Practical Nursing Program

Additional Admission Requirements

Students interested in pursuing admission into the Practical Nursing program at Iowa Western Community College must complete all admission requirements listed below in sections 1 and 2. In order to be eligible for admission, students must complete the requirements by the acceptance deadline. If the program does not fill on this date, students will be accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis until the program has filled.

The Nursing programs are approved by the Iowa Board of Nursing, RiverPoint Business Park, 400 SW 8th Street, Suite B, Des Moines, IA 50309-4685, (515) 281-3255.

Equal Educational Opportunity and Non-discrimination

It is the policy of Iowa Western Community College to provide equal educational opportunities and not to discriminate on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, national or ethnic origin, ancestry, genetic information, physical or mental disability, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, pregnancy, marital status, veteran status, AIDS/HIV status, citizenship, or medical condition, as those terms are defined under applicable laws, in its educational programs, activities, or employment practices.  Inquiries and complaints regarding equal opportunity and nondiscrimination policies should be directed to the Equal Opportunity Coordinators, phone number 712-325-3200,; or the Director of the Office for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education, Citigroup Center, 500 W. Madison, Suite 1475, Chicago, IL 60661, phone number 312-730-1560, fax 312-730-1576. 

Location Semester program begins Acceptance deadline Program Capacity
Council Bluffs Fall (August) January 31 78
Council Bluffs Spring (January) September 1 78
Shelby County Center Fall (August) January 31 24
Clarinda Center Fall (August) January 31 32
It is the responsibility of the student to ensure that all admissions requirements are on file with the Admissions Office and that his or her admissions application is correct, including intended start term, start year, and location.


Section 1: Complete College Admissions Requirements

Once you complete the application for admission, you will be accepted to Iowa Western as a Prep-Practical Nursing student and will be eligible to register for general education courses required for the Practical Nursing Program. For more information on getting registered for general education courses or for help with the admissions requirements, please contact us at or call 712.325.3277.

Section 2: Complete Practical Nursing Program Admissions Requirements

1. Submit a copy of a current valid CNA. Iowa Western offers a a credit CNA course, HSC-172 Nurse Aide, as well as non-credit CNA course offerings through the Office of Continuing Education. For more information on the credit and non-credit CNA offerings, please contact us at or call 712.325.3277.NOTE: The CNA must remain active during the two semesters of the Practical Nursing program. 

2. Complete the following prerequisite courses with a grade of “C” or higher:

3. Complete the following prerequisite courses with a grade of “B” or higher:

4. Successfully pass the Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS) Examination with a composite score of 58.7% or higher. Applicants who score lower than 58.7% will not be considered for admission to the program.

Section 3: Prerequisite recommended course sequence

Acceptance into the Practical Nursing program is based on the requirements listed in section 2. Students do have the ability to take additional general education courses ahead of time  that will be required to graduate from the Associate Degree of Nursing program. The recommended course sequence below includes both acceptance requirements and additional general education courses. 


Note that some courses may be waived, depending on the education you have previous completed in high school or another college.

      First Semester  
      BIO 157 Human Biology (may be waived - see advisor) 4
      ENG 105 Composition I 3
      PSY 121 Developmental Psychology 3
      HSC 172: Nurse Aide (also offered as non-credit)  3
      Total Credits 13
      Second Semester  
      BIO 168 Human Anatomy and Physiology I 4
      MGT 195 Workplace Empowerment 3
      SPC 112 Public Speaking 3
      PSY 111 Introduction to Psychology 3
      Total Credits 13
    Third Semester  
    BIO 173 Human Anatomy and Physiology II 4
    SOC 110 Introduction to Sociology 3
    BIO 151 Nutrition 3
     Total Credits 10








It is important to remember that taking general education courses may impact your full-time status when accepted into the Practical Nursing program. 

Section 4: Acceptance process for Practical Nursing Program

Once you complete Section 1: College Admissions Requirements and Section 2: Practical Nursing Admissions Requirements your application for the Practical Nursing Program is complete.

After the priority deadline, points will be totaled for all completed application files. The Practical Nursing Program Application Scoring Criteria will be used to assign points. The Office of Admissions totals points for all applicants for all three locations. Students with the highest point totals will be accepted. Students are notified of the acceptance status within two weeks of the deadline via email.

Once acceptance begins, students will be accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis until the program is full. If there are more eligible students than space available, students with the highest point totals will be accepted. If a tie breaker is required, preference will be given to the students with the highest number of prerequisite courses completed at Iowa Western. If a second tie breaker is needed, preference will be given to the students with the earliest application file completion date.

Once the program is full, students will be placed on an alternate list. If the program is full and an accepted student declines acceptance into the Practical Nursing Program, students on the alternate list will be offered a spot in the program.

Acceptance will end on August 1 for the Fall semester start and the last day of the fall semester for the Spring semester start.

Practical Nursing Application Scoring Criteria

 Points will be awarded based on the following criteria. To be calculated in the point total, all documentation must be on file with the Office of Admissions on or before the priority deadline. Possible Points

 1. Grade Point Average for anatomy and physiology 

Points will be awarded based on the grade point average the student earns in BIO 168 Human Anatomy and Physiology I and BIO 173 Human Anatomy and Physiology II: 

 BIO 168& BIO 173 Points awarded
 4.0 20 
 3.5  15
 3.0 10 

 2. Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS) Examination 

Points will be awarded based on the composite score received on the Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS) examination. 

 Composite score Points awarded
 90.7% or above 20
78.0% - 90.6%  15
 58.7% - 77.9% 10 


Section 4: Frequently Asked Questions

Why does the Practical Nursing Program have additional admissions requirements?

The Practical Nursing Program is a rigorous academic program which requires students to be academically prepared for success in the first semester, including a strong background in human biology, anatomy, and physiology. The Nursing Department carefully designed the admissions requirements to ensure that students who are accepted to the program have the fundamental knowledge needed to be successful in the first semester of the program.  

How long does it take to get into the Practical Nursing Program?

Iowa Western does not utilize a waiting list, so the amount of time it takes to get into the program varies by student depending on how long it takes to complete the College Admissions Requirements and the Practical Nursing Program Admissions Requirements listed above. The prerequisite courses typically take two to three semesters to complete for students who enter the college without any college credits.

Is there a separate application process to apply for the program?

No, Iowa Western does not have a separate application process. The Office of Admissions uses what is called your "Start Term" (example: fall 2019) for acceptance in our competitive programs. It is important that the start term on file correctly reflects the semester you anticipate to start the program. Students can request to have their start term updated by submitting the Update Start Term Form. 

If I do not complete the requirements for the program in time to be accepted, can I reapply?

Yes. To reapply, simply update your start term - click here. You may also visit the Office of Admissions, contact us at or 712.325.3277 and request to change your start term.

How will I know if I get accepted to the Practical Nursing Program?

Approximately two weeks after acceptance begins, which is January 31 for the Fall semester and September 1 for the Spring semester, you will receive a letter from the Office of Admissions indicating your admissions status. If the program is not yet full at that time, we will continue accepting students who complete the requirements until the program fills.

What do I need to do once I get accepted to the Practical Nursing Program?

Students accepted to the Practical Nursing Program will have to complete a few additional steps in order to be ready to begin the nursing program, which include registering for classes, attending a nursing orientation event, and completing criminal background check and physical paperwork. All of these steps will be included in your letter of acceptance or in additional communication from the Nursing Department.