CNA Programs

Certified Nurse Aide (CNA)

About the Program

Iowa Western Community College offers training for those interested in becoming Nurse Assistants. The 79 Hour Course is offered monthly in a variety of locations and taught by Registered Nurses. These courses are designed to provide knowledge and basic nursing skills needed to care for patients and residents in a variety of long term care facilities. Nurse Aide students will be awarded 3 Iowa Western credits upon completion.  This course is a  prerequisite to the IWCC Nursing program. The 79 Hour Nurse Assistant course consists of 30 hours of classroom, which includes professional soft skills, 15 hours of lab, and 30 hours of clinical. The class schedules are available by clicking on the link at the top of this page. Each student will be provided with a course syllabus and the skills checklist, these are valuable tools for the nurse assistant course and state testing. 

Onsite classes available in Council Bluffs, Atlantic, Clarinda, Harlan and Shenandoah. 

Traditional Class: $575
Payment may be made with a money order, cashier’s check, credit card, or cash. Includes textbook and handouts. $150 State Testing Fee not included.  

Hybrid Class: $675

In the classroom and online. The hybrid format enables you to do the 30 hours of the didactic portion of the course online at home. Payment may be made with a money order, cashier’s check, credit card, or cash. Includes textbook and handouts. $150 State Testing Fee not included.


State Written and Skills Exams

Cost $150

Nurse Aide State Written and Skills Exams are offered at Iowa Western Community College. Test registration forms for the Written and Skills Exam are available on our website and must be completed and returned with a testing fee of $150. Fees are due when exams are scheduled. Written instructions are given to the student at the time. Successful completion of these exams is required by Federal Legislation to work in a long term care facility. Contact Iowa Western Continuing Education (712) 325-3255 for dates and times. 

Registration for State Written and Skills Exams 

Fill out the forms below. You may type in the forms and save the forms with data.

Complete, print and bring the forms and payment to Iowa Western at:

Continuing Education – Looft Hall

Iowa Western Community College
2700 College Rd
Council Bluffs, IA 51503


Course Policies 


  • There is a $25 drop fee for all class withdrawals prior to one business day in advance plus $50 if the background check has been done.

  • A $75 fee for all transfers into another class (New background check) plus a $25 drop fee.
    Withdrawal/transfer 1 business day in advance – 50% refund.

  • No refunds are given for less than 1 business day withdrawal/transfer or for “no shows.”

The two-step tuberculin skin test (TST) is used to detect individuals with past tuberculosis (TB) infection who now have diminished skin test reactivity. This procedure will reduce the likelihood that a boosted reaction is later interpreted as a new infection. Consult your healthcare provider to see when you can have these tests.
Iowa Western Community College Nurse Assistant Training Program is approved by the Department of Inspections and Appeals. The Department of Inspections and Appeals web site provides information for Nurse Assistants regarding state registry status. Nurse Assistants can also print cards form this web site.
You must bring the following supplies to the class: 3-ring binder, stethoscope, and watch with a second hand. Scrubs are required for the clinical portion of the class.
Iowa Western will complete a criminal background check on all persons who wish to register for the certified nurse assistant course. Students are required to complete the paperwork for the background check at the time of registration. Criminal convictions or documented history of abuse will delay and could prevent students from participating in clinical. Successful completion of the course requires the student to meet grade and attendance requirements for both the classroom and lab section and 30 hours of clinical.
Chapter 81.16(3)c(1): No nurse aide who is employed by, or who has received an offer of employment from, a facility on the date on which the aide begins a nurse aide training and competency evaluation program or competency evaluation program may be charged for any portion of the program including any fees for textbooks or other required evaluation or course materials.
Chapter 81.16(3)c(2): If a person who is not employed, or does not have an offer to be employed, as a nurse aide becomes employed by, or receives an offer of employment from, a facility not later than 12 months after completing a nurse aide training and competency evaluation program or competency evaluation program, the facility shall reimburse the nurse aide for costs incurred in completing the program or competency evaluation on a pro-rata basis during the period in which the person is employed as a nurse aide. The formula for paying the nurse aides on a pro-rata basis shall be as follows:

  1. Add all costs incurred by the aides for the course, books, and tests.
  2. Divide the total arrived at in No. 1 above by 12 to prorate the costs over a one-year period and establish a monthly rate.

