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RN license requirements for Illinois

Nursing licenses are issued by state boards, so the requirements very in each jurisdiction. If you want to be a nurse in the state of Illinois, find out what you need to get your RN license in Illinois.

Graduate from Nursing School

The first and most important step is to graduate from an approved nursing program. Not all nursing schools are accredited and approved by the Illinois Board of nursing. Make sure you do your research about programs before entering a program. You can graduate from either an Associate or Bachelor degree program. Both types of programs will meet the RN license requirements for Illinois.

Submit your application

You must submit a formal application to the Illinois Board of Nursing. Illinois uses Continental Testing to manage their professional licenses. You will be directed to them to submit all of your relevant application information and fee for your license. Remember to always check directly with the Illinois Board of Nursing for any updates and changes to the process.

Pass the NCLEX

The next important step in obtaining your RN license is to pass your NCLEX.  The NCLEX exam is taken once you have completed nursing school.  You register for your NCLEX through the state of Illinois nursing board through Continental Testing and Pearson Vue. Pearson Vue are the test administers for the entire country. You will take the NCLEX at one of their testing centers and they will send the results to the Illinois board of nursing. Studying for and passing the NCLEX is stressful but remember if you do not pass you can take the test again.

Criminal Background Test

Illinois requires a background check as part of their licensing process. This requires getting a set of fingerprints done by the Illinois State Police. The purpose of the background check is to ensure you are legally in good standing to practice nursing in Illinois. You can get your background test completed before you take the NCLEX so when you receive your test results you can officially be an RN!

Get your license

Once you have graduated from nursing school. Submitted all the paperwork, passed the NCLEX you are finally an RN. To renew your license you must complete 20 hours of continuing education every two years.  Time to start looking for a job!


About Kiley

Kiley is a nurse who has worked in a variety of settings in the healthcare field. She is currently working as a remote chart reviewer while exploring the world. Kiley also has a background in education and wants to support and educate the next generation of nurses while they navigate the NCLEX. She is passionate about traveling and can often be found in a cafe somewhere in the world reading a book.

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