Iowa DNP Programs

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Iowa DNP Programs

The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program is new to the state of Iowa. With the AACN recommending that advanced practice certification moves toward requiring a doctoral level degree by 2015, the number of accredited programs is growing. Currently, the University of Iowa, Clarke University, and Allen College offer a DNP program, though the latter two are still in the process of becoming accredited by CCNE.

The common mission of Iowa DNP programs is to prepare graduates for an advanced practice role in an increasingly-complex medical industry. The programs aim to prepare advanced practice nurses to be leaders who have the ability to shape healthcare through administration and policy changes. Graduates will have the ability to make a difference in the quality and safety of care provided.

Admission Requirements

Two of Iowa's DNP programs, the University of Iowa's and Clarke University's, offer entry to both post-BSN and post-MSN applicants. Allen College offers admission only to those who have a master's degree.

Admissions requirements vary between programs, but there are some trends. For example, Clarke University and Allen College both require the following: official transcripts from an accredited program, 3.0 GPA (3.25 at Allen), an example of scholarly writing, completion of a statistics course with a "C" or better, three letters of recommendation, a statement of scholarly or professional goals, a current resume, and a photocopy of current nursing licenses. Allen College also requires that an applicant has completed a minimum of 600 clinical contact hours in his or her master's program. Interviews are required of applicants, and those who do not speak English as a first language must prove English proficiency by passing the TOEFL.

Curriculum and Degree Requirements

Iowa DNP programs differ in terms of program lengths and curricula. The University of Iowa requires the completion of 72 credit hours following the bachelor's degree before the DNP can be earned. Clarke University offers an 18-month bridge program for those who have already completed the MSN, while the BSN-DNP program curriculum is made up of 81 credit hours over a three to four year period. Allen College requires a minimum of 33 credit hours and 400 hours of practicum study for its post-master's program.


Tuition varies between programs, and is not always posted clearly. The cost of the DNP program per credit hour at Allen College is currently $733. The annual cost to attend the University of Iowa's program is $23,638 for in-state tuition, and roughly doubles for non-residents.

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

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Other Schools with DNP Programs in Iowa

University of Iowa
50 Newton Road
Iowa City, IA 52242

Iowa Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Programs (IA)

The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) is a post-graduate level practice nursing degree. A DNP focuses on the clinical aspects of nursing as opposed to working on medical research or teaching.

Due to the fact that most Iowa DNP degree seekers are working professionals, there are a number of flexible educational options available including RN-DNP (BSN-DNP) bridge programs and specialized programs for certified advanced practice nurses.

Iowa DNP Degree Prerequisites

In Iowa, nurses seeking DNP certification must already hold both BSN and MSN degrees. Being the final and most advanced degree offered to professionals in the nursing field, there are strict educational criteria. Since the DNP is a relatively new status in the profession, there has not been much national standardization of academic criteria. Therefore, it is essential for you to check with your Iowa educational institution of choice to find out what specific prerequisites they require for program admission. You can also check with the Iowa Board of Nursing to find out more about how Iowa recognizes DNPs.

Although every school has differing entrance requirements, here is an example of one Iowa schools current DNP program prerequisites.

Online DNP Programs for Iowa Nurses

Online education is also known as distance learning. As this level of certification becomes increasingly popular in Iowa, more and more Iowa higher learning institutions are offering their DNP programs online. This will make it far more convenient for current RNs to take the next step without having to sacrifice time on the clock or professional responsibilities.

Benefits of DNP Certification

There are benefits in Iowa to holding this advanced degree. Having a strong focus on advanced practice, leadership, and actual application of clinical research, DNPs are often depended on to fill the gap between doctors and nurses.

Also, Iowa nurses holding this certification are quickly becoming favored for parity with other health professionals when and where a doctorate status is required. This includes being called upon for involvement in advanced diagnosis, legal consultation, and highly specialized clinical research. With their focus on actual clinical application, DNP nurses are typically viewed as the most experienced.

As a nurse, earning a DNP degree will also foster enhanced leadership skills and the knowledge to deliver superior healthcare service to patients, which will in turn advance you professionally.

Resources for Iowa Nurses Seeking a DNP Degree

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