Illinois Nursing Schools
Becoming a registered nurse may give you a clear path into the healthcare industry and into a meaningful career. One of the benefits of getting into the field of nursing is the wide variety of licensure options. Regardless of how much time you want to spend on your education, you may be able to find nursing schools in Illinois that fit your schedule and long-term career goals. Those who want to get started as quickly as possible may choose to become licensed practical nurses.
If you’re ready to jump into this career and invest more time in your education, you may want to earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Beyond that, students can compare Master’s and doctoral degree programs.
Nursing Education in Illinois
The need for compassionate, well-educated care providers has never been more important than it is now. In response to complaints of client abuse, House representative Greg Harris from Illinois has proposed a bill that would allow nursing homes to monitor staff via video and audio recordings.
In addition to nursing homes, many area hospitals and clinics have a nursing shortage. This shortage is prominent enough to create the need for nursing job fairs around Illinois. This shortage may give you the opportunity to explore different job options after graduation.
In response to the nursing shortage, legislators in Illinois may increase funding to technical colleges. This would particularly benefit those who want to earn Associate’s degrees or diplomas in nursing.
To become a successful nursing professional, you need to develop your skills in many different areas. This allows you to provide evidence-based care to different populations and effectively work in any health care setting. To meet the needs of local employers, you may take courses like Contemporary Professional Nursing, Medical Terminology, Pathology of Pharmacology, Health Assessment, Adult Nursing, and Nursing Research & Theory. In some of these courses, you stick to the classroom and study theory.
Most of your nursing courses will involve some type of practical experience. This may include time spent in the laboratory, time in a simulation lab, and time spent working in health care organizations in your community. In total, you can plan on spending several hundred hours in clinical settings by the time you graduate from nursing school in IL.
Get familiar with the learning outcomes of nursing schools in Illinois so that you know exactly what you’re expected to learn. Nursing colleges in Illinois often hope to build a sense of clinical competency, encourage strong teamwork skills among health care professionals, give you the skills you need to work with different health care needs, and teach you the terminology and procedures used in nursing.
There are numerous organizations, schools, and employers that fund nursing scholarships in Illinois. The Illinois Center for Nursing awards several grants and scholarships through the state of Illinois government. The Illinois Center for Rural Health awards funding to students that commit to serving a rural area after graduation. Through the Illinois Nursing Foundation, you may apply for scholarships like the Anne Zimmerman Fellowship and the Sonne Scholarship. Grants are often available through online nursing programs Illinois.
Nursing Education & Career Information in your City
Nursing Degree Programs in Illinois
Click on any of the links below to find further information about the programs that interest you.
Nursing Bridge Programs
Graduate Nursing Programs
- All Masters in Nursing Programs in IL
- All DNP and PhD in Nursing Programs in IL
- All Nurse Practitioner Programs in IL
Entry Level Nursing Programs
- All LPN/LVN Programs in IL
- All Associate Degree Nursing Programs in IL
- All Four-Year Bachelor of Science in Nursing Programs in IL
- All Second Degree Bachelor of Science in Nursing Programs in IL
- Direct Entry Master of Science in Nursing Programs in IL
If you’re looking for a general overview of programs in Illinois, we’ve got you covered below.
Illinois LPN Programs
- High school diploma or GED is mandatory; must pass a health screen and background check
- Average program requires 42 credits
- No fully online programs are available; students must go through several hundred hours of clinical work to get a license
- Must pass the NCLEX-PN to earn a license
Becoming a licensed practical nurse only takes, on average, one year. The training offered by Illinois nursing programs get you ready to provide support to registered nurses while taking care of essential components of patient care. Clinical work is crucial at this level, so be ready to complete rotations at local clinics, hospitals, and nursing homes.
BSN Programs in Illinois
- Must have high school diploma/GED, a high GPA, and a clean background check and health screen
- Programs require a minimum of 120 hours
- No programs are available 100% online, since clinical work is a mandatory part of licensure
- Must pass the NCLEX-RN before getting your RN license
Many of the best nursing programs in Illinois offer BSN degrees. The BSN is often considered the benchmark of nursing education, since it provides extensive experience in different specialties. It also gives students the freedom to develop their clinical thinking skills. From start to finish, a BSN program takes about four years.
Illinois MSN Schools
- Need a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and a current Illinois nursing license
- Programs require between 35 and 55 credits
- Online education is available for some programs, particularly those that focus on administrative work instead of clinical work
- Certification exams are determined by each national accrediting agency
After earning a Bachelor’s degree in nursing, you may be wondering what the next step is. Many students opt to further their education with a Master’s in nursing. Master’s programs don’t focus on nursing as a general field. Rather, they give students the training needed for specific advanced nursing roles.
