CNA classes in Illinois | 10 Accredited Schools to Become a Certified Nursing Assistant

The healthcare industry is booming in Illinois, offering stable job opportunities for those interested in working in the healthcare sector. A certified nursing assistant (CNA) can earn up to $31,000 a year, as well as receive numerous health and dental benefits. This rewarding career is open to any high school graduate by simply enrolling in CNA classes in Illinois. Upon passing the CNA exams, which take place after just a few weeks of training, you will be eligible to work in several healthcare settings including hospitals and nursing homes.

Who Is the Regulatory Body for CNAs in Illinois?

The Department of Public Health is the regulatory body for CNAs in Illinois. As the regulatory body for CNAs, the Department of Public Health maintains a list known as the Health Care Worker Registry. This lists the names of all the individuals who have been background checked according to the Health Care Worker Background Check Act.

As well as background check information, this Illinois CNA registry shows all training information for the listed CNAs as well as all other health care workers. Before CNAs can be listed on the registry, they must meet some requirements, both state and federal.

Who Administers the CNA Exam in Illinois? 

The written component of the test is administered by Southern Illinois University at Carbondale (SIU-C). Passing a written competency test is a requirement for CNA certification and Illinois CNA licensing. Until this test is passed an individual cannot be named on the registry. The exam can be taken at various locations throughout the state of Illinois.

SIU-C have a testing website ( which offers resources for CNA candidates including a study guide, practice exam, and a list of locations in which the test is administered. The results of the test are automatically transmitted to the registry electronically by SIU-C. 

Illinois State Requirements for CNAs

Several state requirements must be met to receive an Illinois CNA license. An individual must have no disqualifying convictions following a criminal history records check. An individual with a disqualifying conviction may not become a CNA unless they receive a waiver of those convictions.

An individual must be over the age of 16 and be of good moral character. An individual must have a good written and spoken command of the English language or whatever language is spoken by the majority of residents of the care facility. An individual must have completed at least 8 years of grade school and must then meet the required training requirements to become a CNA. 

Illinois CNA Exam Details

The Nurse Aide Competency Evaluation Exam covers all the skills, knowledge, and abilities required to successfully perform the job of a CNA.

The duty areas of a CNA that are examined include communicating information, performing basic nursing skills, performing personal care skills, performing basic restorative skills, providing mental health needs, and providing residents’ rights. The passing score of the exam is determined by an advisory committee made up of home health aides, nursing aides, and other health care personnel. Individuals are required to bring to the exam two pencils, erasers and a photographic ID. In addition, notes of any kind or any type of electronic device are prohibited.

Where Can I Take the CNA Exam in Illinois?

There are scheduled sittings of the Nurse Aide Competency exam at various community colleges across the state. Most of these Illinois CNA exam sites will test at least once a month, depending on registration levels. On the published schedule you will find the test dates, registration deadline dates, and the test fees.

You can find all the sites by clicking the test sites link on If there are multiple sittings of the test on your test date, you will be put into a testing group alphabetically to sit the exam.

How Much Does a CNA Get Paid in Illinois? 

The average CNA salary in Illinois is $13.23 per hour, which meets the national average. This average salary estimate is based on 3,661 salary submissions by CNA's in Illinois, as well as information collected from specific salaries offered in advertisements for CNA jobs in Illinois. There is the additional compensation gained from overtime, with an average of $4,500 a year. Taking salary, as well as overtime, into consideration, CNAs in Illinois can expect to earn up to $31,000 a year.

CNA Classes in Illinois

Some training locations offer free CNA classes in Illinois, and these are all fully accredited facilities with CNA certifications. You will need to contact these facilities directly to learn more about the entry requirements for these training programs.

Many of the facilities offering free CNA training are medical facilities and nursing homes, often a requirement of accepting a place on the training program is that you will work in that facility upon completion of the course and receival of certification. Besides these free training locations, there are many reasonably priced CNA training programs in community colleges around the state, almost guaranteeing one close to your home.

College of DuPage, Glen Ellyn 

Students can become a qualified CNA at College of DuPage by completing the NURSA 1105 course. Registration information for this course is on the college registration calendar. Students must complete 16 weeks of classes in total. Registration opens in May each year and closes in August, or when all the available spots have been filled. There is then a CNA student orientation day which takes place in August every year before the commencement of the course.

