Resource Center: The Complete Guide to Nursing in Illinois

Published: June 15, 2020   Updated: May 16, 2023

Are you interested in being a nurse in Illinois? Or perhaps you’re looking for nursing resources in Illinois? This page includes the information you need. Whether you want to find out more about the job outlook for nurses in Illinois, professional nursing organizations, continuing education requirements or other relevant information, we’ve got you covered in the following sections.

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

How to Apply for a Nursing License in Illinois

To become a nurse in Illinois, you first need to apply for an Illinois nursing license. One way is through the Acceptance of Examination method. You’ll have to submit an online application via Continental Testing Services (CTS), an outside testing vendor used by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR). The following is required:

Once the applications, fees and supporting documents have been submitted, the Illinois nursing regulatory body (NRB) will determine your eligibility for an Illinois nursing license. If you qualify, Pearson VUE will send an Authorization to Test (ATT), 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?

No. Illinois is not currently 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. Check out the list of participating NLC states if you would like to learn more.

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 (RNs) 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 Illinois nursing continuing education requirements, including FAQs, visit the Illinois Nursing Workforce Center website.

Demand for Nurses in Illinois

The job outlook for nurses in Illinois is bright, according to O*NET:

  • The agency projects that employment of registered nurses (RNs) in Illinois will grow 5% through 2030, about as fast as the average for all occupations in Illinois.
  • That’s 7,870 annual projected job openings.
  • Nursing jobs in Illinois are growing at about the same rate as for the nation as a whole. From 2021 through 2031, employment of registered nurses in the United States is expected to grow 6%.

Illinois 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 Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program for your busy schedule. If you’re ready to elevate your nursing career, request more information today.


For informational purposes only. Students should confirm stated information independently on their own.

Sample of employment and nursing scholarships listed above is for general reference and does not include all available sources. Purdue Northwest is not affiliated with and does not endorse any of the providers listed in the sample.

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