LPN Programs in Illinois

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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

Methodology +
Lpn Programs

The top LPN programs listed in this state's ranking were determined by comparison of three primary, equally-weighted criteria including

  • Student-to-faculty ratio
  • In-state tuition
  • Graduation rate

Additional details for each school were included:

  • Count of programs available
  • Public and not-for-profit schools
  • Normalized on a 100 percent curve

The methodology used for tie-break is as follows...

  • Ties are broken based on lowest average net price for full-time, first-time undergraduates paying in-state tuition (average cost of tuition and expenses after grants and scholarships).
  • If necessary, the lowest in-state tuition rate is used as a second tie-break
Rank School Name Score Tuition Student/Teacher ratio Graduation Rate
1 Rend Lake College 96 $$$$$ 15:1 52%
2 Southeastern Illinois College 92.33 $$$$$ 16:1 27%
3 Shawnee Community College 91 $$$$$ 16:1 26%
4 Elgin Community College 90 $$$$$ 20:1 31%
5 Sauk Valley Community College 90 $$$$$ 17:1 35%
6 Rock Valley College 90 $$$$$ 16:1 25%
7 Kankakee Community College 88.33 $$$$$ 14:1 26%
8 Saint Xavier University 88.33 $$$$$ 13:1 54%
9 John Wood Community College 87.67 $$$$$ 12:1 35%
10 Spoon River College 87 $$$$$ 16:1 37%
11 Richland Community College 86.67 $$$$$ 16:1 23%
12 Illinois Valley Community College 86 $$$$$ 16:1 24%
13 Danville Area Community College 85.67 $$$$$ 17:1 40%
14 Kaskaskia College 85.33 $$$$$ 20:1 49%
15 Lincoln Land Community College 85 $$$$$ 21:1 24%
16 Lake Land College 83.67 $$$$$ 23:1 34%
17 Harper College 83.33 $$$$$ 19:1 21%
18 Illinois Central College 83.33 $$$$$ 18:1 25%
19 John A Logan College 83 $$$$$ 23:1 23%
20 Carl Sandburg College 82.67 $$$$$ 15:1 23%
21 Kishwaukee College 81 $$$$$ 21:1 28%
22 South Suburban College 80.67 $$$$$ 14:1 18%
23 Black Hawk College 80 $$$$$ 20:1 21%
24 Heartland Community College 79.33 $$$$$ 19:1 25%
25 Morton College 78 $$$$$ 20:1 13%
26 Parkland College 78 $$$$$ 18:1 20%
27 City Colleges of Chicago-Wilbur Wright College 77 $$$$$ 33:1 15%
28 Triton College 76.67 $$$$$ 20:1 12%
29 Joliet Junior College 76.67 $$$$$ 23:1 14%
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Search Tool for LPN Programs in Illinois

LPN programs in Illinois are offered through vocational centers and, most prominently, on community college campuses throughout the state. The search tool below provides a great way to start looking for the program that best suits your individual preferences. For a detailed comparison of your top picks, click the compare schools option at the top.

Degree Level
School Type
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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.

Basic Eligibility

  • 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 & 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.

Illinois LPN Salary Outlook

Illinois is a state of big contrasts, particularly when it comes to population. Largely made up of farmland and small communities, Illinois is also home to Chicago, the nation's third largest city. As a result, LPNs in Illinois will encounter wide variations in terms of salaries and job opportunities depending on where they practice. The charts below indicate where the highest salaries for LPNs can be found in Illinois.

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Top Paying Metropolitan Areas

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.

Top Locations for Employment

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