How to Become a CNA in Illinois

Becoming a CNA in Illinois sets you on a rewarding path in healthcare.

The state’s diverse healthcare environment offers numerous opportunities for CNAs, including competitive employment prospects and avenues for professional advancement in the medical field.

Education and Training

If you’re looking to become a CNA in IL, attending a CNA certification program is an important step in the process.


    What Do You Study?

    During your education to become a certified nursing assistant, you can expect to cover the following topics:

    • Patient Transport and Movement
    • Restorative Services
    • Interpersonal Skills
    • Workplace Safety
    • Basic Nursing Care
    • Infection Control
    • Personal Care & Hygiene

    How Much Does It Cost?

    CNA programs typically cost between $900 to $2,000, not including the cost of books and materials.

    How Long Does It Take?

    Illinois trade schools and vocational colleges offer CNA courses that students can complete over several months. Some specialized nursing schools also offer accelerated programs that individuals can finish in as little as 3 weeks.

    CNA Salary Range

    Some average annual salaries from major employment sites are as follows:

    Below are some average salaries and hourly wages for each state from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

    Area Hourly Annual
    Bloomington $18.90 $39,320.00
    Carbondale-Marion $18.22 $37,890.00
    Champaign-Urbana $19.20 $39,930.00
    Chicago-Naperville-Elgin $20.40 $42,430.00
    Danville $19.33 $40,210.00
    Decatur $19.40 $40,350.00
    East Central Illinois $18.72 $38,930.00
    Kankakee $19.51 $40,580.00
    Northwest Illinois $18.91 $39,330.00
    Peoria $19.13 $39,780.00
    Rockford $18.94 $39,390.00
    South Illinois $19.26 $40,060.00
    Springfield $18.97 $39,470.00
    West Central Illinois $18.58 $38,650.00

    source: data.bls.gov

    Illinois CNA Requirements

    In order to become a CNA in Illinois, an individual must meet the following criteria:

    • Be at least 16 years of age
    • Have up-to-date immunization records
    • Have completed at least eight years of grade school
    • Pass a criminal background check
    • Pass the Written Competency Test
    • Graduate from a state-certified CNA program

    Attending a CNA Certification Program

    The state of Illinois requires that a person obtain the proper education before they’re qualified to get a job as a CNA.

    Students will need to complete a CNA training program which will require 80 hours of in-classroom education and 40 hours of clinical practice, for a total of 120 hours.

    Earning a Certification

    Those who wish to work as a certified nursing assistant in the state of Illinois must obtain a certification from an accredited institution.

    CNA Written Competency Exam

    Once you have completed the necessary hours, you will then need to take the CNA Written Competency Exam. This test consists of 200 tasks which are grouped into six different categories.

    The exam has 70 multiple-choice questions that you must complete, followed by a skills examination. The skills examination requires you to complete five random CNA skills within a 25-minute time period.

    Career Overview

    Job Description

    A certified nursing assistant has an important job in the daily care of patients.

    CNAs provide patient care and help with basic needs such as eating, grooming, bathing, and exercise.

    These workers often find employment in places like nursing homes, hospitals, retirement homes, and they can even offer home healthcare services in a patient’s residence.

    What Do They Do?

    Tasks that a certified nursing assistant can be responsible for are:

    • Attending to the wants and needs of patients
    • Helping patients with routine tasks like eating, bathing, and dressing
    • Observing and recording a patient’s vitals and condition
    • Monitor food and liquid intake of patients
    • Updating a patient’s care team on changes in their condition
    • Answering call buttons when patients need something
    • Alert nurses to any issues that patient may be experiencing
    • Reposition patients in their beds
    • Help to lift patients from their bed or wheelchair to exam or surgical table

    Career Outlook

    Individuals hoping to obtain a career as a certified nursing assistant should know that jobs are expected to increase in the foreseeable future. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, experts predict that there will be a rise of CNA jobs of about five percent from 2021-2031, a growth of around 220,000 new jobs per year.

    This will also mean that CNA jobs in Illinois will increase, too.

    The rise in jobs is expected to happen for a variety of reasons. The demand for CNAs will increase in part due to the baby-boomer generation aging and needing more medical attention and treatment.

    Other reasons will likely include the retirement of older workers and some individuals leaving the field to pursue other jobs.