Nursing Schools in Illinois

Nursing schools in Illinois offer a variety of accredited programs for individuals seeking a career in nursing. With a range of degree options, tuition costs, and admission requirements, prospective nurses can find the right fit for their educational needs.

In this article, we will explore nursing programs in Illinois, discuss the job outlook for nurses in the state, and provide a list of the best nursing schools in the area.

We will cover nursing education, careers, certification, licensure, specialties, accreditation, rankings, and reviews.

Why Illinois is a Great Place to Become a Nurse

Illinois is an excellent place to pursue a career in nursing due to its diverse population and numerous healthcare facilities. The state offers:

  • A variety of nursing programs: Nursing schools in Illinois provide multiple degree options for aspiring nurses.
  • Accredited institutions: Many nursing schools in the state are accredited by organizations such as ACEN or CCNE.
  • Affordable tuition rates: Several schools offer competitive tuition rates and financial aid opportunities.
  • Strong job outlook: The demand for nurses in Illinois continues to grow as the population ages and requires more healthcare services.
  • Professional resources: Nurses have access to several state organizations that offer support and resources for professional development.

Ranking Methodology

When ranking nursing schools in Illinois, we consider several criteria:

  1. Accreditation by ACEN or CCNE: Accredited institutions have met high-quality standards for their nursing programs.
  2. Affordability: Schools with reasonable tuition rates and financial aid opportunities are more accessible to students.
  3. Graduation Rates: High graduation rates indicate that students are successfully completing their nursing programs.
  4. NCLEX-RN Pass Rates: A strong pass rate on the NCLEX-RN exam is essential for licensure as a registered nurse.
  5. Nursing School Search editorial reputation: We consider the overall reputation of the school and its nursing programs.

Our ranking methodology is a good starting point for choosing a nursing school in Illinois, but it’s important to consider other factors as well. Learn more about our ranking methodology here.

Best Ranked Nursing Schools in Illinois

1. University of Illinois at Chicago

The University of Illinois at Chicago offers a comprehensive range of nursing programs, including BSN, MSN, DNP, and PhD options. With its state-of-the-art facilities and strong focus on research, UIC is an excellent choice for those seeking a well-rounded nursing education. Visit the University of Illinois at Chicago’s nursing program website.

  • Accredited by CCNE
  • Affordable tuition rates
  • High graduation rates
  • Strong NCLEX-RN pass rates
  • Renowned faculty and research opportunities

2. Loyola University Chicago

Loyola University Chicago’s Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing provides students with an innovative learning environment and numerous degree options, including BSN, MSN, DNP, and PhD programs. The school emphasizes social justice and ethical practice in its nursing curriculum. Visit Loyola University Chicago’s nursing program website.

  • Accredited by CCNE
  • Competitive tuition rates and financial aid opportunities
  • High graduation rates
  • Excellent NCLEX-RN pass rates
  • Strong emphasis on ethical practice

3. Northern Illinois University

Northern Illinois University’s School of Nursing offers BSN, RN to BSN, MSN, and DNP programs. The school is known for its commitment to student success and its emphasis on community engagement and service. Visit Northern Illinois University’s nursing program website.

  • Accredited by CCNE
  • Affordable tuition rates and financial aid opportunities
  • High graduation rates
  • Strong NCLEX-RN pass rates
  • Focus on community engagement

4. Southern Illinois University Edwardsville

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville provides a variety of nursing programs, including traditional BSN, accelerated BSN, RN to BSN, MSN, and DNP options. The school emphasizes hands-on learning experiences and interprofessional collaboration. Visit Southern Illinois University Edwardsville’s nursing program website.

  • Accredited by CCNE
  • Competitive tuition rates
  • High graduation rates
  • Excellent NCLEX-RN pass rates
  • Interprofessional education opportunities

5. Millikin University

Millikin University’s School of Nursing offers a range of degree options, including traditional BSN, accelerated BSN, RN to BSN, MSN, and DNP programs. The school is known for its small class sizes and personalized attention from faculty. Visit Millikin University’s nursing program website.

