. The mean salary for nurse practitioners was $85,407 in 2011 and the median salary was $81,986 per year.

    Registered Nurse Salary

    Area name
    Annual mean wage
    Ames IA
    Cedar Rapids IA
    Davenport-Moline-Rock Island IA-IL
    Des Moines-West Des Moines IA
    Dubuque IA
    Omaha-Council Bluffs NE-IA
    Sioux City IA-NE-SD
    Waterloo-Cedar Falls IA
    Northeast Iowa nonmetropolitan area
    Northwest Iowa nonmetropolitan area
    Southwest Iowa nonmetropolitan area
    Southeast Iowa nonmetropolitan area

    Health Diagnosing and Treating Practitioners Salary

    Area name
    Annual mean wage
    Des Moines-West Des Moines IA

    Nursing Instructors and Teachers Salary

    Area name
    Annual median wage
    Cedar Rapids IA
    Estimate Not Released
    Des Moines-West Des Moines IA
    Omaha-Council Bluffs NE-IA
    Sioux City IA-NE-SD
    Northeast Iowa nonmetropolitan area
    Southeast Iowa nonmetropolitan area

    Nurse Administrator Salary
    (Includes Nurse Managers, Directors, and Chief Nursing Officers)

    Area name
    Annual mean wage
    Ames IA
    Cedar Rapids IA
    Davenport-Moline-Rock Island IA-IL
    Des Moines-West Des Moines IA
    Dubuque IA
    Iowa City IA
    Omaha-Council Bluffs NE-IA
    Sioux City IA-NE-SD
    Waterloo-Cedar Falls IA
    Northeast Iowa nonmetropolitan area
    Northwest Iowa nonmetropolitan area
    Southwest Iowa nonmetropolitan area
    Southeast Iowa nonmetropolitan area

    These tables provide salary and employment information compiled by the US Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics in May 2011. The data contained herein does not include self-employed nurses in independent practice.

    When responding to the salary survey, some advanced practice registered nurses identified themselves as RNs while others identified themselves as health diagnosing and treating practitioners. When available, both sets of data were included for comparative purposes.

    * These figures represent earnings that are at or above $90.00 per hour or $187,199 per year. The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not publish earnings beyond $90.00 hourly or $187,199 yearly.

    Back to Top

Search & Compare Nursing Programs