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CNA Facts

The Health Care Worker Registry (registry) lists individuals with a background check conducted pursuant to the Health Care Worker Background Check Act (225 ILCS 46). It also shows training information for certified nursing assistants (CNA) and other health care workers. It is maintained by the Department of Public Health. There are a number of state and federal requirements individuals must meet prior to being listed on the registry as an Illinois CNA.

An Illinois CNA must meet one of the following requirements:

  1. Have successfully completed an Illinois approved CNA training program.
    • Pass a written competency test.*
  2. Have successfully completed a nursing arts course (e.g., Basics in Nursing, Fundamentals of Nursing, Nursing 101, etc.)
    • If a registered nurse (RN) or a licensed practical nurse (LPN) has a current, valid Illinois license and is in good standing, he or she can work as a CNA without being on the registry.
    • An RN or LPN with a current, valid license from another state cannot work as an Illinois CNA until the registry shows that the individual has met the training requirements.
    • An Illinois RN or LPN with an inactive license cannot work as an Illinois CNA until the registry shows that the individual has met the training requirements.
    • Nursing students who have not completed all their training to be an LPN or RN can apply to be an Illinois CNA while continuing to go to school.
      • Provide written verification that the individual has successfully completed the fundamentals of nursing and at least 40 hours of supervised clinical experience in an accredited nurse training program.
      • Pass a written competency test.*
  3. Have successfully completed a U.S. military training program that includes the content of a nurse aide training program.
    • Provide a copy of a diploma or certificate showing evidence of 40 hours of clinical experience; or Form DD 214 showing completion of hospital corpsman or medical service specialist or equivalent training.
    • Proof of employment authorization, if individual is not a U.S. citizen, such as a Resident Alien Card, U.S. Visa, Form I-94 or Permanent Resident Card.
    • Pass a written competency test.*
  4. An individual who has successfully completed a nursing program equivalent to a LPN or RN in a foreign country and who has moved to the United States but has not taken a licensure exam cannot work as a nurse. The individual cannot work as an Illinois CNA until the registry shows that the individual has met the training requirements.
    • A copy of a diploma or other proof of completing the course translated into English is required.
    • A copy of official transcripts translated into English. The transcript must include the number of hours of training received for each course.
    • A copy of his or her Social Security card.
    • Proof of employment authorization, if individual is not a U.S. citizen, such as a Resident Alien Card, U.S. Visa, Form I-94 or Permanent Resident Card.
    • Pass a written competency test.*
  5. Have been deemed competent on another state’s registry for CNAs.
    • Have documentation of current registration from another state indicating requirements listed in the Code of Federal Regulations (42 CFR, Sections 483.151 and 483.152) have been met.
    • Must have no administrative findings of abuse, neglect or misappropriations of property on their home state’s CNA registry or any other state’s CNA registry.
    • Must have no disqualifying convictions on the home state’s registry.
  6. If an individual that has previously been deemed competent as a CNA (Illinois approved nurse assistant training program; grandfathered in; foreign LPN/RN; military trained; nursing student; or out of state CNA), has a period of 24 consecutive months that the individual has not provided nursing or nursing-related services for pay, the approved certification is lost. Recertification may be accomplished by doing the following:
    • Pass a manual skills test.
      • An Illinois approved evaluator must administer the manual skills test and the individual must demonstrate competency in all of the required skills.
        • The individual may contact the registry for a manual skills evaluator in their area.
        • The individual may contact a community college to see if the college has an approved manual skills evaluator.
        • The individual may take an Illinois approved CNA training program and take the written competency test. A list of approved CNA training programs is on this Web site.
      • The evaluator will complete a Manual Skills Evaluation Form and mail it to the registry.
      • Once the evaluator’s form is received, the registry will verify that the individual passed the manual skills test, meets the background check requirements, and has no administrative findings before mailing a form to register for the competency test.
    • Pass a written competency test.*

*Pass a written competency test. Currently the written competency test is a requirement for certification.

  • Southern Illinois University at Carbondale (SIU-C) administers the written portion of the competency exam at various sites throughout the state. The SIU-C testing Web site (see RESOURCES in right-hand column) offers a practice exam, a study guide, and test site locations.
  • SIU-C transmits the test results to the registry electronically.
  • If the individual fails the competency test three times, he or she must take another Illinois approved CNA training program before taking the written test again.

Forms necessary to apply to become an Illinois CNA are available on this Web site. To work for a health care employer that is governed by the Health Care Worker Background Check Act, other than a licensed or certified long-term care facility, the CNA must meet the following requirements:

  1. Have a criminal history records check as prescribed by the Health Care Worker Background Check Act with no disqualifying convictions.
  2. If an individual has disqualifying convictions, he or she may not work as a CNA (or in any other position giving direct care) unless the CNA has requested and received a waiver of those disqualifying convictions.

