About Allen College


Allen College has a tradition of more than 90 years of excellence in healthcare education. Allen College students may enroll in the following degree programs: Associate of Science in Radiography, Bachelor of Health Sciences, Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Master of Science in Nursing, Master of Science in Occupational Therapy, Doctor of Nursing Practice, Doctor of Education in Health Professions Education, and Doctor of Physical Therapy degree programs. We are regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Learn about our Academic Programs here.

We are located on a beautiful campus in Waterloo, Iowa. The Waterloo-Cedar Falls metropolitan area combines the diversity of a large city with the friendliness of a small town. Residents value their high quality of life and strive to maintain it. The metro area offers a setting appropriate for nearly every occasion-from shopping and dining at an increasing number of retail areas and restaurants, to leisurely walks along nature trails and exhilarating nights at concerts, shows or sporting events.

Our Future

Allen College developed a strategic plan for 2020 - 2024 with input from the College's faculty, staff and Board of Trustees to ensure we meet our students' needs and adequately prepare them for the healthcare workforce.

Our Goals

Allen College will

  1. create a campus culture that fosters a positive student experience;
  2. create and sustain a culture of inclusion where people from different cultural backgrounds, abilities, and identities are supported and valued in their learning, working, healing and living;
  3. foster a community committed to service, including underserved populations, and lifelong learning;
  4. design course curricula through innovation and creativity by engaged faculty members to deliver an education that produces exceptional student outcomes and meets workforce needs;
  5. leverage existing partnerships and seek out new opportunities for collaboration; and
  6. align resources across our organizational system to ensure operational sustainability and student success.

Our History

UnityPoint Health – Waterloo has always recognized its responsibility to prepare health professionals who will provide quality health care to patients in Northeast Iowa. UnityPoint Health – Waterloo, through its Board of Directors, takes pride in supporting an accredited college that provides top programs that are in the forefront of nursing and health sciences education.

Allen Memorial Hospital's involvement in nursing education began in 1925, when the hospital-based diploma-granting School of Nursing first opened. The first class graduated ten students in 1928. In 1934, the School of Nursing was closed due to the Great Depression. In 1942, the School of Nursing reopened and State Teacher’s College (now known as the University of Northern Iowa) provided the basic science instruction. The last class from Allen Memorial Hospital School of Nursing graduated in May 1997, ending almost 70 years of excellence in nursing diploma education. Allen graduates serve as leaders in all fields of nursing practice in all parts of the United States. Many have been honored for their contribution to the profession and to society.

In 1989, Allen College was incorporated as a subsidiary of Allen Health System, to establish a degree granting institution offering nursing and allied health programs. The Allen Health System became a member of the Iowa Health System in 1995. In 2013 the Iowa Health System changed its name to UnityPoint Health and is now one of the nation's most integrated health systems and Allen Health System is doing business as UnityPoint Health – Waterloo. Through relationships with more than 1,100 providers and specialists and a wide range of physician clinics, hospitals in metropolitan and rural communities, and home care services throughout its regions, UnityPoint Health provides care throughout Iowa, Illinois, and Wisconsin. UnityPoint Health entities employ more than 32,000 employees, working toward innovative advancements to deliver the Best Outcome for Every Patient Every Time.

The Iowa Board of Nursing approved the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program in March 1990. The initial class of students was enrolled during the fall of 1990, with the first nursing course being taught in the spring of 1991 and the first class graduating in May 1994. Allen College developed agreements with the University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, Wartburg College, Waverly and Hawkeye Community College, Waterloo to offer the general education and support courses.

In 1958, Allen Memorial Hospital established a certificate program in Radiologic Technology. Graduates of this program are providing radiology services throughout the region and beyond. The Radiologic Technology Certificate Program transferred to Allen College from Allen Memorial Hospital in 1996. The last class from the certificate program graduated in May 1999. In 1998, the Associate of Science in Radiography program was initiated with its first graduates in May 2000. In 1997, the Allen College Board of Trustees changed the name from Allen College of Nursing to Allen College because the radiography program had been added. A Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree program with a family nurse practitioner track began in the fall of 1998. This program meets the needs of RNs for a locally based graduate program in nursing and the need for additional primary care providers in our region of Iowa. In the fall of 2001, tracks in Nursing Education and Leadership in Health Care Delivery track were added to the MSN program. Tracks preparing nurse practitioners in acute care nursing and adult psychiatric-mental health nursing were added in 2007. An MSN track that prepares adult and gerontological nurse practitioners began admitting students in the fall of 2009. The MSN track in psychiatric-mental health nursing was changed to Family Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner in 2012. In addition, the Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Program was revised to an Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Program in 2012, and the Adult and Gerontological Nurse Practitioner programs were combined to an Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner Program in 2012. An MSN track in public health was added in 2013.

