January 16, 2022

Overview of Nursing Schools in Illinois

  • There are 82 nursing schools in Illinois. The CCNE accredits 31 nursing schools and the ACEN accredits 44 schools in Illinois.
  • On average, attending an RN program in Illinois will cost you between $1,634.00 and $29,184.00 per year.
  • In Illinois, the average undergraduate student borrows between $4,725.00 and $14,000.00 per year.
  • Typically, an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) will take between 18 to 24 months to complete, and a Bachelor Degree in Nursing (BSN) will take about 4 years to complete.
  • The average, the NCLEX passing rate range for Illinois ADN students is between 71.14% and 95.44%.
  • On average, the NCLEX passing rate range for Illinois BSN students is between 78.89% and 96.67%.
  • The average annual salary for a registered nurse in Illinois is between $52,080 to $111,220 a year.
  • Registered Nurses (RN) throughout the country and in Illinois can expect a favorable job growth of 15 percent from 2016 to 2026 which much faster than the average for all occupations.

Online BSN Programs Liked by Registered Nurses

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

About Nursing Schools in Illinois

Coursework in RN and BSN programs in Illinois build upon your prior learning and nursing experience, and provide opportunities for individualized study in your area of interest. Healthcare reform, increasingly complex medical technology and computerized healthcare have raised the bar for nurses, making an advanced education in nursing a very valuable asset.

In our Illinois RN program guide, find rankings for both ADN and BSN Degree programs, tuition costs, NCLEX passing rates, and more. Research key Illinois RN Program information to help you compare program metrics and to apply to best RN program for your career in nursing.

In the State of Illinois, nurses are helping to change the face of healthcare. To ensure that they have the best education and preparation for future health care challenges, registered nurses need to graduate from a state-approved associate's degree in nursing program or a BSN degree program.

Nurses who graduate from an RN program can obtain certification in over 100 nursing specialties, go on to earn an RN to BSN or RN to MSN degree.

BSN degree holders have options to earn an Advance Practice Register Nursing (APRN) degree and become a Nurse Practitioner (NP), or earn an advanced degree for a career in any number of nursing leadership roles such Nurse Educator or Clinical Nurse Specialist.

Illinois RN Program Comparisons: ADN vs BSN

Compare RN ProgramsADNBSN
Number of Nursing Programs4637
Average NCLEX Passing Rate87.90%89.20%
NCLEX Passing Rate Range71.14% to 95.44%78.89% to 96.67%
Average Net Price$6,013.42$19,560.45
Average Net Price Range$1,634.00 to $19,642.00$10,203.00 to $29,184.00
Average Student Loan$5,694.95$21,263.40
Average Student Loan Range$3,344.00 to $20,000.00$14,157.00 to $27,000.00
See Additional DetailADN Rankings for Illinois StateBSN Rankings for Illinois State

Best Ranked RN Programs in Illinois

Best Ranked RN Programs in Illinois

To help nursing students in their search for a top RN program, the education experts at RNCareers.org publish their annual findings of the best nursing schools for both Illinois and the country. Schools ranked on our list have proven their ability to educate highly competent nurses.

To create our rankings, we evaluated 41 ADN degree programs and 29 BSN degree programs in Illinois. We obtained each institution’s first-time NCLEX-RN passing rates, the number of students taking the test, the program nursing accreditation and more. We then compared the results against other nursing programs in Illinois to provide our state rankings. View our methodology

Best Nursing Schools (BSN) in Illinois

#1

Trinity Christian College

  • 6601 W College Dr, Palos Heights, IL - 60463-0929
  • (708) 597-3000
  • Grade: (A) 99.11%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Bachelor
Trinity Christian College is a private Christian college located in Palos Heights, Illinois. The nursing school offers a four-year BSN program that comes with an integrated minor in science. Trinity’s nursing program is the only nursing school in the Chicago area with a 100% NCLEX pass rate in 2015 and
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#2

