Resource Center: The Complete Guide to Nursing in Illinois

Published: June 15, 2020

Are you interested in being a nurse in Illinois? Or perhaps you’re looking for nursing resources in Illinois? This page includes information about the job outlook for nurses in Illinois, professional nursing organizations, continuing education requirements and more.

female nurse smiling in a hospital hallway and holding a digital tablet

How to Become a Nurse in Illinois

Here are five steps to become a nurse in Illinois:

  1. Complete an approved nursing program.
  2. Apply for an Illinois nursing license and register for the NCLEX examination.
  3. Study for and pass the NCLEX exam.
  4. Secure a job in Illinois as a nurse.
  5. Once you are a nurse in Illinois, you may choose to pursue a nursing specialty or advanced degree.

How to Apply for a Nursing License in Illinois

To apply for an Illinois nursing license through the Acceptance of Examination method, you must submit an online application via Continental Testing Services (CTS), an outside testing vendor used by the IDFPR. The following is required:

Once you’ve submitted your applications, fees and supporting documents, CTS will review your application and determine your eligibility for Illinois nursing licensure. Pearson VUE will send your Authorization to Test, which is valid for 90 days.

For additional information about Illinois nursing licenses, such as application by endorsement or international applicant requirements, visit the Illinois Board of Nursing website or the IDFPR’s Registered Nurse New Application Checklist.

See Notes and Conditions below for important information.

Is Illinois a Member of the Nurse Licensure Compact?

Illinois is not a member of the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC). The NLC allows members to have one multistate license that can be used in other NLC states. It removes the burden of paying multiple renewal fees and submitting multiple license applications per state.

How to Look up a Nursing License in Illinois

You can look up an Illinois nursing license using the state’s free license search tool. After selecting “Nursing Board” as the “License Type,” you can search licenses by first name, last name, city and more.

Continuing Education Requirements

Illinois registered nurses and licensed practical nurses (LPNs) are required to complete 20 hours of continuing education (CE) every two years. Beginning January 1, 2020, one of the required 20 hours must be a sexual harassment prevention training course. CE can be earned through a variety of classes and seminars, but it must be taken from an approved CE sponsor. Additionally, those renewing their license for the first time do not need to complete the required CE hours. Illinois nursing license renewal information can be found on the IDFPR Renewals page.

For more information about Illinous nursing continuing education requirements, including FAQ PDFs, visit the Illinois Nursing Workforce Center website.

Demand for Nurses in Illinois

The job outlook for nurses in Illinois is bright, according to the U.S. Department of Labor:

  • The agency projects that employment of registered nurses (RNs) in Illinois will grow 12% from 2018 to 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations in Illinois.
  • That’s 9,260 annual projected job openings.
  • Nursing jobs in Illinois are growing at a faster rate than for the nation as a whole; from 2019 through 2029, employment of registered nurses in the U.S. is expected to grow 7%.

Illinois State Board
of Nursing

Online Contact Form:
Phone (scope of practice): 312-814-2715
Phone (professional licensing): 800-560-6420

Springfield Address: IDFPR/Nursing Unit, 320 West Washington Street, 3rd Floor, Springfield, IL 62786

Chicago Address: IDFPR/Nursing Unit, 555 West Monroe Street, 5th Floor, Chicago, IL 60661

Illinois Licensing Agency
for Nurses

Nurses in Illinois are licensed by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR). The IDFPR has two offices: one in Springfield and the other in Chicago.


Phone: 888-473-4858

Springfield Address: 320 West Washington Street, 3rd Floor, Springfield, IL 62786

Chicago Address: 555 West Monroe Street, 5th Floor, Chicago, IL 60661

See Notes and Conditions below for important information.

Nursing Organizations and Scholarships

Professional Organizations for Nurses in Illinois

Specialty Nursing Organizations in Illinois

Nursing Scholarships for Illinois Residents

Earn a Nursing Degree Online in Illinois

Are you an Illinois nurse who wants to advance your career? Purdue University Northwest (PNW) College of Nursing offers an online RN-to-BSN program and an online MSN program made to work with your busy schedule. If you’re ready to elevate your nursing career, request more information today.


NCLEX Exam: NCLEX is a registered trademark of the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, Inc.

RN Job Growth Projections: Sources: U.S. Department of Labor, O*Net, Illinois Employment Trends for Registered Nurses and Occupational Outlook Handbook, Registered Nurses