Nurse Practitioner Programs in Illinois

With 7,160 Nurse Practitioners, Illinois already boasts a robust NP workforce. However, the need for NPs in the state is set to grow with a projected demand for 12,090 new professionals by 2030. The state’s emphasis on collaborative healthcare delivery is demonstrated by its Reduced Practice model and limited prescriptive authority, offering an environment conducive for teamwork and collective decision-making in patient care.

  1. Educational Requirements: To become a Nurse Practitioner in Illinois, individuals must secure an RN license and then complete a Master’s or Doctoral degree from an accredited nursing program. This elevated level of education prepares them to take on more advanced responsibilities in patient healthcare.
  2. Licensure and Certification: After satisfying the educational prerequisites, potential NPs must obtain licensure from the Illinois Board of Nursing and a national certification in their chosen specialty. These critical credentials validate their expertise and affirm their readiness to provide quality patient care.
  3. Scope of Practice: Illinois follows a Reduced Practice model. While Nurse Practitioners are allowed to provide a wide range of healthcare services autonomously, they are required to have a written collaboration agreement with a physician to deliver certain patient care services.
  4. Prescriptive Authority: Despite the prescriptive authority in Illinois being limited, Nurse Practitioners can prescribe drugs, including controlled substances, under the agreement with a physician. This authority augments the comprehensive care NPs can provide.
  5. Employment and Salary Statistics: Illinois employs 3% of all Nurse Practitioners in the U.S. who earn an average annual income of $120,470. These figures demonstrate the value Illinois places on the contributions of these skilled professionals.
  6. Job Outlook: The predicted need for 900 new NPs annually until 2030 in Illinois signals a significant job growth. This steady demand underpins the state’s dedication to bolstering its healthcare system with skilled Nurse Practitioners.
  7. Regulatory Body: The Illinois Board of Nursing serves as the prime regulatory body, maintaining high standards of practice, providing licensure, and ensuring compliance with professional regulations.

Illinois’ anticipated growth in the need for Nurse Practitioners, coupled with its remunerative salaries and collaborative practice model, suggests a promising landscape for these professionals. For those seeking to shape their career in a dynamic environment and make a positive impact on healthcare, Illinois provides a fitting platform.

Featured Online Nurse Practitioner Programs Now Accepting Illinois Applicants

Eight Steps to Become a Nurse Practitioner in Illinois

  1. Earn an RN Degree – All Nurse Practitioners (NPs) must first become RNs. Getting your RN through an ADN or BSN program is your first step. Be sure to earn your RN or BSN from a university that is accredited by the ACEN or CCNE. Your course credits are more likely to be accepted by Nurse Practitioner Programs in Illinois if you earned your RN from an accredited school.
  2. Pass The NCLEX-RN Exam – See the NCLEX-RN exam study guide for tips and tricks along with tools you can use to help you prepare for test day.
  3. Earn Your MSN or DNP – To become an NP you can either get your masters or doctorate. Master’s of Science in Nursing (MSN) programs take about 2 years while Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) programs take about 4 years. You will choose a population foci such as gerontology, family, neonatal when you start your program:
  4. Complete Supervised Clinical Hours – If you earn your MSN you will need to between 500-600 clinical hours depending on your population focus. To earn your DNP you need 1000 hours.
  5. Become Board Certified – Your certifying body to become an NP depends on your population foci:
  6. Obtain Licensure – Licensure is done on a state-by-state basis. Contact the Illinois State Board of Nursing for more information.
  7. Obtain a DEA Number – DEA registration is required in order to prescribe medication in Illinois. Once you are licensed, apply for your NPI number which is free. Then you use this to apply for your State Controlled Substances Authority for Illinois and then your DEA registration so that you can prescribe medications.
  8. Maintain Active Certification and Licensure – Your certifying body and BON in Illinois will tell you what is required to maintain certification and licensure. Usually this requires a certain amount of continuing education (CE) credits as well as clinical practice. You may also have to fill out an application and pay a fee every 2-3 years.

What are the Best Nurse Practitioner Programs in Illinois for 2023?

#1 in Illinois

Saint Anthony College of Nursing

Health Sciences Center

  • Pin1
    3301 N. Mulford Road, Rockford, IL - 61114
  • Tel1
    (815) 282-7900
  • Programs: Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, CNL, Family Nurse Practitioner, Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: APRN Certificate, Bachelor, BSN to DNP, MSN, MSN to DNP, Post Master's NP Certificate, RN to BSN
Person
Nurse Admin: Sandie Soldwisch, PhD, ANP-BC, APRN
Title: President, Chief Nurse Administrator

University Information

  • Faculty Total Faculty: 22
  • Tuition In-State Undergraduate Tuition: $2,000
  • Book Book and Supplies: N/A
  • Receiving Aid Percent Received Aid: 100%
  • Scholarship Average Grant or Scholarship: N/A
  • Admitted Percent Admitted: 100%
  • Enrolled Percent Admitted who Enrolled: 67%
  • Graduation Rate Graduation Rate: N/A

Saint Anthony College of Nursing is a private not-for-profit educational institution that fosters close relationships between the community and students, faculty, staff, and healthcare providers.

The college transitioned from a diploma school to a baccalaureate degree-granting college in 1990, offering a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree program. Its health sciences facility is located on the campus of Rock Valley College. This provides for an interdisciplinary campus and student experience. They offer a BSN program and an RN to BSN track. All programs are CCNE accredited. Saint Anthony’s additionally offers high school students the chance to reserve a seat in the BSN program beginning in the fall, two years after high school graduation.

The school is owned and operated by OSF HealthCare, and provides nursing education that deeply integrates Christian values and the example of Francis of Assisi. OSF HealthCare has a rich and extensive history for its efforts to care for those in need and saving lives.

Saint Anthony College of Nursing

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

  • Program Overview: Develops intellectual, physical, ethical, emotional, and interpersonal capabilities for safe professional nursing practice
  • Admission Requirements: Minimum cumulative GPA of 2.8 on a 4.0 scale and copy of unencumbered RN or APN license(s)

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

  • Program Overview: Preparation for leadership roles in the nursing field
  • Admission Requirements: Minimum cumulative GPA of 2.8 on a 4.0 scale and a copy of unencumbered RN or APN license(s)

Key Takeaways

  • Accredited Programs: All programs at Saint Anthony College of Nursing are accredited by recognized organizations such as ACEN, ACME, CCNE, and COA, assuring you of a quality education.
  • Christian Values: As a student, you’ll receive an education deeply integrated with Christian values, drawing inspiration from the example of Francis of Assisi.
  • Community Engagement: The close relationship between students, faculty, healthcare providers, and the community ensures a rich learning environment.
  • Flexibility in BSN Admission: High school students can reserve a seat in the BSN program, allowing them to secure their future in nursing well in advance.
  • Location Advantage: The college’s strategic location on the campus of Rock Valley College offers an interdisciplinary learning experience, enhancing your educational journey.
  • Comprehensive Support for PWDs: Saint Anthony maintains a welcoming environment for disabled individuals, considering applications on an individual basis and adhering to state and federal laws.

#2 in Illinois

Lewis University

College of Nursing and Health Professions

  • Pin1
    One University Parkway, Romeoville, IL - 60446-2200
  • Tel1
    (815) 838-0500
  • Programs: Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Accelerated BSN, APRN Certificate, Bachelor, BSN to DNP, MSN, MSN to DNP, Post Master's NP Certificate, RN to BSN
Person
Nurse Admin: Julia Koklys, DNP, APRN, FNP-BC
Title: Chair

University Information

  • Faculty Total Faculty: 224
  • Tuition In-State Undergraduate Tuition: $1,500
  • Book Book and Supplies: N/A
  • Receiving Aid Percent Received Aid: 100%
  • Scholarship Average Grant or Scholarship: $18,202
  • Admitted Percent Admitted: 66%
  • Enrolled Percent Admitted who Enrolled: 14%
  • Graduation Rate Graduation Rate: 70%

Lewis University is an educational institution for higher learning located at Romeoville, Illinois. The university stands as a testament to comprehensive Catholic education—placing emphasis on liberal arts, values, and professional preparation.

