Updated: November 25, 2021

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.
  • 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 NCLEX passing rate range for ADN students in Illinois is between 71.14% and 95.44%.
  • The average NCLEX passing rate range for BSN students in Illinois is between 78.89% and 96.67%.
  • The average annual salary for registered nurses 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 Nursing Programs Liked by Illinois Nurses

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

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 Programs ADN BSN
Number of Nursing Programs 46 37
Average NCLEX Passing Rate 87.90% 89.20%
NCLEX Passing Rate Range 71.14% to 95.44% 78.89% to 96.67%

Nursing Programs Offered by Illinois Nursing Schools

  • Registered Nursing: 81
  • Family Nurse Practitioner: 16
  • Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner: 8
  • CNL: 8
  • Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner: 3
  • Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner: 3
  • Neonatal Nurse Practitioner: 2
  • Women's Health Nurse Practitioner: 2
  • Administration, Research or Clinical Nursing: 1
  • Nursing Administration: 1
  • Nursing Research and Clinical Nursing: 1
  • Pediatric Acute Care Nurse Practitioner: 1
  • Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner: 1

Illinois Nursing Schools with the Most Degree Types

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) 100.00%
  • 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

  • 3301 N. Mulford Road, Rockford, IL - 61114
  • (815) 282-7900
  • Grade: (A) 98.33%
  • 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

Lewis University

  • One University Parkway, Romeoville, IL - 60446-2200
  • (815) 838-0500
  • Grade: (A) 96.33%
  • 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.
#4

Western Illinois University

  • 1 University Circle, Macomb, IL - 61455
  • (309) 295-1414
  • Grade: (A) 94.67%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Bachelor
#5

Millikin University

  • 1184 W Main St, Decatur, IL - 62522-2084
  • (217) 424-6211
  • Grade: (A) 94.33%
  • Programs: CNL, Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Accelerated MSN, Bachelor, BSN to DNP, MSN, MSN to DNP
Millikin University is located in Decatur, Illinois.  They offer a BSN program and an RN to BSN program.  They also offer a school nurse certification.  The school nurse certification is allows the BSN to become a K-12 nurse in the state of Illinois; this certificate can be obtained at only
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#6

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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#7

Bradley University

  • 1501 W BRADLEY AVE, Peoria, IL - 61625-0001
  • (309) 676-7611
  • Grade: (A) 92.67%
  • 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
Founded in 1897, Bradley University is a private university in Bradley Ave., Peoria. It is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. It also has received numerous awards, among these are from U.S. News and World Report, and the Wall Street Journal and Times Higher Education. With an average class size
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#7

Loyola University - Chicago

  • 1032 W. Sheridan Rd, Chicago, IL - 60660
  • (773) 274-3000
  • Grade: (A) 92.67%
  • 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

Northern Illinois University

  • 1425 W. Lincoln Hwy., Dekalb, IL - 60115-2828
  • (800) 892-3050
  • Grade: (A) 92.33%
  • Programs: Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Bachelor, MSN, Post Master's NP Certificate

Best Nursing Schools (ADN) in Illinois

#1

Ambria College of Nursing

  • 5210 Trillium Blvd, Hoffman Estates, IL - 60192
  • (847) 397-0300
  • Grade: (A) 97.30%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate
#2

Black Hawk College

  • 6600-34th Avenue, Moline, IL - 61265-5899
  • (309) 796-5000
  • Grade: (A) 97.00%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate
#2

McHenry County College

  • 8900 US Hwy 14, Crystal Lake, IL - 60012-2761
  • (815) 455-3700
  • Grade: (A) 97.00%
  • 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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#3

Joliet Junior College

  • 1215 Houbolt Rd, Joliet, IL - 60431-8938
  • (815) 729-9020
  • Grade: (A) 96.70%
  • 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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#4

Southeastern Illinois College

  • 3575 College Road, Harrisburg, IL - 62946
  • (618) 252-5400
  • Grade: (A) 96.00%
  • 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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#5

Southwestern Illinois College

  • 2500 Carlyle Ave, Belleville, IL - 62221-5899
  • (618) 235-2700
  • Grade: (A) 95.30%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate
Southwestern Illinois College has locations in Belleville, Granite City and Red Bud, Illinois.  They offer an RN program.  They also have an LPN Articulation program.  This program allows LPNs to take prerequisite classes as required; if all classes are passed successfully in the allotted time frame, "escrowed" credits will be
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#5

