Chicago Nursing Schools
The state of Illinois has 211,951 employed nurses with over 69,000 Registered Nurses (RNs) and over 11,000 Licensed Practical/Vocational Nurses (LPN/LVNs) employed in the Chicago metro area. Many of these nurses have completed their initial nursing education at Chicago universities. Chicago nurses are also utilizing local certificate programs, which, according to the University of Illinois at Chicago, saw 1,299 graduates in 2010.
Chicago has over a dozen accredited nursing schools for bachelor and master degrees, along with several degree and certificate programs offered by Chicago’s nursing schools. In addition to basic nursing programs, Chicago residents have some exciting specialty and bridge programs available, including programs in forensic nursing and gerontology, doctoral degree programs and several RN to BSN program options.
Nursing Schools in Chicago
Chicago nursing schools are aligned with developing new and novel ways of delivering education that allows nurses to progress as seamlessly as possible into a Baccalaureate education, reflecting national priorities. Concordia University Chicago (a private four-year liberal arts-based Christian institution) and Resurrection University (a top university for nursing education) have entered into a partnership to offer a joint degree nursing program. The undergraduate student will complete two years at Concordia University by completing general education courses, which includes rigorous science courses in preparation for the nursing program. Students then transition to Resurrection University, which has a reputation for providing an intense BSN program, with an NCLEX pass rate of 96%.
The University of Illinois at Chicago also offers several nursing degrees, including:
- Bachelor of Science in Nursing
- RN to BSN completion program
- Graduate Entry Program
- Master of Science
- Doctor of Nursing Practice (PhD)
- Doctor of Philosophy (DNP)
- Certificate Programs include Administrative Nurse Leadership, Advanced Practice Palliative Care Nurse, School Nurse, Teaching/Learning in Nursing and Health Sciences and Women
Advancing your education with a Certificate in a specialty area provides academic credit that may be applied to an advanced degree at a later time. Specialization can also open up several career opportunities and wage increases, and demonstrates your dedication to providing high quality nursing care to a specific patient population.
Curriculum, Tuition and Scholarships in Chicago
The curriculum for most universities to earn a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing degree, which is considered the gold standard for becoming a nurse, requires similar basic core courses across different institutions. The classes for most BSN programs are usually focused around the following nursing core curriculum:
- Foundations of Nursing
- Health Assessment and Promotion
- Pathophysiology and Pharmacology
- Clients with Disruptions of Health
- Promoting Healthy Families in the Community
- Nursing of the Childbearing Family
- Pediatric Nursing
- Ethics in Nursing
- Nursing Research
- Care of the Older Adult
- Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing
- Nursing Leadership and Management
Tuition can vary greatly between institutions, with a state college tending to be less expensive than a private college. The following tuition amounts, while not exact, can serve as an example of typical estimated costs at different nursing schools in Chicago.
- University of Illinois Chicago’s tuition is $15,572 per semester
- Loyola University Chicago’s undergraduate tuition and fees per credit hour are $615, with most students taking between 12-21 hours. Tuition for graduate students is $1020 per credit hour
- Resurrection University’s tuition for undergraduate nurses is $784 per credit hour, $552 per credit hour for the RN to BSN program and $793 per credit hour for the graduate nursing program.
- The University of Illinois Chicago tuition for the undergraduate student is $4,763 per semester.
Most colleges have a financial aid office that can help students find funding for nursing school, starting with Federal student aid which can be determined by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FALSA). This application is used nationwide to determine what federal, state and institutional need-based aid might be available for the student.
There are also grants and scholarships available to nursing students in Chicago. Scholarships tend to be awarded per academic year, so spring is the best time to fill out applications. The College of Nursing (CON) at the University of Illinois Chicago provides financial support by scholarships through private donations to the college. Loyola Financial Aid Office also awards scholarships based on academic performance, therefore, a student must maintain a 3.0 cumulative GPA each semester.
If you are employed by a hospital and want to continue your education they may have a tuition reimbursement program similar to that at UC Medical, which not only helps to pay for an expanded nursing education, but which may ultimately result in a job promotion as well.
Life and Career Opportunities in Chicago
Since Chicago is the third-largest city in the U.S., it is a busy place with a wide variety of activities. Chicago has numerous activities that include museums, galleries, theater and performing arts, wonderful restaurants, music, comedy, sports and the Chicago History Museum. If you are just moving to Chicago it is important to bring weather appropriate clothing, since the weather can be quite difficult during the winter.
The Chicago Transit Authority is the nation’s second-largest public transportation system. They provide rail, bus, and they offer Chicago Card Plus, which allows you to spend less time paying your fares.
There are several locations for working nurses to pursue employment within the Chicago metro, including clinics, public health agencies, long term care facilities and hospitals. The American Nurses Credentialing Center recognizes those hospitals that display nursing excellence by awarding them the Magnet award. There are numerous hospitals that have received the Magnet designation, including Loyola University Health system, NorthShore University HealthSystem, Rush University Medical Center and Northwestern Memorial HealthCare, to name just a few.
There are also several hospitals and universities in Chicago that conduct research, which can create job openings for Doctors of Nursing Practice as well as PhD prepared nurses. Nursing positions are also available in most hospitals, in physician’s offices, in home health and in surgical centers.
Chicago also has several professional nursing associations, which include the Illinois Nurses Association, the Chicago Chapter National Black Nurse Association, the American Nurses Association and several specialty associations as well. These would include organizations like the Illinois Association of Nursing, the American Forensic Nurses and the Association of Clinicians for the Underserved.