The field of nursing is constantly evolving and has become a part of the grand conversation in the healthcare industry. There is a high need for registered nurses who have obtained a BSN but, only half of current RNs have done so. Iowa is working hard to change this statistic. Since 2000, the American Nurses Association Board of Directors believed that a BSN should be a standard requirement for those entering the nursing profession. This debate has been constantly debated but many states are in favor of this legislation being passed. Nursing schools in Iowa have responded to this need by introducing accelerated courses for nurses to transition from an RN to a BSN in a small amount of time through on-sites classes, online programs, or a combination of both.

In our Iowa RN program guide, find rankings for both ADN and BSN Degree programs, tuition costs, NCLEX passing rates, and more. Research key Iowa RN Program information to help you compare program metrics and to apply to best RN program for your career in nursing.

In the State of Iowa, nurses are helping to change the face of healthcare. To ensure that they have the best education and preparation for future health care challenges, registered nurses need to graduate from a state-approved associate's degree in nursing program or a BSN degree program.

Nurses who graduate from an RN program can obtain certification in over 100 nursing specialties, go on to earn an RN to BSN or RN to MSN degree.

BSN degree holders have options to earn an Advance Practice Register Nursing (APRN) degree and become a Nurse Practitioner (NP), or earn an advanced degree for a career in any number of nursing leadership roles such Nurse Educator or Clinical Nurse Specialist.

Iowa RN Program Comparisons: ADN vs BSN

Compare RN ProgramsADNBSN
Number of Nursing Programs1518
Average NCLEX Passing Rate85.27%86.41%
NCLEX Passing Rate Range65.28% to 96.53%68.38% to 95.85%
Average Net Price$10,444.71$20,268.89
Average Net Price Range$6,797.00 to $21,626.00$15,966.00 to $24,873.00
Average Student Loan$9,542.14$20,919.11
Average Student Loan Range$7,203.00 to $18,301.00$16,500.00 to $27,000.00
See Additional DetailADN Rankings for Iowa StateBSN Rankings for Iowa State

Best Ranked RN Programs in Iowa

Best Ranked RN Programs in IowaTo help nursing students in their search for a top RN program, the education experts at RNCareers.org publish their annual findings of the best nursing schools for both Iowa and the country. Schools ranked on our list have proven their ability to educate highly competent nurses.

To create our rankings, we evaluated 13 ADN degree programs and 15 BSN degree programs in Iowa. We obtained each institution’s first-time NCLEX-RN passing rates, the number of students taking the test, the program nursing accreditation and more. We then compared the results against other nursing programs in Iowa to provide our state rankings. View our methodology


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97.64 ADNNorth Iowa Area Community College134 Mason City

North Iowa Area Community College is located in Mason City, Iowa. NIACC is proud to boast that it is Iowa’s oldest community college, having been founded in 1918.  NIACC offers an LPN and an ADN program.  They also have a partnership with various universities that allow ADN graduates to pursue their BSN after graduation; the University of Iowa is local, and there are also various other education options for the ADN graduate.

PublicCampusACENSee School Details
93.83 ADNIowa Central Community College2146 Fort DodgePublicCampusSee School Details
93.64 ADNSt Luke's College3152 Sioux City

St. Luke’s College is located in Sioux City, Iowa.  Their college is unique because it is a medical center based college – it is the only one in their area, and one of a handful in the entire country.  The college is devoted entirely to healthcare degrees.  They offer both an ASN and a BSN program.

Private Not-For-ProfitCampus, OnlineACEN, CCNESee School Details
89.76 ADNEastern Iowa Community College District4302 DavenportPublicCampusSee School Details
89.18 ADNDes Moines Area Community College5319 Ankeny

Des Moines Area Community College is located in Ankeny, Iowa.  DMACC currently offers an LPN program and an RN program.  They do not have an LPN to RN program, but it is in the developmental stages and will be available at a later date.

