The Practical Nursing (PN) program at Richland Community College is a challenging and rigorous program designed to prepare competent, caring, and critically thinking graduates for entry level nursing positions in a variety of health care settings and to encourage commitment to personal and professional growth. The PN program is a combination of nursing and selected general education courses. The nursing courses consist of classroom, laboratory, and clinical experiences providing care to clients in local health care agencies. Graduates will be able to provide direct care to clients in various stages of the life cycle. Upon satisfactory completion of the program, students receive a Certificate in Practical Nursing and (b) are eligible to write the National Council Licensing Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN). Graduates who successfully complete the examination and meet all other state requirements are able to work as licensed practical nurses. Some courses may not transfer to four-year institutions, but transfer opportunities exist for students pursuing an Associate Degree Nursing.

The Practical Nursing Program is a selective admission program, and minimum criteria must be met in order to apply. Admission to the program is by application. Admission to Richland Community College does not guarantee acceptance to the program. The program begins each summer semester, and takes three semesters to complete. Late and out-of-district applicants are considered for the program when space is available.

Career and Technical Education Options

This is a career and technical education program. Some courses may not transfer to four-year institutions but opportunities exist for LPN to ADN bridge programs.

Program Information

Personal responsibility is a key characteristic of health professionals. PN candidates must review the pertinent information linked from this page as the first step in the application process.

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PN Program Overview

Career as a Nurse

Nursing positions are available throughout the United States as well as internationally. Licensed practical nurses, under the supervision of a registered nurse or licensed physician, care for ill, injured, convalescent, or disabled persons in hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, private homes, group homes, and similar institutions.

According to the most recent statistics released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, licensed practical nurses in Decatur make an average annual salary of $45,480.

State-Approved Program

Richland’s PN Program is approved by the Illinois of Department of Financial and Professional Regulation and prepares graduates for entry-level positions as licensed practical nurses under the direction of a registered nurse or licensed physician.

Program Mission

Consistent with the mission of Richland Community College the Mission of the PN Program is to assist students to recognize and achieve their potential both personally and professionally, and to provide students with the abilities, attitudes, and skills necessary to serve the healthcare community in Central Illinois.

Practical Nursing (PN) Certificate Projected Costs

The total estimated cost for the Practical Nursing Certificate is approximately $11,225.00. Please be aware that costs may change. Tuition estimates are for in-district students.

PSYCH 110 (tuition, fees, and books) 639.00
CPR Certification (HLTH 110) 145.00
Drug Screening 25.00
Health & Immunizations 903.98
Estimated Admission Costs 1,712.98
Tuition & Fees (PSYCH 145) 459.00
Course Fees (for above courses) 0.00
Books (for above courses) 196.50
Estimated Semester Costs 655.50
Tuition & Fees (PN 115, PN 118, PN 120, PN 125, BIOL 201) 2,784.00
Course Fees (for above courses) 505.00
Books (for above courses) 1,029.25
Estimated Semester Costs 4,318.25
Tuition & Fees (PN 126, PN 140, BIOL 202, ENGL 110) 2,812.00
Course Fees (for above courses) 359.00
Books (for above courses) 718.00
Estimated Semester Costs 3,889.00
Uniforms and Supplies 279.50
Graduation Pin 50.00
Licensing Fees 310.00
Estimated Additional Costs 639.50
Total Estimated Program Costs 11,215.23

PN Admission Information


Unlike many academic and career and technical education programs at Richland, admission into the Practical Nursing Program is selective and competitive. Admission to Richland Community College does not guarantee acceptance to the program. Late and out-of-district applicants will be considered for the program when space is available.

Students must meet the minimum admission criteria to be eligible to apply. Once the criteria are met, applicants are scored on a rubric and the applicants with the highest scores are accepted in rank order.

Eligibility to Apply

All applicants must be a high school senior or high school or GED graduate. In order to apply, students must demonstrate that they meet the following prerequisites:

  • Eligibility for ENGL 101 Composition I
  • Eligibility for MATH 110 or MATH 113 or completion of MATH 099 with a “C” or better

  • Complete PSYCH 110 with a “C” or better
  • Complete two years of high school biology and 1 year of high school chemistry or physics with a “B” or better within the last 3 years OR complete BIOL 101 with a “C” or better.  Students who have completed BIOL 201 or 202 must have completed one within the last 5 years
  • Have a “C” or better in all prerequisites and program courses and have a minimum 2.5 Program GPA. Program courses that can be completed prior to admission include: BIOL 201, 202, ENGL 110, and PSYCH 145. Transfer and Richland credits are used in calculating the Program GPA
  • Listed in good standing on the IDPH Health Care Worker Registry as an active CNA OR provide evidence of current enrollment in a CNA training program with a test date prior to the start of the semester for which the student is applying

Application Process

The PN Program follows the Health Professions’ Selective Admission Process. Students use the online Pre-Advisement Plan on myRichland to submit an application during the designated application period. Students must check their email to verify completion of the application. Late applications are accepted and considered if space is available.

