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2022-06 Illinois APRN Continuing Education Re-licensure FAQs

The Department has received many inquiries regarding continuing education and in particular the upcoming Advanced Practical Registered Nurse (APRN) license renewal by August 31, 2022. 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 APRNs and FPA-APRNs?

a. The implicit bias awareness training CE requirement (HB158, Public Act 102-004) for Illinois APRNs and FPA-APRNs will begin as a license renewal requirement in 2024. Illinois APRNs and FPA-APRNs are not required to complete implicit bias awareness training as one of 80 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 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 APRN and FPA-APRN licensee’s regular CE requirements. 1 of the 80 hours of CE required for APRN and FPA-APRN license renewal must be a sexual harassment prevention training course.

c. Beginning with the 2024 APRN and FPA-APRN renewal, Illinois APRNs and FPA-APRNs 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 APRNs and FPA-APRNs who are renewing their license by August 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:

            C) All advanced practice registered nurses shall complete 80 hours of approved continuing  education in the advanced practice registered nurse’s specialty per 2-year license renewal cycle. Completion of the 80 hours under this subsection (a)(1)(C ) shall satisfy the continuing education requirements for renewal of a registered professional nurse license. An APRN holding more than one APRN license is required to complete 80 hours of continuing education total per license renewal period. The 80 hours of continuing education required shall be completed as follows:

                i) A minimum of 50 hours of the continuing education shall be obtained in continuing education programs that shall include no less than 20 hours of pharmacotherapeutics, including 10 hours of opioid prescribing or substance abuse education.

                ii) A maximum of 30 hours of credit may be obtained by presentations in the APRN clinical specialty, evidence-based practice, or quality improvement projects, publications, research projects, or preceptor hours.

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 APRN and FPA-APRN renewal, all CE must have been completed between June 1, 2020 and August 31, 2022.

This is my first time renewing my Illinois APRN or FPA-APRN license - do I need to complete 80 hours of CE prior to August 31, 2022?

a. No, a renewal applicant shall not be required to comply with CE requirements for the first renewal of an IL APRN or FPA-APRN 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 APRN or FPA-APRN re-licensure CE 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 Illinois for APRN or FPA-APRN re-licensure pursuant to the provisions set forth in subsection (c ).

Will completion of a skills certification course be used towards Illinois APRN and FPA-APRN 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.

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

How do I know if the sponsor is approved or licensed? Is there a list of approved CE Sponsors and Programs for Illinois APRN and FPA-APRN 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.

Presenter/Lecturer presentations made to other health professionals

a. Presenter/lecturer presentations made to other health professionals on topics related to the certification area may be used for CE credit. Each different individual, non-repetitive 60- minute lecture may be used for 5 CE hours. Full-time educators may not use presentations/lectures that are part of their job expectations- but may use guest lectures and other presentations made outside the duties of their job.

CE hours may be earned for research

a. CE hours may be earned for authoring papers, publications, articles, dissertations, book chapters or research projects. These must be applicable to the practice area. The research project must be completed during the prerenewal period. Authoring a paper or publishing articles may be used for 10 CE hours. Authoring a book chapter, dissertation or research project may be used for 20 CE hours. APRNs and FPA-APRNs may obtain a maximum of 30 CE hours earned under this subsection (b)(5).

CE hours may be earned for preceptorship

a. CE hours may be earned through preceptorship of an APRN student. Preceptors must provide clinical supervision and education to the APRN student. Documentation must be provided from the school of nursing in which the student is enrolled. Precepting one student for an academic semester or quarter may be used for 10 CE hours. Not more than 30 CE hours in each renewal period may come from precepting.

CE hours may be earned for recertification exam

a. Successful completion, during the prerenewal period, of a recertification exam in the APRN’s or FPA-APRN’s area of specialty as recognized in Section 1300.10 may be used for 60 CE hours.

Is there a safe opioid prescribing practices Continuing Education (CE) requirement in effect for all prescribers renewing in 2022?

a. Yes, prescribers with Controlled Substances Registrations are required to complete 3 hours of continuing education (CE) on safe opioid prescribing practices to renew their Controlled Substances Registration. This requirement can be included in the total number of hours required to renew a professional license. This requirement will be in effect for all Controlled Substances Registration renewals in 2020 and after. For additional information regarding this license renewal requirement beginning in 2022: IDFPR Safe Opioid RX CE FAQ

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

a. Each licensee is responsible for maintaining records of completion of continuing education and shall be prepared to produce the records if requested by the Department.