Get CNA Certified in Illinois


Want to become a CNA in Illinois?


Job Growth:

CNA jobs are projected to grow 11% by 2026, and there are 1,200 registered healthcare facilities with nursing jobs in Illinois.



Illinois is ranked top 20% for CNA wages, which average at $15/hour, but the top 10% of the nation’s nurse aids earn $50,000.



To become a registered CNA, you must graduate from an accredited course, some as short as 4 weeks, and pass the state exam.

What are the CNA requirements in Illinois? Here’s how to prepare for your CNA state exam and how to become a Certified Nurse Assistant in Illinois.


What is a Certified Nurse Aide?

A CNA is a Certified Nurse Assistant, or Certified Nurse Aide. It is one of the most important roles on the healthcare team. CNAs are fully responsible for the general care of patients. This includes taking and recording vital signs such as heart rate and blood pressure, assisting them to and from their bed, aiding them during meals, and attending to personal hygiene. The job is rewarding, as your role enhances a patient’s everyday livelihood, giving them an opportunity to be active members of society and offering them a chance to live their lives to the fullest.

CNA Requirements in Illinois:  

  1. Be at least 16 years old

  2. Be in good physical health

  3. Up-to-date immunization records

  4. Have completed at least 8 years of grade school

  5. Pass a criminal background check

  6. Be able to understand and speak English, or the language understood by a substantial percentage of a facility’s residents.

  7. Pass the Written Competency Test

  8. Graduate from a Certified Nursing Assistant School in Illinois

  9. Become a Certified CNA


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How to Become a CNA in Illinois

To become a CNA in Illinois you are required to complete a basic nursing assistant training program, or BNATP. First, you need to be at least 16 years old with a minimum of 8 years of grade school. Next, you will need to find accredited CNA classes in Illinois. These programs must include a minimum of 80 hours of theory, and at least 40 hours of clinical; of those instructional hours, 12 will cover how to care for patients with dementia and Alzheimer’s. Some CNA training programs are offered during employment, if they meet state code. Illinois does accept equivalent U.S. military-based training, members of the U.S. military may qualify if they have spent time as medical service specialists or hospital corpsmen. Those nursing students who have completed over 40 hours of supervised clinical experience and a classroom course such as Fundamentals of Nursing, are also approved to apply for equivalency of the state’s BNATPs. To see if you qualify to be approved for examination on the basis of alternate training, please call (217) 785-5133.

For those who need to find a BNATP that do not have any prior nurse training or experience, the Illinois Department of Public Health offers a list of certified nursing assistant training programs in Illinois. The majority of these programs can be found at local community colleges, trade schools, or even the American Red Cross, with many more offered at high schools. You can find local CNA classes near you as well as CNA classes online.  

Illinois requires 120 hours of training for CNAs, but each program is run differently, with many opting for 150 hours of training. The program can be completed in anywhere from 1-4 months, depending on where you decided to do your training. All training is required to be under the direct supervision of a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) or a Registered Nurse (RN). Some accelerated programs offer 3-week CNA classes as well.

Once the training is complete, you are eligible to apply for CNA certification, which allows you to sign up to take the official CNA examination. It’s recommended you take a free CNA practice exam to prepare. You must take the exam at a certified testing center, just click on this link and type in your zip code to find the closest location for the CNA certification exam.

Below you can also find city-specific information within Illinois on how to become a CNA:

Free CNA Classes in Chicago

A Closer Look at CNA Training

A typical CNA program in Illinois will include 80 hours of instruction that covers technical medical knowledge. You can expect to take CNA classes that cover topics such as:

  • Interpersonal Skills

  • Anatomy

  • Social Service

  • Mental Health

  • Cognitive Impairment

  • Emergency Procedures

  • Personal Care & Hygiene

  • Infection Control

  • Basic Nursing Care

  • Restorative Services

  • Patient’s Rights

Of those 80 hours, 12 hours of training is set aside to teach students how to manage patients with mental health disorders, such as cerebral palsy, dementia, and Alzheimer’s.