The university’s nursing program has catered to Chicago and its neighboring areas for over 40 years. The nursing department is diverse, offering various paths such as a general BSN program, an accelerated version for those holding a bachelor's degree, and a specialized program for existing RNs to pursue a BSN. Students benefit not just from a dynamic curriculum that meets modern healthcare system demands but also from an extensive network of healthcare partners. This network ensures students gain exposure to diverse patient groups and real-world healthcare challenges. Furthermore, those committed to teaching or serving as full-time preceptors post-graduation from programs like DNP or MSN Nursing Education have financial support avenues that are contingent upon federal funding.

College of Nursing and Health Sciences

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

  • Student/Faculty Ratio: 12/1
  • Program Goal: Design and execute complex healthcare strategies.
  • Discount Opportunities: Employer Tuition Assistance, IONL Discount, and Frequent Flyer Scholarship for alumni.
  • Concentrations: Four options for NP programs (AGACNP, AGPCNP, FNP, and PMHNP)
  1. Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
    • Goal: Manage acutely ill patients collaboratively.
    • Credit Hours: 46
    • Clinical Experience: 540 hours
  2. Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner
    • Goal: Provide primary healthcare for adolescents and adults.
    • Credit Hours: 46
    • Clinical Experience: 540 hours
  3. Family Nurse Practitioner
    • Goal: Provide primary health care across age groups.
    • Credit Hours: 48
    • Clinical Experience: 630 hours
  4. Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
    • Goal: Specialize in psychiatric and mental health care.
    • Credit Hours: 49
    • Clinical Experience: 540 hours

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

  • Goal: Build upon advanced clinical skills for a complex healthcare environment.
  • Format: 100% online
  • Credit Hours: 30
  • Residency Hours: 1000 post-BSN, with 496 transferable MSN-level hours.
  • Requirements: Attend two (2) DNP Immersions, including the final Scholarly Project Presentation.

Key Takeaways

  • Holistic Development: Inspired by Catholic and Lasallian heritage, Lewis fosters holistic personal development through wisdom and justice.
  • Convenient Location: Situated strategically near Chicago, take advantage of the proximity to a hub of healthcare facilities for a vibrant learning experience.
  • Diverse Campus: An inclusive environment with a 40% minority population ensures broadened perspectives.
  • Accreditations: Nursing programs at Lewis are accredited by recognized bodies like ACEN, ACME, CCNE, and COA, ensuring top-tier education.
  • Real-World Experience: Partnerships with hospitals and primary care facilities provide invaluable real-world clinical experiences.
  • Financial Support: Commitment to teaching or precepting can lead to significant financial assistance, making education more affordable.

#3 in Illinois

Bradley University

Department of Nursing

  • Pin1
    1501 W BRADLEY AVE, Peoria, IL - 61625-0001
  • Tel1
    (309) 676-7611
  • Programs: Family Nurse Practitioner, Nursing Administration, Nursing Research and Clinical Nursingg, Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Accelerated BSN, APRN Certificate, Bachelor, BSN to DNP, LPN to BSN, MSN, MSN to DNP, Post Master's NP Certificate, RN to BSN
Person
Nurse Admin: Deborah Erickson, PhD, RN
Title: Associate Professor

University Information

  • Faculty Total Faculty: 326
  • Tuition In-State Undergraduate Tuition: $1,200
  • Book Book and Supplies: N/A
  • Receiving Aid Percent Received Aid: 100%
  • Scholarship Average Grant or Scholarship: $20,726
  • Admitted Percent Admitted: 73%
  • Enrolled Percent Admitted who Enrolled: 14%
  • Graduation Rate Graduation Rate: 76%

Located in Bradley Ave., Peoria, Bradley University is a beacon of academic excellence with a history spanning over a century. Founded in 1897, this private institution has earned its reputation through dedication to teaching, research, and genuine student engagement.

The university houses eight distinctive colleges and schools, supported by an impressive alumni network of over 70,000 professionals. Known for its commitment to real-world practice, Bradley’s nursing school stands out as a hub for budding healthcare leaders. It is accredited by various accreditation bodies such as ACEN, ACME, CCNE, and COA. Students gain unparalleled access to one-on-one advising by a stellar faculty. The curriculum is rigorous, with a blend of theoretical knowledge and hands-on practice. This is evident from the program's structure, allowing students to undertake clinical experiences from their sophomore year.

But what truly makes Bradley unique is its blend of tradition and flexibility. Their online Master of Science in Nursing program allows students to tailor their clinical hours, ensuring they get the most relevant experience for their chosen specialization.

Nursing Department

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

Concentrations:

The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program, offered entirely online without any campus residency prerequisites, targets RNs with an ADN, nursing diploma, or a non-nursing bachelor's degree. This comprehensive program prepares students toward the ANCC certification exam.

Both the RN to MSN-AGACNP and the RN to MSN-AGPCNP tracks take 3 years (9 semesters) to complete with a requisite of 600 clinical hours. Their BSN to MSN counterparts require 2.3 years (7 semesters) with the same 600 clinical hours.

Meanwhile, for the Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) specialization, the RN to MSN track spans 3.3 years, involving 750 clinical hours. On the other hand, the BSN to MSN route takes a slightly shorter 2.7 years, requiring 700 clinical hours. The Psychiatric Mental Health NP (PMHNP) track for RN to MSN students also demands 3.3 years (10 semesters) of dedication coupled with 650 clinical hours. Its BSN to MSN variant necessitates 2.7 years (8 semesters) and 600 clinical hours.

 

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

Concentrations:

The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program, accessible entirely online without any campus residency obligations, is structured to facilitate the educational progression of BSN-credentialed nurses looking to specialize further in various high-demand domains such as adult-gerontology and psychiatric mental health.

The adult-gerontology acute and primary care tracks both encompass a 3.3-year (10 semesters) duration with a requirement of 68 credit hours and a substantial 1,000 clinical hours component. These tracks nurture expertise in gerontological care, preparing graduates to undertake the ANCC certification exams.

Moreover, the Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) and the Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) tracks, although differing slightly in the credit hours — 74 for PMHNP — share a common length of 3.7 years stretched across 11 semesters. The FNP track is specifically designed for individuals with a GPA of 3.0 and above, eyeing advanced roles in family healthcare settings.

Regardless of the chosen specialization, students have the leeway to tailor their learning experience, notably through the selection of appropriate preceptors for the substantial clinical hours component.

 

Post Master’s Certificate (PMC)

Concentrations:

The Post Master’s Certificate (PMC) program offers MSN-credentialed nurses a pathway to further specialization in their field. For those keen on adult and geriatric primary care, the AGPCNP and the Adult-Gerontology Acute Care tracks stand as the quickest option, each necessitating a 1.3-year commitment spread over four semesters, involving an engagement of 32 credit hours and 600 clinical hours.

On the other hand, the PMHNP track offers a specialization in psychiatric mental health over a span of two years or six semesters, incorporating 36 credit hours and the completion of 600 clinical hours.

For practitioners gravitating towards family nursing, the PMC offers an FNP track that takes 1.7 years or five semesters to complete, involving a 35-credit-hour workload alongside the necessary clinical practice. Alternatively, BSN-credentialed nurses have the option to pursue a BSN to DNP-FNP certification over the same duration and credit hours, inclusive of supervised clinical practicums. 

