Iowa CNA Registry Guide

A comprehensive guide to the Iowa CNA Registry: From application to renewal

Welcome to the gateway for becoming a CNA in Iowa! The Iowa CNA Registry serves as the authoritative hub, ensuring the qualification, competence, and adherence to standards for all CNAs in the state. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to get on the Iowa CNA Registry and essential details for maintaining an active status.

Requirements to get on the Iowa CNA Registry


The application process is free of charge.

Minimum Age

You must be at least 16 years old to be eligible for registration. Some training schools will require you to be at least 17 years old to apply.

Minimum Education

It is not necessary to have finished high school education, however, it is strongly encouraged and some training schools will require a high school diploma or a GED.

Training Requirements

To qualify you must complete a 75-hour CNA course with a college, health care facility, or other private accredited entity.

Competency Test

To be certified on the Iowa Nurse Aide Registry, you must take and pass both written and skills tests within four months of your hire date. Note that there are only a limited of colleges that offer the tests, other entities are likely to only offer the training.

Background Check

The Registry will not ask for a background check, however, completion of a background check may be required by your testing entity provider or your employer.

Applying to appear on the Iowa CNA Registry

Where to apply

Upon successful completion of the written and skills tests, your testing entity will send your application and results directly to the Iowa CNA Registry, and you will be placed on the Registry.

Required Documentation

Not applicable. As per the above, your testing entity will inform the Iowa CNA Registry directly.


Individuals who are found guilty of abusing, neglecting, or mistreating residents by a court of law or who have had a finding of abuse, neglect, mistreatment, or misappropriation of resident property will be designated as not eligible for employment on the Registry.

Processing Time

Processing time varies. Allow at least two weeks before sending an inquiry.

How to keep your license on the Iowa CNA Registry

Stay Active

The only way to remain active on the Iowa Direct Care Worker Registry is for your Iowa employer to report your hours to Registry staff.


You cannot report your hours to the Registry yourself, nor can you provide a letter verifying employment from the employer to the Registry directly.

Before your status on the Registry expires, the long-term care facility or qualifying federally-certified entity you work at can report your employment by logging in to DIAL’s Health Facilities Database/Direct Care Worker Registry.

If you work for a different type of entity, your employer will not be able to report your hours electronically. The administrator or director of the nursing facility you currently work at will need to provide to the Registry a job description and an attestation letter on facility letterhead to Registry staff showing that you performed at least eight hours of paid, nursing or nursing-related duties. Your employer must provide enough details to show that you met the long-term care employment guidelines.

Letters can be emailed to [email protected], faxed to 515.281.6259, or mailed to:
Iowa Direct Care Worker Registry
c/o Iowa Dept. of Inspections, Appeals, & Licensing
6200 Park Avenue, Suite 100
Des Moines, Iowa 50321

Reactivate your expired license

If you have not performed qualifying work for two years, you will have to retake the competency test (both written and skills) to get your status updated on the Registry. If you do not intend to work in a long-term care facility (i.e., nursing home), you do not need to be active on the Registry.

Iowa CNA reciprocity

For those seeking reciprocity, additional information can be found on our Iowa CNA Reciprocity page.

Iowa Registry and contact details

Link to Registry:

Link to license lookup:

Contact information:
Mail: [email protected]
Phone: 515.281.4077
Address: Dept. of Inspections, Appeals, & Licensing, 6200 Park Avenue, Suite 100, Des Moines, IA 50321