Saint Anthony College of Nursing

  • 5658 E State St, Rockford, IL - 61108-2468
  • (815) 282-7900
  • Grade: (A) 96.89%
  • 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
Saint Anthony College of Nursing is located in Rockford, IL. Their health sciences facility is located on the campus of Rock Valley College, which 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
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#3

Bradley University

  • 1501 W Bradley Ave, Peoria, IL - 61625-0001
  • (309) 676-7611
  • Grade: (A) 96.26%
  • 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
Bradley University was founded in 1897 and is located in Peoria, IL. They offer a BSN degree, as well as on-campus and online graduate programs. BU’s location is amidst a blend of urban and rural landscapes, which in turn exposes nursing students to the various needs within these healthcare facilities
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#4

Mennonite Nursing at Illinois State University

  • North and School Streets, Normal, IL - 61790-1000
  • (309) 438-2111
  • Grade: (A) 95.33%
  • Programs: CNL, Family Nurse Practitioner, Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Accelerated BSN, APRN Certificate, Bachelor, MSN, MSN to DNP, Post Master's NP Certificate
Illinois State University is located in Normal, Illinois and was founded in 1857. The Mennonite College of Nursing has a BSN program that extends over 4 semesters of full-time studies in traditional nursing. They also offer an accelerated second degree program and an online RN to BSN program. They offer
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#5

Illinois Wesleyan University

  • 1312 N Park St, Bloomington, IL - 61702-2900
  • (309) 556-1000
  • Grade: (A) 95.22%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Bachelor
Illinois Wesleyan University is located in Bloomington, Illinois.  They offer a BSN program.  Their program is unique because they encourage their nursing students to study abroad in Barcelona.  A transcultural experience is also offered for travel to Hawaii.  Nursing students are also given the opportunity to minor Human Services Management
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#6

Lewis University

  • One University Parkway, Romeoville, IL - 60446-2200
  • (815) 838-0500
  • Grade: (A) 95.04%
  • 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
Lewis University is located in Romeoville, Illinois.  Their nursing department offers a few options for its nursing students: a pre-licensure program, which is a general BSN program, a pre-licensure accelerated program, which is designed for students already holding a bachelor's degree, and an RN to BSN program.
#7

Loyola University - Chicago

  • 1032 W. Sheridan Rd, Chicago, IL - 60660
  • (773) 274-3000
  • Grade: (A) 94.44%
  • 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
The Loyola University Chicago Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing offers undergraduate (BSN), master’s (MSN), and doctoral programs (DNP and PhD) in nursing. All programs are CCNE accredited and fairly competitive, with a 55% acceptance rate. The BSN program is designed to prepare generalist nurses who can deliver quality and professional
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#8

Western Illinois University

  • 1 University Circle, Macomb, IL - 61455
  • (309) 295-1414
  • Grade: (A) 94.33%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Bachelor
#9

Trinity College of Nursing & Health Sciences

  • 2122 - 25th Avenue, Rock Island, IL - 61201-5317
  • (309) 779-7700
  • Grade: (A) 93.74%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Accelerated BSN, Associate, Bachelor, LPN to BSN, MSN
Trinity College or Nursing and Health Sciences is located in Rock Island, Illinois.  This college is unique in that it is small and houses only health science degrees - nursing (associates of nursing, bachelor's of nursing, master's of nursing, bachelor of science in health science, associate of applied science in
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#10

MacMurray College

  • 447 East College Ave, Jacksonville, IL - 62650-2590
  • (217) 479-7043
  • Grade: (A) 93.70%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Bachelor, LPN to BSN
MacMurray College is a private Christian institution located in Jacksonville, Illinois that offers a four-year, CCNE accredited BSN program, as well as an online RN to BSN program. MacMurray’s BSN program is a unique program that integrates a liberal arts core while preparing graduates for professional nursing practice, graduate education,
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#11

Northern Illinois University

  • 1425 W. Lincoln Hwy., Dekalb, IL - 60115-2828
  • (800) 892-3050
  • Grade: (A) 93.44%
  • Programs: Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Bachelor, MSN, Post Master's NP Certificate
#12

Aurora University

  • 347 S Gladstone Ave, Aurora, IL - 60506-4892
  • (630) 892-6431
  • Grade: (A) 93.07%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Bachelor, MSN
Aurora University is located in Aurora, Illinois.  They offer both a traditional BSN program and an RN to BSN program.  Incoming freshmen may apply for direct admission into the BSN program if they have an ACT score of 23 and a GPA of 3.2.

