For our 2024 rankings, the research team at Nursing Schools Almanac collected data on nearly 3,000 nursing schools and campuses throughout the United States. We evaluated each school on three dimensions:

  • The institution’s academic prestige and perceived value
  • The breadth and depth of nursing programs offered
  • Student success, particularly on the NCLEX licensure examination

We then combined these assessments into an overall score and ranked the schools accordingly. For a detailed description of our assessment methodology and dimension weights, please see here.

  1. #1: Rush University

    Since its inception, well over 7,000 baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral students have graduated from Rush University’s College of Nursing. The college currently maintains a graduate enrollment of approximately 1,000 students, of whom 350 are studying fulltime. Rush’s direct entry MSN students have passed the NCLEX exam at an exemplary rate of 97% over the past decade. The Rush University Medical Center provides a rich environment where students of nursing, medicine, and allied health sciences learn in an interdisciplinary and dynamic setting.

  2. #2: University of Illinois Chicago

    Educating a diverse student body of more than 1,300 individuals, UIC College of Nursing is consistently among the top ten nursing schools nationwide by National Institutes of Health research funding. The college also has three specialty programs that are frequently ranked in the top tier by U.S. News & World Report: family nurse practitioner, adult-gerontology nurse practitioner, and nursing administration. UIC offers nursing degree programs at its flagship campus in Chicago as well as regional sites in Peoria, Quad Cities, Rockford, Springfield, and Urbana. Nursing students have access to seven health science colleges at the university, enabling enhanced interprofessional classroom and clinical opportunities.

  3. #3: Saint Anthony College of Nursing

    Saint Anthony College of Nursing is a private Catholic college with a variety of regionally acclaimed nursing programs. Undergraduates can pursue a traditional BSN or RN-to-BSN pathway. Graduate nursing students have four MSN tracks (CNL, CNS, FNP, nurse educator) and four DNP specializations (CNS, FNP, AGPCNP, healthcare leadership) from which to choose. Saint Anthony’s BSN students earn consistently stellar scores on their licensure exams, passing the NCLEX exam at a 97% rate over the last decade, including a 99% pass rate three out of the last six years. Graduate students have performed similarly well on the APRN certification tests, including a 100% (nine out of nine) FNP pass rate for one of Saint Anthony’s recent MSN classes.

  4. #4: Chamberlain University

    Founded in 1889 to address a lack of healthcare services, Chamberlain University continues to increase access to nursing education nationwide. Chicago is just one of over twenty Chamberlain locations across the country. The school offers a three-year BSN program, geared towards students who want to accelerate their degree with summer study. The Chicago campus graduates hundreds of new nurses annually, by far the largest prelicensure BSN program in the state. Despite the school’s size, students receive highly individualized attention, enabling them to pass the NCLEX exam at an 84% rate over the past decade. At the graduate level, Chamberlain University offers a fully online MSN program with tracks for nurse educators, nurse executives, nursing informatics, healthcare policy, population health, and several nurse practitioner specialties. Each MSN track is also available as a standalone graduate certificate. Finally, Chamberlain offers a post-master’s DNP with leadership-themed elective focus areas in advanced practice, education, and healthcare systems.

  5. #5: Loyola University Chicago

    In 1935, Loyola University Chicago was the first Illinois university to offer a BSN degree. Today, the Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing offers undergraduate (BSN), master’s (MSN), and doctoral (DNP and PhD) nursing programs. More than 85% of the school’s full-time faculty have doctoral degrees. Loyola’s BSN graduates have scored an impressive NCLEX pass rate of 92% over the past decade. Community outreach is a priority for the school, and it operates two nurse-managed centers that also serve as clinical sites for student practice.

  6. #6: Illinois State University

    Mennonite College of Nursing (MCN) offers a broad range of undergraduate and graduate programs. Approximately 150 BSN graduates from the college appear for the NCLEX exam annually, with an excellent pass rate of 94-99% every single year over the past decade. MCN students have access to a 10,000-square-foot Nursing Simulation Laboratory, enjoy an 8:1 student-to-faculty ratio in clinical settings, and can travel to five international locations for nursing experiences. The college is focused on diversity and recently received a $1.1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services towards increasing nursing education for students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

  7. #7: Bradley University

    Bradley University’s Department of Nursing offers two BSN pathways (four-year, accelerated) and three traditional MSN tracks (general, nursing administration, nursing education). The BSN program graduates 65-90 students annually and has maintained a remarkable 96% NCLEX pass rate over the past decade. Undergraduates learn from 22 experienced faculty and begin clinical experiences during sophomore year. Bradley’s traditional MSN program is complemented by its extensive online curriculum, including an RN-to-MSN bridge, two MSN concentrations (nursing administration, FNP), and two DNP concentrations (leadership, FNP). These online programs provide flexibility and easy access so that working nurses can improve their educational qualifications while in the field.

