Becoming a Nurse in Illinois
There are over 129,000 registered nurses working in the Prairie State. In order to keep up with the demand of new hires, online nursing programs in Illinois — alongside nursing schools in Chicago — offer a plethora of study options. Regardless of what type of nursing career or nursing degree a student chooses to pursue, Illinois requires extensive healthcare training as well as a state-sanctioned nursing license.
Several of the best nursing schools in Illinois offer a licensure track for students, which allows them to immediately join the workforce after graduation.
Nursing licenses are distributed by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. The department awards licenses to registered nurses (RNs), licensed practical nurses (LPNs), and advanced practice nurses (APRNs). Certified nursing assistants (CNAs) are registered by the Health Care Worker Registry of the Illinois Department of Public Health. Online BSN programs Illinois, otherwise known as a Bachelor's of Science in Nursing, may also offer a licensure track. However, students should ensure the programs specify this before enrolling.
There is a wide range of colleges and universities to consider when it comes to finding a nursing program in Illinois. The Illinois Board of Nursing has approved a number of pre-licensure nursing education programs to help students.
How To Get CNA Certification in Illinois
A certified nursing assistant, or CNA, is responsible for helping nurses with their patients. In addition to medical care, a CNA helps patients eat, dress, and bathe. Job opportunities aren't limited to hospitals, either; a CNA can also find work in settings like long-term nursing homes and home health agencies.
The application process to obtain an Illinois CNA license involves several different elements that an aspiring CNA will need to address:
An individual can become a CNA in Illinois after completing a state-approved training program from online nursing schools in Illinois and passing a CNA competency test.
Another option exists for nurses who have qualified as CNAs through the United States military or through an equivalent program in another state or foreign country. The state of Illinois can issue an equivalent certificate in these cases.
Finally, applicants who have previously worked as CNAs in the state but have allowed their registry to lapse may qualify for reinstatement. Once they're approved, CNAs can be added to the Health Care Workers Registry maintained by the Illinois Health Care Worker Registry.
One viable career path for registered Illinois CNAs is that of a medication aide. If candidates hold current CNA licensure and have completed 2,000 hours of practice in the field, they may qualify for this role. Interested applicants will also have to pass the Medication Aide Certification Examination (MACE). Medication aides are valuable professionals who distribute medications and ensure that patients don't suffer any adverse reactions.
How To Get an LPN License in Illinois
Licensed practical nurses, or LPNs, are medical professionals who perform their duties under a registered nurse, licensed physician, or another supervisor. They are required to complete training in nursing techniques in order to acquire the skills and knowledge necessary to work in a clinical setting. This can be achieved through online nursing programs in Illinois. As such, the state's LPN licensure is associated with a number of stringent requirements.
As with the RN Illinois nursing license, prospective LPNs have two options when it comes to acquiring a license:
The second option is to apply for licensure by endorsement. If an applicant was granted LPN licensure in another state, they may be eligible to apply under these parameters. These applications are online.
In both cases, candidates are expected to submit proof of education, verification of fingerprint processing, and an application fee.
An Illinois LPN license is valid for two years.The renewal date occurs every even-numbered year. Licensed practical nurses who want to work in the state should remember that Illinois does not participate in the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC). As a result, a nursing license specific to Illinois is required for anyone who wants to work as an LPN in this state.
How To Get an RN License in Illinois
The first step to becoming a registered nurse is to acquire the appropriate level of education through online RN programs in Illinois. To become a registered nurse in the state, candidates must earn either an associate degree or a bachelor's degree. However, graduates holding a master's degree may be able to command a higher salary in certain positions.
Once prospective RNs have finished their education, they can apply for licensure. There are two ways to obtain an Illinois RN license:
The first is to receive a passing score on the NCLEX-RN.
The second method is to obtain licensure by endorsement. This is applicable to nurses who are already registered to practice in another jurisdiction.
Regardless of the licensure method an applicant pursues, an Illinois RN license application requires several accompanying documents: proof of graduation from a nursing school in Illinois or an endorsement from another state, verification of fingerprint processing, and the remittance of an application fee.
An Illinois RN license is valid for two years at a time. Renewal takes place every even-numbered year. It's also important to note that Illinois does not belong to the NLC, so anyone wishing to practice nursing in the state must obtain an RN license specific to Illinois.
How To Get an APRN License in Illinois
To become an advanced practice nurse, or APN, candidates must start with an Illinois nursing license that authorizes them to perform the duties of a registered nurse. This means that interested parties must first acquire the education, experience, and certifications of an RN. Because an APN employs more sophisticated diagnostic skills in performing their duties, this level of license has a few additional requirements.
In addition to starting as an RN, an aspiring APN must hold a master's degree in nursing — or higher — and must be nationally certified in one of the following specialties: nurse midwife, nurse practitioner, registered nurse anesthetist, or clinical nurse specialist. An Illinois advanced practice nurse license also requires applicants to submit proof of graduation, an application fee, and verification for any licenses obtained from another state.
Because obtaining an APN license may take some time, applicants receive a temporary permit to practice advanced nursing work while an application is pending. These temporary permits are typically valid for six months or until the final APN license is granted. An applicant can finish their application at their convenience.