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.


2017 Best LPN Programs in Illinois

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
  • Pharmacology


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.

Admission Requirements

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:

LPN Salary in Illinois By Area

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.

AreaTotal EmploymentAverage Hourly WageAverage Annual Salary
Chicago, Naperville, Arlington Heights9,810$24.67$51,310
Lake County, Kenosha County940$24.10$50,130
Carbondale, Marion460$17.92$37,280
Champaign, Urbana350$20.48$42,600

For those interested in advancing their nursing career, see our Illinois LPN to RN/BSN programs page.

Top Ranked Illinois LPN Programs


Southeastern Illinois College

3575 College Rd, Harrisburg, IL 62946 - (618) 252-5400 - Visit Homepage

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.

Overall Score: 99.25 - Request Info on Southeastern Illinois College

Joliet Junior College

1215 Houbolt Road, Joliet, IL 60431 - (815) 729-9020 - Visit Homepage

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.

Overall Score: 99.22 - Request Info on Joliet Junior College

Shawnee Community College

8364 College Road, Ullin, IL 62992 - (618) 634-3200 - Visit Homepage

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.

Overall Score: 99.19 - Request Info on Shawnee Community College

Spoon River College

23235 N. County Highway 22, Canton, IL 61520 - (309) 647-4645 - Visit Homepage

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.

Overall Score: 99.09 - Request Info on Spoon River College

Illinois Valley Community College

815 N Orlando Smith St, Oglesby, IL 61348 - (815) 224-2720 - Visit Homepage

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.

Overall Score: 98.64 - Request Info on Illinois Valley Community College

Heartland Community College

1500 West Raab Road, Normal, IL 61761 - (309) 268-8000 - Visit Homepage

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.

Overall Score: 98.38 - Request Info on Heartland Community College

Rend Lake College

468 N. Ken Gray Parkway, Ina, IL 62846 - (618) 437-5321 - Visit Homepage

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.

Overall Score: 98.13 - Request Info on Rend Lake College

CALC Institute of Technology

200 North Center Drive A, Alton, IL 62002 - (618) 474-0616 - Visit Homepage

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).

Overall Score: 97.80

Harper College

1200 W. Algonquin Road, Palatine, IL 60067 - (847) 925-6707 - Visit Homepage

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.

Overall Score: 97.55 - Request Info on Harper College

Sauk Valley Community College

173 Illinois Route 2, Dixon, IL 61021 - (815) 288-5511 - Visit Homepage

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.

Overall Score: 97.43 - Request Info on Sauk Valley Community College

Continued List of All Programs in Illinois

#11 Kankakee Community College
100 College Drive, Kankakee, IL 60901
(815) 802-8100 Visit Homepage
97.42Request Information
#12 Illinois Central College
1 College Drive, East Peoria, IL 61635
309-6945 Visit Homepage
97.16Request Information
#13 Ambria College of Nursing
5210 Trillium Blvd, Hoffman Estates, IL 60192
(847) 397-0300 Visit Homepage
95.97Request Information
#14 Illinois Eastern Community Colleges
233 East Chestnut, Olney, IL 62450
(866) 529-4322 Visit Homepage
94.86Request Information
#15 CAAN Academy of Nursing
4747 Lincoln Mall Drive, Suite 420, Matteson, IL 60443
(708) 983-1645 Visit Homepage
94.60Request Information
#16 John A Logan Community College
700 Logan College Road, Carterville, IL 62918
(618) 985-3741 Visit Homepage
94.18Request Information
#17 Lake Land College
5001 Lake Land Blvd, Mattoon, IL 61938
217234 Visit Homepage
93.50Request Information
#18 Oakton Community College
1600 East Golf Road, Des Plaines, IL 60016
(847) 635-1600 Visit Homepage
93.02Request Information
#19 Capital Area School of Practical Nursing
2201 Toronto Rd, Springfield, IL 62712
(217) 585-1215 Visit Homepage
92.70Request Information
#20 Lincoln Land Community College
5250 Shepherd Road, Springfield, IL 62794
(217) 786-2200 Visit Homepage
92.15Request Information
#21 College of DuPage
425 Fawell Blvd, Glen Ellyn, IL 60137
(630) 942-2800 Visit Homepage
91.30Request Information
#22 Kaskaskia College
27210 College Road, Centralia, IL 62801
(618) 545-3000 Visit Homepage
91.05Request Information
#23 Black Hawk College
6600 34th Ave, Moline, IL 61265
(309) 796-5000 Visit Homepage
90.91Request Information
#24 Career Center of Central Illinois - Beck School of Practical Nursing
6137 Beck Rd, Red Bud, IL 62278
(618) 473-2222 Visit Homepage
89.87Request Information
#25 Parkland College
2400 West Bradley Ave, Champaign, IL 61821
(217) 351-2200 Visit Homepage
88.99Request Information
#26 Northbrook College of Health Care
1400 S Wolf Rd, Wheeling, IL 60090
(847) 850-5700 Visit Homepage
88.50Request Information
#27 Illinois College of Nursing
55 22nd St, Lombard, IL 60148
(630) 495-7968 Visit Homepage
86.95Request Information
#28 Adonis College of Nursing
1313 East Sibley Blvd. , Dolton, IL 60419
(708) 841-2730 Visit Homepage
83.75Request Information
#29 Americare Technical School
505 Busse Highway, Park Ridge, IL 60068
(847) 825-8773 Visit Homepage
82.55Request Information
#30 PCCTI Healthcare
216 W. Jackson Blvd., Suite 900, Chicago, IL 60606
(312) 920-8822 Visit Homepage
81.71Request Information
#31 Richland Community College
One College Park, Decatur, IL 62521
(217) 875-7200 Visit Homepage
81.17Request Information
#32 Carl Sandburg College
2400 Tom L. Wilson Blvd, Galesburg, IL 61401
(309) 344-2518 Visit Homepage
78.43Request Information
#33 J´Reneé College
415 Airport Rd, Elgin, IL 60123
(815) 444-7751 Visit Homepage
77.98Request Information
#34 Great Paragon Healthcare, Inc.
2640 W Touhy Ave., Suite 206, Chicago, IL 60645
(773) 274-7694 Visit Homepage
71.50Request Information
#35 ATS Institute of Technology
325 Alpha Dr, Highland Heights, IL 44143
(440) 449-1700 Visit Homepage
66.45Request Information
#36 All American Nursing School
12250 S Cicero Ave, Alsip, IL 60803
(708) 396-8409 Visit Homepage
35.00Request Information

Programs Not Included In Rankings

City Colleges of Chicago - Malcolm X
1900 West Jackson Blvd, Chicago, IL 60612
(312) 850-7350 Visit Homepage
Request Information
Triton College
2000 5th Ave, River Grove, IL 60171
(708) 456-0300 Visit Homepage
Request Information

Additional IL Nursing Resources

Recent Articles