CNA Certification in Illinois

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Individuals, who wish to become or continue to remain as a certified CNA, are required to follow certain steps. Steps involve enrolment in the state approved training program, passing the examination and finally getting registered in the Illinois’s Registry to find employment as a certified nursing aide.

The ‘Illinois Department of Public Health’ handles the process of Certified Nursing Aide program. The administration of the written test is under the ‘Nursing Aide Testing Program’.

The ‘Illinois Health Care Worker Registry’ maintains the record of all qualified candidates, who met the requirements to serve as a CNA in the nursing facility of the state.

Eligibility Requirement

There are some prerequisites for candidates to meet before enrolment in any of the state approved training programs. They are

  • Age of the candidate must be 16 or above;
  • Fluency in speaking English language;
  • School education at least up to the eight grade level or equivalent to this;
  • Proof of employment before considering to become a CNA;
  • Health screening test with negative drug and TB testing; and
  • No history of criminal and other disqualifying convictions.

How to Apply

CNA training is mandatory for all CNA aspirants but applicants are eligible to take the exam without taking the state approved training program.  These are those individuals who

  • Are RN or LPN licensure holders and placed on the Illinois Nurse Aide Registry;
  •  Are CNA, RN or LPN licensure holders from other states;
  • Possess military experience as CNAs;
  • Are nursing students or nursing graduates and have done clinical work for at least 40 hours; or
  • Have taken approved CNA training programs from other countries.

If an applicant meets any of the above mentioned requirements then he/she can apply for the competency exam of the CNA.


The cost of training programs in Illinois is roughly between $ 400 and $ 800. Apart from this, there are additional testing fees too which students must take a note before applying for the CNA certification. Testing fees are as follows

  • First time applicants- $ 65
  • Translated Exam- $ 45
  • Written Re-take – $ 35
  • Re-take for those who are without the work experience of 24 months-  $ 65

Certificate Renewal

The state CNA licenses are valid for 24 months. They need to be renewed before the expiration date of them. If CNAs allow the CNA licensures to expire then they may have to give the test again in order to go for license renewal procedure.

The Illinois Department of Public Health can be contacted at : 217- 785-5133 for the certificate renewal.

Must Know Facts

  • The ‘Health Care Worker Registry’ conducts criminal background check of the aspirants. The agency disqualifies the guilty found candidates from the CNA program.
  • Aspirants have to attend the training program again if they fail to pass the CNA competency exam in three attempts and within 24 months post completion of the CNA training.

Candidates are allowed to work in a nurse care facility as a CNA for up to 120 days, only if they qualify the exam in those 120 days. If they don’t, they are removed from the services. It is vital to pass the exam in order to appear in the ‘Illinois Health Care worker Registry’ and get employment as a CNA in the state.