Key Takeaways

  • Diverse Learning Pathways: Whether you hold a BSN, MSN, or RN, Bradley University offers pathways to elevate your nursing career to the next level. Each program is carefully designed to cater to different educational backgrounds, giving every aspiring nurse practitioner a chance to advance.
  • Flexible and Convenient Learning Environment: Bradley University's online learning modules allow you to tailor your clinical hours to your needs, providing a flexible and convenient learning environment. This means you can pursue higher education without putting your career on hold, seamlessly fitting studies into your schedule.
  • Personalized Clinical Experience: Students can choose their preceptors for clinical hours, promoting a personalized and relevant learning experience. This feature ensures that you garner experience that is most pertinent to your area of specialization.
  • Accredited Programs: Bradley University’s nursing school has multiple accreditations from renowned bodies, validating the quality and standard of education provided.
  • Supportive Learning Environment: The university maintains a rich tradition of one-on-one advising, facilitated by a stellar faculty. This close-knit learning environment fosters a nurturing space where you can grow and learn efficiently.
  • Early Clinical Experience: Unique to Bradley University, students can begin their clinical experiences from their sophomore year, giving them a head start in garnering practical knowledge and skills in the nursing field.

#4 in Illinois

Northern Illinois University

School of Nursing

  • Pin1
    1425 W. Lincoln Hwy., Dekalb, IL - 60115-2828
  • Tel1
    (800) 892-3050
  • Programs: Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Bachelor, MSN, Post Master's NP Certificate, RN to BSN
Person
Nurse Admin: Susan Caplan, PhD, MSN, APRN-BC, FAAN
Title: Chair

University Information

  • Faculty Total Faculty: 804
  • Tuition In-State Undergraduate Tuition: $1,300
  • Book Book and Supplies: N/A
  • Receiving Aid Percent Received Aid: 99%
  • Scholarship Average Grant or Scholarship: $9,280
  • Admitted Percent Admitted: 59%
  • Enrolled Percent Admitted who Enrolled: 21%
  • Graduation Rate Graduation Rate: 48%

Northern Illinois University (NIU), located in DeKalb, Illinois, has been providing educational excellence for over 120 years. Boasting a student-to-faculty ratio of 16:1, NIU promises personalized attention and academic rigor. This claim is substantiated by impressive rankings and accreditations from independent bodies, including CCNE. Its variety of nursing programs are offered in both campus and hybrid formats. Additionally, options are available for full-time or part-time study to suit individual needs.

A notable standout in NIU's offerings is the remarkable success rate of its graduates in the NCLEX-RN. With a sterling 3-year average pass rate of 92.33%, NIU graduates consistently outperform the state averages, reflecting the quality and depth of the education provided. As a nursing student at NIU, you would join a legacy of over 250,000 alumni worldwide.

School of Nursing

Master of Science (M.S.) in Nursing (FNP Specialization)

NIU offers a fully accredited (CCNE) Master of Science (M.S.) in Nursing program with a specialization in Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP). This 50-credit online program can be enrolled either full-time or part-time. Students have up to six years from the initial start date to complete the course, which generally spans 2.5 years.

To facilitate a smoother student transition, the program permits the transfer of up to six semester hours of external coursework and nine semester hours for NIU students at large, after approval from the program director. Prospective enrollees must be registered nurses in Illinois, holding a bachelor's degree in nursing with a minimum GPA of 3.00 in the latter part of their undergraduate study.

 

Doctor of Nursing Practice (BS to DNP)

NIU also offers a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program with a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) specialization. This option is designed for individuals who have completed their bachelor’s or master's degree in nursing.

The practice-focused curriculum can be pursued either full-time or part—time. The program is delivered through a combination of online coursework and hybrid experiences, encompassing health assessments, FNP internships, skill courses, and D.N.P. practicums, which are conducted in person.

A cornerstone of the program is its rich curriculum, which spans 76 credit hours and integrates three FNP internships focusing on adult, pediatric, and women’s health/specialty sectors alongside three D.N.P. practicums. Graduates are ready to sit for national certification exams after completing the program.

 

Doctor of Nursing Practice (MS-DNP)

This online MS-DNP program is tailored for individuals who have already earned their Master of Science in Nursing and are seeking to elevate their expertise in a specialized area of advanced nursing practice. Accredited by the CCNE, the program offers in-depth training to formulate and implement patient care plans with an evidence-based approach.

It has a comprehensive curriculum comprising 35 credit hours, which can be completed in as few as two years when pursued full-time. An added feature of the program is a cognate elective course, which allows students to tailor their study plan.

 

Key Takeaways:

  • Personalized Attention: With a student-to-faculty ratio of 16:1, NIU ensures a learning environment where students receive individualized attention.
  • Flexible Learning Pathways: NIU’s nursing programs allow for full-time or part-time study, and offer a range of online, campus, and hybrid formats, accommodating different learning preferences and lifestyles.
  • Transferrable Credits: Particularly in the M.S. in Nursing program, students can transfer a notable amount of credits, making it easier for them to transition and advance in other programs.
  • Evidence-Based Curriculum: The programs strongly emphasize evidence-based practice, preparing students to implement innovative solutions and improvements in patient care.
  • Robust Alumni Network and Career Services: NIU supports its students with a well-established alumni network and career services, offering industry connections and resources to foster successful careers post-graduation.

#5 in Illinois

Loyola University - Chicago

Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing

  • Pin1
    1032 W. Sheridan Rd, Chicago, IL - 60660
  • Tel1
    (773) 274-3000
  • Programs: Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, Registered Nursing, Women's Health Nurse Practitioner
  • Award Levels: Accelerated BSN, Bachelor, BSN to DNP, BSN to PhD, MSN, MSN to DNP, Post Master's NP Certificate
Person
Nurse Admin: Lorna Finnegan, PhD, RN, FAAN
Title: Dean and Professor

University Information

  • Faculty Total Faculty: 994
  • Tuition In-State Undergraduate Tuition: $1,200
  • Book Book and Supplies: N/A
  • Receiving Aid Percent Received Aid: 99%
  • Scholarship Average Grant or Scholarship: $22,025
  • Admitted Percent Admitted: 71%
  • Enrolled Percent Admitted who Enrolled: 12%
  • Graduation Rate Graduation Rate: 76%

Loyola University Chicago is a private research institution established in 1870 by the Society of Jesus. It is one of the largest Catholic universities in the United States. Its Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing shines brightly ensures its courses are of the highest caliber, with 92% of its faculty holding the highest degree in their fields.

For generalist nurses, the BSN program lays a foundation, combining liberal arts, sciences, and nursing disciplines. The MSN and DNP programs, on the other hand, prime students for leadership with a focus on the latest scientific findings across various health disciplines. Grads gain exceptional skills in leadership, ethics, and decision-making.

The university’s college of nursing receives various accreditation from numerous bodies. Among these are from ACEN, ACME, CCNE, and COA.

Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing

Doctor of Nursing Practice

Concentrations:

The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program at Loyola University Chicago Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing offers several Nurse Practitioner (NP) tracks. The credit hours required for these tracks range from 69 to 79, with the Psychiatric Mental Health NP track taking about four to five years to complete. All DNP students undergo a foundational curriculum.

Central to the program's curriculum is the emphasis on small class sizes and low student-to-faculty ratios, promoting personalized attention. Before embarking on their first clinical rotation in the NP track, students must accumulate a minimum of 2,000 hours of clinical practice experience. The program further enhances its coursework through Immersion Experiences at Loyola University Chicago's Health Sciences Campus in Maywood.

The final scholarly project is a distinctive feature of the DNP program, which allows students to showcase their specialty expertise. This project typically spans one year.

To gain admission to the advanced practice nursing tracks, prospective students must be registered nurses with a bachelor's degree or higher from an accredited program and without existing NP or CNS certification.