  8. #8: Lewis University

    The College of Nursing and Health Professions at Lewis University has forty years of experience educating nurses. Lewis offers a full range of nursing programs including traditional BSN, RN-to-BSN, MSN with six specialization options, a dual MSN/MBA degree, post-master’s certificates, and a doctor of nursing practice. The college graduates 110-140 prelicensure BSN students each year, who have achieved a remarkable 96% NCLEX pass rate over the past decade. Lewis students learn through one-on-one faculty interactions in state-of-the art simulation labs, and they experience diverse patient populations though the college’s 50+ clinical affiliations. Many courses are also offered online to accommodate a variety of schedules.

  9. #9: Oak Point University

    Oak Point University offers a broad range of degree pathways for aspiring nurses. Prelicensure students can enroll in the university’s traditional BSN program, which produces nearly 400 graduates annually. Oak Point’s BSN students have averaged an 80% first-time pass rate on the NCLEX-RN licensure exam over the past decade. Post-licensure students have several options, including RN-to-BSN, RN-to-MSN, traditional MSN, and DNP pathways. Oak Point offers four nurse practitioner specializations within its MSN program, as well as a nurse educator option. Two NP specializations are also available as post-master’s certificates. The DNP curriculum is specifically designed for the working professional, so the program is offered completely online. It consists of 32 semester hours and takes just six semesters, or two years of year-round study, to complete.

  10. #10: University of St. Francis

    USF’s Cecily & John Leach College of Nursing draws on its Catholic heritage of community service. The school offers a broad range of baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral nursing degrees, including a popular RN-to-BSN bridge program for existing nurses with an associate degree in nursing (ADN) or hospital diploma. The school has a small graduating class of 60-90 traditional BSN students who consistently perform very well on the NCLEX licensure exam. Indeed, USF’s first-time NCLEX pass rate over the last decade has been an impressive 91%. Students have access to a virtual simulation laboratory, and they can take advantage of acute and long-term care clinical experiences in a variety of community settings.

  11. #11: Saint Francis Medical Center College of Nursing

    As the only Catholic nursing school in Peoria, Saint Francis Medical Center College of Nursing is proud of its heritage. It offers students a range of programs including prelicensure BSN, RN-to-BSN, an MSN with eight specialty tracks, several post-master’s certificates, and a DNP taught predominantly online. Graduates from the college’s prelicensure BSN program have passed the NCLEX exam at an 86% rate over the past decade. The college provides students with hands-on clinical experiences and a low student-to-faculty ratio. Its recently renovated Nursing Learning Center is a state-of-the-art facility with four simulation laboratories.

  12. #12: DePaul University

    DePaul’s School of Nursing was the first in Illinois to offer a two-year Master’s Entry to Nursing Practice (MENP) program for non-nurses. The school also conducts a traditional undergraduate BSN program, an RN-to-MSN pathway for nurses who hold an ADN or hospital diploma, and a DNP program with specializations for aspiring nurse anesthetists, family nurse practitioners, and adult-gerontology nurse practitioners. The MENP program graduates almost 200 students annually, with an impressive 90% first-time NCLEX pass rate over the past decade. DePaul’s pass rate on the nurse anesthesia certification exam has reached a stellar 100% in recent years. Students enjoy a network of more than 75 clinical sites and state-of-the-art facilities across two campuses in Lincoln Park and North Chicago.

  13. #13: Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science

    Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science launched a new College of Nursing in 2022, the first of its kind in Lake County. The college offers two graduate programs: a 24-month direct entry MSN curriculum for prelicensure students, and a 33-month DNP pathway for aspiring psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioners. RFU designed the two programs to build the local nursing workforce and to expand community access to nursing education. In addition, the university’s long-standing College of Health Professions offers a DNP nurse anesthesia program with two pathways. The nurse anesthesia entry pathway was created for RNs who wish to continue their education to become CRNAs and earn the DNP degree. The program curriculum is predominately delivered on campus, with some upper-level doctoral content presented online. The DNP completion pathway, which was created for current CRNAs, builds on the competencies and achievements of an MSN nurse anesthesia degree. The program can be completed online in just 24 months of part-time study.

