So you aspire to be a nurse. How can you do it? Well, first thing first, you need a state-issued nursing license. Don’t know how to get an Illinois nursing license? No worries. Below, we tell you how to get a nursing license in Illinois and details regarding license renewal.
Steps to Get Illinois Nursing License
⦁ Complete an Accredited Nursing Program
The first step is to get a nursing license is to complete an accredited nursing program. You can take either an ADN or BSN program to start the licensing process.
Taking an unaccredited program can lead to unwanted situations. One of them is that you might not be eligible to take the necessary exams for the licensure, which is the last thing you want if you want to get an Illinois nursing license.
So before you take the program, check whether the Accreditation Commission accredits the program or school for Education in Nursing or the American Association of College of Nursing.
An institution often declares its accreditation status on its website (usually in the About section), so you will know right away when you visit its website. Alternatively, you can also visit the Department of Education database and search for the institution.
⦁ Apply for a License with the Illinois Board of Nursing
After completing a nursing program, you can apply for an Illinois nursing license with the board of nursing. The board of nursing may vary from one state or another, but when it comes to licensing, they usually have similar requirements.
Here are requirements you need to meet to get a nursing license in Illinois:
⦁ Completed an accredited, state-approved nursing program
⦁ Pass the NCLEX-RN test
⦁ Pay the application fees ($25 for a temporary license and $50 for a permanent license)
⦁ 20 hours of Continuing Education, every two years by May 31
⦁ Register for the NCLEX Exam
The next step is to register for the NCLEX-RN exam. What is the NCLEX-RN exam? It is a standardized test that the nursing regulatory boards use to determine whether a candidate is qualified to become licensed as an entry-level nurse.
You can register for this exam in two ways: online or by phone. Either way, you will need to provide these details:
⦁ Proof of education
⦁ Proof that the state has approved you to take the NCLEX test (also known as Authorization To Test)
⦁ Take and Pass the Exam
The NCLEX is a multiple-choice exam. Keep in mind that this exam is responsive. If you answer a question correctly, the following question will be harder. Likewise, if you answer a question wrong, the following question will be easier.
Typically, there are as many as 265 questions in the exam. You are given over 6 hours to do it. You must answer 75 questions at a minimum.
After you take the test, you must wait for about six weeks to receive the results. If you don’t pass the test, you must wait at least 45 days before you can take another NCLEX.
⦁ Complete Additional State Requirements
Passing the exam means you are one step closer to becoming a licensed registered nurse. Before you become fully licensed, you must meet additional state requirements. These can vary from one state to another, but they in general include:
⦁ A background check
⦁ Self-reporting of past legal trouble or any addiction concerns you have had
⦁ Proof English language proficiency
⦁ References from supervisors or professors
⦁ Be of good moral character (this can be demonstrated by things like reference letters and background check)
Once you are approved by the state and get your nursing license, you can start working as a registered nurse.
About Illinois RN License Renewal
In general, RN licenses are valid only for two years. Meaning, you need to renew your RN license in Illinois every two years. If you have an RN license, you are responsible for renewing it on time.
Keep in mind that you are not allowed to practice on an expired license. To do so is a violation of the law, which you certainly don’t want to do. For more information regarding RN license renewal in Illinois, check out with the Illinois Board of Nursing.
The process of getting an Illinois nursing license takes time and effort. After all, you need to meet the qualifications and prove your competence before working as a nurse. The career is satisfying, rewarding, and offers job security, so it will definitely worth the time and effort.