John A Logan College

  • 700 Logan College Drive, Carterville, IL - 62918-2500
  • (618) 985-3741
  • Grade: (A) 95.30%
  • 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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#6

College of DuPage

  • 425 Fawell Blvd., Glen Ellyn, IL - 60137-6599
  • (630) 942-2800
  • Grade: (A) 94.70%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate
#6

Kaskaskia College

  • 27210 College Rd, Centralia, IL - 62801
  • (618) 545-3000
  • Grade: (A) 94.70%
  • 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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#7

Kankakee Community College

  • 100 College Drive, Kankakee, IL - 60901
  • (815) 802-8100
  • Grade: (A) 94.30%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate
#8

Oakton Community College

  • 1600 E Golf Rd., Des Plaines, IL - 60016-1268
  • (847) 635-1600
  • Grade: (A) 93.70%
  • 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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#9

Heartland Community College

  • 1500 West Raab Road, Normal, IL - 61761-9446
  • (309) 268-8000
  • Grade: (A) 92.70%
  • 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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#10

Elgin Community College

  • 1700 Spartan Drive, Elgin, IL - 60123-7193
  • (847) 697-1000
  • Grade: (A) 91.30%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate
Elgin Community College is located in Elgin, Illinois.  Elgin Community College has a variety of degree options; many of these associate's degrees are designed so that after completion, the graduate can enter a university seamlessly and complete their bachelor's degree.  They offer an RN program and offer their students guidance
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#11

William Rainey Harper College

  • 1200 W Algonquin Rd, Palatine, IL - 60067-7398
  • (847) 925-6000
  • Grade: (A) 91.00%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate
Harper College is located in Palatine, Illinois.  Their nursing department graduated their first RNs in 1967.  They offer a practical nursing program, and RN program and an RN to BSN completion program.  Harper College is partnered with Benedictine University to offer the RN to BSN program on the Harper College
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More Illinois Nursing Schools (BSN & ASN)

Additional List of Top Illinois Nursing Programs

Grade
University
Illinois Rank
Degree
89.30 Lincoln Land Community College 16 ADN
88.30 Moraine Valley Community College 17 ADN
87.70 Kishwaukee College 18 ADN
87.30 Rock Valley College 19 ADN
86.70 South Suburban College 22 ADN
86.00 Lake Land College 21 ADN
86.00 Shawnee College 20 ADN
85.30 Spoon River College 23 ADN
85.00 Illinois Valley Community College 25 ADN
84.30 College of Lake County 26 ADN
84.00 John Wood Community College 24 ADN
84.00 Waubonsee Community College 27 ADN
83.70 Lewis and Clark Community College 28 ADN
83.00 Illinois Central College 30 ADN
83.00 Sauk Valley Community College 29 ADN
81.70 Parkland College 32 ADN
81.70 Richland Community College 31 ADN
81.00 Prairie State College 33 ADN
78.70 Danville Area Community College 34 ADN
76.30 Triton College 36 ADN
71.70 Carl Sandburg College 37 ADN
70.70 Highland Community College 38 ADN
69.70 Morton College 39 ADN
55.00 Northwestern College-Southwestern Campus 40 ADN
89.33 Olivet Nazarene University 12 BSN
89.00 Lakeview College of Nursing 13 BSN
88.67 Blessing Rieman College of Nursing 14 BSN
88.00 St John's College of Nursing 15 BSN
86.00 Methodist College 16 BSN
86.00 Saint Xavier University 18 BSN
86.00 Chamberlain College of Nursing-Illinois 17 BSN
85.33 Saint Francis Medical Center - College of Nursing 19 BSN
84.67 Elmhurst University 21 BSN
84.33 Illinois Wesleyan University 23 BSN
84.33 University of St Francis 20 BSN
84.00 University of Illinois at Chicago 22 BSN
83.67 Trinity College of Nursing & Health Sciences 24 BSN
81.00 North Park University 25 BSN
74.00 Rockford University 26 BSN
68.67 Oak Point University 28 BSN
37.00 Chicago State University 29 BSN

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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