The passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has drastically changed healthcare in the United States, providing individuals who have completed accredited nursing degree programs in Iowa and other states more opportunities for advancement. Insurance companies are being pushed into providing preventative and whole-life care rather than focus on treating illnesses after the fact. This means that the healthcare industry must also change to meet current demands, providing educational resources and information that can keep people healthier for a longer time. Nursing is no exception to this new healthcare focus. As the need for professionals who can provide the added services to consumers grows, so will the need for nurses with advanced degrees who can guide those programs.

In 2014, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that there were almost 32,000 registered nurses working in Iowa, earning an average annual income of $55,040. However, nurses with advanced degrees earned between $94,310 and $175,490 annually, indicating the benefits of completing an accredited nursing degree program in Iowa. Nationally, the nursing profession is expected to grow by more than 16 percent over the next ten years, not only due to the ACA, but because the population is aging, leading to a need for nurses with an understanding of chronic conditions, including arthritis, dementia, diabetes and obesity.

Accredited nursing degree programs in Iowa offer the best opportunity for nurses to advance and provide additional services to people who need them most.

Allen College

Unity Point Health

The Allen Lutheran School of Nursing began in 1925 with ten students who were required to be of "good moral character." A letter of recommendation from their minister was necessary for them to be admitted to the program, they were required to live on campus, be single and to obey a strict curfew. No uniforms were provided, but each student was given six to nine yards of chambray fabric and instructed how to make their own. The uniform dresses were required to be seven to nine inches from the floor, long-sleeved and a stiff, white apron was required over the dress. To complete the uniform, students were required to wear black stockings and shoes. The school grew steadily until low enrollment during the Great Depression led it to close temporarily. It reopened in 1942 when the Red Cross requested it due to the war effort.

Today, Allen College School of Nursing through Unity Point Health offers undergraduate and graduate programs in many different health fields. Programs focus on community public health, education and leadership.

Master of Science in Nursing in Leadership in Health Care Delivery – Administration

The Master of Science in Nursing with a focus on Leadership in Health Care Delivery provides students with essential skills for effective leadership in the ever-changing world of healthcare. Students are required to complete core competencies in organizational theory, principles of leadership and management, as well as communication technology, informatics, innovation strategies and continuous quality improvement. Students are required to complete a practicum that will be tailored to their individual career goals. Students must hold a bachelor's degree or higher from an accredited college or university and must have a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 in the last 60 hours of study. Students must be currently licensed as a registered nurse in Iowa. In order to apply, students must provide three professional or academic letters of reference, a biographical sketch and a copy of their CPR certification card.


  • Higher Learning Commission
  • Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education


Allen College
1990 Heath Street
Waterloo IA 50703
Telephone: 319-226-2000

Kaplan University

School of Nursing

Kaplan University School of Nursing has helped thousands of nurses advance their careers. The university offers instructors who are aware of the constant changes in the nursing profession. They understand the growing reliance on technology, new treatment options and research being conducted that may lead to cures for some of the most devastating illnesses. Most of the programs offered through the Kaplan University School of Nursing are available in a completely online format which allows working nurses to achieve their higher education goals using a flexible format.

Master of Science in Nursing Executive Leader Concentration

The Master of Science in Nursing with an Executive Leaders Concentration is designed to enhance professional opportunities for nurses throughout their career. The program is offered in an online format and is especially designed for nurses who wish to take advantage of growing professional opportunities including management or advanced practice. Courses required include:

  • Advanced Nursing Roles
  • Epidemiology and Health Promotion
  • Healthcare Finance, Strategic Planning and Budgeting
  • Health Policy, Ethical and Legal Perspectives of the Healthcare System
  • Human Resources Management
  • Innovation in Healthcare Information Technology – Administrative
  • Leadership Organizational Theory and Behavior
  • Promoting Optimal Models and Systems for Healthcare Delivery
  • Scientific and Analytic Approaches to Advanced Evidence Based Practice
  • Theoretical Foundations of Advanced Practical Nursing

In addition, students must complete an Executive Leader Practicum and an Evidence-Based Practice Project.


  • Higher Learning Commission
  • Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education


Kaplan University – Des Moines
4655 121st Street
Des Moines IA 50323-2311

Kaplan University – Davenport
1801 East Kimberly Road #1
Davenport IA 52807

Kaplan University – Cedar Rapids
3165 Edgewood Parkway Southwest
Cedar Rapids IA 52404-7826

Telephone: 866-KAPLAN U (866-527-5268)

Mount Mercy University

Department of Nursing

Mount Mercy University offered one of the first bachelor's degrees in nursing in Iowa in 1969. In addition to the natural and behavioral sciences curriculum, students are provided an understanding of liberal arts as well. The school promotes the mission of the Sisters of Mercy with a focus on serving human need. Leadership is emphasized as a critical factor in nursing today. Today, there are approximately 300 students enrolled in the Department of Nursing at Mount Mercy.

Master of Science in Nursing Nurse Administrator Track

The Master of Science in Nursing with a Nurse Administrator Track at Mount Mercy University is offered in an accelerated five-week course format with evening class schedules. Students are able to complete the program in as little as 18 months and there is no entrance examination required. The Nurse Administration Track prepares students to lead and manage complex healthcare organizations. Courses required for the program include:

  • Health Promotion/Disease Prevention
  • Healthcare Systems: Leadership, Organizations and Technology
  • Nurse Administrator: Financial and Human Resource Management in Nursing and Healthcare
  • Nurse Administrator: Leadership and Management in Nursing and Healthcare
  • Nurse Administrator: Methods of Quality Management
  • Nurse Administrator: Organizational Effectiveness
  • Nursing Theory and Research
  • Professional Role and Skill Development

Students must also complete a practicum and professional project.

Students must hold an undergraduate degree from an accredited college or university in order to apply. A resume, personal statement and official transcripts must also be provided. Studnets must hold a current Iowa nursing license and must have a GPA of 3.0 in undergraduate study. Two recommendations must also be provided.


  • Higher Learning Commission
  • Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education


Mount Mercy University
1330 Elmhurst Drive Northeast
Cedar Rapids IA 52402-4797
Telephone: 319-286-4420

As the healthcare field undergoes rapid changes and the population ages, there will be a growing need for individuals who hold accredited nursing degrees in Iowa and other states.