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Iowa Board of Nursing

Maintenance of license requirements

Continuing education is mandated by Iowa law as a prerequisite to renewal of an Iowa nursing license. The requirement is as follows:

  • For renewal of a three-year license, the requirement is 36 contact hours or 3.6 CEUs.
  • For renewal of a license that has been issued for less than three years, the requirement is 24 contact hours or 2.4 CEUs. This applies to the first renewal after any one of the following:
    • Initial Iowa licensure by examination
    • Initial Iowa licensure by endorsement from another state
    • Reactivation from an inactive status

A license issued for less than three years is granted for two years, plus the number of months to the birth month. Thereafter, the license must be renewed every three years.

  • For reactivation from an inactive status, the requirement is 12 contact hours that are not more than 12 months old at the time the credit is submitted for reactivation.

References: Code of Iowa (1995) – 272C.2; Iowa Administrative Code 655, Chapter 5 – 5.2(2)a

Using academic credit to meet the continuing education requirement

Academic credit can be used to meet the mandatory continuing education requirement. Any course taken toward a nursing degree that is beyond the degree attained for original licensure qualifies, including electives and prerequisites. If the course(s) was not taken toward a nursing degree, then the individual course(s) must qualify asĀ appropriate subject matter.

Each semester hour is equivalent to 15 contact hours and each quarter hour is equivalent to 10 contact hours.

For additional information and approval, please contact DMU continuing education at 515-271-1541 or via emailĀ

Reference: IAC 655, Chapter 5 – 5.2(2)d(3 and 4) and 5.2(2)e

Calculation of continuing education credit

Course offerings must be at least 50 minutes in length and each contact hour is calculated on 50 minutes of instruction. 15 minute break must be provided every four hours. Please keep this in mind as you are finalizing your agenda.

Courses less than 50 minutes will not be approved.

Credit is not variable.

A registered nurse must be on the planning committee.

Links and resources

Contact information

Iowa Board of Nursing
RiverPoint Business Park
400 S.W. 8th Street, Suite B
Des Moines, IA 50309-4685
Office: 515-281-3255
Fax: 515-281-4825