Becoming an LPN in Illinois
If you’re interested in entering the healthcare field as a licensed practical nurse (LPN), you’d be hard pressed to find a better state than Illinois to obtain your education in. The state boasts many schools with accredited LPN programs, giving potential students a variety of options to choose from. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), practical nursing is slated to grow by 12% through the year 2026. With LPNs in Illinois earning an average hourly wage of $23.11 (or roughly $48,070 annually), it’s easy to see why many are flocking to this area of healthcare.
Illinois has a number of educational options if you're seeking to become a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) in the state. A variety of schools offer LPN programs, such as community colleges, technical schools, and private nursing schools-all teaching the state-approved curriculum for licensure. We spent some time reviewing NCLEX-PN pass-rates over several years for more than 35 LPN schools across the state of Illinois, and after considerable review we have compiled a list of the top 10. For more information on school rankings, see our Methodology Page.
To see all the top ranked LPN programs in Illinois click here.
Details on Illinois LPN Schools & Classes
LPN programs can be found at several types of schools in Illinois, including community colleges, vocational schools, and more. Students can usually opt for full-time or part-time attendance, which will dictate the duration of the program. Most programs can be completed in 1-2 years from start to finish, allowing students to enter the LPN workforce relatively quickly.
LPN programs in Illinois consist of a mix of medical nursing courses and labs, which may include titles such as:
- Anatomy & Physiology
- Fundamentals of Nursing
- Adult/Geriatric Nursing
- Medical-Surgical Nursing
With all the LPN program choices in the state, it’s important for prospective students to ensure that they are choosing a quality school. Accreditations show that the school and program are properly vetted. Accreditations from national organizations like the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing are good to look for, as are ones from regional accrediting agencies. The Illinois Board of Nursing also maintains a list of approved LPN programs for students to peruse.
Once you’ve narrowed down a school, you’ll need to make sure that you meet all admissions requirements. While requirements will vary by school, most request the following:
- High school diploma or GED from a state approved school
- High school GPA of 2.5 or higher
- Two letters or recommendation
- Current CPR certification
- Valid CNA certification may be required
- Must pass a background check and drug test
Tuition and Costs
Tuition, fees, and other expenses can run the gamut, depending on the school. Aside from those expenses, students must also factor in the cost of course materials, lab fees, uniforms, and room and board if applicable. As an example, the total cost of the LPN program at the Adonis College of Nursing in Dolton is approximately $20,150. Many schools also offer financial aid and other financing options to well-qualified applicants.
Illinois LPN Licensing Requirements
Attending an approved nursing program is the main requirement to become an LPN in Illinois. But, once the program is complete, the applicant must also complete the following for licensing:
- Written application for licensure.
- Certificate of completion from approved nursing program.
- Pass licensing exam (NCLEX).
- Pass a criminal background check.
The graduate has 3 years after finishing the nursing program to acquire licensure—if not done in this time, another educational program will be required.
Illinois LPN licenses must be renewed every 2 years, and the license holder is responsible for 20 hours of continued education each renewal period—every 2 years.
NCLEX Exam Information
The process of becoming an LPN doesn’t end after graduating from a program. Students are required to take and pass the NCLEX-PN exam in order to officially gain licensure. You can learn more about the NCLEX-PN exam here. Taking an NCLEX-PN practice test is also a good idea to fully prepare for the exam.
LPN Reciprocity and eNLC
Illinois is not a state that currently follows the Nursing Licensure Compact, so this state is not affected by the new Enhanced Nursing Licensure Compact (eNLC).
If seeking a license by endorsement in the state of Illinois, the applicant must:
- Hold a valid license in another state.
- Submit a written application to the Board.
- Have completed a board-approved nursing education equivalent to the state of Illinois’s.
- Submit of a criminal background check.
Nurses licensed in a country other than the US must verify educational equivalence based on the Commission of Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS) evaluation, as well as pass the Test for English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) exam.
For detailed information about LPN endorsement by application and examination in Illinois check out:
The table below lists career information retrieved from the BLS for licensed practical nurses in Illinois. The table is sorted by total employment, with the largest metropolitan areas listed first.
|Area||Total Employment||Average Hourly Wage||Average Annual Salary|
|Chicago, Naperville, Arlington Heights||9,810||$24.67||$51,310|
|Lake County, Kenosha County||940||$24.10||$50,130|
For those interested in advancing their nursing career, see our Illinois LPN to RN/BSN programs page.
