Iowa Western Community College
covid-19Iowa Western's plan to reopen facilities, and keeping our students and staff safe.

College information and updates

Certified Nurse Aide (CNA)


For class schedule and to register, click on this link: Class Schedule/Registration

Required for Registration

  • Documentation of 2 negative TB Tests
    How is Two-Step Tuberculin Skin Testing Done? 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.

FREE Tuition Assistance Available!

Education 2 Employment (E2E) provides FREE tuition assistance to eligible residents of Iowa. Financial assistance may include training tuition, textbooks, tools, certification fees, required materials and other services. Email [email protected] or call (712) 325-3268 for more information!

Class Cost

Traditional $575

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

Hybrid - Online $675 

In the classroom and online. The hybrid format enables you to do the 30 hours of didactic portion of the course online at home. Payment may be made with 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 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 

Complete and return forms with payment.


  • There is a $25 drop fee for all class withdrawals prior to one business day in advance plus $50 if background check has been done.
  • There is 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 given for less than 1 business day withdrawal/transfer or for "no shows." 

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 consist 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. We offer classes on-site in Council Bluffs, Atlantic, Clarinda, Harlan and Shenandoah.   

Course Approval

Iowa Western Community College Nurse Assistant Training Program is approved by the Department of Inspections and Appeals. The Department of Inspections and Appeals (DIA) web site provides information for Nurse Assistants regarding state registry status. Nurse Assistants can also print cards form this web site.

Required Supplies

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.

Criminal Background Checks

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.

Prohibition of Charges

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.
Criminal History

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.

Student Health

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.

Cell Phones and Texting

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 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, IWCC 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 final test must be completed during the 45 hours prior to clinical. There are no make up 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. Student must have an 80% in classroom to attend clinical.

Disability Services – Requesting a Reader or Other Special Accommodations

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 [email protected].

Classroom and Clinical Attire

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, 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.

Clinical Assignments

Students are assigned to clinical groups based on the order they registered for the class.

Clinical Performance

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

Student records will only be released with the student’s written permission.

Course Evaluation by Student

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.

Student Injury

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.

Substance Abuse

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: 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.

Professional Behavior

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.

Certificate of Completion

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. 

Continuing Education Requirement

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. .

Useful Links