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Certified Nursing Assistant Training in Illinois

What is a CNA?

If you’re considering a career in healthcare, getting involved in an entry-level career may give you a strong job outlook and plenty of room for upward growth. Becoming a patient care tech or nurse assistant is a popular choice for those who want to start working as quickly as possible. As a certified nursing assistant, you can explore positions in nursing homes, hospice agencies, hospitals, and clinics.

How Can I Become a Nurse Aide (CNA) in Illinois?

Making a career change is a big decision, and with the resources at this site, you can choose a career path that suits you. Nurse’s aides are a crucial part of healthcare teams all over Illinois. Learn more about what it takes to become a certified nurse aide, how you may use this education to become a nurse, and what it’s like to work in this field.

What Kind of CNA Training Do I Need in Illinois?

You’ve decided to learn more about CNA programs in Illinois and take the first step toward becoming a nurse’s assistant. Working in healthcare may help you grow professionally and personally while providing evidence-based care to patients. Find the right training option for you now by contacting CNA classes in Illinois.

Getting Into a Certified Nursing Assistant Program in Illinois

There are lots of benefits of becoming a nurse’s aide, and they begin before you even start your training. While admissions requirements for registered nursing programs may be fairly demanding, admissions standards for CNA programs tend to be much more relaxed. Even if your grades aren’t perfect or you haven’t been in school for years, you may be able to get accepted to a nurse assistant training program.

There are two main qualifications you have to meet to become a nursing assistant. First, you need a clear criminal history. Some misdemeanor charges are acceptable, but many misdemeanors and most felonies disqualify you from getting accepted to a program. Second, you need to meet certain health standards. Schools require that you be able to pass a drug screen and a TB skin test. Many schools expect you to go through a physical exam. This exam looks at your ability to carry weight, to lift items appropriately, and bear weight for extended periods of time.

Nurse Aide Admissions Requirements in Illinois

  • High school diploma
  • Must be 18 or have parental approval
  • Negative drug screen
  • Negative TB test
  • Physical exam
  • Clear background check

CNA Training in Illinois

Illinois state CNA requirements and training standards are in line with national averages, so programs are comparable to what you may find elsewhere in the Midwest. To become a nursing assistant, you need to complete a training program of 120 or more hours. Of those 120 hours, at least 40 must come from clinical experience. At many schools, you spend more than 40 hours in clinical settings, since hands-on experience is often considered the most effective way to learn.

In addition to clinical and classroom courses, you may spend time in the lab. This lets you get comfortable with nursing equipment, practice taking vital signs, and get experience before you actually work with patients.

Although each program may be structured slightly differently, all Illinois nurse assistant training programs must teach the same general topics.

Required CNA Classes in Illinois

  • Communicating with coworkers
  • Communicating with patients and family members
  • Basic nursing skills
  • Taking and recording vital signs
  • Personal care skills
  • Feeding and hydrating
  • Bathing and dressing
  • Grooming
  • Restorative care
  • Range of motion
  • Ambulation
  • Mental health needs of residents
  • Residents’ rights

The courses you take aim to help you become a competent nurse’s assistant. Each school sets specific learning outcomes that professors use to judge the progress of patient care tech students. If you’re comparing multiple nurse assistant programs, explore their learning outcomes to find a program that suits you.

CNA Certification as a Prerequisite for Nursing School in Illinois

Many students enter CNA training programs because it’s mandatory for Illinois nursing schools. There’s a lot that nursing school administrators hope to accomplish by requiring CNA certification. It’s an easy way to find out if you’re ready to become a nursing student. Many of the skills you learn as a CNA student are similar to what you learn in nursing school. This gives you another chance to verify that nursing is the right field for you.

In addition, becoming a nursing aide may give you the chance to build experience in this field before you even become a registered nurse. Your CNA license may allow you to work part-time in a local healthcare facility, gaining seniority and preparing for your nursing career.

This is another benefit of becoming a certified nurse aide. You may not want to become a registered nurse now, but earning a CNA license may give you the option to explore this path in the future. The experience you gain as a nursing assistant may help you develop your career as an LPN or RN down the line.

Paying for a CNA Program in Illinois

Once you’ve chosen one of the CNA training classes in IL, it’s time to figure out how you’re going to pay for your education. Generally, CNA programs are much less expensive than other healthcare degrees. You may qualify for financial aid based on financial need academic merit. Find out if you can get any federal aid by filling out the FAFSA. If you’re ready to apply for private scholarships, use a scholarship search site like Peterson’s. With your account, you can see track of scholarships with upcoming deadlines and search for grants in your area. As an Illinois student, you may want to apply for scholarships through the Illinois Center for Nursing.

