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LPN Programs in
Chicago: Online and
On-Campus Training

Live in the Chicago area and want to become a nurse without years of schooling? Check out top-rated LPN programs that can qualify you for licensure in as few as 12 months.

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WRITTEN BY: Timon Kaple
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REVIEWED BY: Edumed Editing Staff

Last Updated: 06/13/2023

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If you live in Chicago or the surrounding areas and want a fast way into a good-paying nursing career, becoming an LPN may be something to consider. You’ll start by earning your LPN certificate or diploma from an Illinois-approved program, which you can do as quickly as one year. You can choose from partially-online programs or traditional on-campus options to fit your learning preferences.

This guide includes all the information you need about LPN programs in Chicago, Illinois. We highlight some of the top accredited programs and provide a detailed look at how in-person and online LPN training works. Additionally, you’ll find a step-by-step guide on how to become an LPN in Illinois and what kind of job prospects you can expect when you start working in Chicago.

College Spotlights: Best LPN Programs in Chicago

Not sure where to begin looking for a quality LPN program? We’ve spotlighted three top-notch accredited LPN programs in Chicago, Illinois to help you on your search. These programs were chosen based on their affordability, strong student support, learning flexibility, and excellent NCLEX-PN pass rates for first-time test takers. These state-approved and accredited programs offer a quality education that meets the Illinois Board of Nursing licensure requirements, which means they prepare you for taking and passing the NCLEX-PN.

Verve College

Verve offers on-campus learners a state-approved LPN program in Chicago, which enjoys an NCLEX-RN pass rate of 94%. Applicants need a high school diploma or GED certificate along with active CNA certification.

This intensive program is broken down into three sections. The first 19-week section includes 450 clock hours covering topics like infection control, pharmacology, and patient mobility. The second 19-week section is also 450 clock hours and includes instruction in mental health, musculoskeletal topics, neurology, and the respiratory system. The last section lasts eight weeks and 180 clock hours and features instruction in pediatrics, eldercare, and immune systems.

Full-time students can complete this LPN program in 12-15 months, and graduates are eligible to sit for the NCLEX-PN exam. The cost of tuition for this program includes one exam attempt.

City Colleges of Chicago – Malcolm X College

The City Colleges of Chicago system includes seven community colleges, including Malcolm X College campus (MXC) with one of the best LPN programs in Chicago. This 49-credit certificate program is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) and boasts a 95% NCLEX-PN pass rate.

In 3-4 semesters, full-time students develop foundational knowledge and skills in nursing practice and theory and are prepared to sit for the NCLEX-PN. Courses include biology, nursing fundamentals, nursing through the lifespan, and human structure and function. The full-time plan can also be modified to meet part-time needs.

Prospective students must complete prerequisite classes in terminology for medical careers, biology I, composition, and general education mathematics before applying. Applications must include official transcripts showing the completion of a high school diploma or GED certificate. A minimum cumulative score of 60% and minimum reading score of 70% on the TEAS exam are also required.

Illinois Central College

Illinois Central College offers on-campus learners one of the top LPN programs in Chicago, Illinois, boasting a 92-100% NCLEX-PN pass rates for its LPN graduates. Full-time students complete this ACEN-accredited program in two semesters plus one summer session. The 34 credits include classes in medical terminology, introduction to psychology, and human anatomy along with three hands-on practical nursing intensive courses. Some credits may be transferred from previous coursework, but proof of proficiency/competency may be required.

Prospective LPN students at Illinois Central College need a high school diploma or GED certificate with a 2.6 or higher GPA. Students must also be registered CNAs and have CPR certification before starting the program. Finally, they must also meet specific math and English prerequisite requirements. While enrolled, LPN students must maintain a 2.0 or higher GPA.

FAQs About LPN Programs in the Chicago Area

What skills do you learn in LPN programs in Chicago?

Whether employed in an outpatient facility, doctor’s office, hospital, or home healthcare service, LPNs perform essential functions every day that directly affect patient care. A good LPN program in Chicago develops the skills necessary for these tasks to ensure the highest quality of patient care. Illinois Central College identifies motor skills, communication, sensory, critical-thinking, and professionalism as the most important skills for LPNs to develop.

With foundational nursing classes in pharmacology, nursing theory, and patient care topics, your state-approved, accredited nursing program prepares you for the daily demands of LPN work. This includes, according to Ambria College of Nursing in Chicago, taking vital signs, helping administer doctor-prescribed medications, bathing patients, and collecting samples for lab testing. LPNs also keep detailed medical records and educate families and caregivers on caring for their sick and injured relatives.