 

Post-Graduate Certificate Programs

Concentrations:

 Loyola University Chicago also offers a range of Post-Graduate Certificate Programs designed for both bachelor's and master's prepared nurses. The programs cater to those seeking additional competency and clinical expertise in preparation for the Nurse Practitioner (NP) national certification examination.

By the end of these certificate programs, graduates will be able to assimilate scientific findings from various disciplines into values-based advanced nursing practice. This APRN certificate program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, highlighting its adherence to high educational standards.

 

Key Takeaways:

  • Personalized Attention: With a 14:1 faculty-to-student ratio, students can expect more personalized attention and guidance, fostering a nurturing and focused educational environment.
  • Strategic Location: Situated in Chicago, Illinois, students can leverage real-world experiences in the healthcare sector.
  • Holistic Approach to Nursing: Across all programs, there is an emphasis on producing graduates who are skilled in nursing practices and culturally competent. Students are equipped to integrate levels of prevention, quality, and safety principles in their healthcare roles.
  • CCNE Accreditation: All the programs are backed by the prestigious CCNE accreditation, ensuring that students receive an education that meets the highest national standards.
  • Not-for-profit Institution: As a private not-for-profit institution, Loyola reinvests all its earnings back into the school, ensuring high standards of education and facilities, aligning with its mission to offer quality education over profitability.

#6 in Illinois

Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville

School of Nursing

  • Pin1
    Il State Rte 157, Edwardsville, IL - 62026-1259
  • Tel1
    (888) 328-5168
  • Programs: Family Nurse Practitioner, Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Accelerated BSN, Bachelor, BSN to DNP, MSN, MSN to DNP, Post Master's NP Certificate, RN to BSN
Person
Nurse Admin: Rebecca Luebbert, PhD, RN, PMHCNS-BC
Title: Interim Associate Dean for Academic Programs & Chief Nurse Administrator

University Information

  • Faculty Total Faculty: 631
  • Tuition In-State Undergraduate Tuition: $933
  • Book Book and Supplies: N/A
  • Receiving Aid Percent Received Aid: 93%
  • Scholarship Average Grant or Scholarship: $7,865
  • Admitted Percent Admitted: 85%
  • Enrolled Percent Admitted who Enrolled: 21%
  • Graduation Rate Graduation Rate: N/A

Southern Illinois University- Edwardsville (SIUE) is a leading metropolitan university named after its location. Its Nursing School offers accredited programs backed by respected bodies like ACEN, ACME, CCNE, and COA. The programs has an impressive NCLEX-RN passing rate of 90.33% over the past three years, surpassing both state and national averages. In terms of ranking, the school ranks as 10th best nursing school in Illinois and ranks it 300th nationally.

School of Nursing

Doctor of Nursing Practice

The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program offers specialization in family nurse practitioner or psychiatric mental health nursing. This comprehensive program builds on baccalaureate or master’s nursing education. Prospective students can look forward to a flexible program format inclusive of web-based courses. Moreover, in-state tuition benefits are available, along with assistance for out-of-state applicants in navigating licensure requirements in various U.S states.

 

Doctor of Nursing Practice (MBA)

The Doctor of Nursing Practice (MBA) presents a collaborative dual-degree program, allowing post-masters students and advanced practice nurses to concurrently pursue an MBA and DNP. It is delivered in a flexible structure to suit different learning preferences. Throughout the program, students undergo vital business and management concepts along with nursing concepts. Graduates who successfully finish the program are awarded with a degree of Master of Business Administration and Doctor of Nursing Practice.

 

Post-Master's Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

The post-master’s Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program is designed to cater to the educational needs of nurses who have previously earned a master’s degree aligned with their advanced nursing practice role, or those holding a Bachelor of Science in nursing alongside a suitable master's degree. While the program is principally offered online, it also includes immersion experiences that occur for a duration of one to three days each August.

 

Key Takeaways:

Reputation & Recognition: SIUE is a nationally acknowledged institution known for its transformative educational experience. With its well-established programs, the nursing school at SIUE ranks #10 in Illinois and #300 nationally.

High-Quality Education: Built on a liberal education foundation, SIUE combines hands-on research with real-world experiences.

Excellent NCLEX-RN Passing Rate: SIUE nursing students have an impressive 3-year average NCLEX-RN passing rate of 90.33%, which is notably higher than the state averages for both ADN and BSN programs.

Program Innovations: The nursing school emphasizes innovative teaching, evidence-based practice, and quality research. It also fosters the values of creativity, curiosity, courage, and compassion, reinforcing the commitment to nursing excellence.

Flexibility and Accessibility: SIUE is keen on accommodating career-oriented students. They offer web-based courses, flexible locations, and various program formats to suit different needs.

International Recognition: Graduates from SIUE’s School of Nursing have successfully acquired licenses in various states across the US. The institution provides information and guidance for out-of-state and international applicants to ensure they meet licensing and visa requirements.

#7 in Illinois

Olivet Nazarene University

School of Nursing and Health Sciences

  • Pin1
    One University Avenue, Bourbonnais, IL - 60914-2271
  • Tel1
    (815) 939-5011
  • Programs: Family Nurse Practitioner, Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: APRN Certificate, Bachelor, MSN, Post Master's NP Certificate, RN to BSN
Person
Nurse Admin: Tiffany Greer, PhD, RN
Title: Director of Nursing Programs

University Information

  • Faculty Total Faculty: 124
  • Tuition In-State Undergraduate Tuition: $850
  • Book Book and Supplies: N/A
  • Receiving Aid Percent Received Aid: 100%
  • Scholarship Average Grant or Scholarship: $25,132
  • Admitted Percent Admitted: 67%
  • Enrolled Percent Admitted who Enrolled: 18%
  • Graduation Rate Graduation Rate: N/A

Olivet Nazarene University is a private university located in Bourbonnais, Illinois. This Christian university blends liberal arts with spiritual grounding. The university’s heritage traces back to 1907, birthed by visionaries aiming for education that resonated with Christian tenets.
The university’s school of nursing curriculum is a combination of foundational basics and specializations. Its reputation is accredited by reputable bodies such as ACEN, ACME, CCNE, and COA, and their programs have garnered recognition. Its mission for excellence is mirrored in an impressive NCLEX-RN passing rate of 89.33%.

School of Nursing

Master of Science in Nursing
The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program is tailored for BSN graduates eager to elevate their expertise, eyeing leadership roles or doctoral studies. One of the MSN track options is Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP). This full-time MSN-FNP track blends online education with clinical practice. This 52-credit hour course can be completed in a 24-month journey.
To be admitted, students must have a valid RN license, have a BSN GPA of 3.0 or above, and at least 2,000 hours of professional RN experience.

 

Post Graduate Family Nurse Practitioner Certificate FNP-C Track
Olivet Nazarene University offers the online Post-Graduate Family Nurse Practitioner Certificate (FNP-C) Track for master-prepared RNs. Spanning 13 to 24 months, this accelerated program comprises 27 to 39 credit hours, with a per credit hour cost of $690. Applicants must have a current RN license, a 3.0 or higher MSN GPA, and at least 2,000 hours of RN work experience. Within the course, students will fulfill 720 practicum hours, guided by self-chosen preceptors in practicum settings.
Aspiring FNPs will find the program's flexible and adaptive framework advantageous, allowing them to double up on classes.