Results of the criminal record and child and adult abuse registry checks will be released to the Department of Human Services. The Department of Human Services will determine if the crime or founded abuse warrants prohibition from the clinical education experience.
Nurse Assistant students who are pregnant must provide a doctor’s statement with approval to participate in the program. Any health problem (i.e. a back injury requiring limited use of lifting, etc.) must have a doctor’s verification specifying limits.
ALL cell phones must be turned off in class and clinical. No texting is allowed during class. Students may not carry cell phones with them while in clinical but they may check their calls and return calls during the break.
Students must be present for at least 41 hours of the classroom/lab and all 30 hours of the clinical to successfully complete the course and be awarded a certificate. If a student is absent from any part of the clinical, Iowa Western will not issue a certificate and the student will need to repeat the entire class. Students will need to pay the tuition to retake the class.
Quiz and Final Exam – Please see your class syllabus for this information. All quizzes and the final test must be completed during the 45 hours prior to clinical. There are no makeup exams allowed. Being absent on the day of a quiz will result in a loss of points for that quiz or exam. Any deviation from this must be approved by the Iowa Western Community College Nurse Assistant Program Coordinator. There is 1 unit exam and a final exam. The student must have an 80% in the classroom to attend clinical.
If a reader is needed, this must be requested at the time of registration. Appropriate supporting paperwork (IEP) must be included with the registration. For disability services, please call (712) 325-3284 or email disabilityservices@iwcc.edu.
The student may wear street clothes for the classroom portion of the course. Students are encouraged to dress in layers and bring a sweater as temperature varies in the classrooms. In clinical, the dress code is as follows: White or colored uniform (scrubs); uniform must be clean and pressed, with no colored t-shirts, clean, closed-toe shoes. Students with long hair will tie their hair back and secure it with a band or clip. No perfumes. No jewelry is to be worn by the student. No visible body piercing or tattoos. Fingernails should be trimmed and clean, no nail polish, acrylic nails are not allowed in clinical. The student is to have a watch that has a second hand. The student must display good personal hygiene, be well-groomed and hair must be neat at all times, beards must be well-trimmed. Students are expected to behave in a professional manner in class and clinical, work cooperatively with the instructor and nursing staff at the hospital or nursing home.
The student may wear street clothes for the classroom portion of the course. Students are encouraged to dress in layers and bring a sweater as temperature varies in the classrooms. In clinical, the dress code is as follows: White or colored uniform (scrubs); uniform must be clean and pressed, with no colored t-shirts, clean, closed-toe shoes. Students with long hair will tie their hair back and secure it with a band or clip. No perfumes. No jewelry is to be worn by the student. No visible body piercing or tattoos. Fingernails should be trimmed and clean, no nail polish, acrylic nails are not allowed in clinical. The student is to have a watch that has a second hand. The student must display good personal hygiene, be well-groomed and hair must be neat at all times, beards must be well-trimmed. Students are expected to behave in a professional manner in class and clinical, work cooperatively with the instructor and nursing staff at the hospital or nursing home.
Students are assigned to clinical groups based on the order they registered for the class.
The student will be evaluated on their clinical performance by the instructor and given a pass or fail grade. Students must demonstrate the clinical skills to successfully complete the class.
Student records will only be released with the student’s written permission.
Each student is invited to fill out an evaluation form on the Nurse Assistant program and Nurse Assistant Instructor at the end of the course clinical.
Nurse Assistant students sustaining personal injury or illness while in the classroom or clinical setting for the Nurse Assistant class are responsible for the cost of any medical expenses.
Any student attending class who is suspected of being under the influence of drugs or alcohol may be asked to leave at the discretion of the instructor. Students will be required to submit to a drug test at the student’s expense whenever actions, statements, or appearance cause reasonable suspicion that the student is under the influence of illegal drugs, controlled substances, or alcohol. Reasonable suspicion would occur when one of the following factors are noted: the odor of alcohol, psychotic, irrational behavior, over-aggressive behavior. Other factors may cause the instructor to suspect alcohol or drug abuse and the instructor will call the Program Coordinator in these cases. When reasonable suspicion occurs, the student will be asked to leave the class or clinical and obtain a drug screen immediately in the Emergency Department of a local hospital. The instructor will report observations to the Program Coordinator immediately by phone and follow up with written documentation later the same day. The documentation will be placed in the student’s file. The student is suspended form class and clinical until the results of the drug screen are obtained and reported to the Program Coordinator. The student has the right to refuse testing. If this occurs, the student will be asked to leave the class or clinical immediately. The Program Coordinator will be notified of the refusal and the instructor will document interactions with the student leading up to the conclusion.
Students are expected to demonstrate professional behavior and attitudes during all aspects of the course. People trained to perform CNA functions are expected to display a high moral standard in the community. Any student who is found to have engaged in any improper, immoral or illegal activity at any time, or displays unprofessional behavior/attitude during the time they are enrolled in the Iowa Western Community College CNA Education Program may receive disciplinary action including probation and/or expulsion from the program.
Each student will receive a Certificate of Completion upon successful completion of the course. Certificates will not be awarded if the student did not meet the attendance policy as listed above or there is an outstanding bill for Iowa Western Community College against the student’s account. Duplicate certificates are available at a cost of $10.
Once Nurse Assistants have been registered, they must work 8 paid hours in a two year period, which is reported to the state. Nursing assistants must complete 12 hours of in-service training yearly. If a Nurse Assistant does not work for 24 consecutive months, he/she must retake and successfully pass the written and skills competency tests to return to the state Direct Care Workers Registry.

