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Illinois Nursing Programs and Degrees Guide

The following guide is designed to provide you with important information on the many undergraduate and graduate nursing programs offered in Illinois. Students have a menu of concentrations in nursing from which to choose at Illinois’s colleges and universities. Concentrations include pediatric nurse practitioner, women’s health nurse practitioner, and adult gerontology nurse practitioner. In addition to many traditional nursing programs, students in need of flexibility may want to consider pursuing a bachelor’s or a master’s degree in nursing through an online university.

Illinois School Facts:

  • 46 colleges and universities offer an associate’s degree in nursing.
  • 37 colleges and universities offer a bachelor’s degree in nursing.
  • 25 colleges and universities offer a master’s or advanced degree in nursing.
  • Highest graduation rate: Wheaton College 90%.1
  • Highest transfer-out rate: Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and Concordia University –Chicago 38%.1
  • Highest net price: Loyola University Chicago $29,671.1
  • Lowest net price: University of Illinois at Chicago $11,932.1
  • Annual undergrad tuition range for schools in Illinois with a bachelor’s in nursing program: $14,654 – $37,774.2
  • Eight schools ranked in US News Best Nursing Graduate Schools in 2016: DePaul University (#142 MSN), Illinois State University (#168 MSN), Loyola University Chicago (#40 MSN, #36 DNP), Rush University (#16 MSN, #5 DNP), Southern Illinois University (#133 MSN, #109 DNP), St. Xavier University (#128 MSN), University of Illinois at Chicago #23 MSN, #26 DNP), University of St. Francis (#124 MSN).

Below you can read more about the undergraduate and graduate nursing programs offered in Illinois.

Schools in Illinois with Nursing Degrees

Associate’s in Nursing Programs

Carl Sandburg College
Small class sizes and limited admission allow Carl Sandburg College to offer its students optimal freedom to collaborate and communicate with both faculty and fellow students. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) program at Carl Sandburg College has small average class sizes that allow faculty to dedicate time and attention to each individual student. This one-on-one style of communication allows for increased access to educational services that empower development both as a professional and as an individual. The ADN program is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). The college also offers certificate programs for prospective Nursing Assistants and Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN). In addition to these programs, Carl Sandburg College seeks to assist students who wish to transfer into Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree programs by working closely with several four-year colleges and universities to facilitate transfer to BSN programs, and also holds an annual Nurse Transfer fair in the fall to assist students interested in pursuing a four-year degree.

Kishwaukee College
The Associate of Applied Science in Nursing degree (ADN) program at Kishwaukee College boasts an NCLEX-RN pass rate higher than state and national averages. Kishwaukee College focuses on providing high quality nursing education in concert with hands-on experience. All courses focus on competencies outlined by the Quality and Safety Education for Nurses (QSEN) Institute; students learn the principles of teamwork, technology, ethics, and evidence-based practice in healthcare settings and have access to recently remodeled facilities including new classrooms, nursing labs, and a state-of-the-art simulation lab. In the classroom, the curriculum is centered around communication theory, biological and behavioral sciences, and nursing. All students also complete a supervised clinical experience as part of the 66 credit hours required to complete the ADN program. Though courses are held during the day, students may complete the program on a part-time or full-time basis, allowing some scheduling flexibility.

Bachelor’s in Nursing Programs

Aurora University
Aurora University confers the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) to students who successfully complete the four-year, 123 credit program. Undergraduates will complete core college coursework and core and elective classes, as well as clinical rotations, within the nursing major. Clinical rotations take place at hospitals, psychiatric facilities, and public health centers. Major coursework covers nursing informatics, pharmacological concepts, behavioral health issues, and leadership and management. Graduates are prepared to sit for the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) with the nursing department boasting a 98 percent pass rate for graduates taking the exam for the first time.

Lewis University
Lewis University’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program requires students to complete 131 credits to fulfill degree requirements. Students typically take general college coursework – psychology, math, English, and science – in the first two years of the program before predominately focusing on nursing courses in the final two years. Core nursing courses cover such diverse topics as childbearing families, critical care adults, health care trends, and psychiatric and mental health nursing. Nursing majors gain valuable real world experience with clinical rotations at affiliated facilities including Almost Home Kids, Evanston Hospital, Silver Cross Home Health, and St. Patrick’s Residence. Students are invited to join the Student Nurse Association and, if academically eligible, Sigma Theta Tau.

