Initial License by Examination
Qualifications for Licensure in Iowa:
- Graduation from a board-approved RN or LPN nursing program.
- Prior to issuing the license, any past felony convictions or record of prior disciplinary action, regardless of jurisdiction, must be reviewed and approved by the board.
- Passing the NCLEX examination as prescribed by the board.
Nurse Licensure Compact Information:
If you live 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. by going to the Nurse Licensure Compact link: https://www.ncsbn.org/compacts.htm
A fact sheet and resources regarding the NLC link: https://www.ncsbn.org/compacts/nurse-licensure-compact/nlc-toolkit/nlc-fact-sheets.page
The compact does not supersede federal law. Military and federal employees may apply for licensure by examination in Iowa regardless of their primary state of residence.
How to apply for licensure by examination:
You must follow the exam instructions provided in the link below:
- Exam Instructions
- Exam instructions and a checklist for foreign educated nurses may be found at this link: Foreign Educated Nurses
Complete an application online and pay the exam fee of $143.00. This fee is non-refundable. This is the preferred method of application. Go to IBON Online Services to begin your application: IBON Online Services
- If you are a new graduate of an Iowa school, a packet of required documents with instructions will be given to you by your nursing school program.
- If you are a previous graduate from an Iowa school (who has never taken the NCLEX exam), or a graduate from an out-of-state school, you must contact the IBON to request a packet of required documents with instructions to be sent to you by ground mail after the online application and fee are submitted.
- If you are a graduate from an out of state school, you must contact the IBON to request a packet of required documents with instructions to be sent to you by ground mail after the online application and fee are submitted.
NOTE: To find out the status of your application go to IBON Online Services and choose - “Check the Status of an Application in Process” prior to calling the Nursing Board office.
NCLEX Accommodations Request
Pursuant to 655 Iowa Administrative Code, Nursing Board, individuals with disabilities may request special testing accommodations. Direct inquiries to the Iowa Board of Nursing as early as possible, preferably prior to graduation, in order to expedite the approval process.
If you pass the examination, you will receive your certificate of licensure by the email under which you are registered with the Board. If you failed the examination, a paper copy of the exam results and re-exam instructions will be mailed by ground mail.
Verification of Iowa Licensure Following Examination
License numbers will not be released by phone.
Online License Verification Options:
1. IBON website at https://nursing.iowa.gov. Click on the tab "IBON Online Services" and then click on “Secured Access” and sign in using your Account ID and password and then you will be able to find your license information by last name and last four digits of your social security number.
2. NCSBN at www.nursys.com. Choose “QuickConfirm” license verification and follow the prompts.