Certified Nursing Assistant Programs in IL with School Options

There are more than 100 schools in Illinois that have certified nursing assistant programs. Read an overview of 10 of the largest schools' programs, requirements and tuition info and find out which school is the right one for you.

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Essential Information

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.

Career Requirements

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.


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.

  • Program Offered: Nursing Assistant (Basic) Continuing Education Certificate
  • Tuition & Fees (2012): $890, in-district; $1,850, in-state; $2,370, out-of-state*
  • School Type & Setting: Two-year, public; large city

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.

  • Program Offered: Basic Nursing Assistant Certificate
  • Tuition & Fees (2012): $816, in-district; $1,938, in-state; $2,358, out-of-state*
  • School Type & Setting: Two-year, public; midsize suburb

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.

  • Program Offered: Nurse Assistant Certificate
  • Tuition & Fees (2012): $809*
  • School Type & Setting: Two-year, public; midsize suburb

Elgin College

Elgin 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.

  • Program Offered: Basic Nurse Assistant Basic Vocational Certificate
  • Tuition & Fees (2012): $735, in-district; $2,531, in-state; $3,308, out-of-state*
  • School Type & Setting: Two-year, public; midsize city

Harper College

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.

  • Program Offered: Certified Nursing Assistant Certificate
  • Tuition (2013): $639, in-district; $2,193, in-state; $2,646, out-of-state*
  • School Type & Setting: Two-year, public; large suburb

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 area 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.

  • Program Offered: Basic Nurse Assistant Certificate
  • Tuition (2012): $692, in-district*
  • School Type & Setting: Two-year, public; rural

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.

  • Programs Offered: Basic Nurse Assistant Training Program,
    Basic Nurse Assistant Certificate of Completion,
    Basic Nurse Assistant Certificate of Achievement
  • Program Cost (2012): $749, in-district; $1,935, in-state; $1,886, out-of-state*
  • School Type & Setting: Two-year, public; rural

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.

  • Program Offered: Basic Nurse Assistant Training Certificate
  • Tuition (2012): $750, in-district; $2,303, in-state; $2,785, out-of-state*
  • School Type & Setting: Two-year, public; small city

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.

  • Program Offered: Nurse Assistant Certificate
  • Tuition (2012): $693*
  • School Type & Setting: Two-year, public; rural

Triton College

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.

  • Program Offered: Nurse Assistant Certificate
  • Tuition (2012): $686, in-district; $1,792, in-state; $2,247, out-of-state*
  • School Type & Setting: Two-year, public; large suburb

School Comparison: At a Glance

School Name School Type & Setting Nurse Assistant Training Offered Tuition & Fees (2012)
City Colleges of Chicago Two-year; public; large city Nursing Assistant (Basic), Continuing Education Certificate $890, in-district; $1,850, in-state; $2,370, out-of-state*
College of DuPage Two-year; public; large suburb Basic Nursing Assistant Certificate $816, in-district; $1,938, in-state; $2,358, out-of-state*
College of Lake County Two-year; public; midsize suburb Nurse Assistant Certificate $809*
Elgin College Two-year; public; midsize city Basic Nurse Assistant Basic Vocational Certificate $735, in-district; $2,531, in-state; $3,308, out-of-state*
Harper College Two-year; public; large suburb Certified Nursing Assistant Certificate $639, in-district; $2,193, in-state; $2,646, out-of-state (2013, tuition only)*
Illinois Central College Two-year; public; rural Basic Nurse Assistant Certificate $692, in-district (tuition only)*
Joliet Junior College Two-year; public; rural Basic Nurse Assistant Training Program,
Basic Nurse Assistant Certificate of Completion,
Basic Nurse Assistant Certificate of Achievement
$749, in-district; $1,935, in-state; $1,886, out-of-state (for basic nurse assistant course only)*
Oakton Community College Two-year; public; small city Basic Nurse Assistant Training Certificate $750, in-district; $2,303, in-state; $2,785, out-of-state (tuition only)*
Southwestern Illinois College Two-year; public; rural Nurse Assistant Certificate $693 (tuition only)*
Triton College Two-year; public; large suburb Nurse Assistant Certificate $686, in-district; $1,792, in-state; $2,247, out-of-state (tuition only)*

Source: *Schools' websites.

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