 

Key Takeaways:

  • Wide Spectrum of Accreditation: Enjoy the credibility bestowed by numerous accreditations from the Higher Learning Commission and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, reflecting the university's commitment to high educational standards.
  • Experienced Faculty: Benefit from guidance by seasoned faculty members, who bring a rich background of research and practical experience, offering individualized one-on-one advising from the day you enroll.
  • Flexible Online Learning: Both the MSN and FNP-C tracks offer flexible online programs, permitting students to balance their studies with professional commitments without compromising on the learning experience.
  • Global Opportunities: Utilize the chance to serve globally, as Olivet encourages nursing students to apply their knowledge in developing countries, nurturing their patient care and leadership skills.
  • Comprehensive Education: Apart from primary nursing training, the programs emphasize developing, testing, and evaluating ideas pertinent to nursing practice, nurturing critical thinkers ready to effect constructive change in the healthcare sector.
  • Guidance in Licensure: Receive support and guidance in navigating the professional state licensure requirements for a Family Nurse Practitioner, ensuring you meet all the necessary regulations for a smooth career path ahead.

#8 in Illinois

Saint Xavier University

School of Nursing

  • Pin1
    3700 W 103rd St, Chicago, IL - 60655
  • Tel1
    (773) 298-3000
  • Programs: CNL, Family Nurse Practitioner, Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Bachelor, LPN to BSN, MSN, Post Master's NP Certificate
Person
Nurse Admin: Charlene Bermele, DNP, RN, CNE
Title: Interim Dean

University Information

  • Faculty Total Faculty: 130
  • Tuition In-State Undergraduate Tuition: $1,200
  • Book Book and Supplies: N/A
  • Receiving Aid Percent Received Aid: 100%
  • Scholarship Average Grant or Scholarship: $24,256
  • Admitted Percent Admitted: 79%
  • Enrolled Percent Admitted who Enrolled: 11%
  • Graduation Rate Graduation Rate: 56%

Situated at Chicago, Saint Xavier University (SXU), has been nurturing quality education since its inception in 1846. Initially established as an all-women educational hub, it has become a reputable four-year university, accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). The nursing school stands tall with several commendations and accreditations, including those from ACEN, ACME, CCNE, and COA. Its three-year average NCLEX-RN passing rate is a commendable 86.00%, surpassing the Illinois state averages for both ADN and BSN programs. This feat positions it as the 18th among 89 nursing schools in Illinois and the 410th on a national scale, meriting a B grade. The university maintains affiliations with reputed organizations like AACN and NLN, ensuring a robust educational experience for its students.

School of Nursing

MSN - Family Nurse Practitioner
SXU paves the way for prospective Family Nurse Practitioners (FNPs) with its online MSN-FNP program, renowned as a top 5 online program by the U.S. News & World Report in 2023. This three-year initiative immerses professional nurses in a transformative journey to become advanced practitioners adept in delivering primary care services in diverse environments. The financial investment for this 47-credit-hour course is $750 per credit hour, summing up to an approximate total of $35,250. Students will navigate through 27 credit hours of fundamental and supportive courses, complemented by 20 credit hours of specialty education. The program encompasses 600 hours of clinical training in primary care settings, culminating in preparedness for the FNP certification exams.

 

Post-Master's Certificate in Nursing: Family Nurse Practitioner
SXU allows nurses holding a master's degree to pursue a Post-Master's Certificate in Nursing through the PMC-FNP track. The program has upheld a 100% success rate in the national FNP certification exam for five consecutive years, manifesting its quality and rigor. SXU adopts a personalized approach in designing individual study plans, grounded on a comprehensive evaluation of the applicant's preceding master-level coursework in nursing. This strategy makes the program's duration flexible, aligning with each student's academic portfolio.

 

Key Takeaways

  • Top-notch Accreditation and Memberships: Benefit from a quality education upheld by prestigious accreditations and associations, including the Higher Learning Commission, ACEN, ACME, CCNE, and COA.
  • High Success Rate in Certification Examinations: SXU stands synonymous with success, showcasing a 100% pass rate in the national FNP certification exam over the past five years.
  • Extensive Network and Collaborative Opportunities: Enrolling at SXU's School of Nursing and Health Sciences offers expansive networking and collaboration avenues with professionals and peers across various renowned associations.
  • Clinical Competency Focus: The programs prioritize clinical proficiency, fostering hands-on skills through extensive real-world practice hours.
  • Financial Transparency: SXU ensures transparent financial delineations, aiding students in efficiently planning their educational investments with detailed insights into tuition and associated costs.

#9 in Illinois

Saint Francis Medical Center - College of Nursing

  • Pin1
    511 NE Greenleaf St, Peoria, IL - 61603-3783
  • Tel1
    (309) 655-2201
  • Programs: CNL, Family Nurse Practitioner, Neonatal Nurse Practitioner, Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: APRN Certificate, Bachelor, MSN, MSN to DNP, Post Master's NP Certificate, RN to BSN
Person
Nurse Admin: Sandie Soldwisch, PhD, ANP-BC, APRN
Title: President, Chief Nurse Administrator

University Information

  • Faculty Total Faculty: 37
  • Tuition In-State Undergraduate Tuition: N/A
  • Book Book and Supplies: N/A
  • Receiving Aid Percent Received Aid: N/A
  • Scholarship Average Grant or Scholarship: $1,462,195
  • Admitted Percent Admitted: N/A
  • Enrolled Percent Admitted who Enrolled: N/A
  • Graduation Rate Graduation Rate: N/A

Located adjacent to the OSF Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria, Illinois, the Saint Francis Medical Center College of Nursing has been a pillar in nursing education for over a hundred years. The campus has advanced facilities, including simulation and skills laboratories, ensuring a robust and enriching educational environment. The college is recognized and accredited by respected state and national organizations, including the Higher Learning Commission, CCNE, and ACEN, to name a few.

Students at this institution are immersed in a culture grounded in the values and mission of OSF HealthCare. Additionally, personalized financial aid assistance is available to facilitate a hassle-free financial planning process.

Saint Francis has established itself as a prestigious institution, with a commendable record in preparing students to excel in the NCLEX-RN exam. In fact, it celebrates a noteworthy three-year average pass rate of 85.33%.

College of Nursing

BSN to DNP

Concentrations:

This DNP program is renowned nationally, securing a position among the Top 25 Online DNP Programs. While the curriculum is partly online, there will be some on-campus requirements. Such will vary depending on the concentration chosen.

Prospective students aiming to join this program should hold a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from an accredited and regionally recognized institution, showcasing a GPA of 3.0 or above. A “C” grade or higher in undergraduate health assessment and nursing research courses is also essential. The college favors applicants with a year of professional nursing experience, with additional specific prerequisites for the NNP and Psychiatric Mental Health concentrations. Students are prepared to sit for their respective national certification examinations upon graduation.

 

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

Concentrations:

The university’s MSN program is among the best in the nation. In fact, it was recognized in the top 50 for its online MSN degree offerings and noted for its affordability, especially in the nurse practitioner stream.

Designed thoughtfully for the hectic schedules of professional nurses, the online delivery format ensures students can balance commitments while advancing their knowledge and skills. The program offers pathways in Adult Gerontology Acute Care, Family Nursing, Neonatal Nursing, and Psychiatric-Mental Health Nursing, even extending a fast-tracked pathway for RNs holding non-nursing baccalaureate degrees.

As a student, you will be paired with an academic advisor who will work closely with you to craft a tailored plan of study, revisited and refined each semester to align with your evolving educational and professional objectives.

Despite its online core, the program maintains a grounded approach, incorporating short campus visits for certain clinical courses to ensure a rounded learning experience.

 

Post-Graduate Certificates

Concentrations:

The Saint Francis Medical Center College of Nursing offers postgraduate certificate options, an excellent choice for nurses who have already secured a master's degree and are looking to shift their specialization. This program offers a streamlined path to switch focus, with the added advantage of transferring up to 12 credits, thus potentially hastening your journey to acquiring the certificate.

To be admitted, applicants must hold both a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in Nursing from regionally accredited institutions, affirmed by ACEN, CNEA, or CCNE.

