May 26, 2024  
NIACC Catalog 2024-2025 
NIACC Catalog 2024-2025

Practical Nursing Diploma

Practical Nursing is designed to prepare individuals to work in nursing situations which are relatively stable and unchanging. They are also prepared to assist experienced registered nurses and physicians in nursing situations that are complex and changing. Individuals considering enrollment or currently enrolled in the nursing program should be aware that prior felony convictions may prohibit eligibility for licensure upon completion of the program.

Licensure application requires legal presence in the United States including a social security number, U.S. visa, or U.S. green card. English proficiency recommendations for the licensure exam are identified by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing.

Students should be aware they may need to travel a distance for clinical experience and that some clinical experiences will be scheduled during evening/night hours and weekends. Drug testing may be required by individual agencies. Criminal background checks and adult/dependent/child abuse checks will be required for all incoming students. Results of the background and abuse checks will be reviewed to determine eligibility for clinical enrollment in the program. Costs for requirements will be the responsibility of the student.

2022-2023 Practical Nursing Handbook    

Practical Nursing program outcomes  


Future Ready Iowa


 Eligible for Future Ready Iowa Last Dollar Scholarship.


Entrance Requirements

The applicant must complete the application process through the health professions counselor located in the Student Development Office. Approved applicants are accepted into the program based on the date of application.

Entrance requirements include the following criteria:

  • Completion of a high school diploma or equivalency program.
  • Completion of high school with a grade point average of 2.00 or higher. If enrolled in NIACC courses, must attain an overall 2.00 GPA to enter the PN program and maintain a 2.00 or higher throughout the time enrolled in the program.
  • Completion of one year of high school Biology, with a grade of C or higher, taken in the last five (5) years.
  • Completion of one year of high school Algebra I, with a grade of C or higher, taken in the last five (5) years.
  • Satisfactory Accuplacer assessment test results in reading, writing, and math (these are administered by NIACC).
  • Proof of completion of the State of Iowa approved Certified Nurse Aide Program or equivalent and current placement on the Iowa Direct Care Worker Registry.


  • Six semesters of English
  • Computer class

Nurse Aide Training

Submit proof of completion of the State of Iowa approved Certified Nurse Aide Program or equivalent. Submit proof of successful completion of Nurse Aide written and skills test for placement on the Direct Care Worker Registry. A transcript indicating the applicant passed both tests, or a Registry card will serve as verification.

Applicants who do not meet requirements or those with a poor academic history may meet entrance requirements by successfully completing approved college courses and/or increasing assessment test results in an approved manner. This should be discussed with the health professions counselor.

Course Recommendations

Six semesters of English are recommended prior to applying to the program. Since the NCLEX-PN exam is a computerized test, a computer class is strongly recommended. An application to the Practical Nursing program, high school transcript, GED scores (if applicable), and all college transcripts must be in the applicant’s folder before the Admissions Committee takes action on acceptance into the Practical Nursing program. After acceptance, a physical examination providing evidence of current immunization and sound physical and mental health is required.

Applicants who have been previously enrolled in an approved nursing program may request consideration for advanced standing.

Students must successfully complete all course requirements for each semester before enrolling in the next semester.

Students who withdraw from the program must make formal application for reentry and upon acceptance will be considered on a space-available basis. After being accepted into the program, a student may delay entrance into the program no more than one (1) year. A student will be required to reapply to the program after this period of time. Readmission criteria is addressed in the PN Student Handbook. A student may reenter the program one time only.

Students must attain a C grade in all nursing courses and at least a C in prescribed support courses to continue sequential progression in the PN program. However, an overall 2.00 GPA in the prescribed curriculum and a minimum overall cumulative college grade point average of 2.00 is required for graduation from the PN program. If the student wishes to later seek application to the ADN program, see ADN option for Licensed Practical Nurses in the catalog.

Any transfer student applying for admission, who has been enrolled in a nursing curriculum other than NIACC will be required to meet with the Nurse Administrator, Practical and Associate Degree Nursing, to discuss placement in the curriculum after the following items have been received from the transfer institution: course syllabi, clinical placement documentation (hour/sites) reflecting sufficient theory, clinical hours, and experiences comparable to the first year of the ADN curriculum. The student will also, upon written authorization, allow contact with instructors from the transfer institution regarding theory, clinical, and over all student conduct from the administrator of the nursing program at the transfer institution. Information acquired from these contacts will be considered in acceptance and proper placement into the NIACC nursing curriculum.

Career Opportunities

Licensed Practical Nurses work in:

  • Hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, and other healthcare facilities
  • Health maintenance organizations
  • Private doctors’ offices
  • Public health agencies
  • Home healthcare services
  • Government agencies
  • Welfare and religious organizations
  • Nurses registries and temporary health agencies
  • Private duty

Licensed Practical Nurses work with:

  • Patients and their families
  • Thermometers, stethoscopes, and other medical equipment
  • Bandages, catheters, and other medical supplies
  • Patients’ records and charts
  • Various types of medication
  • Physicians’ orders
  • Appointment books

Gainful Employment

Upon successful completion of the Practical Nursing curriculum, the student is awarded a Diploma and is eligible for the NCLEX-PN exam. After passing this examination, the graduate receives licensed practical nurse status and is prepared to work in a beginning licensed practical nurse position under the supervision of qualified personnel. The program is approved by the Iowa Board of Nursing. An applicant that plans to license in another state is advised to contact the state board of nursing for specific licensure requirements. Assistance to obtain state licensure requirements is available upon request. 

Students seeking entrance into the nursing program should be aware that nursing courses with a clinical component may not be taken by a person

  1. who has been denied licensure by the Iowa Board of Nursing;
  2. whose licensure is currently suspended, surrendered or revoked in any United States jurisdiction;
  3. whose license/registration is currently suspended, surrendered or revoked in another country due to disciplinary action.

Required Courses/Suggested Schedule

First Year

Total: 11-15 s.h.

Total: 16 s.h.

Total: 16 s.h.

Total Program Hours: 43-47 s.h.

*Prescribed support courses which may be taken prior to entering the nursing program. If a support course is being taken in the same sequence with a nursing course, both the support course and the nursing course must be successfully completed to continue in the program.

**Body Structure and Function (or Anatomy and Physiology I and II) must be completed within five years of beginning the nursing component of the curriculum.

NOTE: A current Basic Life Support (formerly Healthcare Provider (CPR) Certification) offered by the American Heart Association is required. The current certification/renewal needs to be completed prior to the fall term or any reentry into the program. A yearly TB test is also required prior to the Fall term or any reentry into the program. Students must be current with these requirements or will not be allowed in the clinical area.