Illinois Licensed Practical Nurse Careers
If you enjoy helping people, you’re able work long hours on your feet and your heart is in healthcare, a career as a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) may be the right course for you. The demand for all kinds of healthcare workers continues to rise across the country, with LPN employment levels predicted to increase 12.3 percent by 2026, according to the Projections Managing Partnership (PMP).
Licensed Practical Nurses provide limited healthcare services to patients under supervision of a Registered Nurse (RN) or doctor. They may monitor patient vital signs, communicate with patients about quality of care and keep detailed health records. Most Illinois LPNs work in nursing and residential facilities, but you can also find them working in hospitals, clinics and home healthcare settings.
Steps to Becoming an LPN
After completing high school or a GED equivalent, potential LPNs in Illinois must complete a year of nursing training at a school approved by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR). You can complete most of these programs within nine months to one year.
Then, you must take the national NCLEX-LP administered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN). After completing these steps, you may apply for LPN licensure through the state.
Educational Options for Illinois Practical Nurses
Schools accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) adhere to strict standards of health teaching and prepare students for success on the NCLEX-LP exam and in their future career. Those who wish to consider Practical Nursing may want to consider the following Illinois schools:
- Illinois College of Nursing. This Chicago school offers a Practical Nursing diploma, which takes about one year. Upon completion, students are eligible to take the NCLEX-LP exam and pursue their LPN license.
- Joliet Junior College. Students who graduate with a Practical Nursing (PN) Certificate of Achievement from this school begin their careers with an education from one of the top nursing schools in Illinois. The program takes one year to complete and boasts a 98 percent graduation rate for students.
Getting Your Practical Nursing License
The IDFPR issues Practical Nurse Licenses in Illinois. To receive Illinois Practical Nurse (PN) licensure, you must first complete the required educational and exam requirements listed above. You can bridge an LPN license into an RN license through further schooling and exam passing.
The Future of LPNs
According to the PMP, 22,500 Illinois LPNs worked throughout the state in 2016, but the field is competitive, as there is only a 2 percent increase predicted by the year 2026. On average, 1,640 Licensed Practical Nurse job openings are available in Illinois per year.
Illinois LPNs’ salaries are high compared to the national average, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics reporting a mean average income of $23.71 per hour or $49,320 per year for these workers in 2017. Nationally, LPNs earned an average of $21.65 per hour or $45,030 annually that same year.
Where Do Most Licensed Practical Nurses Work? Since Chicago has the highest population in Illinois, it’s no surprise that the largest number of LPNs in the state worked in the Chicago area in 2017. The BLS estimated that 21,400 LPNs worked in the Chicago area that year. The Illinois Nursing Workforce Center also found that 36 percent of LPNs in Illinois worked in the Cook County (Chicago) area. Chicago LPNs were paid the highest in the state, with mean income rates around $25-$26 per hour reported by the BLS.
If you’re looking for a career in the healthcare field, it’s never too late to consider pursing your LPN in Illinois. This job offers rewarding relationships with patients and hospital staff and a strong living wage and will continue offering employment opportunities in the future.