Harper College

Harper College offers a 6-credit-hour Certified Nursing Assistant certificate program. Harper college houses a state-of-the-art Nursing Laboratory which offers a simulated clinical environment to students, leading to great hands-on experience before you are even certified. Harper College also offers dual-credit opportunities for students attending participating high schools. Students can take their classes at either the main campus in Palatine or at the Learning and Career Center in Prospect Heights. Harper College also offers this certificate as a stepping stone to a degree course. 

College of Lake County, Grayslake

College of Lake County offers NUR 110 to become a certified CNA. Students can search online to find open classes with no waitlists. Students can either enroll in an 8 week or 16-week class. The 8-week class meets for 5 hours 4 days a week. The 16-week class meets 2-3 days a week for a shorter length of time which may be more suitable for those in full-time employment who are trying to reskill. Clinical days in long-term care facilities are also a requirement of the course and are included in the class schedule.

Triton College

Triton College encourages all prospective students to attend an information session to apply for their CNA program. This information session allows the applicant to learn the functionality of the program as well as what is expected of them. The CNA program at Triton College is delivered through laboratory activities, clinical experience, and lectures. Triton College also offers some elective courses that students can take to broaden their knowledge, including ethical and legal responsibilities and medical terminology.

Joliet Junior College

To register for NA 101 at Joliet Junior College prospective students must either attend an orientation session in person or view the online orientation.

Joliet Junior College’s program is different in that it exceeds the minimum hours required in the classroom and clinical settings.

This additional time allows for greater preparation for the States competency exam resulting in a pass rate above the state average. In 2018 the pass rate was 99% and was 95% in both years before that. 

Rock Valley College

Rock Valley College offers a 7-credit certificate, either 8 or 16 weeks in length. Prospective students are required to attend a mandatory admission prerequisite session. Students who don’t meet the SAT requirements are required to undergo Accuplacer Testing. All admitted students are required to provide proof that they have received the seasonal flu vaccine, TB 2-step, and a physical exam with no lifting restrictions. The 8-week course meets up five days a week, while the 16-week course meets for two days. 

McHenry County College

The Basic Nursing Assistant Course at McHenry County College includes 48 hours of clinical experience, as well as lectures and laboratory demonstration and practice. The course at McHenry is 16 weeks in length and costs $1,713.00 for in-state students. The State of Illinois requires that CNA courses be 120 hours long at a minimum, and with the course at McHenry County College at 136 hours in length, you’ll far exceed the minimum.

South Suburban College 

To enroll in the South Suburban College Basic Nursing Assistant Training Program (BNATP) students must have completed at least 8 years of education and be over the age of 17. The course at South Suburban College totals 6 credit hours and offers basic certification. The course is delivered through a mix of lectures, campus laboratory sessions and supervised clinical sessions. Prospective students are required to visit the campus to receive a pre-admission checklist and are to meet with a counselor before sitting the Accuplacer Assessment Test.

City Colleges of Chicago – Harold Washington College 

The Basic Nursing Assistant course at City Colleges of Chicago is an 8 credit hours course. The course is offered at the Malcolm X College campus. The course is delivered via classroom lectures, clinical experience, and simulation laboratories. Students complete a total of 40 clinical hours at an external site while theory classes are held 3-4 days a week for a total of 6.5 hours a day.

The Basic Nursing Assistant course at City Colleges of Chicago is an 8 credit hours course. The course is offered at the Malcolm X College campus. The course is delivered via classroom lectures, clinical experience, and simulation laboratories. Students complete a total of 40 clinical hours at an external site while theory classes are held 3-4 days a week for a total of 6.5 hours a day.

Kaskaskia College, Centralia 

The NAST 160 CNA program at Kaskaskia College is delivered over approximately 7 weeks through lectures, clinical assignments, and laboratory practice. The course includes 15 hours dedicated to the care of patients with Alzheimer’s Disease. NAST 160 is a seven-credit hour course in which all seven hours must be completed before the student is eligible to take the state exam. All students will gain clinical experience in long-term care facilities.