Working as a Certified Nursing Assistant in Illinois

CNA Requirements in Illinois

You have finished your certified nursing aide education and you’re ready to get into the workforce. Now it’s time to get added to the Illinois Health Care Worker Registry. This is a fairly quick, straightforward process, particularly if you schedule your exams ahead of time. The state agency verifies that you have at least 120 hours of training. You may then schedule your written and practical exams.

The combined testing fee in Illinois is $65. After you get your initial certification, it is valid for two years. You must then renew your certification to remain active on the Illinois Health Care Worker Registry.

Where are the Best CNA Jobs in Illinois?

Illinois is one of the largest states in the Midwest, so your education may be useful in many healthcare work environments. Far and away, the most common work settings for nursing assistants is assisted living. These facilities serve patients who need assistance due to aging, developmental disabilities, or cognitive issues. There are many work options within this setting. You may take on rotating shifts, first shifts, second shifts, or third shifts. Many positions combine weekday and weekend hours, requiring you to work on a rotating basis.

The shift you work may impact your income. At some nursing homes, those who work overnight shifts earn slightly more to compensate for the inconvenience of overnight hours.

A growing number of hospice and home care facilities rely on the services of certified nursing assistants. If you work in this role, you may have to travel between facilities or homes to meet the needs of patients.

Positions at clinics and hospitals may be slightly more uncommon than those in assisted living, but they’re still a great option. This may be ideal for those who want to work in an area of specialized healthcare.

Hiring requirements vary between employers, but a little bit of research may help you concentrate your efforts on positions you’re likely to land. Those in specialized departments or facilities often require several years of experience, while those in assisted living are often open to new CNAs. Some hiring requirements are commonly found in CNA positions at different facilities.

Hiring Standards for Nurse Aides in Illinois

  • Currently listed on the Illinois Nurse Aide Registry
  • Comfort with residents of varying needs
  • Good references from supervisors and instructors
  • Night, weekend, and holiday availability

What Does a Nursing Assistant Do in Illinois?

It’s important to verify your scope of practice throughout your career as a nursing aide. The field of healthcare is highly regulated, and working outside your limits may have consequences for patients. Typically, nursing aides are restricted to basic care protocols that do not require clinical judgment or healthcare decisions. These tasks are the responsibility of nurses, nurse practitioners, and physicians.

No matter where you work as a nursing aide, you may have similar duties. Above all, your priority is patient care. It’s your job to take care of tasks within your scope of practice, giving nurses and doctors the freedom to focus on more specialized duties. You may help residents get ready for the day, eat their meals, prepare for day programming, and rest at night. Your jobs may also include medication administration and communicating changes in status to the supervising doctor.

Certified Nursing Aide Duties

  • Stocking and cleanup
  • Maintaining a clean environment for residents
  • Helping residents with eating and drinking
  • Offering grooming assistance
  • Helping with personal cares
  • Communicating changes in status to physicians and nurses

In addition to caring for patients, you have to keep their environment clean and comfortable. You may clean rooms when residents are out of their rooms, handle messes that occur, and tidy as needed. Depending on how much time you have during any given shift, you may also stock supplies.

How Much Does a CNA Make in Illinois?

The experience you get as a CNA may determine how much money you earn. When you begin your career, you may fall on the low end of the salary scale. As you become a more competent nurse’s aide, you may find that your earning potential increases. Currently, certified nursing assistants in Illinois claim an average income of $26,830 per year (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2017). In the large cities of Illinois, like Chicago and Springfield, salaries tend to be significantly higher than they are in the state’s rural or suburban areas.

The job outlook in Illinois is strong. Between 2014 and 2024, job openings for CNAs may increase 12% (O*Net, 2017). This is in line with nationally expected job growth.

Important CNA Resources in Illinois

When you work in the healthcare industry, you should take advantage of the numerous resources available to you. Illinois, in particular, has a well-developed healthcare community. Your professional network should include nursing assistants, nurses, physicians, and health administrators.

Joining local and national organizations is the key to building a professional network. Many of these organizations allow you to join as a student member. However, even as a new nursing assistant, you can get involved in these groups and make your voice heard. Many national and state organizations host training seminars and networking events that help you become more involved in the healthcare industry.

Certified nurse aides in Illinois make a huge difference in the healthcare field. Home care facilities are a major opportunity for those who get certified in this area. In many states, including Illinois, there’s a severe shortage of home healthcare workers (Kaiser Health News, 2017). This leads to a lack of proper and timely care for residents, negatively affecting their quality of life.

Starting your nurse aide education may put you in a position to help out.

Make the first move now by requesting information from nursing assistant schools in Illinois.