  • Accredited by CCNE
  • Affordable tuition rates and financial aid opportunities
  • High graduation rates
  • Strong NCLEX-RN pass rates
  • Small class sizes

6. Saint Xavier University

Saint Xavier University offers several nursing degree options, including traditional BSN, accelerated BSN, RN to BSN, MSN, and DNP programs. The school has a strong focus on cultural competence and ethical practice in nursing. Visit Saint Xavier University’s nursing program website.

  • Accredited by CCNE
  • Competitive tuition rates and financial aid opportunities
  • High graduation rates
  • Excellent NCLEX-RN pass rates
  • Emphasis on cultural competence

7. Bradley University

Bradley University’s Department of Nursing offers BSN, RN to BSN, and MSN degree options. The school is known for its focus on hands-on learning experiences and its commitment to preparing students for leadership roles in healthcare settings. Visit Bradley University’s nursing program website.

  • Accredited by CCNE
  • Affordable tuition rates and financial aid opportunities
  • High graduation rates
  • Strong NCLEX-RN pass rates
  • Focus on leadership development

8. Illinois State University

Illinois State University’s Mennonite College of Nursing offers BSN, RN to BSN, MSN, and DNP programs. The school emphasizes evidence-based practice and interprofessional collaboration in its nursing education. Visit Illinois State University’s nursing program website.

  • Accredited by CCNE
  • Competitive tuition rates and financial aid opportunities
  • High graduation rates
  • Excellent NCLEX-RN pass rates
  • Emphasis on evidence-based practice

9. Lewis University

Lewis University’s College of Nursing and Health Sciences offers a range of nursing degree options, including traditional BSN, accelerated BSN, RN to BSN, MSN, and DNP programs. The school is known for its strong focus on research and community engagement. Visit Lewis University’s nursing program website.

  • Accredited by CCNE
  • Affordable tuition rates and financial aid opportunities
  • High graduation rates
  • Strong NCLEX-RN pass rates
  • Focus on research and community engagement

10. Elmhurst University

Elmhurst University’s Department of Nursing and Health Sciences offers BSN, RN to BSN, MSN, and DNP degree options. The school is known for its commitment to student success and its emphasis on ethical practice in nursing. Visit Elmhurst University’s nursing program website.

  • Accredited by CCNE
  • Competitive tuition rates and financial aid opportunities
  • High graduation rates
  • Excellent NCLEX-RN pass rates
  • Emphasis on ethical practice

Online Nursing Schools in Illinois

Nurses seeking an online degree have numerous options available to them, both within Illinois and from schools located outside the state. Online programs offer several benefits to students, including:

  • Flexibility: Online courses can be completed on your own schedule, allowing you to balance work, family, and other commitments.
  • Accessibility: Online programs are available to students in rural or urban areas, eliminating the need for lengthy commutes.
  • Affordability: Online courses often have lower tuition rates and fewer associated costs than traditional on-campus programs.
  • Variety of degree options: Many online nursing schools offer a range of degree options, from ADN to DNP.
  • No waiting lists: Some online nursing programs have no waiting lists, allowing students to begin their studies immediately.

Nursing Program Offerings in Illinois

DegreeDescription
LPNLicensed Practical Nurse programs prepare students for entry-level nursing positions. Programs typically take one year to complete and include both classroom instruction and clinical experience.
ADNAssociate Degree in Nursing programs provide a foundation in nursing theory and practice. Graduates are eligible to sit for the NCLEX-RN exam and become registered nurses. Programs typically take two years to complete.
BSNBachelor of Science in Nursing programs offer comprehensive education in nursing theory, research, and practice. BSN graduates are prepared for leadership roles in healthcare settings. Programs usually take four years to complete.
RN to BSNRegistered Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing programs are designed for current RNs seeking a BSN degree. These programs build upon existing knowledge and skills and can often be completed online or part-time.
MSNMaster of Science in Nursing programs prepare graduates for advanced practice roles, such as nurse practitioners or nurse educators. Programs typically take two to three years to complete and may be available online.
NPNurse Practitioner programs train nurses for specialized roles in areas such as family practice, pediatrics, or psychiatry. NP programs are typically part of an MSN or DNP program.
DNPDoctor of Nursing Practice programs are designed for nurses seeking the highest level of clinical practice expertise. Programs focus on evidence-based practice, leadership, and healthcare policy.

