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.

    Quick Facts

    • 92 schools with nursing programs in Illinois are in our database (see below).
    • 53 colleges and universities offer associate’s degrees or certificates in nursing.1
    • 38 colleges and universities offer bachelor’s degrees in nursing.1
    • 30 colleges and universities offer master’s or advanced degrees in nursing.1
    • 1 school ranked in Kiplinger’s Best Values in Public Colleges in 2018.2
    • 1 school ranked in the Princeton Review’s Great Schools for Nursing Majors in 2018.3
    • 9 schools ranked in US News Best Nursing Schools: Master’s programs.4
    • 6 schools ranked in US News Best Nursing Schools: Doctor of Nursing Practice programs.4

    Top-Ranked Schools with Nursing Programs in Illinois

    Kiplinger’s Best Values in Public Colleges 2018*

    • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (#30 in-state, #18 out-of-state)

    *Institution-wide ranking.

    Princeton Review’s Great Schools for Nursing Majors 2018

    • Loyola University Chicago

    US News Best Nursing Schools: Master’s

    • Rush University (#18 tie)
    • University of Illinois-Chicago (#18 tie)
    • Loyola University Chicago (#55 tie)
    • Illinois State University (#98 tie)
    • Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville (#143 tie)
    • St. Xavier University (#146 tie)
    • University of St. Francis (#155 tie)
    • DePaul University (#164 tie)
    • Lewis University (#183 tie)

    US News Best Nursing Schools: Doctor of Nursing Practice

    • Rush University (#4)
    • University of Illinois-Chicago (#12)
    • Loyola University Chicago (#72)
    • Illinois State University (#105 tie)
    • DePaul University (#141)
    • Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville (#147)

    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.

