Best 20 LPN Programs in Illinois in 2021

March 21, 2021 | Staff Writers

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Becoming a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) is often the first step in a compassionate nursing career. As the population ages and conditions such as diabetes rise, healthcare organizations are looking for more licensed staff to meet patient needs. Practical nursing is expected to experience faster than average job growth over the next 8 years. LPNs in Illinois make a median annual wage of $53,290.

What Education Does An LPN Need To Have?

The first step to becoming an LPN is completing a state-approved training program. These educational courses are commonly offered as professional certifications by community colleges and technical schools. After completing a program, students can sit for the National Council Licensure Exam for Practical Nursing (NLCEX-PN). All LPNs must pass this exam to receive a license to work in the field.

What Are An LPN’s Responsibilities?

LPNs work under the instruction of doctors and registered nurses (RNs) to provide basic medical care. This can include monitoring patients by regularly checking blood pressure and temperatures, changing bandages, assisting patients in bathing or dressing, and keeping records. An LPN works on their feet most of their shift, which may be overnight, on weekends, or through holidays. Shifts over 8 hours can be common depending on their place of work.

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We graded a list of 20 state-approved LPN programs from around the state on a 100 point scale. Our criteria included program cost, program admissions, and school NCLEX pass rate. Check out the results below!

The Best 20 LPN Programs In Illinois

1. William Rainey Harper College – Palatine – 96 Points

Harper College is a public community college offering a 38 credit-hour practical nursing program. Students who complete this certificate are able to continue their education in the school’s nursing associate’s degree program. Enrollment is limited. Applicants must have completed a CNA and be active on the IDPH Health Care Worker Registry.

  • Cost: $5,054
  • Pass Rate: 100%

2. Shawnee Community College – Ullin – 80 Points

Shawnee Community College is a rural, public community college in Pulaski County. They award a 1-year, 51 credit-hour practical nursing certificate. Applicants are required to have a valid Healthcare Provider CPR certification that will last through completion of the program. Some classes may be available online.

  • Cost: $8,590
  • Pass Rate: 100%

3. Kankakee Community College – Kankakee – 78 Points

Kankakee Community College is a public community college with a regional district encompassing six eastern Illinois counties. Their practical nursing certificate program is 38 credit-hours in length. According to the school, 100% of students who complete the program find job placement. 

  • Cost: $5,548
  • Pass Rate: 100%

4. Southeastern Illinois College – Harrisburg – 71 Points

Located in Saline County, Southeastern Illinois College is a public college offering an LPN program for full and part-time enrollment. Each fall 60 applicants are accepted into the full-time traditional program, while 20 part-time students are admitted. Students will take 36 credit hours of instruction. Applicants must have valid CPR and BLS/HCP certification.

  • Cost: $10,737
  • Pass Rate: 100%

5. Kaskaskia College – Centralia – 69 Points

Kaskaskia College serves all or part of nine counties in south-central Illinois. Students can complete the LPN program within 11 months and 44 credit hours of study. The program includes clinical experiences. Applicants must provide proof of current or previous CNA employment or complete the college’s IDPH-approved CNA course with a score of “C” or better2.

  • Cost: $10,139
  • Pass Rate: 100%

6. John A Logan Community College – Carterville – 68 Points

JALC is a public college located in Williamson County. The school’s 44 credit-hour practical nursing certification is considered a restricted entry program. Interested students must pass the PSB Aptitude for Practical Nursing Exam (APNE). Additionally, students must have CPR certification prior to beginning the clinical rotation part of the program.

  • Cost: $8,292
  • Pass Rate: 98%

7. Lake Land College – Mattoon – 62 Points

A rural public institution, Lake Land College serves the Coles County region with many students going on to enter Eastern Illinois University. This practical nursing program is three semesters in length with 41 credit hours. Applicants must have valid CPR certification and pass a physical exam. Students are expected to maintain a minimum GPA of 2.0.

  • Cost: $5,822
  • Pass Rate: 95%

8. Illinois Central College – Peoria – 59 Points

The public Illinois Central College district encompasses most or part of 11 counties in the central region of the state. LPN students will study over two semesters plus a summer session. The program consists of 42 credit hours. Prospective students must have an active CNA certification and CPR certification.

  • Cost: $5,100
  • Pass Rate: 89%

8. Ambria College of Nursing – Hoffman Estates – 59 Points

Ambria College of Nursing is a small for-profit school serving the Chicago area. Students in their LPN program can attend day or night classes at full or part-time enrollment. The program is 36 credit-hours in length, with an additional 8 credit hours of foundational anatomy courses. Applicants must have a high school diploma or GED.