Best Nursing Schools (ADN) in Illinois

#1

Southeastern Illinois College

  • 3575 College Road, Harrisburg, IL - 62946
  • (618) 252-5400
  • Grade: (A) 99.11%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate
Southeastern Illinois College was founded in 1960 and is located in Harrisburg, IL. They offer an ACEN accredited ADN program that gives students in-depth training in general nursing as well as in specialty sectors such as obstetrics and pediatrics. The nursing program is a two-semester program that begins each fall
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#2

Oakton Community College

  • 1600 E Golf Rd., Des Plaines, IL - 60016-1268
  • (847) 635-1600
  • Grade: (A) 97.22%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate
Oakton Community College is located in Des Plaines, Illinois.  There is also a campus in Skokie, Illinois.  They offer an RN program and an LPN to RN bridge program.  The RN program is offered twice yearly, whereas the bridge program is only offered once per year.  The LPN seeking entrance
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#3

John A Logan College

  • 700 Logan College Road, Carterville, IL - 62918-2500
  • (618) 985-3741
  • Grade: (A) 96.37%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate
John A. Logan College is located in Carterville, IL. They offer an ACEN accredited ADN program that only admits students who have completed a Practical Nursing program and have obtained their LPN license. The program does have two options for curriculum delivery, either traditionally or in a hybrid format. Do
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#4

Kaskaskia College

  • 27210 College Rd, Centralia, IL - 62801
  • (618) 545-3000
  • Grade: (A) 95.96%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate
Kaskaskia College offers an Associate Nursing Degree (ADN) Program, a Nurse Assistant Certificate (CNA), and a Practical Nursing Certificate (LPN). The ADN Program is ACEN accredited and boasts a 96% NCLEX-RN pass rate and 100% job placement. New students are admitted four times per year. This program focuses on students’
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#5

South Suburban College

  • 15800 South State Street, South Holland, IL - 60473-1200
  • (708) 596-2000
  • Grade: (A) 95.85%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate
South Suburban College offers a two-year Associate Degree Nursing (ADN) program. South Suburban is a public college located in South Holland, Illinois. Throughout the course of study, students will acquire basic knowledge of nursing theory and practice, and upon graduation they will be adequately prepared to take the NCLEX exam.
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#6

Joliet Junior College

  • 1215 Houbolt Rd, Joliet, IL - 60431-8938
  • (815) 729-9020
  • Grade: (A) 95.81%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate
Joliet Junior College is located in Joliet, Illinois.  The College of Nursing at Joliet Junior College offers a practical nursing program, a military corpsman to practical nurse program, an RN program and an LPN transition to RN program.  Their LPN to RN program is competitive and their admission requirements are
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#7

Heartland Community College

  • 1500 West Raab Road, Normal, IL - 61761-9446
  • (309) 268-8000
  • Grade: (A) 95.33%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate
Heartland Community College offers an ACEN accredited Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree, a one-year Practical Nursing Certificate Sequence, as well as an LPN to ADN Program. The AAS is a two year program with an optional preparation course for the NCLEX-PN exam to become a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN).
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#8

Spoon River College

  • 23235 North County 22, Canton, IL - 61520-8622
  • (309) 647-4645
  • Grade: (A) 95.07%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate
#9

Black Hawk College

  • 6600-34th Avenue, Moline, IL - 61265-5899
  • (309) 796-5000
  • Grade: (A) 94.63%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate
#9