 

Key Takeaways

  • Nationally Recognized Excellence: The College is recognized among the Top 25 Online DNP Programs. Moreover, its Master of Science in Nursing online degree program ranks among the 50 best in the nation.
  • Affordability: Recognized as one of the nation’s Most Affordable Online Colleges, especially for its nurse practitioner program. This provides quality education without breaking the bank.
  • Convenient Learning Formats: Most programs, from RN to BSN to MSN, are designed for online delivery. This flexibility allows working professionals to further their education without disrupting their schedules.
  • Rich Clinical Experience: The College provides priority access to clinical experiences in a 600-bed major medical center located right on campus. This hands-on experience is invaluable in the nursing field.
  • Holistic Student Support: From personalized financial aid assistance to the assignment of an academic advisor for each student, the college ensures that individual needs are catered to.
  • Strategic Location: Situated adjacent to the OSF Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria, Illinois, students benefit from close proximity to a practical learning environment.
  • State-of-the-Art Facilities: The Nursing Resource Center boasts modern simulation and skills laboratories, ensuring students have access to the latest nursing education technology.

#10 in Illinois

University of Illinois at Chicago

College of Nursing

  • Pin1
    601 S Morgan, Chicago, IL - 60607
  • Tel1
    (312) 996-7000
  • Programs: Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, CNL, Family Nurse Practitioner, Neonatal Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, Registered Nursing, Women's Health Nurse Practitioner
  • Award Levels: Accelerated MSN, Bachelor, BSN to DNP, BSN to PhD, MSN, MSN to DNP, Post Master's NP Certificate
Person
Nurse Admin: Eileen Collins, PhD, RN, FAAN, ATSF
Title: Dean

University Information

  • Faculty Total Faculty: 2502
  • Tuition In-State Undergraduate Tuition: $14,126
  • Book Book and Supplies: $1,400
  • Receiving Aid Percent Received Aid: 85%
  • Scholarship Average Grant or Scholarship: $12,093
  • Admitted Percent Admitted: 73%
  • Enrolled Percent Admitted who Enrolled: 21%
  • Graduation Rate Graduation Rate: 63%

See our Ranking Methodology

How Long Does it Take to Become a Nurse Practitioner in Illinois

How much time it takes to become an NP in Illinois really depends on your background. Depending on the path you take it will be 2 to 4 years of education before you can become a Certified Nurse Practitioner. If you’re already an RN it can take as little as 2 years by earning your MSN. If you are not an RN some direct entry programs are as short as 2 years as well. If you already have your MSN but are not an NP you can do a DNP program in 2-3 years and become and NP while also earning your doctorate.

Here are examples of how long it will take you to become an NP depending on what degree you are starting with:

Starting Degree

How Many Years to Become an NP

Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN)

2 – 3 years
Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing (BSN) 2 years

Bachelor’s in a non-nursing field 2 – 3 years

Master’s Degree in Nursing (MSN)

1 – 2 years

Nurse Practitioner Requirements and Types in Illinois

BSN to MSN

If you are getting your MSN after having your BSN in the state of Illinois, you can expect to spend 2 years earning your degree to become NP. If you have your RN, but not your BSN, you can complete a program that is similar in length and will give you an MSN. General requirements to enter and complete your BSN to MSN program in Illinois include:

  • A 3.0 GPA or the equivalent of a B average
  • Must be licensed as an RN in Illinois
  • Complete about 50 credits of classroom work
  • Complete 500 to 800 hours of supervised clinical experience depending upon the University

Direct Entry MSN Programs

Direct Entry MSN programs or accelerated MSN programs give people who are not nurses but have a bachelors degree in something else the opportunity pursue nursing. These programs prepare you to be an NP without having you repeat non-nursing college courses that you have already taken. There are a handful of these programs in Illinois. Direct entry programs take between 2 and 3 years to complete. After the program you will be an RN and an NP. General requirements to enter and to complete your accelerated MSN program in Illinois include:

  • A 3.0 GPA or the equivalent of a B average
  • Completion of pre-requisites such as anatomy and physiology, developmental psychology, microbiology, organic and inorganic chemistry, and more
  • Complete about 50 credits of classroom work
  • Complete 500 to 1,000 hours of supervised clinical experience depending upon the University

MSN to NP Certificate

If you already have your MSN but are not an NP you can complete a certificate program to train you to be an NP. This may be the right path for you if you have your MSN in something like nursing education, nursing administration, or if you are a clinical nurse specialist. In general MSN to NP certificate programs take about one year and to enter and to complete your NP to Certificate program requires the following:

  • You must be an RN in Illinois to be eligible to apply for these programs
  • Typically you are not required to take the GRE again for these programs
  • You will have to submit an application with your resume, references, past transcripts and more
  • Complete 500 to 700 clinical hours depending on the school and your population focus

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

DNP programs are the doctorate level programs that prepare nurses to be NPs. In these programs you will be trained to provide nursing care at the expert level and will also be able to teach in most universities. DNP programs are becoming more popular as the entry pathway into becoming an NP.  Program length varies from 3 to 5 years depending on whether or not you already have your masters. The eligibility requirements vary a little between the BSN to DNP and MSN to DNP programs.

BSN to DNP: These programs are for bachelor’s level trained nurses.

  • You must be a licensed Illinois nurse and have had a GPA of at least 3.0 (B average) or better.
  • The BSN to DNP programs will take about 5 years depending on the university.
  • Your application will need to include GRE scores, letters of recommendation, previous transcripts, and more.
  • You will need to complete 1000 hours of supervised clinical experiences.
  • Some programs will require you to have nursing experience.

MSN to DNP: These programs take into account that you are already a nurse trained at the master’s level. Depending on the program you may be required to already be an NP in Illinois.

  • All programs will require you to have your Illinois RN license.
  • These programs will take between 2 and 3 years to complete.
  • Like the BSN to DNP programs you need to submit an application with letters of recommendations, past transcripts, and more.
  • You do not have to take the GRE however, as it is assumed that you already had to take it for your MSN.
  • At the end of your DNP education you will not only be an NP but you will also have completed the highest level of clinical nursing education available.

Online Nurse Practitioner Programs

Online NP programs do exist, and with many already busy professionals pursuing higher education these online options can be a lifesaver. These offer an online platform to attend classes, complete coursework, do quizzes and even partake in class discussions. Of course any clinical experiences will have to be done in person, but your school can help you arrange these in a convenient location.

Where Do Nurse Practitioner Typically Work?

As an NP the world is at your fingertips. You can work in a variety of settings and will have the flexibility throughout your career to change it up. Here are some examples of where you may work.

  • Adult Gerontology Acute Care NP: Cardiology,  neurology, emergency departments, intensive care units, medical surgical units, military settings, and more.
  • Adult Gerontology Primary Care NP: primary care clinics, nursing homes, correctional facilities, college health, occupational health, military settings, and more.
  • Family NP: Primary care clinics, community health, urgent care, college health, occupational health,  military settings, dermatology, shelters, and more.
  • Neonatal NP: neonatal intensive care units (NICUs), emergency departments, labor and delivery units, and more.
  • Pediatric Acute Care NP: Emergency departments, specialty units in children’s hospitals, urgent care.
  • Pediatric Primary Care NP: community health centers, schools, children’s hospitals, private practices.
  • Psychiatric Mental Health NP: outpatient therapy, inpatient psychiatric units, partial hospitalization units, nursing homes, and more.
  • Women’s Health NP: Community health centers, women’s prisons, private practices, urogynecology practices, adolescent health, and more.

Potential Employers for Nurse Practitioners in Illinois


Nurse Practitioners (NPs) in Illinois find themselves at the heart of a dynamic healthcare landscape. With diverse employment settings ranging from bustling city hospitals to specialized clinics and home health care, NPs have a myriad of opportunities to make a significant impact on patient care. Here is a glimpse into some potential employers across Illinois for Nurse Practitioners.

