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2020 Illinois RN Continuing Education Re-Licensure FAQs

The Department has received many inquiries regarding continuing education and in particular the upcoming Registered Professional Nurse (RN) license renewal by May 31, 2021. The questions and answers listed below will hopefully provide some clarification. Please note that a complete copy of the Nurse Practice Act and the Rules may be found on the Department’s Website (IDFPR) or on the Nursing Workforce Center’s Website.

What recent CE requirements are there for Illinois RNs?

a. The implicit bias awareness training CE requirement (HB158, Public Act 102-004) for Illinois RNs will begin as a license renewal requirement in 2024. Illinois RNs are not required to complete implicit bias awareness training as one of 20 hours of CE required for license renewal in 2022. The law was passed, the Rules with detail are not yet final.

b. Sexual harassment prevention training CE requirement. A law passed in 2019 that went into effect on 1/1/20, which requires individuals with licenses issued by the Illinois Division of Professional Regulation (DPR) that require continuing education (CE) to renew their license, to also complete 1 hour of CE on the topic of sexual harassment prevention training. This CE requirement is included in the number of hours already required under the individual Acts and Rules and does not increase the number of hours required to renew a license. One (1) hour of sexual harassment prevention training CE course is intended to fit into the RN licensee’s regular CE requirements. 1 of the 20 hours of CE required for RN license renewal must be a sexual harassment prevention training course.

c. Beginning with the 2024 RN renewal, Illinois RNs who provide health care services to and have direct patient interaction with adults 26 years of age and older will be required to complete a one-hour course in diagnosis, treatment and care of Alzheimer's disease, along with other dementia types. CE Curriculum will involve how to identify and diagnose Alzheimer's, effective communication strategies and management and care planning. This course may count toward the regular CE requirements (Public Act 102-0399, 20 ILCS 2105/2105-365).

What are the CE rules for RNs who are renewing their license by May 31, 2022?

A: Below is an excerpt from the official rules regarding continuing education:
Rules for the Administration of: The Nurse Practice Act: Section 1300.130 Continuing Education

     a) Continuing Education (CE) Requirements

          1) As required by the Act, all nurses shall complete continuing education as follows: …

               A) Beginning with the May 31, 2012 renewal, all registered professional nurses shall complete 20 hours of approved continuing education per 2-year license renewal cycle.

During what time period must the Continuing Education (CE) be completed?

a. All CE courses must be completed in the 24 months preceding expiration of the license. For the upcoming 2022 RN renewal, all CE must have been completed between June 1, 2020 and May 31, 2022.

This is my first time renewing my Illinois RN license - do I need to complete 20 hours of CE prior to May 31, 2022?

a. No, a renewal applicant shall not be required to comply with CE requirements for the first renewal of an Illinois RN license, Nurse Practice Act Rules: Section 1300.130 a) 4).

I completed continuing education hours for my nursing license in another state, will I be able to use those same completed courses for Illinois RN re-licensure courses {Section 1300.130 (a)(6)}?

a. Yes, CE hours used to satisfy the CE requirements of another jurisdiction may be applied to fulfill the CE requirements of the State of IL for RN re-licensure pursuant to the provisions set forth in subsection (c ).

Are there different ways to earn CE hours for Illinois RN renewal?

a. CE hours for RN re-licensure shall be earned by verified attendance or participation in a program or course that is offered or sponsored by an approved CE Sponsor. Per the Rules, CE may be earned through a variety of ways including but not limited to in-person classes or seminars, academic classes, teaching CE courses or publication.

How do I know if the sponsor is approved or licensed? Is there a list of approved CE Sponsors and Programs for Illinois RN re-licensure in 2022?

CE sponsors must either be pre-approved per Rule 1300.130 or must have a CE sponsor license. There is no single list of valid CE sponsors.

a. The list of pre-approved CE Sponsors and Programs is in the Rules for the Administration of the Nurse Practice, Section 1300.130: c) Pre-Approved CE Sponsors and Programs

     1) Sponsor, as used in this Section, shall mean:

          A) Approved providers of recognized certification bodies as outlined in Section 1300.400(a).