How much do LPN programs cost in Chicago?

The cost of LPN programs varies among schools. Additionally, some programs charge by credit while others charge a flat fee for the entire program. Some schools also offer lower tuition rates for in-district or in-state students. Not only are there LPN programs in Chicago to fit your budget, but there are also financial aid opportunities to help you cover tuition expenses, fees, and living costs. To give you a rough idea of what sort of tuition and program costs to expect, we found the following three Chicago LPN programs.

Verve College

Practical Nursing

Total Clock Hours: 1,080

$23,995/program

City College of Chicago – Malcolm X College

Advanced Certificate in Practical Nursing

Total Credits: 49

$146/credit (in-district); $384/credit (out-of-district); $481/credit (out-of-state)

Ambria College of Nursing

Practical Nursing

Total Credits: 36

$19,500/program

Can I get financial aid to help pay for my LPN program in Chicago?

Finding a way to pay for your LPN program might seem like an insurmountable hurdle. Luckily, there are many financial aid opportunities to help offset the cost of your nursing education. Financial aid includes scholarships, grants, work-study programs, and loans. Scholarships and grants are especially attractive because they provide free money that doesn’t need to be paid back. But these awards are sometimes competitive.

Some LPN programs in Chicago offer scholarships for its nursing students, but they’re awarded based on financial need and/or academic merit. A great example of this is Illinois Central College, which offers dozens of scholarship opportunities, many of which are reserved for nursing students. There are also scholarship opportunities outside of the LPN programs, such as the nursing education scholarship program.

For more information on funding for nursing students, check out our LPN scholarships guide and main financial aid guide where you can begin looking for financial aid.

How long do LPN programs in Chicago take to finish?

Full-time students in LPN programs in Chicago can finish in as few as 12 months. Joliet Junior College, for example, offers a three-semester/one-year LPN program for full-time learners. Incoming students with applicable transfer credits may be able to finish even quicker. Ambria College of Nursing, offers LPN students the choice between day or evening classes at a full-time, accelerated option that takes 12 months to complete. The program is also available at a standard, full-time pace and takes about 16 months. Part-time students can finish in about 20 months.

Inside Look at Online LPN Programs in Chicago

Online and hybrid LPN programs in Chicago offer the same quality education as in-person classes, but with more convenience. These programs work by allowing students to take many classroom courses online, at a time and place of their choosing. However, students must still complete some of the curriculum requirements in person, such as lab assignments and clinicals.. Online and hybrid options are increasingly common, as are day, evening, and weekend courses. This gives LPN students in Chicago a lot of options to arrange their learning around their personal and professional obligations.

Joliet Junior College, for example, offers an LPN program featuring a combination of traditional classroom learning, online courses, in-person clinical experiences, and high-fidelity simulations. For some classes, like survey of human development, introductory English and rhetoric, and human anatomy, students choose between a fully in-person, hybrid, or online delivery. Other classes, like basic nursing procedures, concepts of nursing practice, and pharmacology, require class or lab attendance entirely in-person. These cannot be offered online because they teach hands-on skills that are best learned from face-to-face instruction.

LPN Licensing Information and Requirements in Chicago

To obtain licensure as an LPN in Chicago, you’ll need to complete a series of steps in the following order:

  • Graduate from a state-approved accredited practical nursing program.
  • Apply for the NCLEX-PN exam online through Continental Testing Services and pay a $98 application fee.
  • Register online for the exam with Pearson Vue Professional Testing and pay a $200 exam fee.
  • After you receive your authorization to test from Pearson, sit for the NCLEX-PN within 90 days.

While the LPN licensure exam is a national test that’s the same for prospective LPNs across the U.S., each state has unique requirements. Be sure you meet the requirements for Illinois as established by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.

How Much You Can Earn as an LPN in the Chicago Area

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, graduates of accredited LPN programs in Chicago make over $10,000 more than the national average for the position. Just remember that the cost of living in Chicago will be higher than much of the United States.

LPNs working in the Chicago-Naperville-Elgin area make about $57,910 per year, while the top 10% of earners in the Chicago area earn more than $73,750 per year. Earners in the 10th percentile make about $45,260 per year, still about $11,000 more than the average LPN salary across the country in the same earnings bracket.

Annual Earnings for Licensed Practical Nurses in Chicago

10th Percentile Median Earnings 90th Percentile
Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI $45,260 $57,910 $73,750
Illinois $40,070 $53,640 $67,930
United States $34,560 $47,480 $63,360

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2020