Master’s in Nursing Programs

University of Illinois
The University of Illinois features a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) at the university’s campuses in Chicago, Urbana, Peoria, Rockford, and Quad Cities. More than a dozen specializations are available, including adult gerontology, pediatrics, and women’s health nurse practitioner. Graduate students may opt to pursue a dual MSN and a Master of Business Administration, a Master of Science in Health Informatics, or a Master of Public Health. The MSN program generally requires between two to four years to fulfill degree requirements depending on whether a student enrolls on a full-time or a part-time basis. Students typically take a mixture of on-campus, online, and videoconferencing courses.

Northern Illinois University
Northern Illinois University allows graduate students to pursue a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) on a full-time or a part-time basis. Students may specialize in one of several areas, including adult clinical nurse specialist, adult nurse practitioner, family nurse practitioner, and nursing education. The program features both in-classroom coursework and online classes. In addition to core nursing classes and concentration-specific courses, graduate students must complete a mandatory internship, regardless of their specialization. Successful applicants to the program must possess a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and must have a current registered nurse’s license. New nursing students begin the program in the fall semester.

NCLEX Pass Rate and Accreditation Information for Nursing Schools in Illinois

The following table allows you to easily compare Illinois nursing schools on a variety of factors. Click on the arrows in the top row to sort the table. In addition to seeking a program that leads to licensure in your desired area of nursing, it’s advisable to consider accreditation as a factor in your decision. If you are considering education beyond the associate’s level, know that a degree from a school that holds accreditation from the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) is a common requirement for admission to master’s degree, ADN/LVN and RN to BSN, and specialized certificate programs. You should also check to ensure that the school you are considering is approved or accepted by the Illinois Center for Nursing.