In clinical work, you may study to become a nurse practitioner, clinical nurse specialist, nurse midwife, or nurse anesthetist. Those who want to go into more administrative roles may specialize in nurse education, nurse administration, nursing informatics, or nursing research.
DNP and PhD Nursing Programs in Illinois
- Must have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and/or a Master of Science in Nursing
- Average program requires 85 credits for graduation
- Few fully online programs are available
- Certification requirements are set by the accrediting agency for each clinical specialty
The doctorate degree is the highest level of education in nursing. You may enter a DNP/PhD program after earning your BSN or you may wait until after you’ve finished your MSN. Those who start a DNP after a Bachelor’s degree may be in school for four to six years before graduating.
Nursing Colleges in Illinois with Nursing Bridge Programs
Quite a few of the best nursing colleges in Illinois offer a variety of bridge programs. Bridge programs offer a convenient way for nurses at different levels of education to take their education to the next level. Some accelerated programs bridge the gap between a Bachelor’s degree in another field and a nursing degree.
You may consider a bridge program if you have an LPN diploma or a registered nursing Associate’s degree. A bridge program may allow you to go straight to a BSN from an LPN or RN. There are options for registered nurses who want to earn their BSN and MSN concurrently.
Accelerated programs are ideal for students who began their careers in another field of study and want to go into nursing. An accelerated BSN degree lets students earn their second Bachelor’s degree in 12 to 18 months. Some schools also offer direct MSN entry programs for students with an undergraduate education in a non-nursing field. After taking core nursing courses that permit you to earn your RN license, you go straight into Master’s-level nursing classes.
This saves time, since you don’t have to get accepted to each nursing program and worry about credits transferring. Instead, you may complete your MSN in as little as two years.
Tips for Choosing the Top Nursing Schools in Illinois
Illinois is committed to higher education. As a result, there are man schools that offer nursing programs at all level of training. Comparing schools and thinking about your learning needs may help you decide which school is a good fit for you. Accreditation is essential in the field of nursing. Graduating from a non-accredited school may slow down the licensure process or even disqualify you from earning a license. You may eliminate non-accredited schools from your list by comparing it to the list provided by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.
Once you’ve ensured that your schools of choice are approved education providers in Illinois, you may start to decide which school features are priorities to you. Many students prefer schools with small class sizes, but some learn better in a larger learning environment. To get a feel for each school you’re considering, set up school tours. Looking at each program’s facilities and technology can save a lot of time in the school selection process.
Factors to Consider When Choosing Nursing Schools
- Average class size and instructor-to-student ratio
- NCLEX pass rate
- NCLEX review course options for graduating students
- Job search assistance
- Clinical locations and specialized training opportunities
- Networking and professional growth options
2017 Career Outlook for Nursing Professions
As you look at job growth statistics in Illinois, it’s obvious that healthcare is one of the most important industries in this state. Nurses are a crucial component of any healthcare facility. The more that the population of Illinois grows, the more that nurses may be needed to keep healthcare costs down.
You may work in a variety of settings after completing your licensed practical nurse education program. The average salary for an Illinois LPN is $48,070 per year (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2017). Between 2014 and 2024, job openings at this level may swell 8% (O*Net, 2017).
After earning your Bachelor of Science in nursing degree, you may complete the licensing process and become a registered nurse. Demand for RNs is high in Illinois, with an expected 11% boost in job openings by 2024 (O*Net, 2017). The average annual salary for an Illinois registered nurse is $70,890 (BLS, 2017). Your income may vary, depending on how much specialized training you have and which healthcare specialty you work in.
Nurse practitioners can provide independent care, so they are a key part to solving the healthcare provider shortage in Illinois. This is a very popular career path for those who choose Master of Science in Nursing programs. From 2014 through 2024, job openings for nurse practitioners may see a 25% increase (O*Net, 2017). Currently, Illinois nurse practitioners earn an average of $98,300 per year (BLS, 2017).
If you have been waiting for the right time to start your nursing education, this is the perfect chance. Nurses are in high demand all over Illinois, and in fact, nurse educator is one of the top 10 jobs in the Chicago area (Chicago Business, 2017).
It all starts with the experience you get at one of the best nursing schools in Illinois. The groundwork you lay during your training may benefit you for years as you build your career.