Direct Care Worker Registry & CNAs

Direct care workers (DCWs) are responsible for the care of thousands of clients, patients, residents, or tenants in health care facilities throughout Iowa. On a daily basis, DCWs provide assistance with daily activities, administer medications, and ease the burden for Iowa's elderly and persons with disabilities. In Iowa, only certified nursing assistants (CNAs) are placed on the Direct Care Worker Registry. CNAs may apply online to be added to the registry so they are eligible for work in an Iowa long-term care facility.

CNAs may visit the Health Facilities Division website to see if they are currently active on the registry. Select “DCW Search” on the left side of the page, and search by Registry ID number, first or last name, city, or county.

Direct care workers who wish to transfer to the Iowa Direct Care Worker Registry from another state will need to complete a Registry application.

To be placed on the registry in Iowa, CNA candidates must take and complete the 75-hour course, as well as pass the written and skills tests within four months of their hire date. Both tests must be passed within three attempts. If a candidate for placement on the registry does not pass either the written or skills test after three attempts, the candidate must retake the 75-hour course and also begin a new testing cycle. Upon successful test completion, registry staff will receive notice from the testing entity and the CNA will be placed on the registry.

For additional assistance regarding the Direct Care Worker Registry:

Resources for Direct Care Workers

Certified nursing assistants who are interested in assisting acute or long-term care facilities that become overwhelmed during this COVID-19 outbreak or suffer a loss of staff due to illness, please follow these instructions:

  • Create an account and a profile on the i-Serv website.
  • In order to assist, it is very important that you complete the online profile with your CNA certificate/Direct Care Worker Registry information to be eligible for deployment. Once a profile is completed in the system, you must click "SAVE."
  • You will then receive an email from that verifies that you created or updated an account. You will receive notification from "iowaresponds" with information if you are being requested to deploy. 

The Iowa CareGivers, an independent nonprofit organization, was founded in 1992 in response to the growing concerns about the shortage and high turnover rates of those who work in direct care such as certified nurse aides (CNAs) and home care aides (HCAs). The organization’s sole purpose is to support the direct care workforce so they, in turn, are there to support Iowans and their families during their times of need. It is built upon the guiding principles that a stable, well-educated, skilled, respected, and well-compensated direct care workforce is vital to the safety and wellbeing of all Iowans. Programs and services include statewide and regional educational conferences; newsletters and other resources; mentor, leadership, and other training opportunities; recruitment resources; recognition programs; and much more. To learn more about Iowa CareGivers and its programs visit Iowa CareGivers online.

Read a copy of the organization's brochure, "The Toughest Job You'll Ever Love."

The National Association of Health Care Assistants (NAHCA) is the professional association dedicated to certified nursing assistants and assisted living caregivers. Established in 1995, NAHCA’s mission is to elevate the professional standing of those it serves through recognition, advocacy, and education while building a stronger alliance with healthcare providers to maximize success and the delivery of quality care. In 2010, NAHCA introduced the NAHCA Virtual Campus of Care (NVCC) which provides access for all caregivers to state-of-the-art online learning. The curriculum designed for the NVCC was developed with caregivers in mind providing compliance courses, professional development and advanced certification training. NVCC is more than education; it is a resource for caregivers and a consultant for staff educators. For more information, visit or email​.