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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.

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).

Institution-Wide Facts

  • 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.

SchoolADN or LVN ProgramBSN ProgramGraduate Nursing ProgramACEN/CCNE Accredited*NCLEX-PN First Time Pass Rate**Number TakingNCLEX-RN First Time Pass Rate**Number 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 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.

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
http://www.elmhurst.edu/

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
stars-4

Robert Morris University
6001 University Blvd
Moon, PA 15108
(800) 762-0097
https://www.rmu.edu/

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
stars-5

Trinity College
2122 25th Avenue
Rock Island, IL 61201
(309) 779-7700
http://www.trinitycollegeqc.edu/

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
stars-4

References:
1. National Center for Education Statistics College Navigator: https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
2. Niche College Search: https://www.niche.com/colleges/?degree=4-year&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