How Can I Become a Nurse Practitioner in Illinois?
Working as a nurse builds your professional skills in many areas. Much of the experience you get is applicable to advanced nursing positions. Nurse practitioners take on a more independent role in patient care and work with a more narrowly defined patient population. Master’s degree programs are one option to consider. They primarily serve students whose interests are limited to clinical work. Doctoral programs are well-suited to students who may want to pursue research opportunities in the future. Compare program requirements below.
Average Master’s Degree Requirements in Illinois
- Credit hours required: 31 to 36 credits
- Average cost: $850 per credit hour
- Clinical hours required: Over 500 clinical hours
- Timeframe: 12 to 24 months for accelerated programs
Average DNP Requirements in Illinois
- Credit hours required: 70 to 100 credits
- Clinical hours required: Over 1,000 clinical hours
- Timeframe: 3 to 4 years
If you believe your nursing experience could make you an asset to an advanced nursing team, reach out to in-person and online nurse practitioner programs for more information.
What Types of Nurse Practitioner Programs Are Available in Illinois?
To become a nurse practitioner, you must develop a specialized knowledge of one patient population instead of relying on a general knowledge of nursing as a whole. Options vary from school to school, so your professional interests may narrow your school list slightly. With different populations, you may choose to focus on primary care or acute care. Areas of concentration in Illinois include adult-gerontology, advanced population health, family health, neonatal care, pediatric care, women’s health, and psychiatric-mental health.
No matter which specialty you choose, you may first build your skills through a core curriculum of advanced nursing classes. This helps you begin the transition from registered nurse to nurse practitioner, as well as helping you develop an advanced knowledge of nursing techniques and skills. You may then study health problems, diagnoses, and treatments unique to your population. Each semester, you should build on your knowledge with clinical experience. Depending on your program, you may gain experience at clinics, community care centers, hospitals, and nursing homes. Explore common course requirements below to get an overview of this degree.
Commonly Required Nurse Practitioner Courses
- Organizational Behavior in Healthcare
- Roles and Issues in Healthcare
- Epidemiology and Aggregate-Based Health Promotion
- Scientific Inquiry and Research Design in Nursing and Healthcare
- Diagnostic Reasoning for Advanced Nursing Practice
- Pathophysiologic Bases of Health Deviation
- Family Nurse Practitioner Practicum
The outcomes for nurse practitioner programs are significantly different from what you may find in a registered nursing program. As a nurse practitioner, you should be ready to take on greater amounts of responsibility in patient care, develop care plans that utilize the latest evidence, serve as a leader to others on your team, and consider patients’ needs through the lens of nursing as an institution. When it comes to nurse practitioner degrees, Illinois institutions tend to emphasize evidence-based care and interprofessional teamwork.
How Can I Pay for Nurse Practitioner School in Illinois?
The need for nurses at all levels has increased significantly in recent years, which is why there are numerous financial aid programs in Illinois. Consider some of these popular options.
Nurse Practitioner Schooling Scholarships
- NURSE Corps Scholarship Program: This program is offered to advanced practice nurses all over the country. In exchange for a scholarship, you agree to complete two years of full-time employment in a Health Professional Shortage Area.
- NHSC Loan Repayment Program: This program has the same premise as the NURSE Corps Scholarship Program. Instead of scholarships, participants have up to $50,000 of student loans paid off.
- Illinois Department of Public Health Nursing Education Scholarship Fund: This state program provides scholarships and loan repayment options to Master’s-level nurses who stay in Illinois after graduation.
- Illinois Rural Nurse Practitioner Scholarship Program: Participants in this program are required to work in a rural Illinois community for two years after graduation.
- Back to School Scholarship: Scholarships are awarded four times per year through BestNursingDegree.com.
Licensing and Practice Requirements for NPs in Illinois
The licensing process in Illinois is supervised by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. They verify your registered nursing license, graduate degree, and clinical hours. When you begin working, keep in mind that Illinois nurse practitioners have a slightly reduced scope of practice (AANP, 2016). It’s important to remain within your scope of practice at all times to avoid liability issues.
Nurse Practitioner Careers in Illinois
As a nurse practitioner, your skills can be used in healthcare facilities throughout Illinois. If you work in a public or private clinic, you may enjoy a fairly stable schedule. Those who work in urgent care or emergency care settings may have to work or be on-call for evenings, holidays, and weekends. Various practice options are represented by the Illinois Society for Advanced Practice Nursing, which includes specialists in all areas.
Illinois employment statistics indicate a bright future for nurse practitioners. The average salary for an Illinois nurse practitioner is $90,620 per year (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2016). Job openings for Illinois nurse practitioners are expected to increase 25% between 2014 and 2024 (O*Net, 2016).
Nursing is a rewarding, meaningful field that puts you in a position to improve lives every day. Why not take your career to the next level by becoming a nurse practitioner? Find out how you can earn a nurse practitioner degree by contacting Illinois nursing programs today.
NP programs for Illinois nurses include:
- Loyola University. Loyola offers a variety of interesting NP options, including combined clinical nurse specialist/nurse practitioner programs. Combined programs include oncology nurse specialist/adult nurse practitioner, acute care nurse practitioner with emergency nurse practitioner sub-specialty and family nurse practitioner with emergency nurse practitioner or with cardiovascular sub-specialty. Loyola also offers a Doctoral-level family nurse practitioner program for BSN nurses who wish to purse a Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP).
- University of Illinois at Chicago. The University of Illinois- Chicago offers a family nurse practitioner program through the Department of Health Systems Science. According to the school, graduates of the program have "a strong background in population-focused assessment and health program planning development in addition to thorough preparation as a provider of evidence-based primary care."
- DePaul University. DePaul, located in Chicago, offers two master's-level NP programs: family nurse practitioner and adult nurse practitioner.
Online NP programs, such as the one offered by Georgetown University in Washington, DC, are also an option for Illinois nurses.