Hospitals and Medical Centers

Illinois’s renowned hospitals and medical centers offer NPs dynamic work environments, providing care to patients across all age groups and health conditions.

Outpatient Clinics and Urgent Care Centers

NPs in these settings manage acute and chronic health conditions, providing immediate care services.

Private Practices and Specialty Clinics

Specialized NPs in private practice settings offer focused care in areas like dermatology, cardiology, and women’s health.

Community Health Centers and Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs)

These centers provide NPs with an opportunity to serve underserved communities, offering comprehensive health services.

Long-Term Care Facilities and Nursing Homes

NPs in these settings provide geriatric care, managing chronic illnesses and promoting quality of life for the elderly.

Academic Institutions and Universities

Academic NPs serve in faculty roles, teaching future nurses, and often maintain a clinical practice.

Government and Military Facilities

NPs in these facilities offer their services to military personnel, veterans, and their families.

Home Health Care Agencies

NPs in home health care deliver care to patients in their homes, managing chronic conditions, post-surgical recovery, and more.

Nurse Practitioner Types by Primary Certification

CertificationPercent of NPs
Family Nurse Practitioner69.7
Adult Care10.8
Adult–Gerontology Primary Care7.0
Psychiatric/Mental Health4.7
Acute Care4.1
Pediatrics–Primary Care3.2
Adult–Gerontology Acute Care2.9
Women’s Health2.9
Adult-Gerontology Primary Care1.8
Neonatal1.0
Pediatrics–Acute Care0.7
Source: AANP

Campus and Online Nurse Practitioner Programs in Illinois

University Offered asCity/State
Bradley University Campus, OnlinePeoria, IL
DePaul University Campus, Hybrid, OnlineChicago, IL
Governors State University Campus, Hybrid, OnlineUniversity Park, IL
University of Illinois at Chicago Campus, Hybrid, OnlineChicago, IL
Mennonite Nursing at Illinois State University Campus, Hybrid, OnlineNormal, IL
Lewis University Campus, Hybrid, OnlineRomeoville, IL
Loyola University – Chicago Campus, Hybrid, OnlineChicago, IL
North Park University CampusChicago, IL
Northern Illinois University Campus, HybridDekalb, IL
Olivet Nazarene University Campus, Hybrid, OnlineBourbonnais, IL
Saint Francis Medical Center – College of Nursing Campus, Hybrid, OnlinePeoria, IL
University of St Francis Campus, Hybrid, OnlineJoliet, IL
Saint Xavier University CampusChicago, IL
Saint Anthony College of Nursing Campus, HybridRockford, IL
Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville Campus, Hybrid, OnlineEdwardsville, IL
Oak Point University Campus, Hybrid, OnlineOak Brook, IL

What Do Nurse Practitioners Study in Illinois?

The curriculum for a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) concentration in Illinois is designed to equip students with the skills and knowledge necessary for comprehensive primary care across the lifespan. This includes pediatrics, adults, geriatrics, and women’s health. It is worth noting that the specifics of the curriculum, including class names and credit requirements, can vary by institution.

Here’s a look at the curriculum for the FNP concentration at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC):

Core Courses

  • Foundations of Nursing Practice
  • Research and Evidence-Based Practice
  • Healthcare Policy and Advocacy
  • Organizational & Systems Leadership

Advanced Practice Core

  • Advanced Physiology/Pathophysiology
  • Advanced Health Assessment & Diagnostic Reasoning
  • Advanced Pharmacology

Specialty Core

  • Primary Care of Children & Adolescents
  • Primary Care of Adults
  • Primary Care of Women
  • Primary Care of the Older Adult
  • Family Nurse Practitioner Role I, II, III (clinical practicum)

Project Courses

  • DNP Project Planning, Implementation, and Evaluation (three-course sequence)

For the FNP track at UIC, a total of 69 credit hours is required, including 1,000 supervised clinical hours, to meet the criteria set forth by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing for Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) programs.

Remember, course titles and curricular requirements may vary across programs and universities, so it’s essential to check with the specific school for exact details.

Nurse Practitioner Program Costs in Illinois

For Registered Nurses (RNs) aspiring to become nurse practitioners in Illinois, several paths lead to this advanced practice role. Each involves educational progression, clinical hours, and often significant financial investment. Here’s a look at these paths and their approximate costs:

RN to MSN Nurse Practitioner Program: This bridge program is for RNs who hold an associate degree or diploma in nursing. It usually takes around three to four years to complete and costs approximately $20,000 to $90,000.

BSN to MSN Nurse Practitioner Program: For RNs holding a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), this two-year program costs roughly $20,000 to $70,000.

Direct Entry MSN Nurse Practitioner Program: Designed for individuals with a bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing field, this program typically spans three years and costs around $50,000 to $100,000.

BSN to DNP Nurse Practitioner Program: This path leads to a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) for BSN-prepared RNs. It generally takes three to four years to complete and costs about $30,000 to $120,000.

MSN to DNP Nurse Practitioner Program: MSN-prepared NPs seeking to earn a DNP can expect a two-year program costing roughly $25,000 to $75,000.

Post-Master’s Certification Nurse Practitioner Program: This option is for MSN-prepared nurses looking to switch or add specialties. The timeframe and cost vary by specialty and school, with costs ranging from $10,000 to $40,000.

Program Examples in Illinois

  1. Rush University: Rush offers BSN to DNP and MSN to DNP options for several nurse practitioner specialties. Tuition for the BSN to DNP program is approximately $1,034 per credit hour. Given the required 89 to 99 credit hours depending on the specialty, total tuition can range from $92,026 to $102,366.
  2. University of Illinois at Chicago: UIC’s College of Nursing offers several DNP pathways including BSN to DNP and MSN to DNP programs. The estimated cost per credit hour is $1,033 for in-state students. The total cost varies based on the chosen specialty and the number of required credit hours, but a typical BSN to DNP program requiring around 69 credit hours would cost approximately $71,277.

To help offset the cost of becoming an NP you can apply for scholarships and/or loan forgiveness programs. Here are a few examples.

Scholarships outside of the school you are applying to are not as common for NP programs as they are for BSN programs, but our Nursing School  and Scholarship guide  can help you figure out additional ways to offset costs.

10 Illinois Nurse Practitioner Scholarships

For aspiring nurse practitioners in Illinois, an array of scholarships offer crucial financial assistance to offset the cost of advanced nursing education. From merit-based awards to funds for students from underserved populations, these opportunities recognize the commitment of future NPs. Here are ten notable scholarships:

  1. Illinois Nurses Foundation (INF) Scholarships: INF offers several scholarships, including the Memorial Education Fund Scholarship. It’s awarded annually to a student in a state-accredited graduate nursing program. Deadline: April, Amount: $1,000.
  2. Illinois Healthcare Education and Research Foundation Scholarships: Providing funds to students in healthcare-related programs, including nursing. Deadline: April, Amount: $1,000 – $5,000.
  3. The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Scholarships: Federal scholarships for students committed to working in high-need areas after graduation. Deadline: Varies, Amount: Varies.
  4. Nurses Educational Funds, Inc.: NEF offers scholarships to RNs enrolled in a full-time master’s or doctoral nursing program. Deadline: March, Amount: $1,000 – $10,000.
  5. American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) Scholarships: Scholarships for AANP members enrolled in an accredited NP program. Deadline: March, Amount: $2,500 – $5,000.
  6. AfterCollege/AACN $10,000 Scholarship Fund: Supports students seeking a baccalaureate, master’s, or doctoral degree in nursing. Deadline: Quarterly, Amount: $2,500.
  7. Hurst Review Services/AACN Nursing Scholarship: For pre-licensure and graduate students in a nursing program at an AACN member institution. Deadline: Quarterly, Amount: $2,500.
  8. March of Dimes Dr. Margaret C. Freda Graduate Nursing Scholarship: Recognizes an outstanding graduate nursing student. Deadline: January, Amount: $5,000.
  9. National Black Nurses Association (NBNA) Scholarships: For Black nursing students in undergraduate and graduate programs. Deadline: April, Amount: $1,000 – $6,000.
  10. Nurse Corps Scholarship Program: For students in eligible nursing programs in exchange for a commitment to work in a high-need, underserved area. Deadline: May, Amount: Varies (includes tuition, eligible fees, other reasonable costs).

