10 Best Nursing Schools in Iowa – 2024 Rankings

Written By: Editorial Staff @ NursingProcess.org

As a graduate of one of the nursing schools in Iowa, you’ll be on track to earn a salary of $69,370 a year on average. There will also be a huge demand for your services: The nursing profession in the Hawkeye State is projected to grow by more than 11.96 percent in the next 10 years. But becoming a nurse is not only a means of ensuring financial security, it’s also a way to help and connect with others. Want to learn more? Keep reading to learn all there is to know about the 10 best nursing schools in Iowa for 2024.



(After closely assessing all nursing schools approved by the Iowa State Board of Nursing, based on our Ranking Methodology, the following are the best accredited nursing schools in Iowa offering ADN programs.)

1. Kirkwood Community College - Cedar Rapids

To enter the field of healthcare, what better than becoming a registered nurse, a career that is increasingly in demand across the nation. Kirkwood Community College’s RN training is offered as a ladder program, meaning your first step into it will be towards completion of an LPN coursework followed by the final step of earning an ADN degree. This unique format allows you to earn two degrees in a span of two years. To gain eligibility into the program, you must first complete your CNA training. The college supports didactic courses with extensive hands-on experiences at its state-of-art simulation lab and clinical experiences in clinical facilities across the region. Most often, these clinical experiences translate into placements post-graduation.

2. Northeast Iowa Community College – Peosta

Nursing education at Northeast Iowa Community College is facilitated by a dedicated faculty, close to real simulation learning, and clinical experiences in a variety of healthcare settings and hospitals. This RN program in Iowa teaches you to holistically treat patients across the lifespan. Offered twice a year in fall and spring, the 82-credit curriculum comprises courses that strengthen communication, science, math, social science. Nursing courses make you proficient in nursing concepts, adult care nursing, psychiatric nursing, and nursing care of the childbearing family. You must complete all these courses with a minimum grade “C” to earn your degree. LPNs with an active PN license can enter directly into the advanced nursing coursework and complete it in one year. Should you transfer into a BSN program, the college has articulation agreements across the state that eases the transfer process.

3. Des Moines Area Community College – Ankeny

Des Moines Area Community College’s two-year nursing education prepares students to provide competent nursing care in diverse health care settings. This full-time AAS degree starts twice every year in fall and spring. You will complete 66-credits by attending classroom, lab, and clinical sessions spread across five semesters. You will have to score a “C” or better in all the courses to successfully progress from one semester to the next. Before applying to this program, you must complete an Iowa state-approved 120-hour Certified Nurse Aide Program. Licensed practical nurses, paramedics, and military medics are given credit for their previous education and can directly enter into the second term of this program.

4. North Iowa Area Community College - Mason City

If you are currently working as a licensed practical nurse, then completing your RN training will help secure your career and even fetch you a higher salary. North Iowa Area Community College offers its Associate degree in Nursing to licensed PNs. The college being selective in its admission policy, you can enhance your chances by securing a “B” grade or higher in the PN coursework. Once accepted into the program, you will complete 34 credits in ADN courses. Additionally, support courses in nutrition, anatomy, and physiology, English, and public speaking are also required; however, you can opt to complete these courses before entering the program. This makes it easier for you to focus on the nursing courses. Upon graduation, you can take the licensure exam and earn the title of a registered nurse.

5. Iowa Central Community College - Fort Dodge

Iowa Central Community College’s Associate degree in Nursing is a two-year program that prepares graduates for the NCLEX-RN and their role as a registered nurse. At the end of the first year, you can opt to either exit the program with an LPN credential or continue through the second year to complete the ADN coursework. To gain eligibility into the program, you must complete pre-requisite courses in Nurse Aide and Human Anatomy & Physiology with a minimum grade “C.” The nursing courses cover nursing care across the lifespan, maternal child healthcare, psychiatric mental care, adult health care, and management in health care. Every nursing course is complemented by a clinical experience at a regional healthcare setting.

6. St Luke's College - Sioux City

St Luke’s College’s nursing education is designed to prepare you for a career as an entry-level registered nurse who applies clinical judgment and evidence-based knowledge to deliver holistic patient care. This two-year nursing program in IA is grounded in the science and art of nursing and includes courses in general education and nursing. Its 72-credit curriculum builds your basic and advanced nursing concepts and skills in medical surgical nursing. Furthermore, clinical experiences at affiliated sites in the neighboring areas help you apply professional skills in real-world settings and ease out the transition into the workplace. Eligible LPNs can also enter this program, beginning their nursing coursework with a course in role transition from LPN to RN.

7. Eastern Iowa Community College District – Davenport

If you are looking to enter the field of health care, then registered nursing can be a good choice as it is one of the hottest career options out there. This career offers opportunities across a wide spectrum of health care facilities with above-average pay and job security. Eastern Iowa Community College’s 73.5-credit Associate Degree Nursing requires you to attend classes full-time for 22 months. This nursing degree in Iowa lays a strong emphasis on hands-on learning offered through a combination of simulation lab experiences, bedside experiences in clinical settings, and patient care conferences. Graduates of this program will have the option to transfer their credits and earn a BSN at the University of Iowa College of Nursing in just one and a half years.

8. Southwestern Community College – Creston

Southwestern Community College aims to train individuals to become caring and compassionate nurses. This is a ladder program, which basically means you will have to complete the LPN program at SWCC or any other college and obtain your LPN license to practice in the state of Iowa before starting with the associate degree program. The ADN curriculum emphasizes on vital nursing skills such as critical thinking, communications, and evidence-based practice. Post completion, you are required to pass the NCLEX-RN to get your license to work in the state of Iowa. As graduates of this program carry both the LPN and RN credentials, they can choose to work either as an entry-level LPN or an RN.

9. Marshalltown Community College – Marshalltown

The ADN program at Marshalltown Community College starts once every year in the month of August and requires you to complete 86 credit hours in general education and nursing courses. Students are provided with the opportunity to practice their skills in the state-of-the-art simulation and skills laboratory located on-campus. Furthermore, clinical training, which forms an integral component of the curriculum, is designed to provide students exposure in a variety of areas including medical/surgical nursing, obstetrics, pediatrics, mental health nursing, leadership, public health, and school nursing. Graduates of this program will be well-prepared to take the NCLEX-RN. Upon passing this exam, you will be able to provide nursing care for patients in health care settings across Iowa.

10. Southeastern Community College - West Burlington

To keep up with the rising demand for entry-level nurses in the state of Iowa, Southeastern Community College offers a two-year Nursing Diploma and AAS program. The 74-credit program prepares you for an LPN as well as the RN position. You will be awarded a practical nursing diploma after successfully completing the first three semesters. You can then take the NCLEX-PN exam to earn your license to work as a licensed practical nurse in Iowa. Post-meeting all the LPN requirements, , you can continue your education to earn the RN credential. Graduates of this program can go on to work either as registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, informatics nurse specialists, or acute care nurses.


Nursing Schools in Nearby States
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • Nebraska
  • Wisconsin

  • Nursing Schools in other States

    Nursing Salaries
  • ADN
  • BSN
  • CNA
  • DNP
  • Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Licensed Practical Nurse
  • MSN
  • Nurse Anesthetist
  • Nurse Practitioner
  • Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner
  • RN to BSN
  • Registered Nurse
  • Travel Nurse