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Programs include LPN/LVN, ADN, BSN, MSN, and more

Students interested in pursuing registered nursing (RN) education have many great options in Illinois. Prospective students should research the state’s numerous RN programs to prepare for a career in this field.

What do registered nurses do?
Registered nurses provide professional nursing care in a wide range of areas. The RN’s job scope includes providing direct patient care, performing medical tests, and conducting clinical research. In many settings, RNs play an independent role in administering critical patient care, working in tandem with the medical team.

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Becoming a registered nurse
There are four distinct educational pathways to becoming an RN: hospital diploma, associate’s degree, bachelor’s degree, and direct-entry master’s degree. All prospective RNs must pass a national examination, the NCLEX-RN, in order to receive initial licensure.

A three-year hospital diploma program is conducted in a clinical setting with many opportunities for real-world experience next to professionals. This is similar to an apprenticeship system. Although hospital diploma programs are slowly phasing out nationwide in favor of traditional college study, Illinois still offers one such program at the Graham Hospital School of Nursing in Canton.

An associate’s degree in nursing (ADN) program is typically two years in length. These students receive a more technical education through a combination of classroom theory and clinical training. Illinois boasts roughly 50 nursing schools with ADN programs, including many of the state’s community colleges.

A four-year bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) program offers the most rigorous training for prospective registered nurses. Almost 30 schools in Illinois offer a prelicensure BSN program, including dedicated nursing colleges like Blessing-Rieman College of Nursing and Chamberlain College of Nursing.

A direct-entry master’s degree program is tailored towards college graduates with a non-nursing bachelor’s degree. In the first year of study, students complete all RN licensure requirements before pursuing master’s-level specialization in the second year of study. Four prestigious Illinois universities offer this program: DePaul University, University of Illinois at Chicago, Millikin University, and Rush University.

Career outlook
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nationwide employment of RNs is projected to grow 19% over the coming decade. There are more than 100,000 RNs employed across Illinois with a median annual salary of $64,890. The top quartile of the state’s RNs earn over $78,220 per year. Illinois nurses can look forward to careers with major healthcare employers like Alexian Brothers Health System, Cancer Treatment Centers of America, and the Department of Veterans Affairs. RNs can also pursue routes of specialization such as oncology and critical care.

To help those seeking a career in registered nursing, we have put together a list of schools in Illinois that offer state-approved prelicensure programs.