PublicCampusACENSee School Details
89.09 ADNNortheast Iowa Community College-Calmar6324 CalmarPublicCampusSee School Details
88.68 ADNSouthwestern Community College7338 Creston

Southwestern Community College is located in Creston, Iowa.  Their nursing program is unique; they describe it as a “ladder program.”  Their students first complete their LPN.  This allows them to earn their LPN degree and work within a year, and simultaneously obtain the AAS in nursing.  They also have the option of opting out of the RN portion.

PublicCampusSee School Details
84.58 ADNSoutheastern Community College8494 West BurlingtonPublicCampusSee School Details
81.69 ADNNorthwest Iowa Community College9570 SheldonPublicCampusSee School Details
79.95 ADNHawkeye Community College10593 WaterlooPublicCampusSee School Details
78.91 ADNWestern Iowa Tech Community College11612 Sioux CityPublicCampusSee School Details
71.60 ADNMercy College of Health Sciences12687 Des MoinesPrivate Not-For-ProfitCampus, OnlineACEN, CCNESee School Details
66.94 ADNIndian Hills Community College13706 OttumwaPublicCampus, OnlineSee School Details
100.00 BSNUniversity of Dubuque11 DubuquePrivate Not-For-ProfitCampusCCNESee School Details
98.09 BSNLuther College217 Decorah

Luther College is located in Decorah, Iowa.  They offer a BSN program and a Direct Entry Program.  The Direct Entry Program allows a high school senior to apply for entrance into the program their freshman year of college.

Private Not-For-ProfitCampusCCNESee School Details
97.70 BSNAllen College321 Waterloo

Allen College is located in Waterloo, Iowa.  Allen College is unique in that it is a college that provides only healthcare education.  The following degrees are available: Associate of Science in Radiography, Bachelor of Health Sciences, Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Master of Science in Nursing, Master of Science in Occupational Therapy, Doctor of Nursing Practice, and Doctor of Education in Health Professions Education degree programs.

Private Not-For-ProfitCampus, Hybrid, OnlineACEN, CCNESee School Details
97.33 BSNUniversity of Iowa433 Iowa City

University of Iowa is located in Iowa City, Iowa.  Their College of Nursing offers a BSN program and an RN to BSN program.  For the BSN who chooses to continue his or her education, they also offer an extensive graduate program.

PublicCampus, HybridACEN, CCNESee School Details
95.08 BSNCoe College589 Cedar Rapids

Coe College is located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.  Their nursing program’s slogan is, “The nursing program is elite, selective, and known for educating outstanding nurses. We are not a typical BSN program!”  Their program is unique in that their students have the opportunity to travel abroad, are paired one-on-one with nurse experts, and participate in highly interactive classrooms.

Private Not-For-ProfitCampusCCNESee School Details
94.53 BSNMount Mercy University6114 Cedar RapidsPrivate Not-For-ProfitCampusCCNESee School Details
92.90 BSNMorningside College7175 Sioux CityPrivate Not-For-ProfitCampus, Hybrid, OnlineACEN, CCNESee School Details
82.93 BSNNorthwestern College8438 Orange City

Northwestern College is located in Orange City, Iowa.  They offer a traditional BSN program and an online RN to BSN program.  Students in their traditional BSN program have an advantage as their Nursing Arts Laboratory is located in a former hospital, which has a nurses station, patient rooms with beds, IV equipment, hospital-based computerized medication system and an electronic health record simulation program.

Private Not-For-ProfitCampus, OnlineCCNESee School Details
82.09 BSNMercy College of Health Sciences9452 Des MoinesPrivate Not-For-ProfitCampus, OnlineACEN, CCNESee School Details
81.48 BSNClarke University10456 DubuquePrivate Not-For-ProfitCampus, Hybrid, OnlineACEN, CCNESee School Details
77.91 BSNSaint Ambrose University11488 DavenportPrivate Not-For-ProfitCampusCCNESee School Details
74.19 BSNIowa Wesleyan College12506 Mount PleasantPrivate Not-For-ProfitCampusSee School Details
73.98 BSNGrand View University13507 Des MoinesPrivate Not-For-ProfitCampusCCNESee School Details
68.46 BSNBriar Cliff University14526 Sioux CityPrivate Not-For-ProfitCampus, Hybrid, OnlineACEN, CCNESee School Details