Top Nursing Schools in Illinois

Top Nursing Schools in Illinois

Selecting the appropriate nursing school is an essential step for anyone wishing to work in the medical field. Prospective nurses in Illinois have many alternatives to choose from, from elite universities to community colleges. The state is home to some of the top Nursing Schools in Illinois, which help to support its robust healthcare system. Because of this, Illinois attracts nursing students who seek a combination of demanding academic instruction and substantial clinical experience.

Nursing is more than just a job; it’s a dedication to helping others, and the basis of this devotion is laid during the schooling process. Whether a student is seeking a more thorough, research-focused education or a quick path into the field, Illinois has a wide variety of nursing programs to suit their needs. Prospective students can choose wisely where to spend their time and money by being aware of the different facets of these programs.

This guide offers a thorough examination of the top nursing schools in Illinois, highlighting their specialties, fees, and admission requirements. This thorough review will assist you in navigating the possibilities and selecting the nursing program that best suits your goals, whether you’re a professional looking to change careers or a high school student planning your future.

What is the number one nursing program in Illinois?

A number of criteria are taken into consideration while assessing the top nursing schools in Illinois, including student satisfaction, faculty qualifications, NCLEX-RN pass rates, accreditation, and clinical opportunities. The University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) College of Nursing is frequently mentioned as the top nursing schools in Illinois, based on expert ratings and recent rankings.

The extensive curriculum of the UIC College of Nursing is well known for fusing academic and practical learning. Offering a strong pathway from undergraduate to advanced practice nursing, the program offers a

  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN),
  • Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), and
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP).

The institution equips students to be leaders in their fields through its strong emphasis on research and evidence-based practice.

The high NCLEX-RN pass rate of the UIC nursing program is one of its most notable attributes. This indicator, which is consistently higher than the national average, shows how well kids are prepared and educated. Furthermore, UIC offers a variety of clinical assignments at prestigious Chicagoland healthcare facilities, giving students vital practical experience.

Some of the most reputable personalities in nursing education and research are on the faculty at UIC. Their diverse specializations ensure that students receive both in-depth and comprehensive mentoring and instruction. Additionally, the college has several relationships with healthcare organizations, which improves graduates’ access to real-world training and career prospects.

What is the easiest nursing school to get into in Illinois?

It might be difficult to determine which nursing school is the “easiest” to get into because of a variety of factors, including acceptance rates, prerequisites, and individual academic backgrounds. On the other hand, compared to other Illinois nursing schools, some of them offer more accommodating admission requirements.

  • The nursing program at College of DuPage (COD) is one such instance. While some of the more competitive BSN programs have higher entrance requirements, COD offers an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) with comparatively lower requirements. With a minimal GPA that is lower than that of elite universities, the admissions procedure is more accessible. Furthermore, COD offers a simple application process and a wealth of support resources to assist candidates in meeting admission requirements.
  • The City Colleges of Chicago, which also provide an ADN program, is an additional choice. With chances for a wide range of students, including some who would not fulfill the strict requirements of other nursing schools, these programs are intended to be more inclusive. The City Colleges of Chicago prioritize community-based learning and frequently collaborate on clinical training projects with nearby healthcare facilities.

An additional university with a marginally greater admission rate is Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE). Although it provides ADN and BSN programs, many students find the admission requirements more manageable. Strong support services are offered by SIUE, such as academic advising and tutoring, which can assist students in effectively completing program requirements.

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How much does nursing school cost in Illinois?

Depending on the kind of school and program, nursing school costs in Illinois might vary greatly. The estimated expenses of nursing programs in Illinois’s various areas are shown in the table below, along with the highest and lowest payment structures:

Region Institution Program Type Estimated Tuition (Per Year)
Chicago University of Illinois at Chicago BSN $13,500 (in-state) / $27,000 (out-of-state)
Rush University BSN $37,000
Central Illinois Illinois State University BSN $12,000 (in-state) / $24,000 (out-of-state)
Bradley University BSN $34,200
Southern Illinois Southern Illinois University Edwardsville BSN $10,500 (in-state) / $22,500 (out-of-state)
Southeastern Illinois College ADN $9,000
Northern Illinois Northern Illinois University BSN $11,200 (in-state) / $22,400 (out-of-state)
Rock Valley College ADN $8,000


The table makes it evident that while private colleges and out-of-state tuition are typically much pricier, public universities typically offer cheaper tuition rates for in-state students. Community colleges with ADN programs, such Southeastern Illinois College and Rock Valley College, are the most reasonably priced possibilities. Conversely, the most expensive tuition is charged by esteemed universities such as Rush University.

