Iowa Board of Nursing
Kathleen R. Weinberg, MSN, RN, Executive Director

Licensure by Examination FAQs

How do I apply to take the examination in Iowa?

Answer: 

Out of State graduates must request an examination packet by mail or by contacting the board at 515.281.6488 or newnurse@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.

What are the requirements for license by examination in Iowa?

Answer: 

Graduation from an approved nursing program. The program MUST be approved by the State Board of Nursing 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.

What documents and fees are required for license by exam?

Answer: 

The Iowa Board of Nursing requires 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. An official transcript denoting date of graduation and degree awarded MUST be submitted by the School of Nursing to the board office. Electronic or faxed transcripts are not acceptable for new licensure. 

The National Council of State Boards of Nursing requires registration online at  www.pearsonvue.com/nclex/  or by telephone 1.866.496.2539. 

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

Answer: 

Yes, just complete the information that was not provided and return all materials to the board office. You have one year from the original date of submission to complete the materials, without having to pay an additional fee. 

After I have completed my application, how long will it take to receive my Authorization to Test?

Answer: 

Once we have received the application, the fee payment and required documents, we process applications in the order received. You can monitor the status of your application on the board website by clicking on the IBON Online Services tab and selecting "Check the Status of an Application in Process" link.  During peak licensure times, it could take 3 to 8 weeks to process your application.    

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

Answer: 

Yes.

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

Answer: 

No, you can apply for license by examination in only one state. 

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

Answer: 

If your NCLEX registration is incorrect, you MUST contact NCLEX Candidate Services at 1.866.496.2539 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. 

How will I receive my Authorization to Test?

Answer: 

By the email address provided.

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

Answer: 

Please notify the board office of the change by email to newnurse@iowa.gov or fax the change to 515.281.4825 to the attention of the Examination Division. 

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

Answer: 

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. 

Can an RN student take the LPN exam?

Answer: 

Only if you have graduated from an approved LPN Program. 

Does the Iowa Board of Nursing require a photo?

Answer: 

No.

What type of identification is accepted at the testing center?

Answer: 

A valid picture identification in English that includes the applicant's 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.)

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

Answer: 

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

What if I fail the examination and wish to reapply?

Answer: 

A packet providing your NCLEX examination results and all the information to reapply will be mailed to you by the board of nursing following receipt of your examination result from Pearson Vue. Pearson Vue requires a 45 day wait period before retaking the exam.

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

Answer: 

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

How many times can I take the examination?

Answer: 

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

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

Answer: 

Yes.

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

Answer: 

No, you must apply to the board of nursing in your primary state of residence according to the Nurse Licensure Compact agreement.

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

Answer: 

Yes.

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

Answer: 

Check the National Council State Boards of Nursing website at https://www.ncsbn.org/compacts.htm

Where can I get fingerprinted?

Answer: 

Your local sheriff's office, police station or any authorized fingerprinting center.

Is there a fee to get fingerprinted?

Answer: 

Usually, but check with the place where you are planning on being fingerprinted.

Does it matter what state the fingerprints are taken in?

Answer: 

NO.

Printed from the Iowa Board of Nursing website on August 05, 2020 at 9:15am.