The clinical instruction will then be followed up with 40 hours of clinical practice at nursing homes, living care facilities, or hospitals. Students will care for patients under the supervision of a LPN and RN. During your training, you can even join the American Nurse Association of Illinois (ANA Illinois).

The CNA Training Program can cost anywhere from $500 to $2,000, depending on the program. However, these fees do not include classroom materials, uniforms, or textbooks. Some facilities, such as adult education centers, and nursing homes, offer free CNA classes, while others accept financial aid and payment plans.


The CNA Test in Illinois

The Illinois Department of Health partners with the Southern Illinois University at Carbondale (SIU-C) to administer the written portion of the evaluation at several testing sites throughout the state. Passing the written competency test is a requirement for CNA certification in Illinois, a nurse-aide can apply to take this exam once their BNATP is completed.

The CNA Written Competency Exam in Illinois comprises of 200 tasks grouped into 6 categories. There are 2 portions; (1) A written (or oral) exam, and (2) A clinical skills evaluation. Both are administered on the same day. The written exam has 70 multiple choice questions in English. If English is your second language, you are able to opt out and take the written exam orally. You can take CNA classes en español as well. The oral exam offers 60 multiple choice questions and 10 multiple choice comprehensive reading questions. The skills examination requires the nurse aide evaluator to supervise you performing 5 skills randomly selected in 25 minutes or less. Illinois requires that within 2 years of completing your CNA training, you must apply and pass both exams.

CNA Exam Cost Broken Down:

  • $65 - Written & Skills Evaluation

  • $45 - Translated Exam

  • $35 - Written Exam re-tests

On the Day of the Exam, Plan to Bring:

  1. Two forms of identification, one with a photo I.D.

  2. Non-skid, closed-toe shoes for the clinical evaluation

  3. Three No. 2 pencils and eraser

  4. A watch with a second hand


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CNA Jobs in Illinois

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are over 70,000 CNAs currently employed. Illinois is also ranked top 20% in the nation for CNA wages, which average at $15/hour, and can start at $30,000 a year.

The top 10% of CNAs can make $50,000 annually, and nursing assistant jobs are relatively easy to find. Due to the ability for increased training opportunities and further career advancements, there is a high turn-around rate for CNAs, as many use their work experience to start the accreditation process needed to become Registered Nurses. Working as a CNA is not only rewarding, but also offers job stability and immense growth opportunities.  

About 50% of CNAs work in Nursing Care Facilities, and there are 1,200 registered nursing facilities in the state of Illinois that offer employment. CNAs can also find work in one of the 200 general medical and surgical hospitals that Illinois offers. The city of Chicago alone holds over 100 hospitals, making it one of the most employable cities in the state for CNAs.


The state’s Health Care Work Registry lists registered CNAs that are cleared and available to work immediately. Upon CNA certification, complete your official registration for the Illinois Nurse Registry. General Hospitals employ roughly 25% of the state’s CNAs, with the remainder working at medical offices, facilities for elderly, mental health clinics, outpatient care centers, and even film and television housing facilities. CNAs play a such vital role in patient care, that the growth of CNA jobs is projected to grow 11% by 2026.

CNA Job Advancement

An entry-level position in the medical field, CNAs work with a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) and directly under a Registered Nurse (RN), so they are rewarded by seeing firsthand what it looks like to reach that next level. To become a LPN, a CNA can apply for a bridge course that can be found at community college or a vocational training school that can either be offered online or on-campus. Typically this training includes a 6-24 week class with 75 hours of training, however many current CNAs are able to use their work hours to apply to training, making it very easy to promote. Illinois has such a turnaround in CNA jobs advancement, that it is averaged 5,000 CNA jobs will open annually because of it. You may also join an association for resources and to help advance your career, such as the American Nurse Association Illinois.

Verification and Renewal of a CNA License in Illinois

How to Verify Your CNA License in Illinois:

If you are out-of-state and already a CNA, you must provide documentation of current registration from another state indicating requirements listed in the Code of Federal Regulations (42 CFR, Sections 483.151 and 483.152) have a clean criminal record and up-to-date immunizations.

