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.
Are you looking to become a licensed practical nurse in Illinois? The school you choose is important when it comes to getting your license. Approved programs in Illinois are offered at community colleges, technical centers, and private career schools - we list 38 schools across the state. After careful review of NCLEX-PN exam first-time pass rates over the past several years, we have ranked the top 10 programs. For more information on our LPN program 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.
Spoon River College (SRC) is located in Canton, Illinois, with additional locations in Havana, Macomb, and Rushville. 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.
Kankakee Community College’s LPN program is specifically designed to prepare individuals for the rewarding and demanding career that is practical nursing. Upon successful completion of the program, graduates will be ready to sit for the NCLEX-PN exam for licensure, and will have the skills and tools necessary to find successful employment as an LPN.
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.
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.
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.
Illinois Central College (ICC) is a two-year community college located in East Peoria, Illinois, with additional campuses in Peoria and Pekin. ICC seeks to enable students to reach their educational potential encouraging them to change the world through learning and applied knowledge.
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.
Ambria College of Nursing, located in Hoffman Estates, offers a quality LPN program that can be completed in as little as 12 months. Students are also able to choose between day and evening schedules, and full or part-time options are available.
Continued List of All Programs in Illinois
8364 College Road, Ullin, IL 62992
6600 34th Ave, Moline, IL 61265
1600 East Golf Road, Des Plaines, IL 60016
468 N. Ken Gray Parkway, Ina, IL 62846
1900 West Jackson Blvd, Chicago, IL 60612
700 Logan College Road, Carterville, IL 62918
173 Illinois Route 2, Dixon, IL 61021
216 W. Jackson Blvd., Suite 900, Chicago, IL 60606
425 Fawell Blvd, Glen Ellyn, IL 60137
5001 Lake Land Blvd, Mattoon, IL 61938
2201 Toronto Rd, Springfield, IL 62712
4747 Lincoln Mall Drive, Suite 420, Matteson, IL 60443
2400 Tom L. Wilson Blvd, Galesburg, IL 61401
6137 Beck Rd, Red Bud, IL 62278
5250 Shepherd Road, Springfield, IL 62794
27210 College Road, Centralia, IL 62801
1400 S Wolf Rd, Wheeling, IL 60090
505 Busse Highway, Park Ridge, IL 60068
55 22nd St, Lombard, IL 60148
2640 W Touhy Ave., Suite 206, Chicago, IL 60645
2400 West Bradley Ave, Champaign, IL 61821
325 Alpha Dr, Highland Heights, IL 44143
One College Park, Decatur, IL 62521
415 Airport Rd, Elgin, IL 60123
1313 East Sibley Blvd. , Dolton, IL 60419
Programs Not Included In Rankings
12250 S Cicero Ave, Alsip, IL 60803
1011 E Touhy Ave, , Des Plaines, IL 60018
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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