Advanced Certified Nurse Aide (CNA)

A continuation of the traditional 75 hour CNA course, designed to provide additional skills and clinical hours to ready students for the hospital work environment. This program is taught by a Registered Nurse.

Prerequisites

Mail or bring in pre-requisite documentation with registration form:

  • Traditional 75 hour CNA certificate
  • CPR certificate
  • Flu vaccination
  • Documentation of vaccination/immunizations. You MUST complete Immunization Record Form 

Cost $575
Textbook not included in the cost.

Questions? Contact us at ce@iwcc.edu or (712) 325-3259.

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Accessing the CNA Registry

Skills Exam

  • Minimum score of 70% is required to pass the skills exam
  • Results of skills test and certificate are given at the conclusion of the test

Written Exam

  • Minimum score of 70% is required to pass the written exam
  • Scores are not mailed to student. The Registry does not receive numeric scores, only “pass” or “fail”

How to Access Your Registry Status (After 10 days to 2 week waiting period)

  1. Go to the following website www.dia-hfd.state.ia.us
  2. In the upper left of your screen, you will see a box with some navigational tabs in it. Click on the “Login” tab, which is the second button from the top of the menu bar.
  3. This will bring up 2 boxes in the middle of your screen requesting an Account ID and password.
    • Do not try to create your own ID and temporary password, they have already been set.
    • The Account ID is the last 4 digits of your Social Security Number, an underscore, and the first initial of your first and last name, in capital letters. It will look like the following: example: 6789_FL.
    • The temporary password will be the first 5 digits of your Social Security Number, an underscore, and the first initial of your first and last name, in capital letters. It will look like the following: example: 12345_FL.
    • If the message “Invalid User Credentials” appears on your first and second tries, please contact the registry at the number listed below. You may have the same last four digits and initials as another person on the registry and have a different special character in your Account ID and password.
  4. You will be requested to set up 5 “baseline” or security questions.
  5. You will then be asked to create a new password that only you will know. The password must be at least 8 characters long with at least one capital letter, one lower case letter, a special character and a number. Make it something that you will easily remember such as DMLincoln_1. Additionally, the system will have you reset your password every two or three months for security purposes. Just switch the special character or number to update your password.
  6. Once you log back in with your new password, you will be taken to your own homepage within our database. You can navigate anywhere within your record from here, and you can also print your card from this page as well.
  7. To find out your current status and check to see if your employers have reported your employment click on the Demographics tab, which is the second to the last button on the menu bar.
    • The first section on this page will have editable fields where you can correct personal information and update the system.
    • The second section on the page lists the certifications the registry tracks and your status. In order to work in a Long Term Care facility or larger hospitals, your certificate must read active. You can be in No Test or No Employment and work as a CNA in Home Health, Assisted Living Programs, Intermediate and Residential Care facilities, Elder Group Homes, CDAC, etc. on your course completion certificate alone. Your course completion certificate never expires. Only your ability to work in a Long Term Care Facility expires after 24 months of no reported Long Term Care CNA employment.
    • The third section lists all the reported employment for your certificate. If there is a gap of more than two years between any LTC employment you have had, you are ineligible to work in Long Term Care facilities until the gap has been filled with additional countable employment or you retake and pass both the written and skills state competency exams.
  8. To print your card, do the following: Turn off the popup blocker feature on your internet browser. Click on the tab that says Print DCW Card, which is the last button on the menu bar. A picture of your card will come up and you can print it. If the printer icon does not appear for the window, do Ctrl+P from your keyboard to access the print screen.
Questions?

Please e-mail DCW@iowa.gov or call the Iowa DCW Registry at (515) 281-4077. 

Registry hours are 8 am-4:30 pm Monday-Friday. Closed all state and federal holidays.