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 Programs ADN BSN
Number of Nursing Programs 15 18
Average NCLEX Passing Rate 85.27% 86.41%
NCLEX Passing Rate Range 65.28% 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 Detail ADN Rankings for Iowa State BSN 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 ADN North Iowa Area Community College 1 34 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.

Public Campus ACEN See School Details
93.83 ADN Iowa Central Community College 2 146 Fort Dodge Public Campus See School Details
93.64 ADN St Luke's College 3 152 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-Profit Campus, Online ACEN, CCNE See School Details
89.76 ADN Eastern Iowa Community College District 4 302 Davenport Public Campus See School Details
89.18 ADN Des Moines Area Community College 5 319 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.

Public Campus ACEN See School Details
89.09 ADN Northeast Iowa Community College-Calmar 6 324 Calmar Public Campus See School Details
88.68 ADN Southwestern Community College 7 338 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.

Public Campus See School Details
84.58 ADN Southeastern Community College 8 494 West Burlington Public Campus See School Details
81.69 ADN Northwest Iowa Community College 9 570 Sheldon Public Campus See School Details
79.95 ADN Hawkeye Community College 10 593 Waterloo Public Campus See School Details
78.91 ADN Western Iowa Tech Community College 11 612 Sioux City Public Campus See School Details
71.60 ADN Mercy College of Health Sciences 12 687 Des Moines Private Not-For-Profit Campus, Online ACEN, CCNE See School Details
66.94 ADN Indian Hills Community College 13 706 Ottumwa Public Campus, Online See School Details
100.00 BSN University of Dubuque 1 1 Dubuque Private Not-For-Profit Campus CCNE See School Details
98.09 BSN Luther College 2 17 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-Profit Campus CCNE See School Details
97.70 BSN Allen College 3 21 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-Profit Campus, Hybrid, Online ACEN, CCNE See School Details
97.33 BSN University of Iowa 4 33 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.

Public Campus, Hybrid ACEN, CCNE See School Details
95.08 BSN Coe College 5 89 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-Profit Campus CCNE See School Details
94.53 BSN Mount Mercy University 6 114 Cedar Rapids Private Not-For-Profit Campus CCNE See School Details
92.90 BSN Morningside College 7 175 Sioux City Private Not-For-Profit Campus, Hybrid, Online ACEN, CCNE See School Details
82.93 BSN Northwestern College 8 438 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-Profit Campus, Online CCNE See School Details
82.09 BSN Mercy College of Health Sciences 9 452 Des Moines Private Not-For-Profit Campus, Online ACEN, CCNE See School Details
81.48 BSN Clarke University 10 456 Dubuque Private Not-For-Profit Campus, Hybrid, Online ACEN, CCNE See School Details
77.91 BSN Saint Ambrose University 11 488 Davenport Private Not-For-Profit Campus CCNE See School Details
74.19 BSN Iowa Wesleyan College 12 506 Mount Pleasant Private Not-For-Profit Campus See School Details
73.98 BSN Grand View University 13 507 Des Moines Private Not-For-Profit Campus CCNE See School Details
68.46 BSN Briar Cliff University 14 526 Sioux City Private Not-For-Profit Campus, Hybrid, Online ACEN, CCNE See School Details