School ADN or LVN Program BSN Program Graduate Nursing Program ACEN/CCNE Accredited* NCLEX-PN First Time Pass Rate** Number Taking NCLEX-RN First Time Pass Rate** Number Taking Net Price***
Aurora University No Yes No CCNE N/A N/A 94% 88 $17,178
Benedictine University No Yes Yes CCNE N/A N/A N/A N/A $19,895
Black Hawk College Yes No No ACEN 88% 33 90% 51 $5,798
Blessing Rieman College of Nursing No Yes Yes CCNE N/A N/A 89% 57 $25,300
Bradley University No Yes No ACEN N/A N/A 100% 78 $27,451
Carl Sandburg College Yes No No ACEN 83% 18 76% 42 $3,673
Chicago State University No Yes No ACEN N/A N/A 71% 35 $10,610
College of DuPage Yes No No ACEN 91% 46 62% 87 $7,458
College of Lake County Yes No No ACEN N/A N/A 93% 74 $4,615
Danville Area Community College Yes No No ACEN 93% 57 91% 35 $8,027
DePaul University No No Yes CCNE N/A N/A 89% 131 $29,756
Dominican University No Yes No No N/A N/A N/A N/A $17,520
Eastern Illinois University No Yes No CCNE N/A N/A N/A N/A $16,326
Elgin Community College Yes No No ACEN 93% 29 90% 99 $6,183
Elmhurst College No Yes Yes CCNE N/A N/A 85% 59 $21,826
Governors State University No Yes Yes ACEN N/A N/A N/A N/A $4,632
Heartland Community College Yes No No ACEN 100% 19 96% 25 $7,215
Highland Community College Yes No No No N/A N/A 85% 40 $5,731
Illinois Central College Yes No No ACEN 96% 28 91% 66 $8,904
Illinois Eastern Community College Yes No No ACEN 95% 43 87% 86 $7,459
Illinois State University No Yes Yes CCNE N/A N/A 96% 176 $16,337
Illinois Valley Community College Yes No No ACEN 100% 15 80% 69 $9,987
Illinois Wesleyan University No Yes No CCNE N/A N/A 91% 32 $27,996
John A. Logan College Yes No No No 93% 56 97% 68 $3,312
John Wood Community College Yes No No No 100% 7 90% 21 $7,121
Joliet Junior College Yes No No ACEN 99% 69 96% 117 $5,032
Kankakee Community College Yes No No No 100% 5 88% 57 $5,688
Kaskaskia College Yes No No ACEN 93% 43 81% 77 $5,189
Kishwaukee College Yes No No No N/A N/A 96% 50 $7,448
Lake Land College Yes No No ACEN 90% 40 84% 51 $5,149
Lakeview College of Nursing No Yes No CCNE N/A N/A 73% 147 $22,120
Lewis and Clark Community College Yes No No ACEN N/A N/A 75% 107 $4,022
Lewis University No Yes Yes CCNE N/A N/A 95% 138 $18,768
Lincoln Land Community College Yes No No ACEN 91% 23 97% 87 $4,057
Loyola University Chicago No Yes Yes CCNE N/A N/A 92% 204 $31,069
MacMurray College No Yes No CCNE N/A N/A 94% 18 $17,555
McHenry County College Yes No No No N/A N/A 100% 27 $6,094
McKendree University No Yes Yes CCNE N/A N/A N/A N/A $17,572
Methodist College No Yes No CCNE N/A N/A 85% 103 $26,203
Millikin University No Yes Yes CCNE N/A N/A 78% 49 $19,208
Moraine Valley Community College Yes No No ACEN 100% 10 77% 65 $4,848
Morton College Yes No No ACEN 100% 4 82% 55 $3,193
North Park University No Yes Yes CCNE N/A N/A 84% 81 $19,152
Northern Illinois University No Yes Yes CCNE N/A N/A 87% 143 $18,533
Oakton Community College Yes No No ACEN 83% 6 89% 84 $6,030
Olivet Nazarene University No Yes Yes CCNE N/A N/A 87% 211 $19,112
Parkland College Yes No No ACEN 88% 26 90% 72 $5,766
Prairie State College Yes No No ACEN N/A N/A 90% 48 $7,553
Rend Lake College Yes No No No 100% 1 91% 53 $6,899
Resurrection University No Yes Yes CCNE N/A N/A 88% 172 $24,562
Richland Community College Yes No No ACEN 70% 10 89% 47 $5,157
Robert Morris University No Yes No ACEN N/A N/A 56% 9 $19,452
Rock Valley College Yes No No No 92% 12 84% 45 $6,997
Rockford University No Yes No ACEN N/A N/A 81% 64 $20,861
Rush University No No Yes CCNE N/A N/A 95% 132 N/A
Sauk Valley Community College Yes No No No 95% 19 90% 40 $6,403
Shawnee Community College Yes No No No 100% 38 93% 29 $12,164
South Suburban College Yes No No No N/A N/A 90% 10 $4,390
Southeastern Illinois College Yes No No No 100% 35 92% 25 $8,505
Southern Illinois University No Yes Yes CCNE N/A N/A 77% 237 $15,784
Southwestern Illinois College Yes No No ACEN N/A N/A 95% 44 $9,178
Spoon River College Yes No No No 100% 18 81% 16 $5,485
Saint Anthony College of Nursing No Yes Yes CCNE N/A N/A 99% 73 $28,271
St. John’s College No Yes No ACEN N/A N/A 92% 53 $19,807
St. Xavier University No Yes Yes CCNE N/A N/A 83% 118 $16,736
Trinity Christian College No Yes No CCNE N/A N/A 100% 35 $20,701
Trinity College Yes Yes No ACEN/CCNE N/A N/A 100% 15 $24,675
Triton College Yes No No ACEN N/A N/A 84% 68 $4,977
University of Illinois at Chicago No Yes Yes CCNE N/A N/A 75% 146 $11,567
University of St. Francis No Yes Yes CCNE N/A N/A 97% 75 $17,366
Waubonsee Community College Yes No No ACEN N/A N/A 96% 55 $6,079
Western Illinois University No Yes No CCNE N/A N/A 95% 20 $16,829
William Rainey Harper College Yes No No ACEN 95% 19 90% 99 $7,161

*The Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) accredits ADN/ASN/BSN programs. The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) accredits BSN/MSN/DNP programs.5,6
**NCLEX-PN and NCLEX-RN pass rates reported are for first-time undergraduates testing between January 1, 2015 and December 31, 2015.7 You can compare these pass rates to the national average through the National Council of State Boards of Nursing.
***The National Center for Education Statistics calculates net price from the total estimated cost of attendance, including includes tuition, books, room and board, and other expenses, for in-state students minus the average financial aid award (such as grants and scholarships).

References:
1. National Center for Education Statistics College Navigator: https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
2. Niche College Search: https://www.niche.com/colleges/?state=IL&sort=best
3. US News & World Report National Universities Rankings: https://www.usnews.com/best-colleges/search
4. US News & World Report Best Nursing Grad Schools Rankings: https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/search?program=top-nursing-schools
5. Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN): http://www.acenursing.us/accreditedprograms/programSearch.htm
6. American Association of Colleges of Nursing Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE): http://www.aacn.nche.edu/ccne-accreditation/accredited-programs
7. Illinois Center for Nursing: http://nursing.illinois.gov/PDF/IlApNursingEdProgPassRates.PDF