Southeastern Illinois College is a public two-year comprehensive community college located in Harrisburg, Illinois, with several extension sites located throughout the district. Southeastern Illinois College encourages lifelong learning by providing quality accessible educational programs and opportunities to support economic development.
Joliet Junior College is located in Joliet, Illinois, with additional campuses located in Romeoville, Frankfort, and Morris. Joliet Junior college provides associates degrees, transfer and career preparation, as well as workforce development and lifelong learning, embracing diversity and encouraging personal growth.
Shawnee Community College (SCC) is located in Ullin, Illinois, with additional locations is Anna, Cairo, and Metropolis. SCC meets student needs by providing quality high education, community education, training, and services that are not only accessible to the entire community, but they are also affordable and promote life-long learning.
Spoon River College (SRC) is located in Canton, Illinois, with additional locations in Havana, Macomb, Rushville, and Canton. SRC is dedicated to providing a learning environment that offers a broad range of education programs, activities, and promotes economic development that also empowers students and enhances their quality of life.
Illinois Valley Community College (IVCC) is a two-year community college located in Oglesby, Illinois. IVCC offers associate degrees and career certificates, as well as adult education and workforce development-all provided by an industry-experienced faculty and support staff that's dedicated to student success.
Heartland Community College is the youngest community college in Illinois, founded in 1990, located in Normal, with additional locations in Lincoln and Pontiac. Heartland Community college is a two-year open admission source of higher education, offering affordable process while also focusing on student success.
Rend Lake College (RLC), located in Ina, Illinois, with an additional campus in Pinckyneyville, provided educational opportunities across cultural and economic boundaries. RLC students enjoy small class sizes and personalized instruction with more than 100 high-quality programs of study offered at affordable rates.
CALC Institude of Technology's 15-month Practical Nursing program combines theory, lab, and clinical experience to give graduates the required knowledge and skill base to prepare for the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN).
Harper College is a comprehensive community college located in Palatine, Illinois, providing excellent education at affordable costs that not only promotes personal growth but also enriches the local community. Harper College provides educational opportunities, enabling students to earn an associate degree or transfer on to advanced degree programs, as well as attain career certifications, professional job training, or personal enrichment.
Sauk Valley Community College was built on the Rock River between the cities of Sterling and Dixon, Illinois. SVCC's high-quality Practical Nursing program prepares students with the skills and knowledge needed to provide care in a variety of health care settings.
Continued List of All Programs in Illinois
100 College Drive, Kankakee, IL 60901
1 College Drive, East Peoria, IL 61635
5210 Trillium Blvd, Hoffman Estates, IL 60192
233 East Chestnut, Olney, IL 62450
4747 Lincoln Mall Drive, Suite 420, Matteson, IL 60443
700 Logan College Road, Carterville, IL 62918
5001 Lake Land Blvd, Mattoon, IL 61938
1600 East Golf Road, Des Plaines, IL 60016
2201 Toronto Rd, Springfield, IL 62712
5250 Shepherd Road, Springfield, IL 62794
425 Fawell Blvd, Glen Ellyn, IL 60137
27210 College Road, Centralia, IL 62801
6600 34th Ave, Moline, IL 61265
6137 Beck Rd, Red Bud, IL 62278
2400 West Bradley Ave, Champaign, IL 61821
1400 S Wolf Rd, Wheeling, IL 60090
55 22nd St, Lombard, IL 60148
1313 East Sibley Blvd. , Dolton, IL 60419
505 Busse Highway, Park Ridge, IL 60068
216 W. Jackson Blvd., Suite 900, Chicago, IL 60606
One College Park, Decatur, IL 62521
2400 Tom L. Wilson Blvd, Galesburg, IL 61401
415 Airport Rd, Elgin, IL 60123
2640 W Touhy Ave., Suite 206, Chicago, IL 60645
325 Alpha Dr, Highland Heights, IL 44143
12250 S Cicero Ave, Alsip, IL 60803
Programs Not Included In Rankings
1900 West Jackson Blvd, Chicago, IL 60612
2000 5th Ave, River Grove, IL 60171
Additional IL Nursing Resources
- Illinois Center for Nursing (ICN)
James R. Thompson Center
100 W. Randolph Street , Suite 9 - 300
Chicago , Illinois 60601
- Illinois Nurses Association
910 W. Van Buren Street, Suite 502
Chicago, IL 60607
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