Nurse Aide

Nurse Aide

Work in a Long-Term Care Facility

The Certified Nurse Aide (CNA) Training program at Kirkwood Community College is designed to prepare you to work in a long-term care facility in the state of Iowa.

Upon completion of this program, you will be able to perform direct care for residents in a nursing home setting and ensure proper resident safety, hygiene, and nutrition.

You will also be prepared to take the State Skills Test and the State Written Exam to receive certification on the Direct Care Worker Registry in the state of Iowa.

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Certified Nurse Aide Training (CNA) Requirements:

  1. Physical exam and immunizations, including 2 TB tests within a year or a Quantiferon Gold or T-Spot blood draw and seasonal influenza (Oct. - Mar.). This is due on the first day of class; please hand them into your instructor. Complete this physical exam form and this immunization form.
  2. Must be at least 16 years of age.
  3. 100% attendance is required to earn a certificate of completion.
  4. Per state regulations, a criminal background check must be performed at least 48 business hours before the first day of class. Note: A non-refundable $20 background check fee is already included in your tuition.
  5. Students with a history of a back condition or students who are pregnant are required to have a doctor’s release stating "No Lifting Restrictions" to enter the clinical rotation.

Additional Costs Information:

  • For this program, the textbook "Hartman's Nursing Assistant Care 6th Edition," Hedman (ISBN 978-1-60425-141-8) is required.
  • Physical, uniform of medical scrubs, and noncanvas closed toe and heel shoes for clinic.
  • If tuition is to be billed to a facility, the facility will need to complete a sponsorship billing form and fax to 319-398-7185 prior to registration.

Standard Refund Policy Applies:

  • Refunds will be issued to students who drop the class at least two business days prior to the class start date. No credit will be issued for classes dropped after this deadline, or on or after the class start date.
  • To withdraw your registration, please call 319-398-1022 during business hours of Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Identify characteristics and functions of effective nurse aides, including an overview of nursing facilities and skilled nursing facilities, methods for proper communication, legal/ethical requirements, individuality, and rights and needs of residents in nursing facilities.
  • Evaluate the resident’s environment and determine the aide’s responsibility in maintaining a safe environment.
  • Skills learned include medical asepsis, hand hygiene, standard precautions, fire and disaster plans, bed making, transferring residents, range of motion, and safe use of restraints.
  • Assist the resident to achieve their personal hygiene needs. Skills learned include oral hygiene care, showers, whirlpool, nail care, grooming needs, shampooing, shaving, and assisting with elimination needs.
  • Implement methods of assisting the resident to meet nutritional needs, including preparing the resident for eating a meal and feeding a resident.
  • Perform routine care procedures, including taking vitals, obtaining resident height and weight, intake and output, obtaining a routine urine specimen, and urinary care.
  • Support needs of residents with special conditions, such as reporting uncommon situations, modify behavior in response to a resident’s behavior, and caring for the dying resident.

Additional Information

Important Forms

  • Physical Form – Due on the first day of class. 
  • Immunization Form – Due on the first day of class.
  • Sponsorship Billing Form – If your employer is paying for your class and wishes to be billed, have them fill out this billing/registration form. *Individuals cannot be billed.

Other Resources

How do I register for a Nurse Aide Training class?
To register, call our Continuing Education registration staff at 319-398-1022.

Is there tuition assistance available for this program?
Yes, there are a variety of funding opportunities based on student eligibility. Call our staff at 319-398-1022 for more information.

My employer will be paying for this program. How do I register?
Your employer will need to fill out a Sponsorship Billing Form and submit it to the registration office. You can find the form in the Important Forms and Resources section.

I have questions (i.e. physical form, attendance, regulations) regarding the Nurse Aide Program, who can I speak to?
You can contact our Program Director at 319-398-4970 or Health Support at 319-398-5438. If you have questions regarding Kirkwood’s Nursing Program and/or their prerequisites, please call 319-398-5563.

