Illinois Nurse Practitioner Licensure Steps - 2022

AKA: CRNP License, APRN Licensure

Last Reviewed: October 1st, 2022

Nurse Practitioner Licensure Requirements in Illinois

Follow the process below to learn how to become an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN or APN) in IL:

Initial Registered Nurse (RN) License

Already have your RN License?Skip to the next section

A registered nurse (RN) license if the first step in the process of getting licensed as an APN in Illinois. Note that only a valid and unencumbered RN license to practice in Illinois is acceptable. Seeing as Illinois is not a party to the enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact (eNLC), all applicants are required to possess a valid Illinois RN license to practice in Illinois. The NLC is a provision that allows holders of multi-state licenses from member states to practice physically or virtually, within the boundaries of state laws in other member states.

There are two major application routes which are RN by Examination and RN by Endorsement. The application process is usually completed online, fees are paid online and all supporting documents are submitted before your license is processed.

RN by Examination

This is the application route for graduates of board-approved nursing programs who have never been licensed in Illinois or any other state in the US.

  • The minimum academic requirement for a registered nurse in Illinois is an associate’s degree in nursing. However, for those who intend to transition to a certified nurse practitioner (CNP) path in the future,  a bachelor’s degree in nursing is more practical.
  • As part of the application process, you will be required to request that a copy of your transcript be sent to the board by the institution where the program was done. The transcript must include the kind of degree obtained in addition to your year of graduation.
  • Foreign graduates are required to have their credentials evaluated by the CGFNS, CES, or ERES. The report from the evaluation must ascertain if the foreign program is equivalent to what obtains in Illinois and comparable to what is expected for US nursing graduates. Also, if you were trained in a country where the official language of training is not the English Language, you are required to take an English Language proficiency test such as TOEFL or IELTS.
  • The application process is completed online for $98.
  • All applicants via this route are required to take and pass the state licensing examination for registered nurses which is offered by Continental Testing Services. Passing the examination, paying the required fees, and providing all the required information and supporting documents should lead to a license once your application is processed by the board.

RN by Endorsement

This is the application option for holders of valid and unencumbered licenses from another state. It is expected that these applicants have graduated from an accredited nursing program and passed the equivalent of the entry-level nursing examination in the said state.

  • This application is completed online for a fee of $50.
  • Applicants are required to provide verification of their present and past licenses in addition to submitting photocopies of these licenses. The verification process involves the use of the Nursys platform is the board of nursing of the state in question partners with Nursys. Otherwise, you will need to contact the board for verification of licenses.
  • For domestic graduates, you are required to fill and submit an Education Form (ED-NUR) filled and signed by the Dean or Director of Nursing Sciences of the institution from which you graduated and a sealed copy of your transcript must be sent by the institution to the board. Foreign graduates are to have their credentials evaluated as was described under RN by Examination.

All applicants are mandated to submit their fingerprints for criminal background checks to be run on them. Here is a list of licensed fingerprint vendors. You can book an appointment with any one of these Illinois vendors.

People who have their fingerprints captured in Illinois do not need to submit a physical copy of their live scan receipt. Instead, they are required to provide their 16-digit Transaction Control Number (TCN).

You should keep a copy of your fingerprint receipt in case there are issues with the fingerprints during the application process. Applicants who are not in Illinois at the time of applying can obtain an Illinois State Police (ISP) Fee Applicant Card by contacting the Department at 1-800-560-6420 or via email.

You will then need to complete Section 1 of the Identity Verification Certifying Statement Form (OOS-FP). The second section will be completed by the police department. Then you will need to find an Illinois fingerprint vendor that provides “Card Scan” services. You are to mail both sections of the OOS-FP and the Fee Applicant Card to this vendor. Don’t forget to include the prescribed fingerprint fee.

Advanced Education Requirement

As a prospective CNP, you must complete a graduate-level nurse practitioner program that is centered on a particular population focus and awards at least a master’s degree.

Here you can find a list of all schools offering nurse practitioner degree programs in Illinois.

The program must be accredited by the board and/or an accrediting agency recognized by the USDE. The education should include advanced counseling, patient education, health education, patient advocacy, advanced pharmacology, advanced patient assessment and diagnosis, and other advanced concepts such as diagnosis and clinical management that are relevant to a nurse practitioner’s role.  These programs must have the coursework and clinical components to be considered whole.

National Certification

Following the completion of an accredited graduate-level training program, you must be certified in the specialty area you were trained in. This is done on an examination basis by national agencies specific to the different specialty areas and population foci. You must meet the academic requirements of the agency applicable to you and your nurse practitioner education must be of acceptable quality.

To be licensed to practice as an APN in Illinois you must have and maintain a valid national certification. This means that if you lose your national certification for any reason, your license to practice as an APN in Illinois is void. Here are the recognized agencies for certification of nurse practitioners in Illinois:

  • National Certification Corporation (NCC)
  • Pediatric Nursing Certification Board (PNCB)
  • American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP)
  • American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC)
  • Certification Board of Urologic Nurses and Associates (CBUNA)

Getting Licenses to Practice as a Nurse Practitioner in Illinois

The application process is completed online for a $125 application fee. All applicants are expected to have completed a board-approved postgraduate nurse practitioner program and obtained national certification from a national certifying agency authorized to certify NPs in their chosen specialty area. Hence, proof of these is required as supporting documents in the application process.

For example, you are to request that a copy of your transcript be sent from the institution where you did your program. This transcript should contain your date of graduation and the type of degree obtained. You are also required to provide a copy of your certification verification.

Note that each applicant for an APRN license in Illinois is expected to hold a valid and unencumbered RN license to practice in the state. You will be required to send in the verification of your current licenses and all other licenses you have ever held in Illinois or any other state. This verification can be obtained using the Nursys platform, provided your state submits reports to Nursys. If this is not the case, you have to contact the board of nursing of the state in question. All applicants are also required to provide their fingerprints for criminal background checks as was spelled out under the “initial RN license” segment.