Basis of Ranking

Students who submit applications are scored on a rubric and the highest scores are accepted in rank order. A maximum of 16 students may be admitted. In the event of a tie for the last position, the student with the highest Program GPA is admitted. The following components are the basis of ranking:

  1. Program GPA (minimum 2.5)
  2. Biology 201 and 202 grades (minimum C)
  3. Number of required program courses completed OR ACT scores [minimum Reading (15), Math (15), English (15), Science Reasoning (20), Composite (21)] within the last three years.
  4. Number of biology withdrawn (W) or repeated within the last five years
  5. Readmission to the PN program

The rubrics do not contain any identifying student characteristics besides the student ID number, allowing selection using non-discriminatory practices.

After the top ranked students are extended conditional admission, an alternate list of other qualified students is developed in the event that someone should cancel or not meet the conditional admission criteria. To remain eligible, alternates must continue to meet all eligibility requirements. Up to the day prior to the first PN course, the alternates may be notified.

The PN program does not maintain a waitlist. If not admitted, students must reapply to the program each year.

Notification of Conditional Admission

The top ranked students are offered conditional admission to the PN Program. All applicants are notified in writing of their admission status within four weeks after the application deadline.

PN Requirements Information

The following information pertains to the PN Program:

Ethical Requirements

Background Checks

As active CNAs, students enrolled in the Practical Nursing Program have completed the background check requirement. However, if the background check listed on the Health Care Worker registry is not listed as a FEE APP, the student must have their employer update the information on the Registry. If a student requires a waiver, the state-approved waiver must be documented on the Health Care Worker Registry.

The background check requirements for the Health Care Worker Registry differ from those of the Illinois Board of Nursing. In the final semester of the Practical Nursing program, students must submit to an FBI fingerprint-based background check in order to apply for Practical Nursing licensure. Therefore, students with a past criminal history or who have a change in status while in program (including those students who have an IDPH waiver) should review the Frequently Asked Questions on Criminal Convictions and Licensure document from the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. Please contact the Assistant to the Dean in Health Professions for more information.

Professional Integrity and Code of Ethics

Richland’s PN Program holds its students to a high standard. The American Nurse Association (ANA) Code of Ethics will serve as the basis of Richland’s Professional Integrity Policy and Code of Ethics along with the Health Professions Standards of Conduct modeled from the Illinois Community College Board Illinois Essential Employability Skills Framework and Self-Assessment.

Health and Safety Requirements

Affiliation agreements with our clinical partners require students to submit documentation of health and safety requirements. Failure to comply for any reason may result in withdrawal of offer of admission or dismissal from the program.

Under no circumstances are students to attend clinical without current immunizations, initial Mantoux TB , and or current CPR. TB and CPR must be current from the first day of the semester through the last day of classes in the semester.

Nursing is a profession, which involves contact with individuals and requires the ability to perform wide variety of activities. Nursing students must be able to perform the essential duties and skills required by the clinical agencies. These are addressed in the Health and Immunization Record Form that students receive upon admission. Changes in the following functional performance areas must be immediately reported to the Nursing Program Director to ensure student and patient safety: Gross motor skills, physical endurance, physical strength, mobility, hearing, visual, tactile, smell, reading, emotional stability, analytical thinking, critical thinking skills, interpersonal skills, and communication skills.

Drug and Alcohol Testing

All admitted students submit to an initial drug screening as part of their conditional admission requirements. In addition, any of the clinical sites or faculty may require Richland Community College PN Program students to submit to random drug tests for cause.

Health Insurance

Students are encouraged to obtain their own health insurance coverage. None is provided through the College.

Certificate Requirements

The certificate in Practical Nursing is made up of 38 credit hours including general education and practical nursing core courses. Listed below is a breakdown and description of the certificate’s course requirements.

  • General Education and Elective Credit Hours – 14 Credit Hours
  • Practical Nursing Core Credit Hours – 21 Credit Hours
  • Total Credit Hours – 35 Credit Hours

Graduation Requirements for PN Students

  • Earn a “C” or better in all prerequisites and program courses
  • Have a minimum Program GPA of 2.5
  • Meet the ANA Code of Ethics and the Integrity Policy

Licensure Requirements

Upon successful completion of the program, students will apply for licensure with the Illinois Department of Professional and Financial Regulation. Students will submit to a FBI fingerprint-based criminal background check and apply to write the National Council of State Boards of Nursing Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN). After successfully passing this examination and meeting all other state requirements, the student will be able to work as a licensed practical nurse.

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