Featured Schools

Chicagoland metro area

Rush University
  • Direct Entry MSN: 97.0% NCLEX pass rate (2010 through 2017)
Lewis University
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 96.8% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2017)
McHenry County College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 96.1% NCLEX pass rate (2010 through 2017)
Elmhurst College
  • Direct Entry MSN: 95.5% NCLEX pass rate (2016 through 2017)
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 90.9% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2017)
Kishwaukee College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 94.9% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2017)
Harper College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 94.3% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2017)
Aurora University
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 92.9% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2017)
Joliet Junior College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 92.9% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2017)
University of St. Francis
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 92.7% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2017)
Waubonsee Community College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 92.3% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2017)
Oakton Community College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 91.7% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2017)
Prairie State College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 91.6% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2017)
Loyola University Chicago
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 90.8% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2017)
Elgin Community College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 90.7% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2017)
Dominican University
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 90.5% NCLEX pass rate (2016 through 2017)
DePaul University
  • Direct Entry MSN: 89.2% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2017)
Resurrection University
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 88.5% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2017)
Triton College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 88.4% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2017)
Northern Illinois University
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 87.9% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2017)
University of Illinois at Chicago
  • Direct Entry MSN: 87.9% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2017)
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 82.6% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2017)
Trinity Christian College
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 87.4% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2017)
Moraine Valley Community College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 87.0% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2017)
Saint Xavier University
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 86.9% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2017)
College of Lake County
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 86.6% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2017)
Ambria College of Nursing
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 86.4% NCLEX pass rate (2012 through 2017)
North Park University
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 85.9% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2017)
Morton College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 84.7% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2017)
College of DuPage
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 83.9% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2017)
Chicago State University
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 83.4% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2017)
Chamberlain College of Nursing - Chicago
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 83.2% NCLEX pass rate (2010 through 2017)
City Colleges of Chicago
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 80.4% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2017)
South Suburban College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 80.2% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2017)
Rasmussen College - Romeoville / Joliet
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 76.6% NCLEX pass rate (2015 through 2017)
Robert Morris University Illinois
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 72.7% NCLEX pass rate (2017 through 2017)
Northwestern College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 67.7% NCLEX pass rate (2012 through 2017)
School Program NCLEX score Time period
Rush University
Direct Entry MSN 97.0% 2010 to 2017
Lewis University
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 96.8% 2008 to 2017
McHenry County College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 96.1% 2010 to 2017
Elmhurst College
Direct Entry MSN 95.5% 2016 to 2017
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 90.9% 2008 to 2017
Kishwaukee College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 94.9% 2008 to 2017
Harper College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 94.3% 2008 to 2017
Aurora University
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 92.9% 2008 to 2017
Joliet Junior College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 92.9% 2008 to 2017
University of St. Francis
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 92.7% 2008 to 2017
Waubonsee Community College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 92.3% 2008 to 2017
Oakton Community College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 91.7% 2008 to 2017
Prairie State College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 91.6% 2008 to 2017
Loyola University Chicago
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 90.8% 2008 to 2017
Elgin Community College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 90.7% 2008 to 2017
Dominican University
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 90.5% 2016 to 2017
DePaul University
Direct Entry MSN 89.2% 2008 to 2017
Resurrection University
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 88.5% 2008 to 2017
Triton College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 88.4% 2008 to 2017
Northern Illinois University
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 87.9% 2008 to 2017
University of Illinois at Chicago
Direct Entry MSN 87.9% 2008 to 2017
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 82.6% 2008 to 2017
Trinity Christian College
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 87.4% 2008 to 2017
Moraine Valley Community College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 87.0% 2008 to 2017
Saint Xavier University
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 86.9% 2008 to 2017
College of Lake County
Associate's Degree in Nursing 86.6% 2008 to 2017
Ambria College of Nursing
Associate's Degree in Nursing 86.4% 2012 to 2017
North Park University
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 85.9% 2008 to 2017
Morton College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 84.7% 2008 to 2017
College of DuPage
Associate's Degree in Nursing 83.9% 2008 to 2017
Chicago State University
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 83.4% 2008 to 2017
Chamberlain College of Nursing - Chicago
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 83.2% 2010 to 2017
City Colleges of Chicago
Associate's Degree in Nursing 80.4% 2008 to 2017
South Suburban College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 80.2% 2008 to 2017
Rasmussen College - Romeoville / Joliet
Associate's Degree in Nursing 76.6% 2015 to 2017
Robert Morris University Illinois
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 72.7% 2017 to 2017
Northwestern College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 67.7% 2012 to 2017

Peoria

Bradley University
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 93.8% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2017)
Saint Francis Medical Center College of Nursing
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 85.5% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2017)
Illinois Central College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 83.7% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2017)
Methodist College
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 82.7% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2017)
School Program NCLEX score Time period
Bradley University
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 93.8% 2008 to 2017
Saint Francis Medical Center College of Nursing
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 85.5% 2008 to 2017
Illinois Central College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 83.7% 2008 to 2017
Methodist College
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 82.7% 2008 to 2017

Rockford

Saint Anthony College of Nursing
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 95.3% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2017)
Rock Valley College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 88.5% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2017)
Rockford University
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 84.0% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2017)
School Program NCLEX score Time period
Saint Anthony College of Nursing
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 95.3% 2008 to 2017
Rock Valley College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 88.5% 2008 to 2017
Rockford University
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 84.0% 2008 to 2017

Springfield

St. John's College
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 91.2% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2017)
Lincoln Land Community College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 88.6% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2017)
School Program NCLEX score Time period
St. John's College
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 91.2% 2008 to 2017
Lincoln Land Community College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 88.6% 2008 to 2017

