Illinois CNA Qualifications and Requirements
The requirements to become a Certified Nursing Assistant in Illinois are straightforward. All applicants must successfully complete a state-approved nurse aide training program, prove their completion of relevant nursing coursework, have military medical training, or hold valid or expired certification from another state. These options are similar to other states, but Illinois has maintained the option of CNA eligibility for military personnel, unlike most other states. For new applicants, training courses are generally conducted over a two month period. The state’s specifications on the types of courses are vaguer than others, though they do articulate the need for clinical experience. For all applicants, the state requires proof of at least 40 hours of supervised, clinical experience, whether through a training program or previous employment at a healthcare facility. All testing is handled by the Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, with many satellite testing facilities all over the state. After completing a state-approved course, it is possible for a CNA candidate to work for up to 120 days at a healthcare facility while waiting to complete the certification exam, though at the end of this period they must be removed from direct care positions by their employer. CNAs who have successfully applied for reciprocity from another state are not required to take the certification exam.
The average wage of a CNA working in Illinois is approximately $24,000 per year, along a range between $20,800 and $27,000. This is about average for the Midwestern region of the country and on the higher end of the pay-scale for CNAs across the country. This is accounted for by the high population but also the variegated distribution of population density. In the city zones, there are more opportunities for higher pay but more competition for work than in the agricultural zones in the south of the state. The types of training programs approved by the state are very diverse, from technical colleges to online universities. Therefore, the cost to become certified may vary greatly. For community and technical colleges, the cost of tuition may be alleviated by widely available scholarships that are funded by the state and other private organizations. The base price of a semester at a technical college can range anywhere from $800 to $2,000. Depending on your location within the state, there may be more community centers available to receive CNA classes for lower costs. For example, in urban centers like Chicago, there will be a higher concentration of healthcare institutions like local YMCAs or American Red Cross centers, where low cost courses can be obtained. Technical and community colleges will be the most useful to those who are more isolated by rural locations.