Is there a background check?
Yes, a background check is mandatory for participation in the class, and the fee is already included in class registration. The permission form must be submitted at least two business days prior to the first day of the Nurse Aide class. If there is a “hit,” you will be notified by mail to complete additional information. If DHS determines that you are prohibited or are unable to approve your participation in clinic, you will not be able to attend the clinical component of the Nurse Aide course and will not fulfill the requirements needed to receive a certificate of completion for the class.

What is the attendance policy for the class?
Due to the volume of material covered, and the speed at which it will be presented, attendance at each session will be expected. 100 percent attendance is recommended.

What is the pass/fail criteria?
Classroom/lab: Pass = 79% or more; Fail = 78% or less
Each clinic day is evaluated by the instructor as a pass or no pass. If two clinical days are evaluated as a no pass, you will no longer attend clinic and will not receive a certificate of completion for the Nurse Aide class. An absence is considered a no pass clinical day.

How far in advance can I withdraw my registration?
Our Kirkwood Continuing Education refund policy states that refunds will be issued to learners who withdraw from the class at least two business days prior to the class start date. No credit will be issued for classes dropped after this deadline, or on or after the class start date. The background check fee for this class is nonrefundable. To withdraw your registration, please call 319-398-1022.

What is the State Competency Exam?
The State Competency Exam consists of a written and skills competency test. The written test is a 100-question multiple choice test completed online in the Kirkwood Test Center. The skills test consists of an evaluation of hands-on skills designed as a realistic nurse aide assignment.

How do I get on the Direct Care Workers Registry?
Once you successfully (70 percent or better) complete both the Written and Skills State Competency Exams you will be listed as eligible on the DCW Registry in Iowa.

How do I become a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) in Iowa?
Successfully complete both the Written and Skills State Competency Exam.

Will passing the State Competency Exams in Iowa certify me in other states?
No. Completion of these exams only certifies individuals within the state of Iowa and are not valid in other states. Each state has their own certification requirements.

Do I have to take or complete a Nurse Aide Class before I can take the State Competency Exams?
No, Iowa is the only state that does not require successful completion of the 75-hour Nurse Aide Class prior to taking the state exam. Anyone in Iowa can take the Nurse Aide Competency Exams.

What are the costs for the State Competency Exams?
Written Competency Exam is $60, Skills Competency Exam is $115, Total: $175. If you are working in a LTC nursing facility, it is the facility’s responsibility to pay for the test.

How do I register for the State Competency Exams?
To register, call Continuing Education at 319-398-1022, or go to

I passed one test but not the other. What do I do?
You may take the failed exam up to 3 times. If you do not receive a passing score on the third test, per regulations, you must successfully complete a Nurse Aide Class prior to retaking both tests again. Each test attempt is a separate charge to you or the facility sponsoring you.

I was on the DCW Registry however; I’m now listed as ineligible. Why is that?
In order to stay on the registry, you must work at least one eight-hour compensated shift in a long-term care facility every 24 months. If no employment is reported for you in over 24 months, your name automatically goes to ineligible and you cannot work in long-term care.

Can anyone take the Nurse Aide Refresher Class?
No. This class is intended as a refresher course for individuals who have not worked as a nurse aide for a period of time and would like to return to the workforce.

What are the requirements to take the class?
Students must provide a certificate of completion of a Nurse Aide course OR a transcript showing that they took and passed a Nurse Aide course. Note: We no longer accept previous DCW registry documentation.

How do I register for the Nurse Aide Refresher class?
Call us at 319-398-1022 or go to to sign up online.

The clinics listed below are only free for students with no health insurance.

His Hands
400 12th Street SE
Cedar Rapids, IA

Community Health Free Clinics
860 2nd Ave SE #C
Cedar Rapids, IA

947 14th Ave SE
Cedar Rapids, IA

Iowa City Free Medical Clinic
2440 Towncrest Dr
Iowa City, IA 52240

Some of the immunizations can be obtained at MercyCare Prairie Creek clinic in Cedar Rapids. Please call 319-398-5588.

County Public Health will do physicals on a sliding scale schedule.

More Questions?

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Kirkwood Community College
Continuing Education