St. Louis suburbs

Southwestern Illinois College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 92.0% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2017)
Kaskaskia College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 86.8% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2017)
Lewis and Clark Community College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 83.1% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2017)
Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 80.9% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2017)
School Program NCLEX score Time period
Southwestern Illinois College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 92.0% 2008 to 2017
Kaskaskia College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 86.8% 2008 to 2017
Lewis and Clark Community College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 83.1% 2008 to 2017
Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 80.9% 2008 to 2017

Other Illinois cities

Millikin University
  • Direct Entry MSN: 100.0% NCLEX pass rate (2012 through 2017)
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 86.4% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2017)
Illinois State University
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 96.4% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2017)
Trinity College of Nursing & Health Sciences
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 95.5% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through 2017)
  • Direct Entry MSN
Southeastern Illinois College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 94.1% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2017)
John A. Logan College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 94.0% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2017)
Illinois Wesleyan University
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 92.0% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2017)
Lake Land College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 91.4% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2017)
MacMurray College
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 91.2% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2017)
Illinois Valley Community College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 90.9% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2017)
Parkland College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 90.5% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2017)
Blessing-Rieman College of Nursing & Health Sciences
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 90.1% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2017)
Sauk Valley Community College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 90.0% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2017)
Western Illinois University
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 89.9% NCLEX pass rate (2011 through 2017)
Black Hawk College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 88.7% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2017)
Richland Community College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 88.6% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2017)
Heartland Community College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 88.1% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2017)
Kankakee Community College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 87.8% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2017)
Olivet Nazarene University
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 87.8% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2017)
Highland Community College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 86.4% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2017)
Shawnee Community College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 86.1% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2017)
Graham Hospital School of Nursing
  • Diploma in Nursing: 85.7% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2017)
Rend Lake College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 83.5% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2017)
Danville Area Community College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 83.3% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2017)
Illinois Eastern Community Colleges
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 81.2% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2017)
Spoon River College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 80.9% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2017)
Carl Sandburg College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 80.4% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2017)
John Wood Community College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 80.1% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2017)
Lakeview College of Nursing
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 76.9% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2017)
School Program NCLEX score Time period
Millikin University
Direct Entry MSN 100.0% 2012 to 2017
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 86.4% 2008 to 2017
Illinois State University
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 96.4% 2008 to 2017
Trinity College of Nursing & Health Sciences
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 95.5% 2009 to 2017
Direct Entry MSN
Southeastern Illinois College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 94.1% 2008 to 2017
John A. Logan College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 94.0% 2008 to 2017
Illinois Wesleyan University
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 92.0% 2008 to 2017
Lake Land College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 91.4% 2008 to 2017
MacMurray College
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 91.2% 2008 to 2017
Illinois Valley Community College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 90.9% 2008 to 2017
Parkland College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 90.5% 2008 to 2017
Blessing-Rieman College of Nursing & Health Sciences
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 90.1% 2008 to 2017
Sauk Valley Community College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 90.0% 2008 to 2017
Western Illinois University
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 89.9% 2011 to 2017
Black Hawk College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 88.7% 2008 to 2017
Richland Community College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 88.6% 2008 to 2017
Heartland Community College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 88.1% 2008 to 2017
Kankakee Community College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 87.8% 2008 to 2017
Olivet Nazarene University
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 87.8% 2008 to 2017
Highland Community College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 86.4% 2008 to 2017
Shawnee Community College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 86.1% 2008 to 2017
Graham Hospital School of Nursing
Diploma in Nursing 85.7% 2008 to 2017
Rend Lake College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 83.5% 2008 to 2017
Danville Area Community College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 83.3% 2008 to 2017
Illinois Eastern Community Colleges
Associate's Degree in Nursing 81.2% 2008 to 2017
Spoon River College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 80.9% 2008 to 2017
Carl Sandburg College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 80.4% 2008 to 2017
John Wood Community College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 80.1% 2008 to 2017
Lakeview College of Nursing
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 76.9% 2008 to 2017