There's a nationwide nursing shortage and it's affecting patient care in Illinois as much as anywhere else. Reasons for the shortage are varied, including an aging population and lack of qualified nurses ready to replace the older, soon-to-retire baby boomers. In fact, a 2014 State of Illinois survey found that 40 percent of the Illinois RN respondents were 55-65 years of age or older, and that of this group, one-third intended to retire within the next five years. The shortage of RNs in Illinois is likely to have a ripple effect on other types of nurses, including LPNs. This makes now a great time to pursue a practical nursing career, and there are a number of excellent LPN programs in Illinois to choose from. If you think an LPN career might be for you, read on to explore programs, learn more about specific licensure requirements for Illinois, and get detailed information on employment and salary for the state’s LPNs.
Top LPN Programs in Illinois
LPN Licensure in Illinois
In order to legally practice – and find employment – practical nurses must be licensed by a governmental entity, typically the state’s board of nursing. Most states have a dedicated Board of Nursing, while others may have a larger organization that oversees all types of licensing. In the case of Illinois, the state’s board of nursing falls under the Illinois Department of Professional Regulations (IDFPR). This section takes a look at the requirements that must be met to obtain an LPN license to practice in the state of Illinois.
- Must provide proof of graduation from a licensed practical nursing education program that meets state requirements
- Fill out and submit the Application for Licensure and/or Examination
- Take and achieve a passing grade on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) for practical nurses or apply for and be approved for licensure by endorsement (if you already have a current license in another jurisdiction of the US)
Education and Training
There are two basic ways to satisfy the education and training requirements to become a LPN in Illinois: 1) Graduation from an accredited nursing program that satisfies Illinois requirements or 2) Obtaining education, training and licensure from out-of-state that meets Illinois state requirements for licensure through endorsement. In either case, an individual will need to successfully graduate from an approved LPN program.
Specific course and graduation requirements vary from school to school. A typical LPN program in Illinois will take a minimum of one year to complete, but many schools offer extended programs of 16, 18, 20 months or longer to accommodate working students. In addition to specific LPN program requirements, students must normally complete a number of general education courses, which may be taken as part of a community college LPN associate degree or certificate program, or at a community college to satisfy a nursing school admissions prerequisite.
Additional Licensure Requirements
- Submit a verification of fingerprint processing from the Illinois Department of State Police or its designated agent. Fingerprints to be taken within 60 days prior to application.
- Pay the required state fees, including a $50 application fee and additional fee to cover the cost of determining an applicant's eligibility for taking the examination and providing the exam itself
- Verification from the jurisdiction or jurisdictions in which the applicant was originally licensed, current state of licensure and licensure from any other jurisdiction in which the applicant has been actively practicing within the last 5 years
- Official transcripts prepared by an official of the military (for applicants who have received practical nursing education during military service)
- For applicants educated outside the US or its territories: 1) credentials evaluation report of the applicant's foreign nursing education and 2) certification of passage of either the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) General Training Module, if English is not the applicant's first language
Keeping an Active License
All Illinois LPN licenses expire on January 31 of each odd-numbered year. License holders may renew their licenses during the month preceding the expiration date by paying the required fee, currently $40, and completing 20 hours of continuing education (CE).
LPNs who have been inactive or had an expired license for more than five years must reapply for their license, submit proof of fitness to practice, and pay a license restoration or renewal fee.
Employment Trends for Illinois LPNs
Five years ago, the state of Illinois was predicting a small but significant surplus of LPNs. And while some studies continue to indicate a surplus of LPNs, those same studies also make clear that these estimates apply to the traditional role of LPNs and do not take into account emerging care delivery models which are expected to contribute to new growth and demand for LPNs.
The data below offers a more detailed look at emerging trends for LPNs in Illinois.
|Area||Total Employment (2014)|
|Chicago-Joliet-Naperville Metropolitan Division||10,810|
|West Central Illinois nonmetropolitan area||1,230|
|South Illinois nonmetropolitan area||1,170|
|Lake County-Kenosha County IL-WI Metropolitan Division||940|
|East Central Illinois nonmetropolitan area||860|
|Northwest Illinois nonmetropolitan area||660|
Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014
Employment of LPNs in Illinois
- 2012 - 23,110
- 2022 - 27,710
- Average Annual Openings 1,020
Source: Projections Central