  • Cost: $19,500
  • Pass Rate: 100%

10. Great Paragon Healthcare Inc. – Chicago – 57 Points

Great Paragon Healthcare Inc. is a vocational school approved to operate by the Illinois Board of Higher Education. The practical nursing program is a total 794 clock hours (not credit-hours) long. GPH does not offer financial aid, but does have a payment plan. Students are required to obtain some equipment themselves before clinical training.

  • Cost: $17,295
  • Pass Rate: 100%

11. CAAN Academy of Nursing – Matteson – 54 Points

The Coalition of African American Nurses (CAAN) Academy of Nursing is primarily an African American, Christian institution. The school offers an LPN certificate of completion with 1180 clock hours within 59 weeks. Prerequisites include knowledge of medical terminology and basic computer training, which may be waived with passing proficiency exam scores. Prospective candidates are interviewed and selected by a committee of educators, mentors, and business leaders.

  • Cost: $30,000
  • Pass Rate: 100%

11. Lincoln Land Community College – Springfield – 54 Points

With a main campus serving the Springfield area, Lincoln Land Community College also features extended campuses across the region. Students will be able to enter the practical nursing workforce in an estimated 12 months after starting the LPN program. Applicants must have up-to-date immunizations, pass a physical and drug screen, and be CPR certified by the American Red Cross or American Heart Association.

  • Cost: $8,023
  • Pass Rate: 95%

13. Black Hawk College – Moline – 52 Points

Black Hawk College is a public community college with two campuses at Moline and Galva. Students interested in the practical nursing certificate must have graduated from high school or received an equivalent certificate. Passing a physical examination and essential academic skills test is also required. 

  • Cost: $5,960
  • Pass Rate: 94%

14. City Colleges of Chicago-Malcom X – Chicago – 48 Points

The City Colleges of Chicago – Malcolm X campus is one of seven urban community colleges serving the Chicago area. The advanced certificate in practical nursing is 49 credit hours long. Prospective students must have a high school diploma or GED and pass a pre-admissions test. After enrollment, students are expected to maintain at least a 2.5 GPA. 

  • Cost: $9,323
  • Pass Rate: 96%

14. CALC Institute of Technology – Alton – 48 Points

A for-profit college, CALC Institute of Technology serves Alton with an approximate enrollment of 26 students. This is a full-time program requiring 30 hours per week over 15 months. Clinical experiences require 24/7 availability. Applicants must be 18 or older with a high school diploma or equivalent. 

  • Cost: $24,400
  • Pass Rate: 100%

16. Capital Area School of Practical Nursing – Springfield – 44 Points

CASPN is a public college offering only licensed practical nursing as a major in Springfield. Their program has 1330 clock hours of instruction held during daytime hours through the week. Candidates must be CNAs age 17 or older with a current physical and recent TB screening. Students must also be CPR certified through the American Heart Association. 

  • Cost: $15,357
  • Pass Rate: 90%

17. Verve College – Oak Brook – 36 Points

Verve College is a small for-profit institution offering LPN training in Oak Brook and Chicago. The program is approximately 12-14 months long. Classes are available during the day and evenings through the week and on weekends. The tuition price includes the cost of one NCLEX-PN Exam try.

  • Cost: $22,995
  • Pass Rate: 90%

18. Carl Sandburg College – Galesburg – 35 Points

A public community college, Carl Sandburg College features a main campus in Galesburg and a branch in Carthage. They offer a 1-year LPN certificate which may be applied later to the LPN-RN transition program if a student wishes to advance their education. Students are required to have recent TB test results and current CPR certification.

  • Cost: $15,464
  • Pass Rate: 95%

19. North Shore College – Wheeling – 33 Points

North Shore College is a private for-profit college serving the Chicago suburb of Wheeling. Classes in their LPN program are offered in the morning and evening, with completion possible within 11 months. Prospective students must be over 18 and possess a high school diploma. Some prerequisite courses may be required, which are also offered as a pre-LPN program.

  • Cost: $16,489
  • Pass Rate: 86%

20. Richland Community College – Decatur – 27 Points

Richland Community College is a public community college serving Decatur and Macon County. The practical nursing program is a competitive selective admissions program. Applicants are scored on a rubric and the highest-ranking applicants are admitted first. Rankings are based on several factors, including GPA, previous program enrollment, and ACT or equivalent scores.

  • Cost: $9,915 
  • Pass Rate: 86%

Looking for online nursing education? Use our degree finder tools and helpful articles to find the path that’s right for you!

Our Ranking Methodology

A list of 20 schools offering state-approved LPN programs in Illinois was gathered from the Illinois Nursing Workforce Center website. We ranked these schools on a 100 point scale using estimated program cost (40%), 2019 school NCLEX-PN pass rate (40%), and number of students admitted in 2020 (20%). Pass rate and admissions were obtained from the INWC. Program cost estimates were taken directly from each school’s website.

Reporting Errors

Employees of the schools listed in this article are invited to submit corrections to us directly. We will work quickly to fix any errors in the data we present.

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