Best LPN Programs 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 9% through the year 2029. LPNs in Illinois earn approximately $24.56 per hour, which equates to an average annual salary of $51,080. This is roughly $4,030 per year more than the national average.
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 36 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 of 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 Shawnee Community College in Ullin is approximately $8,590 - not including books. Many schools also offer financial aid and other financing options to well-qualified applicants.
For those interested in advancing their nursing career, see our Illinois LPN to RN/BSN programs page.
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 an 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 NLC
Illinois is not a state that currently follows the Nurse Licensure Compact; however, the state is currently pending NLC legislation. Nurses from states that are part of the NLC are able to work in other NLC states without obtaining additional licensure. Otherwise, licensure by endorsement will be necessary to practice in a new state. 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’.
- Complete a criminal background check.
Nurses licensed in a country other than the U.S. 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 online endorsement application.
Spoon River College
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 educational programs, activities, and promotes economic development that also empowers students. The school's 38.5 credit-hour practical nursing program produces skilled and compassionate graduates.
CALC, Institute of Technology
CALC, Institute of Technology's 15-month Practical Nursing program in Alton combines theory, lab, and clinical experience to give graduates the required knowledge and skill base to prepare for the NCLEX-PN examination. This intensive program is delivered full-time, and students attend classes 30 hours per week.
Ambria College of Nursing
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. Students also have access to financial aid and scholarship opportunities.
Joliet Junior College
Joliet Junior College is located in Joliet, Illinois, with additional campuses located in Romeoville, Frankfort, and Morris. Joliet Junior College prepares students for lifelong learning, embracing diversity and encouraging personal growth throughout the practical nursing curriculum. The LPN program utilizes classroom, lab, and clinical learning opportunities to give students the knowledge and skills needed for entry-level practice.
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 numerous educational opportunities, including a 38 credit-hour practical nursing certificate to train aspiring nurses to deliver safe care to patients from all walks of life.
Southeastern Illinois College
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 student success by providing a quality practical nursing program that accepts 60 applicants annually into its traditional option, and 20 students annually into its part-time option.
City Colleges of Chicago - Malcolm X
City Colleges of Chicago's Malcolm X campus is home to an outstanding practical nursing program that prepares students to care for patients across the lifespan. Students enrolled in the 49 credit hour practical nursing certificate program take courses such as Terminology for Medical Careers, Nursing Fundamentals, Human Structure and Function, and many others.
Kaskaskia College (KC) has been educating licensed practical nurses since 1980. Students enrolled in the 11-month LPN program learn to care for patients in a variety of healthcare settings including nursing homes, clinics, home health, and more. The program admits new students twice per year, and students learn through classroom lectures as well as high-tech simulation labs.
Black Hawk College
Black Hawk College, located in Moline, offers students a career-oriented practical nursing certificate program. Students can complete this 40-credit program in just two semesters of study, during which they take courses including Pharmacology in Practical Nursing, Adult Health Nursing, and others.
Shawnee Community College
Shawnee Community College (SCC) is located in Ullin, Illinois, with additional locations is Anna, Cairo, and Metropolis. SCC meets student needs by providing high-quality practical nursing education, community engagement, training, and services that are affordable and promote life-long learning.
Continued List of All Programs in Illinois
John A. Logan College
700 Logan College Road, Carterville, IL 62918
College of DuPage
425 Fawell Blvd, Glen Ellyn, IL 60137
Kankakee Community College
100 College Drive, Kankakee, IL 60901
Illinois Central College
1 College Drive, East Peoria, IL 61635
Verve College - Chicago
216 W. Jackson Blvd., Suite 900, Chicago, IL 60606
Carl Sandburg College
2400 Tom L. Wilson Blvd, Galesburg, IL 61401
Rend Lake College
468 N. Ken Gray Parkway, Ina, IL 62846
Sauk Valley Community College
173 Illinois Route 2, Dixon, IL 61021
CAAN Academy of Nursing
4747 Lincoln Mall Drive, Suite 420, Matteson, IL 60443
Capital Area School of Practical Nursing
2201 Toronto Rd, Springfield, IL 62712
Illinois Valley Community College
815 N Orlando Smith St, Oglesby, IL 61348
Richland Community College
One College Park, Decatur, IL 62521
Great Paragon Healthcare, Inc.
2640 W Touhy Ave., Suite 206, Chicago, IL 60645
North Shore College
1400 S. Wolf Road – Suite 104, Wheeling, IL 60090
Americare Technical School
505 Busse Highway, Park Ridge, IL 60068
Lincoln Land Community College
5250 Shepherd Road, Springfield, IL 62794
Career Center of Central Illinois - Beck School of Practical Nursing
6137 Beck Rd, Red Bud, IL 62278
ATS Institute of Technology
325 Alpha Dr, Highland Heights, IL 44143
Illinois College of Nursing
55 22nd St, Lombard, IL 60148
1011 E Touhy Ave, , Des Plaines, IL 60018
2400 West Bradley Ave, Champaign, IL 61821
415 Airport Rd, Elgin, IL 60123
Adonis College of Nursing
1313 East Sibley Blvd. , Dolton, IL 60419
Programs Not Included In Rankings
New Lake College
1300 Greenbrook Blvd., Suite 102, Hanover Park, IL 60133
State Career College
2770 Grand Ave, Waukegan, IL 60085
Verve College - Oak Brook
2625 Butterfield Rd. Suite 102E, Oak Brook, IL 60523
Are we missing your school's program or need to make changes to the information listed? Please contact us.
Additional IL Nursing Resources
- Illinois Center for Nursing (ICN) James R. Thompson Center 100 W. Randolph Street , Suite 9 - 300 Chicago , Illinois 60601 (888) 687-7307
- Illinois Nurses Association 910 W. Van Buren Street, Suite 502 Chicago, IL 60607 (312) 419-2900
Programs By City
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, Elgin||12,970||$26.51||$55,140|