In 2010, a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program was approved by the College’s Board of Trustees, the Iowa Board of Nursing, and the Higher Learning Commission. The College initially offered this post-graduate’s program in fall 2011. A collaboration agreement established in 2016 with the University of Minnesota allows a trackin Nursing Informatiocs. Finally, an Acute Care Pediatric Nurse Practitioner track was added in 2018.

In 2007, the Allen College Board of Trustees approved offering a Bachelor of Health Sciences degree with three tracks: medical laboratory science, nuclear medicine technology and diagnostic medical sonography. Students were admitted to the medical laboratory science and nuclear medicine technology tracks in the fall of 2009 and to the diagnostic medical sonography track in the fall of 2010.

In 2013 the College received final approval from its regional accrediting agency, the Higher Learning Commission, to offer new bachelor’s degree programs in dental hygiene and public health, both to be delivered through distance education. Students in these programs received the Bachelor of Health Sciences degree. The public health program began in fall 2014 while the dental hygiene program  admitted its first students in fall 2015. In 2019, a Bachelor of Health Sciences track in Medical Imaging, Where students could choose to study either Computed Tomography (CT) or Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) was added.

In 2013, the Higher Learning Commission approved Allen College to offer the Doctor of Education in Health Professions Education program (Ed.D.) under the School of Health Sciences. The first class of students was admitted in the fall 2014.

In 2014 the College sought accreditation for a Master of Science in Occupational Therapy degree. In the spring of 2015, the College applied for accreditation by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA). The first class of students was admitted in the fall 2015.

In 2019 the College sought accreditation for a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree. In the summer of 2020, the College applied for accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation for Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) and was granted candidacy status in November 2020. The first class of students was admitted in the spring 2021.

The fundamental commitment of Allen College to professional excellence, personal growth, and awareness of the joy of caring has remained steadfast. Always, there is a commitment to the student as an individual with unique ability and potential and a continual commitment to caring and educational excellence. The basic philosophy of fulfillment of responsibility to society remains unchanged.

Our Present

Allen College, based on a tradition of over almost 100 years of health care education excellence, is located on a beautiful campus in Waterloo, Iowa. 

Allen College is a private, co-educational regionally accredited post-secondary institution categorized by the Carnegie Foundation as a “Special Focus” institution. Allen College is organized in two schools: Health Sciences and Nursing. In the School of Health Sciences five degrees are offered: Associate of Science in Radiography (ASR), the Bachelor of Health Sciences (BHS), the Master of Science in Occupational Therapy, the Doctor of Physical Therapy and The Doctor of Education in Health Professions Education. Four tracks are currently offered in the BHS degree: Medical Laboratory Science (MLS), Diagnostic Medical Sonography (DMS), Public Health (PH) and Medical Imaging (MI), where students can study CT or MRI. In the School of Nursing, the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) is offered for pre- and post-licensure students seeking to start or advance a career in professional nursing. The BSN program includes two pre-licensure options: a 3-semester accelerated option, and a traditional 4-semester option.

Graduate nursing programs include Adult-Gerontology Acute Care (AGACNP), Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse practitioner (PMHNP), Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP), Leadership in Health Care Delivery (includes an option for MSN from Allen College and Business Administration Certificate from the University of Northern Iowa), Leadership in Health Information Technology, and Acute Care Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (ACPNP) -- for nurses wishing to advance their careers. Students can complete a master’s or doctoral degree, or post-graduate’s certificate in each of these tracks. A post-graduate Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree is also available for those who already have a master’s degree.

Allen College challenges students with dynamic learning opportunities. Its academic degree programs thrive in an environment that will facilitate student achievement of academic excellence and clinical competence with emphasis on the art of human caring. While students planning to seek admission to Allen College may complete general education requirements at any regionally accredited college or university, Allen College has special transfer arrangements for general education completion with several institutions of higher education. A current list of Allen College's partnership schools may be found on the "Partnerships" page on this website. Allen College also maintains clinical and fieldwork study agreements with numerous area health care agencies and providers. The bridge with these institutions and providers maximizes learning opportunities by combining the strengths of our clinical learning component with the traditional college environment and activities.

On average Allen College has an annual student headcount of approximately 500 students. The College has more than 4,000 graduates who live throughout the United States and abroad. Allen College employs over 100 full- and part-time faculty, adjunct faculty and staff members to meet our students' needs.

Our Future

Allen College has developed a dynamic strategic plan for 2020-2024 that builds up an earlier strategic plan that involved the Allen College Board of Trustees, faculty and staff. This plan provides a strong base for the College’s continued success. Allen College's plans for the future will be directed by its mission, core values, and goals.