McHenry County College

  • 8900 US Hwy 14, Crystal Lake, IL - 60012-2761
  • (815) 455-3700
  • Grade: (A) 94.63%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate
McHenry County College is located in Crystal Lake, Illinois.  Their nursing department offers an AAS degree and an LPN to AAS degree.  McHenry County College also offers an RN to BSN Partnership Program with Aurora University  - Woodstock Center.  If enrolled in this program, McHenry nursing students will have direct
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#10

Kankakee Community College

  • 100 College Drive, Kankakee, IL - 60901
  • (815) 802-8100
  • Grade: (A) 94.00%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate

More Illinois Nursing Schools (BSN & ASN)

Additional List of Top Illinois Nursing Programs

Become an Advance Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) in Illinois

RNs who wish to become advanced practice registered nurses will want to pursue any number of avenues to earn Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree. Earning a Master of Science in Nursing consists of graduate-level coursework and clinical practice for those nurses who wish to direct patient roles such as a nurse practitioner. You can also pursue indirect patient roles such as teaching or leadership roles, or become involved in policy, state-wide health initiatives or community engagement. There are many clinical and non-clinical avenues that an RN with MSN can pursue.

Become a Nurse Practitioner (NP) in Illinois

Learn how to become a Nurse Practitioner (NP) and research schools in Illinois offering the following high paying nurse practitioner specialties:

Learn about the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Degree.

Online NP Programs Liked by Illinois Nurses

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

Illinois  RN Licensing Requirements

RN Licensure by Exam

After graduation a candidate can apply for the exam and licensing. This can be completed online. The application and fee is sent to through an outside agency called Continental Testing Services for a $91 fee. There is also a paper application available. Prior to receiving authorization to participate in the exam, candidates must submit proof of graduation. An official transcript will be required eventually but the process can be quickened the process by providing the correct documentation. Fingerprints will be required. This is a step that can be completed within 60 days in advance.

Registration to the exam itself is completed through the Pearson VUE website and requires a $200 fee. When a nursing candidate has passed a licensing exam they will be able to practice under appropriate supervision as a “license pending” nurse. This cannot be done, however, until the candidate receives an authorization letter. The exam must be passed within three years of the time they apply for the Board; otherwise, two years of nursing school will be required.

RN Licensure by Endorsement

Candidates who obtained licensure in one of the other 50 states need license verification from the state in which they are licensed. This includes the current state and other states in which the nurse has practice in the most recent five year around. NCLEX results may be provided by the state of original licensure or by Pearson VUE. Endorsement candidates may obtain a temporary license in favor of beginning work before the paperwork is processed. The endorsement application fee is $50 but is $75 for a temporary license.

RN License for Nurses Educated Abroad

Eligible foreign nurses may obtain licensing in Illinois as long as they are license in their country and met all other requirements. There must be a credential report for one or two approved agencies. Credentials or documentation that are not in English must be sent with a certified translation. Candidates who do not speak English as a first language must complete the TOEFL or IELTS Academic Module. This requirement may be waived for a nurse who completed a program or took a licensing exam in English.

Illinois Department of Professional Regulation

James R. Thompson Center
100 West Randolph, 9th Floor
Chicago, IL 60601
(312) 814-4500

Fees
Initial licensing fee, RN: $91
License renewal (every two years), RN: $50

RN Salaries in Illinois

Nurses who have completed a RN to BSN program are commonly sought out by prospective employers and offered a wider range of career choices. Both hospitals and non-hospitals positions in Illinois for nurses with BSNs include:

  • RN educators for faculty, academic advising, and clinical preceptors
  • Labor and delivery, intensive care, and OBGYN
  • Intervention catheter labs, emergency department, and PACU

The complexity of care for an increasingly older population requires advanced training for effective nursing care. The nurses in Illinois earn an average salary of $66,730 annually.

Illinois Registered Nursing Salaries

You will see in this table that the Chicago-Joliet-Naperville metropolitan area has the highest employment rate as well as hourly mean wage and annual median wage.
Source: BLS, Department of Education, State Board of Nursing, Nursing School Websites.

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