Is Illinois good for nurses?

Illinois is seen as a state that benefits nurses for a number of reasons. First off, the state pays nurses competitive wages that are frequently greater than the national average. Because of this, becoming a nurse in Illinois can be financially beneficial. Due to the state’s large population and numerous healthcare facilities, including some of the best hospitals and research institutes in the country, there is a strong demand for nurses.

Second, Illinois offers nurses a thorough support network. The Illinois Nurses Association (INA) is essential in promoting nurses’ rights, offering chances for professional growth, and guaranteeing that working conditions in healthcare facilities are good. Illinois nurses benefit from a robust professional network that keeps them engaged and informed.

In addition, the state offers a multitude of options for nurses at all levels to pursue education. Illinois offers a range of nursing education pathways, from advanced practice degrees at major universities to ADN programs at community colleges. Because of this diversity, nurses are able to progress in their careers in accordance with their personal and professional objectives.

Finally, Illinois has a vibrant social and cultural landscape. Cities such as Chicago provide a wealth of leisure opportunities, diverse cultural experiences, and lively lifestyles. Illinois provides plenty of options for cultural, social, and outdoor activities for nurses who want to strike a balance between a rigorous work and a satisfying personal life.

How many nursing schools are there in Illinois?

Numerous nursing schools with programs ranging from advanced degrees to certificate and diploma courses are located in Illinois. There are more than 70 nursing schools in the state, according to the most recent data. Community colleges, public universities, private institutions, and technical schools are some examples of them. Whether they are seeking for a four-year bachelor’s degree or a two-year associate degree, prospective nursing students can find programs that fit their needs thanks to the range of institutions.

These schools are dispersed throughout Illinois, encompassing tiny villages and rural areas with larger cities like Peoria, Springfield, and Chicago. Students can select schools that are conveniently close to their homes or in locations where they might desire to live and work thanks to this geographic dispersal.

The Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) have recognized several of these nursing programs, guaranteeing that they adhere to strict requirements for instruction and training. A nursing program’s accreditation status is very important since it affects both the quality of education and the program’s eligibility for federal financial aid and scholarships.

What type of nurse gets paid the most in Illinois?

  • The nurse anesthetist (CRNA) is the most highly paid sort of nurse in Illinois and many other states. Advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) with a focus on anesthetic administration and pre-, intra-, and post-operative care for surgical, therapeutic, diagnostic, and obstetric procedures are known as nurse anesthetists.
  • The advanced degree of education, training, and responsibility needed for the position accounts for CRNAs’ high pay. CRNAs in Illinois may expect to make an average of $200,000 per year, and some seasoned practitioners may make considerably more. Their substantial earning potential is commensurate with the crucial nature of their work and the breadth of their skills.
  • Nurse Practitioners (NPs) and Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNSs) are two more well-paying nursing positions in Illinois, especially for those in specialized disciplines like acute care, oncology, or psychiatry. A Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree is usually required for these positions, in addition to certification in the specialist area.
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All things considered, advanced practice nurses—especially nurse anesthetists—have the greatest earning potential in Illinois because of their advanced education and specialized training, even if registered nurses (RNs) and other nursing professionals also make competitive earnings.

What is the fastest way to become a nurse in Illinois?

Obtaining an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is the quickest route to become a nurse in Illinois. In order to become a licensed registered nurse (RN), graduates of this program, which normally takes two years to complete, are prepared to take the NCLEX-RN exam. Students in Illinois have access to reasonably priced ADN programs at numerous community schools, making them a viable alternative.

The main focus of ADN programs is on the fundamental information and abilities required for entry-level nursing practice. Anatomy, physiology, microbiology, nursing principles, and clinical practice are all covered in the curriculum. Clinical rotations in a range of healthcare settings provide students with further practical experience.

For those with a bachelor’s degree in another subject, the fastest path may be an accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program. These courses, also known as ABSN programs, are intended for students who wish to enter the nursing field fast. They can be finished in 12 to 18 months. Although ABSN programs are rigorous and time-consuming, they provide a quicker route to a nursing career.