    SchoolADN or LVN ProgramBSN ProgramGraduate Nursing ProgramACEN/CCNE Accred.*NCLEX-PN First Time Pass Rate**# TakingNCLEX-RN First Time Pass Rate**# TakingNet Price^
    Aurora UniversityNoYesNoCCNEN/AN/A94%88$17,178
    Benedictine UniversityNoYesYesCCNEN/AN/AN/AN/A$19,895
    Black Hawk CollegeYesNoNoACEN88%3390%51$5,798
    Blessing Rieman College of NursingNoYesYesCCNEN/AN/A89%57$25,300
    Bradley UniversityNoYesNoACENN/AN/A100%78$27,451
    Carl Sandburg CollegeYesNoNoACEN83%1876%42$3,673
    Chicago State UniversityNoYesNoACENN/AN/A71%35$10,610
    College of DuPageYesNoNoACEN91%4662%87$7,458
    College of Lake CountyYesNoNoACENN/AN/A93%74$4,615
    Danville Area Community CollegeYesNoNoACEN93%5791%35$8,027
    DePaul UniversityNoNoYesCCNEN/AN/A89%131$29,756
    Dominican UniversityNoYesNoNoN/AN/AN/AN/A$17,520
    Eastern Illinois UniversityNoYesNoCCNEN/AN/AN/AN/A$16,326
    Elgin Community CollegeYesNoNoACEN93%2990%99$6,183
    Elmhurst CollegeNoYesYesCCNEN/AN/A85%59$21,826
    Governors State UniversityNoYesYesACENN/AN/AN/AN/A$4,632
    Heartland Community CollegeYesNoNoACEN100%1996%25$7,215
    Highland Community CollegeYesNoNoNoN/AN/A85%40$5,731
    Illinois Central CollegeYesNoNoACEN96%2891%66$8,904
    Illinois Eastern Community CollegeYesNoNoACEN95%4387%86$7,459
    Illinois State UniversityNoYesYesCCNEN/AN/A96%176$16,337
    Illinois Valley Community CollegeYesNoNoACEN100%1580%69$9,987
    Illinois Wesleyan UniversityNoYesNoCCNEN/AN/A91%32$27,996
    John A. Logan CollegeYesNoNoNo93%5697%68$3,312
    John Wood Community CollegeYesNoNoNo100%790%21$7,121
    Joliet Junior CollegeYesNoNoACEN99%6996%117$5,032
    Kankakee Community CollegeYesNoNoNo100%588%57$5,688
    Kaskaskia CollegeYesNoNoACEN93%4381%77$5,189
    Kishwaukee CollegeYesNoNoNoN/AN/A96%50$7,448
    Lake Land CollegeYesNoNoACEN90%4084%51$5,149
    Lakeview College of NursingNoYesNoCCNEN/AN/A73%147$22,120
    Lewis and Clark Community CollegeYesNoNoACENN/AN/A75%107$4,022
    Lewis UniversityNoYesYesCCNEN/AN/A95%138$18,768
    Lincoln Land Community CollegeYesNoNoACEN91%2397%87$4,057
    Loyola University ChicagoNoYesYesCCNEN/AN/A92%204$31,069
    MacMurray CollegeNoYesNoCCNEN/AN/A94%18$17,555
    McHenry County CollegeYesNoNoNoN/AN/A100%27$6,094
    McKendree UniversityNoYesYesCCNEN/AN/AN/AN/A$17,572
    Methodist CollegeNoYesNoCCNEN/AN/A85%103$26,203
    Millikin UniversityNoYesYesCCNEN/AN/A78%49$19,208
    Moraine Valley Community CollegeYesNoNoACEN100%1077%65$4,848
    Morton CollegeYesNoNoACEN100%482%55$3,193
    North Park UniversityNoYesYesCCNEN/AN/A84%81$19,152
    Northern Illinois UniversityNoYesYesCCNEN/AN/A87%143$18,533
    Oakton Community CollegeYesNoNoACEN83%689%84$6,030
    Olivet Nazarene UniversityNoYesYesCCNEN/AN/A87%211$19,112
    Parkland CollegeYesNoNoACEN88%2690%72$5,766
    Prairie State CollegeYesNoNoACENN/AN/A90%48$7,553
    Rend Lake CollegeYesNoNoNo100%191%53$6,899
    Resurrection UniversityNoYesYesCCNEN/AN/A88%172$24,562
    Richland Community CollegeYesNoNoACEN70%1089%47$5,157
    Robert Morris UniversityNoYesNoACENN/AN/A56%9$19,452
    Rock Valley CollegeYesNoNoNo92%1284%45$6,997
    Rockford UniversityNoYesNoACENN/AN/A81%64$20,861
    Rush UniversityNoNoYesCCNEN/AN/A95%132N/A
    Sauk Valley Community CollegeYesNoNoNo95%1990%40$6,403
    Shawnee Community CollegeYesNoNoNo100%3893%29$12,164
    South Suburban CollegeYesNoNoNoN/AN/A90%10$4,390
    Southeastern Illinois CollegeYesNoNoNo100%3592%25$8,505
    Southern Illinois UniversityNoYesYesCCNEN/AN/A77%237$15,784
    Southwestern Illinois CollegeYesNoNoACENN/AN/A95%44$9,178
    Spoon River CollegeYesNoNoNo100%1881%16$5,485
    Saint Anthony College of NursingNoYesYesCCNEN/AN/A99%73$28,271
    St. John’s CollegeNoYesNoACENN/AN/A92%53$19,807
    St. Xavier UniversityNoYesYesCCNEN/AN/A83%118$16,736
    Trinity Christian CollegeNoYesNoCCNEN/AN/A100%35$20,701
    Trinity CollegeYesYesNoACEN/CCNEN/AN/A100%15$24,675
    Triton CollegeYesNoNoACENN/AN/A84%68$4,977
    University of Illinois at ChicagoNoYesYesCCNEN/AN/A75%146$11,567
    University of St. FrancisNoYesYesCCNEN/AN/A97%75$17,366
    Waubonsee Community CollegeYesNoNoACENN/AN/A96%55$6,079
    Western Illinois UniversityNoYesNoCCNEN/AN/A95%20$16,829
    William Rainey Harper CollegeYesNoNoACEN95%1990%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.

    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 video conferencing 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.

    Student Reviews

    Note: Student Reviews are based on the experiences of a few individuals and it is unlikely that you will have similar results. Please review the “Data, Student Reviews and Other Information” section in our Terms of Use and Disclaimers.

    Elmhurst College
    190 S Prospect Ave
    Elmhurst, IL 60126
    (630) 617-3500

    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 workload of most nursing classes. I know it’s important to understand the material, but the workload I found, was incredibly heavy.” – Student at Elmhurst College

    Robert Morris University
    6001 University Blvd
    Moon, PA 15108
    (800) 762-0097

    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

    Trinity College
    2122 25th Avenue
    Rock Island, IL 61201
    (309) 779-7700

    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. Kiplinger’s Best Values in Public Colleges: https://www.kiplinger.com/tool/college/T014-S001-best-college-values-college-finder/index.php#Tile
    3. The Princeton Review. The Best 382 Colleges, 2018 Edition. New York, Penguin Random House, 2018.
    4. US News Top Graduate Nursing Schools: https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/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 Nursing Workforce Center: https://nursing.illinois.gov/