Students in Northern Illinois can find more than 20 colleges offering CNA training programs that prepare students to work as CNAs. Often, training is offered at 2-year colleges and is available through an undergraduate certificate program. Nursing assistant training programs often take 2-4 months to complete and may require students to earn a total of 6-9 credits. Applicants may need to take a placement test and submit to fingerprinting and a background check.
Individuals who plan to become certified nurse assistants (CNAs) in Illinois will need to pass a competency test administered by the Illinois Department of Public Health. The area's 10 largest schools offering CNA programs are profiled below, some of which are designed to prepare students for certification exams.
City Colleges of Chicago - Harry S. Truman College
Harry S. Truman College is located in Chicago. This 2-year school enrolls more than 12,000 students in its certificate and degree programs. Truman offers a basic nursing assistant (BNA) certificate program. Applicants to the program need to pass a placement test to be accepted to the program. BNA students have a choice of day, evening, or weekend classes. Students complete clinical training in addition to traditional classes. Courses required by the BNA program include CPR training as well as fundamentals and clinicals for assistive nursing personnel.
City Colleges of Chicago - Wilbur Wright College
Wilbur Wright College is located in Chicago. The college was founded in 1934 and currently enrolls around 12,700 students. Students at Wilbur Wright can enroll in the school's BNA certificate program. The program is offered 3 times a year and takes between 10 and 16 weeks to complete. Students learn about and practice important aspects of patient care, like taking vital signs and bathing, dressing, and feeding patients. Students also learn to document and report important information about patients.
College of DuPage
The College of DuPage is a public 2-year school in Glen Ellyn that serves over 26,000 students. The college offers almost 200 academic programs, including certificate, associate's degree, and transfer programs. The nursing department at the College of DuPage offers a BNA program designed to prepare graduates for certification. This 8-week program prepares students for all aspects of the state certification exam through classroom work and clinical practice. Graduates also can apply for entrance to the Associate Degree in Nursing or Practical Nursing programs.
College of Lake County
The College of Lake County in Grayslake is a 2-year public school. It offers associate's degree programs and certificate programs to the more than 17,000 students who attend each year. The College of Lake County offers a 7-credit CNA program. This program prepares students for employment in long-term care facilities, hospitals, and other health care settings. Students learn through classroom instruction as well as clinical experiences. Prospective students must submit to a background check as well as fingerprinting. They also need to possess a high school diploma or GED or complete other prerequisites.
Elgin Community College
This community college is located in the city of Elgin. The 2-year school serves over 11,800 students a year. Students who are interested in nurse assisting can enroll in the college's BNA program. This 7-credit vocational certificate program covers topics like infection control, vital signs, and body mechanics. Students also study hygiene and safety. Graduates are prepared for the state certification exam. Prospective students need to achieve a passing score on the Psychological Services Exam for Health Occupations Aptitude before enrolling in the program.
William Rainey Harper College
Located in Palantine, William Rainey Harper College is a public college serving over 16,000 students. It offers more than 150 certificate, associate's degree and transfer programs, including a certificate program that prepares participants for work as a CNA. This 6-credit program includes training in bathing, dressing, feeding, and bedside care as well as CNA-related theory education. The curriculum includes theory, lab work, and clinical education under the supervision of registered nurses. Graduates are prepared for employment in hospitals, long-term care facilities, and home health agencies.
Joliet Junior College
Located in the city of Joliet, this 2-year junior college offers certificates and associate's degrees to more than 15,000 students. The school features three options for students who wish to enter the field of nurse assisting. A BNA class, which requires 7.5 credits, is the only course required to take the state CNA exam. The BNA Certificate of Completion program requires students to complete the BNA course as well as courses in medical terminology and keyboarding. Those who have already completed the BNA program and wish to further their skills can enroll in the advanced CNA Certificate of Achievement program. This program includes courses in phlebotomy, electrocardiography, and general psychology.
Oakton Community College
Oakton Community College is located in the city of Des Plains. The college has a student population of over 11,000. The school offers a BNA training program. Students who complete the program are awarded a BNA certificate and are eligible to sit for the state certification test. Nursing assistant students complete 8 semester credit hours. The curriculum includes a 7-credit course in BNA training and a 1-credit course in BNA job training.
River Grove's Triton College is a 2-year college that awards associate's degrees and certificates. Triton students who wish to become CNAs can enroll in the school's Nurse Assistant Certificate program. Prospective CNA students need to meet certain prerequisite requirements, including a criminal background check and a level 3 or better on the school's reading assessment test. The program includes courses in basic nurse assisting and care of Alzheimer's patients. Students have the option to take an additional course in home health nurse assisting. In total, students complete between 7 and 9 credit hours.
Waubonsee Community College
Waubonsee Community College is located in the town of Sugar Grove. This public school serves over 10,000 students a year. Waubonsee offers a nurse assistant certificate program. The program consists of 1 course in basic nurse assistant training that is worth 7 credit hours. During this course, students explore body mechanics, dementia and Alzheimer's disease, and treatments. The course also covers food service and safety measures and includes a clinical experience component.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type and Setting||CNA Programs Offered||Undergraduate Tuition and Fees (2018-2019)|
|City Colleges of Chicago - Harry S. Truman College||2-year, public; large city||Basic Nursing Assistant program||In-district: $3,504, in-state: $9,216, out-of-state: $11,544*|
|City Colleges of Chicago - Wilbur Wright College||2-year, public; large city||Basic Nursing Assistant program||In-district: $3,504, in-state: $9,216, out-of-state: $11,544*|
|College of DuPage||2-year, public; large suburb||Basic Nursing Assistant program||In-district: $4,080, in-state: $9,690, out-of-state: $11,790*|
|College of Lake County||2-year, public; large suburb||Certified Nurse Assistant Certificate||In-district: $3,948, in-state: $9,212, out-of-state: $12,236*|
|Elgin Community College||2-year, public; midsize city||Basic Nursing Assistant Certificate||In-district: $3,179, in-state: $10,740, out-of-state: $11,959*|
|William Rainey Harper College||2-year, public; large suburb||Certified Nurse Assistant Certificate||In-district: $3,684, in-state: $9,852, out-of-state: $11,664*|
|Joliet Junior College||2-year, public; large suburb|| Basic Nursing Assistant course,
Basic Nursing Assistant Certificate of Completion,
Advanced Certified Nurse Assistant Certificate of Achievement
|In-district: $4,380, in-state: $12,360, out-of-state: $13,140*|
|Oakton Community College||2-year, public; small city||Basic Nursing Assistant Training Program||In-district: $3,985, in-state: $10,446, out-of-state: $12,462*|
|Triton College||2-year, public; large suburb||Nurse Assistant Certificate||In-district: $4,170, in-state: $10,096, out-of-state: $12,539*|
|Waubonsee Community College||2-year, public; fringe rural||Nurse Assistant Certificate||In-district: $3,264, in-state: $8,334, out-of-state: $9,036*|
Source: *National Center for Education Statistics.