How to Renew Your CNA License in Illinois:

If you have not provided CNA services in the last 2 years, the state of Illinois requires you to partake in the CNA Recertification Process. Administered through Southern Illinois University, this process involves 2 steps.

  1. Pass a manual skills test

  2. Pass a written test

For additional information about state licensing, renewal, and certification contact:

Illinois Department of Health

535 West Jefferson Street

Springfield, IL 62761

Phone: (844) 789-3676


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State-Approved Nursing Assistant Programs in Illinois

Alberto Rosario DBA Ohana Community Services
Social Service Organization
4931 W Thomas St., Chicago, IL
(773) 313-6646

Barrington High School
616 W Main St.
Barrington, IL 60010
(401) 247-3150

Brownstone Services Helping Those in Need
236 West 17th Street
Chicago Heights, IL 60411
(708) 431-1446

Carl Sandburg College
2400 Tom L. Wilson Blvd.
Galesburg, IL 61401
(309) 345-3501

Central Illinois Care Services
1901 South 4th Street, Suite 4
Effingham, IL 62401
(217) 994-9016

Malcom X College
1900 West Jackson Blvd,
Chicago, IL 60612
(312) 850-7000

McHenry County College
8900 US-14,
Crystal Lake, IL. 60012 (815) 455-3700

A Plus Healthcare Training
459 Dunham Road, #100,
Saint Charles, IL 60174
(630) 549-0577

Abbey Home Health Services
4554 North Broadway Street, Suite 242
Chicago, IL
(773) 784-0044

Academy of Healthcare Training
10035 Grand Ave,
Franklin Park, IL 60131
(847) 455-5000

Achievers Healthcare Training Center, Inc.
968 West Army Trail Road
Carol Streams, IL 60188-9068
(630) 372-1990

Adonis College of Nursing
1313 Sibley Blvd,
Dolton, IL 60419
(888) 308-3892

Advanced Med and Tech Institute
9120 Golf Road
Niles, IL 60714
(847) 390-7083

Apex Home Health Services
6160 North Cicero Ave #310
Chicago, IL 60646
(773) 202-1948

Ambria College of Nursing
5210 Trillium Blvd.
Hoffman Estates, IL 60192
(847) 397-0300

Allied Healthcare & Training Center
5850 N. Lincoln Ave #207
Chicago, IL 60659
(773) 989-5979

Barton W. Stone Christian Home
873 Grove Street,
Jacksonville, IL 62650
(217) 479-3400

Carepaks Health Services Inc.
4554 North Broadway #238
Chicago, IL 60640
(773) 784-7500

Clinton Higher Education Center
140 Sunrise Court,
Clinton, IL 61727
(217) 935-6791

Competent Healthcare
2820 West Montrose Ave,
Chicago, IL 60618
(773) 249-4644

College of Lake County, Southlake Campus
1120 South Milwaukee Ave.,
Vernon Hills, IL 60061
(847) 543-6501

Doctor’s Choice Home Care
600 West Cermak Road,
Chicago, IL 60616
(312) 666-1111

Lincoln Land Community College
5250 Shepherd Road
Springfield, IL 62703
(217) 786-2200

Magnificent Health Care & CPR Inc.
2046 West Devon Ave
Chicago, IL 60659
(773) 856-3203

Lewis and Clark Community College
5800 Godfrey Road
Godfrey, IL 62035
(618) 468-7000

Midwestern Career College
20 North Upper Wacker Drive #3800
Chicago, IL 60606
(312) 236-9000

Parkland College
2400 West Bradley Ave
Champaign, IL 61821
(217) 351-2200

Polish American Association
3834 North Cicero Avenue
Chicago, IL 60641
(773) 282-8206

Salem Community High School
1200 North Broadway Ave
Salem, IL 62881
(618) 548-0727

Presence Saints Mary and Elizabeth Medical Center
2233 West Division Street,
Chicago, IL 60622
(312) 770-2000

The Nirvana Institute
4605 South King Drive, Suite 202
Chicago, IL 60653
(773) 675-4000