These scholarships represent a significant source of financial support for nursing students in Illinois. Applicants should consult the scholarship websites for the most accurate and up-to-date information.

Nurse Practitioner Salaries in Illinois

Using data from US Bureau of Labor StatisticsDepartment of LaborUS Department of Education and other sources, we’ve complied a comprehensive Illinois nurse practitioner salary report for 2023. Find an overview and a link to the full report below.

  • The number of Nurse Practitioners currently employed in Illinois is 7,160.
  • Nurse Practitioners in Illinois earn an average of $120,470 per year or $57.92 per hour.
  • The percentage of U.S. Nurse Practitioners who work in Illinois is 3%.
  • Illinois will need 12,090 new Nurse Practitioners by 2030 or 900 new nurses per year.

Using the combined data of tens-of-thousands of NP salary surveys, the data from the U.S. Department of Education,

In Illinois, the nurse practitioner field offers competitive salaries spanning a range of specializations. Remuneration varies depending on the population focus of the NP’s work, reflecting the different responsibilities, skill sets, and demand across these diverse areas of healthcare. Let’s take a closer look at the average annual salaries for each of these population foci in the state:

Population FociAverage Annual Salary
Adult Gerontology Acute Care$105,000 – $120,000
Adult Gerontology Primary Care$100,000 – $115,000
Family Nurse Practitioner$103,000 – $118,000
Neonatal$108,000 – $123,000
Psychiatric Mental Health$110,000 – $125,000
Pediatric Acute Care$105,000 – $120,000
Pediatric Primary Care$103,000 – $118,000
Women’s Health$102,000 – $117,000

The figures provided vary based on factors like experience, specific location within Illinois, additional certifications, and the nature of the work setting.

Nurse practitioners in Illinois command substantial salaries, and these figures tend to vary depending on the location. Looking at data across the state, here are the top five regions that pay NPs the most.

Peoria, a city renowned for its healthcare facilities, tops the list. In Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, the area’s urban setting and diverse patient populations also translate into competitive salaries for NPs. The city of Rockford, known for its booming healthcare sector, offers rewarding opportunities for NPs as well. Decatur and Bloomington, despite being smaller cities, do not lag far behind in terms of compensation, signifying their significant demand for these healthcare professionals.

It’s worth noting that cost of living adjustments (COLA) can have a substantial effect on the real value of these salaries, emphasizing that raw salary data may not fully represent the financial rewards of a position. To explore more comprehensive salary and employment data for nurse practitioners across different regions of Illinois, you can visit this detailed report.

AreaAverage SalaryCOL AdjustedDifference
Peoria$124,360$138,702$14,342
Chicago-Naperville-Elgin$122,950$117,263$-5,687
Rockford$119,990$131,008$11,018
Decatur$119,540$135,965$16,425
Bloomington$118,980$126,306$7,326

Illinois Employment and Salary Report

This 2023 report can be an essential tool for professionals, job seekers, employers, and policymakers, providing insights into the labor market’s trends and dynamics.

Nurse Practitioner Programs In Illinois

Nurse Practitioner Programs in Illinois

Illinois Organizations for Nurse Practitioners

Nurse practitioners in Illinois have several dedicated organizations at their disposal, offering resources, networking opportunities, continuing education, and much more. These entities provide valuable platforms for NPs to enhance their professional growth while also advocating for the profession at large. Here are some of the most prominent organizations serving NPs in Illinois:

  1. Illinois Society for Advanced Practice Nursing (ISAPN): ISAPN is the leading advocate for advanced practice nurses in Illinois. It offers legislative representation, professional networking, continuing education, and other resources to advance the practice and profession of NPs in the state.
  2. Illinois Nurses Association (INA): INA is a professional association for registered nurses in Illinois. While not exclusive to NPs, it provides a wealth of resources, including advocacy efforts, education programs, and leadership opportunities, that benefit all nurses, including nurse practitioners.
  3. Chicago Chapter of the National Black Nurses Association (CCNBNA): While not solely focused on NPs, the CCNBNA offers resources and support for black nurses at all levels, including nurse practitioners. They work to create an inclusive healthcare environment in Chicago and throughout Illinois.
  4. American Association of Heart Failure Nurses (AAHFN): The AAHFN, with local chapters in Illinois, provides resources specifically tailored for nurses working with heart failure patients. This organization is beneficial for nurse practitioners specializing in cardiology or acute care.
  5. American Association of Neuroscience Nurses (AANN): NPs in Illinois working in the field of neuroscience can benefit from this dedicated association. The AANN offers education resources, certifications, and networking opportunities specific to this specialized field.

National Organizations for Nurse Practitioners


Nurse practitioners in Illinois can take advantage of a the many nationwide organizations offering resources, continuing education opportunities, and advocacy for the profession. Below is a description of these organizations and how they can serve Illinois nurse practitioners:

  1. American Psychiatric Nurses Association: APNA offers resources for nurse practitioners specializing in psychiatric and mental health care. Illinois NPs can utilize its wealth of educational programs, certifications, and networking events.
  2. American Association of Nurse Practitioners: AANP is a national organization that advocates for the role of nurse practitioners. Illinois NPs can benefit from the AANP’s continuing education resources, legislative advocacy, and networking opportunities.
  3. Society of Nurses in Advanced Practice: SNAP offers support and resources for advanced practice nurses, including NPs in Illinois, focusing on their unique needs and interests.
  4. Nurse Practitioner Associates for Continuing Education: NPACE provides continuing education and professional development opportunities for nurse practitioners, enabling Illinois NPs to stay updated in their practice.
  5. Nurse Practitioner Healthcare Foundation: NPHF provides research, scholarships, and awards for NPs, supporting professional growth and excellence in patient care.
  6. National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners: NAPNAP supports NPs who specialize in pediatric care, providing resources, continuing education, and advocacy on pediatric health issues.
  7. International Council of Nursing Nurse Practitioner/Advanced Practice Nursing Network: This global network supports NPs and other advanced practice nurses, promoting global health policies and access to healthcare.
  8. Doctors of Nursing Practice: This organization serves NPs who have or are pursuing a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree, providing resources on DNP programs, research, and leadership.
  9. Gerontological Advanced Practice Nurses Association: GAPNA serves NPs who specialize in gerontological care, providing education resources, networking opportunities, and advocacy for older adult health care.
  10. National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties: NONPF focuses on promoting quality nurse practitioner education at the national and international levels, a valuable resource for NPs involved in academia.
  11. Nurse Practitioners in Women’s Health: NPWH offers resources specific to NPs who focus on women’s health, providing education, advocacy, and networking opportunities.
  12. Advanced Practitioner Society for Hematology and Oncology: APSHO offers resources and support for advanced practitioners, including NPs, working in the hematology and oncology field.
  13. National Academy of Dermatology Nurse Practitioners: NADNP supports NPs working in dermatology with resources such as education, certification, and networking opportunities.
  14. American Academy of Emergency Nurse Practitioners: AAENP provides resources for NPs working in emergency care, including continuing education, certification, and advocacy for emergency care practice rights.

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