If you live in the Chicago area and want a fast way into a good-paying nursing career, becoming an LPN may be the perfect choice. You’ll start by earning your LPN certificate or diploma from an Illinois-approved program, which you can do in as few as 12 months. 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 salary information for LPNs in Chicago.
College Spotlights: Best LPN Programs in Chicago
Not sure where to begin looking for a quality LPN program? We’ve spotlighted three of the best accredited LPN programs in Chicago, Illinois to help you on your search. These programs were chosen based on their affordability, strong student support, and high NCLEX-PN pass rates among students. 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 offers on-campus learners a state-approved LPN program in Chicago. 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. Verve’s 2020 NCLEX-PN pass rate was 94%.
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
ICC 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 ICC need a high school diploma or GED certificate with a 2.6 or higher GPA. Students must be registered CNAs and have CPR certification before starting the program. 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 a doctor’s office, outpatient facility, 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 communication, motor skills, 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, bathing patients, helping administer doctor-prescribed medications, 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. Tuition data for three LPN programs in Chicago gives you an idea of the cost for such programs.
Total Clock Hours: 1,080
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
Total Credits: 36
Can I get financial aid to help pay for my LPN program in Chicago?
Paying for your LPN program may seem daunting, but 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.
Some LPN programs in Chicago offer internal merit- and need-based scholarships for nursing students. For example, Illinois Central College offers dozens of scholarship opportunities, some of which are reserved for nursing students. There are also opportunities for funding through the Illinois Department of Health, including its 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. Another school, 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. Most LPN programs still require some in-person components, including lab assignments and clinicals, so coursework is usually in a hybrid format. Online and hybrid options are increasingly common as are day, evening, and weekend courses in both asynchronous and synchronous formats. There are a lot of options for students in LPN programs in Chicago.
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 introductory English and rhetoric, survey of human development, 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.
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 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 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. 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|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2020