In order to qualify graduates for a career as a certified nursing assistant in certain healthcare facilities, schools need to provide at least 120 hours of instruction and training in such areas as personal care, patient rights, and communication. Certificate programs in colleges throughout the state offer this training through classroom and practical teaching that typically lasts around 2-4 months. Some schools provide convenient evening and weekend programs. A health exam and background check are common admissions requirements for these programs.
City Colleges of Chicago
City Colleges of Chicago has seven campuses throughout Chicago and offers the Basic Nursing Assistant Certificate program at Harry S Truman College, Kennedy-King College, Malcolm X College, Wilbur Wright College, Olive-Harvey College and Richard Daley College. The program is taught through the Continuing Education Department. During the program's two courses, students learn to care for patients through classroom studies and labs, then gain clinical practice in healthcare facilities.
College of DuPage
In Glen Elyn, the College of DuPage offers an eight-week course that teaches basic nursing skills through classroom work and hands-on experience. In addition to preparing graduates for the CNA test, the basic nursing assistant certificate program is required for students who intend to pursue an associate's degree in nursing or a certificate in practical nursing at the College of DuPage. Day and evening classes are offered. Students must prove proficiency in reading and writing and pass a health examination and drug screening.
College of Lake County
The nursing assistant certificate program at the College of Lake County is taught at the Grayslake, Southlake and Lakeshore campuses. Daytime and evening classes meet four times weekly for eight weeks, with clinical classes conducted two days a week for five weeks. Weekend classes meet on Fridays and Saturdays for a semester, with clinicals once a week for nine weeks. Students must be at least 16 and able to read and speak English. They must pass a criminal background check and a health screening.
Elgin Community College
Elgin Community College in Elgin has a seven-credit hour basic nursing assistant program that grants a basic vocational certificate to graduates. A prerequisite is an acceptable score on the Psychological Services Exam for Health Occupations Aptitude. Students must pass a health exam and criminal background check. The course consists of classroom studies and clinical experience. Students are encouraged to attend an orientation session before classes begin.
William Rainey Harper College
William Rainey Harper College in Palatine offers a one-semester CNA certificate program with morning, afternoon and evening classes. High school seniors who meet admission requirements may enroll in this course. The six-credit hour program includes classroom, lab and clinical instruction in basic patient care. Harper's nursing department has high-tech simulation labs where students can learn and practice their skills. Admission requirements include a health screening and criminal background check.
Illinois Central College
The Basic Nursing Assistant training program at Illinois Central College in East Peoria is a 6.5-credit hour certificate program. Students learn about patient care theory in classes on campus and practice skills in local long-term care facilities or hospitals. They must pass a course in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) as well one on Alzheimer's disease. All students must be high school graduates or hold a GED certificate. Admission requirements include a criminal background check, a health screening and proof of reading proficiency.
Joliet Junior College
Joliet Junior College offers three options for CNA training at its campus in Joliet. Students can take one course in basic nurse assistant training in order to meet state education requirements to take the CNA exam. If the student desires a Certificate of Completion, courses in keyboarding and medical terminology are required in addition to the basic nurse assistant training course. A student can earn a Certificate of Achievement as an Advanced CNA by completing these three courses as well as courses in human relations and psychology. The Certificate of Achievement program also includes instruction and clinical work in electrocardiography and phlebotomy for a total of 33.5 semester hours.
Oakton Community College
At Oakton Community College in Des Plaines, students can earn a Basic Nursing Training Certificate by completing two courses. In the basic nurse assistant training course, students learn basic patient care theory and methods through lectures and lab practice, then gain real experience at area healthcare facilities. They also take a class in job readiness and the role of the CNA in the workplace. Admission requirements include passing assessment tests and health screenings.
Southwestern Illinois College
Southwestern Illinois College offers a one-course nursing assistant certificate program at its Belleville, Sam Wolf Granite City and Red Bud campuses and the East St. Louis Community College Center. The program is offered several times a year in 16-week and accelerated six-week formats. The course includes classroom and lab instruction and clinical experience in local healthcare facilities. Students must be at least 16 and have completed eight years of school or the equivalent. A physical exam, drug screening and criminal background check are required.
Triton College in River Grove offers a Nursing Assistant Certificate program that consists of 165 hours of training. Students take a course in the fundamentals of the job, which includes clinical experience as well as a course that covers working with patients who have Alzheimer's disease. A course for home health nursing aides is optional. Students must be at least 16 and pass a reading assessment. A high school diploma or GED is not required.
Illinois mandates that nursing assistants, sometimes called nurse aides, who work in certified skilled nursing facilities, intermediate care facilities and home health agencies be certified through the state. Below are summaries of the 10 largest schools in Illinois that offer nurse assistant training programs. All meet state education requirements to take the certified nursing assistant (CNA) exam.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type & Setting||Nurse Assistant Training Offered||Tuition & Fees (2018-2019)*|
|City Colleges of Chicago||Two-year; public; large city||Nursing Assistant (Basic)|| $3,504 in-district
|College of DuPage||Two-year; public; large suburb||Basic Nursing Assistant Certificate|| $4,080 in-district
|College of Lake County||Two-year; public; midsize suburb||Nurse Assistant Certificate|| $3,948 in-district
|Elgin Community College||Two-year; public; midsize city||Basic Nurse Assistant Basic Vocational Certificate|| $3,179 in-district
|William Rainey Harper College||Two-year; public; large suburb||Certified Nursing Assistant Certificate|| $3,684 in-district
|Illinois Central College||Two-year; public; rural||Basic Nurse Assistant Certificate|| $4,500 in-district
|Joliet Junior College||Two-year; public; large suburb||Basic Nurse Assistant Training Program Certificate of Completion|| $4,380 in-district
|Oakton Community College||Two-year; public; small city||Basic Nurse Assistant Training Certificate|| $3,985 in-district
|Southwestern Illinois College||Two-year; public; large suburb||Nurse Assistant Certificate|| $3,660 in-district
|Triton College||Two-year; public; large suburb||Nurse Assistant Certificate|| $4,170 in-district
Source: *NCES College Navigator