How to Become a Nurse in Illinois

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 (APNs). Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) are registered by the Health Care Worker Registry of the Illinois Department of Public Health. About 52 percent of Illinois nurses work in a hospital setting providing direct patient care, although a significant portion is also engaged in facility management or care coordination. There will be an unprecedented number of job opportunities as a nurse in Illinois, as a 2018 study predicted that up to one-third of the entire nursing workforce will retire within five years.There is a wide range of colleges and universities to consider when it comes to finding a nursing program in Illinois. The board has approved a number of pre-licensure nursing education programs to help students.

How to Get Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) Certification in Illinois

A certified nursing assistant, or CNA, is responsible for helping nurses for patients. In addition to medical care, a CNA helps patients to 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 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 a Licensed Practical Nurse (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. As such, Illinois 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 first is to apply for licensure by examination with the NCLEX-PN. This is a mandatory test that is scored on a pass/fail basis. 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. Both applications can be completed online, and in both cases, candidates will be 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 there.

How to Get a Registered Nurse (RN) License in Illinois

The first step on the road to obtaining an Illinois nursing license is to acquire the appropriate level of education. To become a registered nurse in Illinois, candidates must earn either an associate’s 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 registered nurses 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 National Council Licensure Examination, or 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 is pursuing, an Illinois RN license application requires several accompanying documents: proof of graduation, 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 Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC), and anyone wishing to practice nursing in the state must obtain a nursing license specific to Illinois.

How to Get an Advanced Practice Nurse (APN) 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 will have to acquire the education, experience and certifications of an RN first. 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. The Illinois nursing board has made its detailed application requirements available online for the benefit of aspiring APNs.

Because obtaining an APN license may take some time, applicants can be awarded a temporary permit to practice advanced nursing work while an application is still pending. These temporary permits are typically valid for six months or until the final APN license is granted. Applications can be completed online at an applicant’s convenience.