To work as an Illinois CNA in a licensed long-term care facility, an individual must meet the following requirements :

  1. Have a criminal history records check as prescribed by the Health Care Worker Background Check Act with no disqualifying convictions.
  2. If an individual has disqualifying convictions, he or she may not work as a CNA (or in any other position that has access to the residents, the residents’ living quarters, or the residents’ financial, medical or personal records) unless the individual has requested and received a waiver of those disqualifying convictions.
  3. Have no administrative finding of abuse, neglect or misappropriated property in Illinois or any other state.
  4. Must be at least 16 years of age, of temperate habits and good moral character, honest, reliable and trustworthy.
  5. Must be able to speak and understand English or a language understood by a substantial percentage of a facility’s residents.
  6. Must provide evidence of prior employment or occupation, if any, and residence for two years prior to present employment as a nursing assistant.
  7. Must have completed at least eight years of grade school or provide proof of equivalent knowledge.
  8. Must not work as an Illinois CNA until the registry shows that the individual has met the training requirements.
    • Must work as a nurse aide in training and be in an approved CNA program within 45 days of being hired, if not a CNA when hired.
    • Must be on the registry as a CNA within 120 days of being hired. If an individual is attending an approved CNA program offered by a college, a vocational technical school or high school, he or she must be within 120 days of completing the program and competency test. Written proof of attendance is required.

To work as an Illinois CNA in a federally certified long-term care facility, an individual must meet the state requirements as well as the following federal requirements:

  1. Prior to any direct contact with a resident, employee must complete a specified 16 hours (42CFR Section 483.152[6]) of classroom training in a state-approved CNA training program.
  2. Nursing assistant students should not perform any duties for which they have not been trained and found to be proficient by an instructor.
  3. Students providing services to residents must do so under the general supervision of a license practical nurse or a registered nurse.
  4. As of October 1, 1990, a facility must not use any individual as a nurse aide in the facility on a full-time basis for more than four months unless the individual has completed a state-approved nurse aide training and competency evaluation (NATCEP) or competency evaluation (CEP) and is competent to provide nursing or nursing-related services.
  5. A facility must have provided, for individuals used as nurse aides by the facility as of January 1, 1990, a CEP and such preparation as may be necessary for them to have completed the CEP by October 1, 1990.
  6. A facility must require an individual to complete a new NATCEP or a new CEP when an individual has not performed nursing or nursing-related services for monetary compensation for a continuous period of 24 consecutive months since the most recent completion of a NATCEP.
  7. As of January 1, 1991, a facility must not use an individual on a temporary, per diem, leased, or any basis other than permanent employee as a nurse aide unless the individual has completed NATCEP or CEP and is competent to provide nursing or nursing-related services.

Important Points to Remember About Checking CNA Status

  1. Since June 1992, CNA training programs have not been required to issue certificates and the state does not issue credentials, certificates or license to CNAs. Any certificate received may be issued by the training program or the testing center as a recognition of work accomplished. However, being an Illinois Certified Nurse Assistant/Aide is a condition that the CNA must keep through their work efforts not through an issued document. A CNA will lose their status of certification if he or she goes for a continuous period of 24 consecutive months after his or her last competency evaluation during none of which the individual provided nursing or nursing-related services for monetary compensation (to recertify see step 6 of “ An Illinois CNA must meet one of the following requirements,” above). If the CNA continuously works providing nursing-related services for money, the individual continues to retain the CNA certification no matter how many years the individual works.
  2. Beginning in January 1996, the written competency test became a requirement to be a CNA. Between January 1, 1990, and January 1996, a CNA was required to take the written competency test only if the CNA worked in a long-term care facility.
  3. Before allowing an individual to serve as a nurse assistant/aide, a health care employer must receive verification that the individual has met competency evaluation requirements; has no disqualifying convictions that have not been granted a waiver; and has no administrative findings of abuse, neglect or misappropriation of property. The information on the registry is the only means a health care employer may use to obtain this verification. The health care employer may do one of the following:

o    Access the registry’s Web site at:

https://hcwrpub.dph.illinois.gov/Search.aspx


o    Submit a written request to:

Illinois Department of Public Health 
Health Care Worker Registry 
525 W. Jefferson St., Fourth Floor 
Springfield , IL 62761

o    E-mail the registry at 

DPH.HCWR@Illinois.gov

o    Call the registry’s help desk at 844-789-3676, 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday – Friday.

  1. Health care employers are required to obtain access to the Department’s Web portal and the Health Care Worker Registry’s Web application. The health care employer shall indicate employment dates and termination dates of the CNAs hired and separated from employment, respectively. If the CNA continues to work at that facility, the health care employer must provide verification no less than annually. The health care employer enters these dates directly into the registry’s Web application. This employment information is what keeps the CNA active on the registry.

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