Become a Nursing Assistant in Illinois

The Illinois Department of Public Health regulates who may work in the state in the healthcare field. To work as a certified nursing assistant one must complete an approved CNA training program and pass a competency test. The test covers communication, basic nursing skills, personal care skills, restorative skills, mental health and social service, and patientsā€™ rights. Testing is done at various locations throughout Illinois, most of them community colleges. A list of testing centers can be found at http://www.nurseaidetesting.com/testsites.asp.

Certified as a CNA in Illinois

The State of Illinois does not issue certificates. Individual programs can issue certificates, but they are not required to do so. To prove competence to an employer, nursesā€™ aides are listed on a register. Those who are on the register can look up their status with their social security numbers at http://www.idph.state.il.us/nar/index.htm, print the page, and give a copy to prospective employers. To stay on the register nursesā€™ assistants must work for money. If a nursesā€™ aide goes for 24 months or longer after passing the competency exam without working for pay, he or she will be dropped from the registry. After being dropped he or she can either retake the CNA course and retake the test or just retake the test.

Where to find CNA training in Illinois?

Training is offered at community colleges, healthcare facilities, adult education centers, high schools and vocational training programs throughout the state. Programs vary from one to another. Lewis and Clark Community College in Godfrey, for instance, offers six 8-hour days working with patients as well as 6 credit hours of class instruction. Spoon River College in Havana offers a 7-credit hour program. Holy Family Medical Centerā€™s program, in Chicago, consists of 94 hours of lecture and 49 hours of clinical work. The program issues a certificate upon completion. To find more programs and their locations, see http://www.nurseaidetesting.com/trainingpgms.asp.

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Jakie S

I have been a CNA in the state of California since 1995. One of my passions in life is to help people and help others who want to expand their careers and become CNAs.

2 Responses

  1. January K says:

    To whom this may concern:

    I am having a hard time seeking employment and I have a family to help support. I am a CMA (certified medical assistant) but, I lost my window of opportunity to seek employment 3 years ago due to my Mothers health. It was also very hard attempting to even get a call back being fresh out of school.

    I am now seeking employment in the field I most desire and in which is medical. I see so many facilities, assisted living and in home care prefer or only hire CNA’s. Even though I am qualified and educated in areas that are not taught in the CNA program I am still not considered for employment.

    My family is struggling to make ends meet and I see to even get my foot in the door I need a CNA Cert. Can you please tell me where I can possibly qualify to take this course for free? I do not have the funds to pay out right for this. I have asked places if they would consider hiring me, seeing my work ethics are commendable and if they would pay for my course. I am told no.

    Please help


    Mrs. January K

  2. January K says:


    I live in Aurora, IL and am a resident of DuPage county but, live within 3 minutes from Kane County border…….

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