CNA Training in Illinois

Are you good at handling patients, especially the senior ones? Is that your passion? Well, here is a chance to have a great career in Illinois. Get trained, be certified, and become a CNA.

Who is a CNA?

A Certified Nurse Aide, or a Certified Nurse Assistant, commonly referred to as a CAN, is one of the key persons in the State of Illinois who plays a vital role in the health care industries. The CNAs, besides being in nursing care, also do the other important jobs for patients and mostly the seniors, making them feel to be an active part of the society that they live in. CNAs also record BP, wash the patients, move them from bed to wheelchair or vice versa, and help them in all their day to day chores.  

Why CNA as a career?

One of the latest fact sheets from the  U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics state that in the state of Illinois, there are almost 80,000 CNAs employed all over the state, and the average expected pay is about 15$ /hour, which means the annual pay would be above $30,000. The top layers of the CNA make more than $50,000 a year. The path to becoming a nursing assistant is easy to find and there is, of recent, an increase in the training and learning opportunities with many advancements in the careers, there is a huge turn around rate for the CNA. Working as a CNA is not only having the financial perks but also offers job security and stability, with very many opportunities for career growth.

In the state of Illinois, almost half of the CNA population works in the nursing care facilities. As a matter of fact, there are over 1200 registered nursing care facilities in the state. Not only that, Chicago holds almost a century of hospitals, thereby making it one of the cities that can become most employable for the CNAs.

What are the requirements in Illinois to become a CNA?

  1. Be at least 16 years old
  2. Be in good physical health
  3. Up-to-date immunization records
  4. Have completed at least 8 years of grade school
  5. Pass a criminal background check
  6. Be able to speak & understand English, or any language known by most of the facility’s patients
  7. Clear the Written Competency Evaluation
  8. Graduate from a Certified Nursing Assistant School in Illinois
  9. Become a Certified CNA

Steps to become a CNA:

Illinois Department of Public health gives the training in CNA and also administers the registration process. The Health Care Worker Registry is known to maintain the official statuses of all CNAs of the state. State-approved CNA programs are referred to as approved Basic Nursing Assistant Training Programs or BNATPs. On the other hand, the Nursing Assistant Training Competency Evaluation Program or NATCEP is the authorized state CNA exam for evaluating the performance skills and knowledge of those who have completed the BNATP in IL. The CNA exam is composed of a manual skills test and a written competency test.

Paths to CNA Certification

There are six paths to get a CNA certification. Each path or alternative has its own unique requirements.

In the case of a new candidate, a candidate can get trained on CNA training and pass a written competency exam.

If the candidate for CNA is  nursing or graduate student, the fundamentals of nursing art course, which is a part of the LPN or the RN curriculum, has to be completed to practice as a CNA.

If the candidate had completed a military training program, they must able to provide clear documentation to prove at least 40 hours of practical clinical experience and form DD214 to prove being trained on any programs that are equivalent to a CNA. Also, a written competency test has to be cleared.

Foreign national LPN or RN has to enter into the CNA registry to be able to work as a CNA in the state of Illinois. They have to undergo a series of test and protocols that will be described before trying to register as a CNA

CNA, who has been transferred from another state, must provide proofs to support the CFR sections. These candidates should not have a history of drug abuse or any other criminal records.

Lastly, the candidates with expired CNA certificates must be recertified to become a CNA.

Training Modules:

Only the training programs approved by the Illinois State Department of Public Health are considered by the authorities. No online CNA programs have been approved so far. Almost 250 local approved training centers are there in the state of Illinois. Depending upon the location of the candidate, a candidate must attend programs in hospitals, rehabs, or nursing care facilities, etc., approved by the Illinois Department of Health.

In training, some performance skills are being taught. They are as follows:

  1. Maintain high personal hygiene standards, including sticking to the recommended hand washing methods
  2. Help patients in keeping up with oral hygiene, clean teeth, as well as dentures
  3. Shave patients who need help
  4. Keep up the patient’s nails
  5. Offer perineal care in order to keep the skin infections, odors, or breakdown at bay
  6. Help with partial baths, showers or tub bath
  7. Make an occupied bed
  8. Dress a resident or assist the resident as needed
  9. Transfer a resident or patient to a wheelchair
  10. Transfer a patient or resident with a mechanical belt
  11. Ambulate (assist with walking or moving about) with a transfer belt
  12. Feed patients who cannot eat by themselves
  13. Calculate & record intake/output of fluids
  14. Maintain the patients in a side-lying position
  15. Carry out passive motion
  16. Apply/remove protective equipment, including gloves, masks, clothing, or head coverings
  17. Measure & record pulse, respiration, record blood pressure, height, & weight

Almost all of the skills have to be performed stand alone. These tasks completion include the safety check, the way of handling, activities documentation, etc. All the CNA courses will cover in detail all the principles and protocols for all the 21 skills. The Illinois Department of Public Health demands at least 80 hours of classroom instruction or the theory classes and 40 hours of clinical instructions and a 12-hour instruction class for dementia. The total cost of the CNA may range from $700 to $1800. In some places, uniforms, books, etc. will be charged additionally.

Pass the exam

To have the name in the CNA registry, a candidate has to pass the tests – The manual skill test and the written tests. These tests are offered all across the state of Illinois at various sites. Exams are available throughout the year, and there is no cut-off score that is published for these exams. Mock tests can be attempted as a preparation for these exams.

After the training program is completed, the instructor would submit a rooster to the SIU-C with the candidate’s name on the exam that will allow the candidate to appear for the exams.

A candidate is allowed to take three attempts for the re-test. If the candidate still does not pass the exam, he or she has to be retrained to appear for the exams again.

Enter into the Illinois CNA registry

After passing the exams, a candidate has to make the entry to the health care worker registry maintained by the Illinois Department of Public Health. In the registry, the details provided would include the background checks, IDPH determination of the candidate to be a health worker, employment verification, etc. To enter into the registry, a candidate must meet the training requirements, should have the background criminal record being checked by the Illinois State Police Department, perform the 21 approved skills in front of an evaluator, and have passed the written competency exams.

Out of State CNAs:

Any CNA who has been certified from out of the state need not take any written competency tests to be placed on the health care worker registry only if they could provide that they have met the requirements according to the code of federal regulations. The out of state candidates can procure the applications through the department of health website.


Any CNA who has not been on the radar for more than 2-3 years needs to be recertified to be practicing as a CNA. The candidate has to pass both the written and the manual skills test to be certified again. The student has to locate manually, an instructor, or an evaluator in the nearby areas to do a manual skill test.

To be able to work in a long-term care facility, a CNA should meet the following prerequisites:

  • Not having disqualifying criminal convictions
  • Being able to submit a criminal history background check record
  • Not having any official record of neglect, abuse, or embezzled property in Illinois or any other U.S. state
  • Being at least 16 years old
  • Having temperate practices, good morals, being trustable, and genuine
  • Being able to speak & understand English or any other the language understood by most of the residents
  • Being able to offer evidence of previous employment & residence for a minimum of two years before being employed in the long-term care centers
  • Having at least eight years of grade school education or providing proof of equivalency
  • Meeting Registry requirements