Are you curious about becoming a nurse? If you are based in Illinois, you have an excellent opportunity to pursue a nursing career. There is a significant shortage of nurses throughout the country, and the Illinois Board of Nursing is encouraging more people to join the nursing ranks to counter the shortage. Whether you want to become a registered nurse (RN) in Illinois or a licensed practical nurse (LPN), understanding the nursing board requirements for Illinois is essential.
To become a licensed practical nurse in Illinois or a registered nurse in the state, you must complete the requirements set by the Illinois Board of Nursing. From completing pre-licensure education and training to passing a national licensure exam, there are several steps to becoming a nurse in Illinois.
Fast CE For Less has created this guide for those curious about pursuing a nursing career in Illinois. It will help you understand the criteria set by the Illinois Board of Nursing to become an RN or LPN in the state.
How to Become a Registered Nurse
To become a registered nurse in Illinois, you must understand this is the longer of the two career paths. To qualify to become an RN in Illinois, you must complete years of specialized education and training and apply for the state license via examination. Once you begin practicing as a registered nurse in Illinois, you must complete a required number of contact hours through nursing continuing education courses to renew your credentials.
Earn an ADN or BSN
The first thing you must do is meet pre-licensure nursing education requirements to become a registered nurse in Illinois. You can pursue a diploma, a two-year Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN), or a four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). You can only apply for state licensure after earning a state nursing board-approved nursing degree.
While earning a diploma or a two-year ADN degree makes you eligible to apply for a registered nurse license, we suggest you pursue a four-year BSN as your priority. With a four-year degree, you will get more in-depth education and training to become a registered nurse. The better qualified you are, the more attractive a prospect you will be for employers hiring registered nurses in Illinois.
Regardless of the path you choose, ensuring you earn a degree approved by the Illinois Board of Nursing is essential. The state nursing board has shared a complete list of approved nursing education programs on its official website here.
Applying for State Licensure to Become a Registered Nurse via Examination
Once you earn a relevant nursing degree, you can apply for a license to become a registered nurse in Illinois. You must pass the National Council of Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). The NCLEX-RN is the nationally recognized licensure examination for registered nurses.
To take the NCLEX-RN, you must apply through the Illinois Board of Nursing by registering at Continental Testing Services (CTS)and Pearson VUE. Becoming an RN in Illinois has a dual application process, and registering with CTS and Pearson VUE is essential. As part of the process, you must provide the state’s nursing board with the relevant documents, conduct fingerprinting, and more. You can find more details about the application process through the board’s official website here.
Obtain Your License to Become a Registered Nurse
Once you register and qualify to take the NCLEX-RN, you must pass the examination to complete your application to become a registered nurse in Illinois. After you take the NCLEX-RN, the official examination results will typically be released within 7-10 days of the exam. Continental testing services will send you the Official Results Letter with detailed instructions to get your license after it reviews your grade. The Illinois Board of Nursing will send you your RN license via mail once everything checks out.
How to Become a Licensed Practical Nurse
To become a licensed practical nurse in Illinois, the pre-licensure educational requirements are different than for RNs. As such, it is essential to understand the nursing board requirements in Illinois to become an LPN.
Complete a Nursing Board-Approved Practical Nursing Program
Provided you have a high school diploma, you must complete a practical nursing program approved by the Illinois Board of Nursing. While not as extensive as an ADN or BSN, a practical nursing program will be crucial to allow you to apply for state licensure. The Illinois Board of Nursing has provided a complete list of approved practical nursing programs on its official website here.
Apply for Licensure to Become a Licensed Practical Nurse
To apply for a state license to become a licensed practical nurse in Illinois, you must appear for and pass the National Council of Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN). The NCLEX-PN is the national licensure exam for licensed practical nurses. To become an LPN in Illinois, you must follow a dual application process.
To appear for the NCLEX-PN, you must register with Continental Testing Service and Pearson VUE. Follow the instructions to complete the registration process for the NCLEX-PN. You can find more details about the application process on the Illinois Board of Nursing’s official website here.
Obtain Your License to Become a Licensed Practical Nurse
Once you register for the NCLEX-PN, you must pass the exam to qualify for a state license to become a licensed practical nurse in Illinois. Continental Testing Services typically releases the results of the NCLEX-PN in 7-10 days after you take the exam. Continental Testing Services will send you the official results letter after they review your results. Once the review is complete, the Illinois Board of Nursing will mail you the license to practice as a licensed practical nurse in Illinois.
Renew Your Credentials After Becoming an RN or LPN
Because the healthcare field continues to improve, professionals continue to identify better ways to improve patient outcomes. To ensure all professionals are following the latest standards of providing care, all RNs and LPNs are required to renew their licenses every two to three years. A critical component of renewing nursing credentials is to complete a required number of contact hours through nursing continuing education courses.
Each state’s nursing board sets its own nursing continuing education requirements for RNs and LPNs. For the Illinois Board of Nursing, RNs and LPNs must renew their license every two years. RNs and LPNs applying to renew their license must complete at least 20 contact hours of nursing continuing education courses, including one hour on sexual harassment. You can find more details about the nursing continuing education requirements for the Illinois Board of Nursing at www.fastceforless.com/nursing-ce-illinois/.
Are you already a practicing nurse? If the time to renew your license is close, online nursing CEUs like those offered by Fast CE For Less at www.fastceforless.com offer an easy, quick, and affordable solution.