          B) Any conference that provides approved Continuing Medical Education (CME) as authorized by the Illinois Medical Practice Act.

          C) American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) accredited or approved providers.

          D) Illinois Society for Advanced Practice Nursing (ISAPN).

          E) American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP).

          F) Nurse Practitioner Association for Continuing Education (NPACE).

          G) American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA), or National Board of Certification and Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists (NBCNA).

          H) National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists (NACNS).

          I) American College of Nurse Midwives (ACNM).

          J) American Nurses Association-Illinois (ANA-Illinois)

          K) Illinois Nurse Association or its affiliates

          L) Providers approved by another state's board of nursing

          M) Nursing education programs approved under Section 1300.230 or 1300.340 wishing to offer CE courses or programs.

          N) Employers licensed under the Hospital Licensing Act [210 ILCS 85] or the Ambulatory Surgical Treatment Center Act [210 ILCS5].

          O) Any other accredited school, college or university, or State agency, federal agency, county agency or municipality that provides CE in a form and manner consistent with this Section.

b. To look up whether an organization holds a license as an Illinois Nursing CE Sponsor, go to the IDFPR website, License Look Up: type in: Nurse CE Sponsor, then type in the name of the organization.

Are there equivalencies for Continuing Education CE?

a. 1 contact hour = 1 CE

b. 1 contact hour = 60 minutes

c. 1 academic semester hour = 15 contact hours/15 CE

d. 1 academic quarter hour = 12.5 contact hours/12.5 CE

e. 1 CME = 1 contact hour/1 CE

f. 1 CNE = 1 contact hour/1 CE

g. 1 AMA = 1 contact hour/CE

What academic credits may be used to fulfill CE requirements for Illinois RN re-licensure in 2022?

a. Academic credits may be used to fulfill CE requirements if the course content is consistent with subsection (c) (3). CE hours are awarded as outlined in subsection (a)(4):

     A) College/university courses that are audited may not be used for CE credit.

     B) Degree or “core” or general education credits such as English, literature, history, math, music and physical education may not be used.

If a CE course is approved by another State Board of Nursing, and that course has been completed in the required time period for Illinois RN re-licensure 2022, will those CE credits be eligible for Illinois RN re-licensure in 2022?

a. Yes, as indicated Section 1300.130 (c) (1) (L).

What if a CE course was taken on-line or through a nursing journal, may these CE credits be used for Illinois RN re-licensure in 2022?

a. Independent study, that is approved for CE credits as set forth in subsection (c ) may be used, i.e., home study programs, articles from journals, and other health discipline independent study modules. The CE credits as listed on the document of course completion may be used towards Illinois RN re-licensure in 2022.

Will completion of a skills certification course be used towards Illinois RN re-licensure in 2022?

a. Up to 5 CE hours may be earned for completion of skills certification courses. A maximum of 2 hours in cardiopulmonary resuscitation certified by the American Red Cross, American Heart Association, Health and Safety Institute (HIS), or other qualified organization may be accepted, while a maximum of 3 hours may be accepted for certification or recertification of Basic Life Support for Healthcare Providers (BLS), Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS), or Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) or their equivalent (Section 1300.130 (b)(6)).

Will I have to provide copies of CE course completion documents for Illinois RN re-licensure in 2022?

a. Like all other CE you must receive a Certificate of Completion and retain it for your records. The Certificate must include information a such as the number of hours completed, the name of the sponsor or provider, and the date the CE was completed. You will not need to provide a Certificate if you renew on time, but you may be asked to confirm that you have completed the training. You may need to provide a Certificate if you renew late, need to restore or reinstate an expired license, or if you are included in a CE audit.

What is the fee for Illinois RN license renewal in 2022?

a. The fee for the renewal of a professional nurse license shall be calculated at the rate of $40.00 per year, or $80.00 at the time of Illinois RN re-licensure in 2022.