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.
Nursing Program Stats
- 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.
- 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).
- 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
Below you can read more about the undergraduate and graduate nursing programs offered in Illinois.
NCLEX Pass Rate and Accreditation Information for Nursing Schools in Illinois
The following table allows you to easily compare not-for-profit 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 Accred.*||NCLEX-PN First Time Pass Rate**||# Taking||NCLEX-RN First Time Pass Rate**||# Taking||Net Price^|
|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|
|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|
|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|
|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|
|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|
|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|
|McHenry County College||Yes||No||No||No||N/A||N/A||100%||27||$6,094|
|Moraine Valley Community College||Yes||No||No||ACEN||100%||10||77%||65||$4,848|
|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|
|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|
|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|
|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|
|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).
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.
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 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’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.
190 S Prospect Ave
Elmhurst, IL 60126
Student Review: “The Nursing program at Elmhurst College really made me feel prepared for the real world. For two years, I started out taking challenging biology and chemistry courses. They pushed me hard but really did their best to get me to my full potential. All the professors in the nursing program are very knowledgeable, and truly care about their students. All of the professors encouraged students to get hands-on experience during clinicals. The clinicals were amazing, because they let you get hands-on experience with your field. If I had to improve one thing though, it would probably be the work load of most nursing classes. I know it’s important to understand the material, but the work load I found, was incredibly heavy.” – Student at Elmhurst College
Robert Morris University
6001 University Blvd
Moon, PA 15108
Student Review: “Being here for almost two years has made me appreciate the skills that this university has taught me. On a daily basis, I can appreciate the faculty at Robert Morris University for sharing their knowledge about nursing and helping us grow as students. My professors work endlessly to make sure that my class has everything we need to understand the vigorous materials a nurse needs to know. I have transferred from two other colleges and I have never seen dedication to students like Robert Morris faculty has. I believe when the teachers work as hard as their students to build a relationship and educational goals alongside us, we as students can succeed. My professors have made an impact on me about how hard nurses work. I appreciate that I can be a confident student in a university with caring faculty. Robert Morris University’s faculty has helped me as a student by ensuring my education is valuable and that I can succeed.” – Student at Robert Morris University
2122 25th Avenue
Rock Island, IL 61201
Student Review: “The program was a great experience from the day I walked on campus to the day I completed my bachelor’s. I started off a timid, young student just out of high school and felt so welcomed by faculty and administration. Everyone who I encountered and learned from was extremely qualified and knowledgeable, and were able to assist me over the course of four years to progress to my graduation end goal. With the plentiful amount of nursing opportunities around the college, there were plenty of opportunities for clinical and internships that the college facility. The only thing I wasn’t positive on was the size of the program. I didn’t feel that the university’s stature really measured up to what the program was and it sort of was reflected in the amount of funding I assume the nursing program was allotted. Regardless, it was still a great experience and I am very happy to be a part of it.” – Student at Trinity College
1. National Center for Education Statistics College Navigator: https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
2. Niche College Search: https://www.niche.com/colleges/search/best-colleges/
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. Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE): https://directory.ccnecommunity.org/reports/accprog.asp
7. Illinois Center for Nursing: http://nursing.illinois.gov/PDF/IlApNursingEdProgPassRates.PDF