A different and sometimes quicker route to become an RN is to enroll in one of the Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN to RN) bridge programs offered by certain universities. These courses, which often take one to two years to finish, are intended for practicing LPNs who wish to progress in their careers.

How long is a nursing school in Illinois?

In Illinois, the length of a nursing program is determined by the kind of nursing program and the educational background of the student. The standard durations of different nursing programs are as follows:

  • Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) Program: Programs to become a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) typically last six to twelve weeks. They impart fundamental nursing knowledge and skills and ready students for entry-level nursing positions.
  • Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) Program: LPN programs typically take about one year to complete. They educate students in the fundamentals of nursing and get them ready for the NCLEX-PN exam.
  • Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN): Two years are typically needed to finish ADN programs. They train students to take the NCLEX-RN exam and become registered nurses (RNs).
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN): Four years are required to finish traditional BSN programs. For those who already hold a bachelor’s degree in another subject, however, accelerated BSN programs can be finished in 12 to 18 months.
  • Master of Science in Nursing (MSN): MSN programs prepare nurses for advanced practice positions like Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) and Nurse Practitioner (NP), and they usually take two to three years to finish.
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP): These programs, which typically need three to four years to finish, equip nurses for leadership positions and the highest caliber of clinical practice.
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How much do certified school nurses make in Illinois?

In Illinois, a certified school nurse’s pay varies according on experience, education, and the particular school district. The following table shows the typical yearly compensation for certified school nurses in the various Illinois regions:

Region Average Annual Salary
Chicago $60,000 – $75,000
Suburban Chicago $55,000 – $70,000
Central Illinois $50,000 – $65,000
Southern Illinois $45,000 – $60,000
Northern Illinois $50,000 – $65,000

Certified school nurses in urban and suburban areas, like Chicago and its suburbs, typically earn more money than those in rural areas. Experience and additional certifications can also affect one’s earning potential; nurses with higher levels of training and qualification usually have the highest pay scales.

Does Illinois need IELTS for nurses?

Like other U.S. states, Illinois does not mandate that all nurses take the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). On the other hand, nurses whose native tongue is not English and who completed their nursing education outside of the US could need to prove their English language competency. The IELTS, the Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic, and the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) are among the standard examinations that the Illinois Board of Nursing usually accepts as evidence of English competence.

Depending on the licensing body and the nursing curriculum, different restrictions may apply. Internationally trained nurses seeking specific information on English language competency criteria may contact the Illinois Board of Nursing or their potential nursing schools. In certain situations, taking an English proficiency exam or finishing an English language program could be required to guarantee successful communication in clinical settings.

What type of nurse is most in demand?

What type of nurse is most in demand

Certain types of nurses are consistently in high demand in Illinois and around the country, while the demand for nurses varies by specialization and geographic region. The most in-demand of these are Nurse Practitioners (NPs), who can offer both primary and specialized care because of their advanced clinical training.

Nurse practitioners are useful in many healthcare settings because they can diagnose and treat ailments, prescribe drugs, and oversee patient care. They can work independently or in tandem with physicians. The aging population, the increased focus on preventative care, and the lack of primary care physicians are the main factors driving the need for NPs.

There is also a great demand for registered nurses (RNs) with expertise in emergency nursing, geriatrics, and critical care. In high-stakes settings including critical care units (ICUs), emergency departments, and assisted living facilities, these nurses are crucial to the provision of care.

Furthermore, as more patients—particularly the elderly and those with chronic illnesses—choose to receive care at home, the need for home health nurses is growing. The need for nurses with home health skills is being driven by the move towards outpatient treatment and home-based services.

In summary

To fulfill the demands of prospective nurses, Illinois provides a wide variety of extensive nursing programs. Depending on their educational background and job ambitions, students can pick from a wide range of options, including more accessible community college programs and elite universities like the University of Illinois at Chicago. With competitive pay, robust professional networks, and lots of chances for career progression, the state offers nurses a positive work environment.

Illinois offers a route that can assist you in reaching your objectives, whether you want to seek advanced practice positions with an MSN or DNP or want to enter the nursing field more rapidly with an ADN program. Now is a great time to start a nursing career in Illinois, where you may have a meaningful impact on patients’ lives and enjoy a fulfilling and exciting job, as the demand for nursing professionals only grows.


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