State Nursing Schools Admission Requirements

Admission requirements for nursing schools in Illinois vary depending on the degree program and institution. Prospective students should carefully review each program’s specific requirements before applying. In this section, we will provide a general overview of admission requirements for different types of nursing programs offered in the state.

Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)

LPN programs prepare students for entry-level nursing positions and typically take one year to complete. Admission requirements for LPN programs may include:

  • High school diploma or GED
  • Minimum GPA requirement (usually 2.5 or higher)
  • Completion of prerequisite courses (such as anatomy, physiology, and microbiology)
  • Submission of official transcripts
  • Personal statement or essay

Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN)

ADN programs provide a foundation in nursing theory and practice and typically take two years to complete. Admission requirements for ADN programs may include:

  • High school diploma or GED
  • Minimum GPA requirement (usually 2.5 or higher)
  • Completion of prerequisite courses (such as anatomy, physiology, and microbiology)
  • Submission of official transcripts
  • Personal statement or essay

Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)

BSN programs offer comprehensive education in nursing theory, research, and practice and usually take four years to complete. Admission requirements for BSN programs may include:

  • High school diploma or GED
  • Minimum GPA requirement (usually 3.0 or higher)
  • Completion of prerequisite courses (such as anatomy, physiology, and microbiology)
  • Submission of official transcripts
  • Personal statement or essay

Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN)

RN to BSN programs are designed for current RNs seeking a BSN degree and can often be completed online or part-time. Admission requirements for RN to BSN programs may include:

  • Current RN licensure
  • Associate degree or diploma in nursing
  • Minimum GPA requirement (usually 2.5 or higher)
  • Submission of official transcripts
  • Personal statement or essay

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

MSN programs prepare graduates for advanced practice roles and typically take two to three years to complete. Admission requirements for MSN programs may include:

  • BSN degree from an accredited institution
  • Current RN licensure
  • Minimum GPA requirement (usually 3.0 or higher)
  • Submission of official transcripts
  • Personal statement or essay

Nurse Practitioner (NP)

NP programs train nurses for specialized roles and are typically part of an MSN or DNP program. Admission requirements for NP programs may include:

  • BSN degree from an accredited institution
  • Current RN licensure
  • Minimum GPA requirement (usually 3.0 or higher)
  • Submission of official transcripts
  • Personal statement or essay

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

DNP programs are designed for nurses seeking the highest level of clinical practice expertise. Admission requirements for DNP programs may include:

  • MSN degree from an accredited institution
  • Current RN licensure or advanced practice certification
  • Minimum GPA requirement (usually 3.0 or higher)
  • Submission of official transcripts
  • Personal statement or essay

It is important to note that individual nursing schools in Illinois may have additional requirements, such as letters of recommendation, interviews, or standardized test scores. Prospective students should carefully review each program’s specific admission criteria before applying.

Illinois Nursing Resources

FAQ for Illinois Nurses

What is the average salary for a nurse in Illinois?

The average salary for a registered nurse in Illinois is approximately $71,000 per year, though this can vary based on experience, location, and specialty.

Are there any financial aid opportunities for nursing students in Illinois?

Yes, many nursing schools in Illinois offer scholarships and grants to help students with tuition costs. Additionally, state and federal financial aid programs may be available.

How long does it take to become a nurse in Illinois?

The length of time it takes to become a nurse in Illinois depends on the degree program you choose. LPN programs typically take one year, while ADN programs take two years. BSN programs usually take four years to complete.

Do I need a license to practice as a nurse in Illinois?

Yes, all nurses must obtain a license from the Illinois Board of Nursing before they can practice in the state.

What are some nursing specialties available in Illinois?

Nurses can specialize in various areas such as pediatrics, oncology, critical care, and more. Many nursing schools in Illinois offer specialized programs to help nurses gain expertise in their chosen field.

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