  14. #14: St. John’s College of Nursing

    St. John’s College of Nursing offers traditional BSN, accelerated BSN, RN-to-BSN, and MSN programs. The traditional BSN is designed for students who have already completed 56 semester hours of lower-division coursework, while the accelerated BSN is designed for students who have already received a bachelor’s degree in another field. Across these two prelicensure programs, St. John’s students have maintained a strong 90% pass rate on the NCLEX-RN exam over the past decade. The RN-to-BSN program is an online, postlicensure pathway for nurses who hold an unencumbered RN license and have graduated from an accredited diploma or ADN program. The MSN program has two focal areas: nursing administration / leadership and family nurse practitioner.

  15. #15: Saint Xavier University

    Founded in 1935, the Saint Xavier University School of Nursing has educated well over 5,000 nurses and was the first nursing school in the state to offer an accredited baccalaureate program. Saint Xavier has received four consecutive NLN Center of Excellence designations for enhancing student learning and professional development. The school engages 33 faculty members across its numerous undergraduate and graduate nursing programs. BSN students have passed the NCLEX exam at an 87% rate over the past decade, significantly above state and national averages.

  16. #16: Elmhurst University

    Elmhurst University’s Department of Nursing and Health Sciences offers a traditional prelicensure BSN, an RN-to-BSN completion pathway, and an MSN program with a master’s entry option and three concentrations (clinical nurse leader, nurse educator, nurse administrator). Over the past decade, graduates of the traditional BSN program have passed the NCLEX exam at a 90% rate on their first attempt. Master’s entry students have fared even better, posting a stellar 96% NCLEX pass rate since the program’s inception. Elmhurst is focused on innovation: the school’s preoperative nursing course was the first of its kind in the Chicago area. Located just 16 miles from downtown Chicago, the university’s students have access to a wealth of premier institutes for clinical studies.

  17. #17: Trinity College of Nursing & Health Sciences

    Trinity College of Nursing & Health Sciences offers three BSN pathways depending upon the student’s educational background. The traditional BSN (BSN-B) allows students who have completed all general education courses to earn a BSN in six semesters. The accelerated BSN (BSN-A) provides a more rapid 15-month timeline for students with a non-nursing baccalaureate degree. Students in the BSN-A and BSN-B pathways take the NCLEX-RN licensure exam. Their performance is stellar, averaging a 93% first-time pass rate over the past decade. The completion BSN (BSN-C) is designed for RNs who already hold an ADN or nursing diploma and would like to earn a bachelor’s degree. Trinity College also offers a two-year MSN degree. This is a direct entry program designed for students who hold a bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing discipline.

  18. #18: Southern Illinois University Edwardsville

    The SIUE School of Nursing provides traditional BSN, accelerated BSN, and RN-to-BSN degree programs for undergraduates. It also offers three distinct MSN tracks (healthcare informatics, nurse education, healthcare and nursing administration) and a DNP program with two specialization options (nurse anesthesia, family nurse practitioner). BSN graduates have maintained a solid 84% NCLEX pass rate over the past decade. SIUE students learn in active classroom settings and a high-technology simulation laboratory, and they are guaranteed clinical placement among the school’s 28 community partners in the St. Louis metropolitan area. SIUE pursues a federally funded program called SNAP, which is designed to recruit racially, ethnically, and culturally diverse high school graduates.

  19. #19: Blessing-Rieman College of Nursing & Health Sciences

    Blessing-Rieman College of Nursing & Health Sciences offers four BSN pathways: a traditional BSN, a BSN transfer option, a second degree BSN, and an online RN-to-BSN. In total, the college graduates 40-60 prelicensure BSN students annually, and they have achieved an impressive 90% pass rate on the NCLEX exam over the past decade. Nursing students receive hands-on learning in the school’s multimillion-dollar Simulation Center, which features a hospital unit complete with nine patient rooms and a nurses’ station. To hone their skills, students work one-on-one with an instructor on different types of manikins including male, female, pediatric, and a birthing mother. Blessing-Rieman also offers an online MSN degree with tracks in nursing administration and nursing education.

  20. #20: Governors State University

    Governors State University’s nursing curriculum incorporates the latest recommendations from the Carnegie Foundation Report and the Institute of Medicine. The Department of Nursing aims to educate nurse leaders who will address the challenges of local, regional, and national healthcare reform. The school has 15 full-time nursing faculty and primarily offers graduate programs, including a DNP and three MSN concentrations (nursing administration, CNS in adult healthcare, FNP). Governors State also conducts a completely online RN-to-BSN completion program for registered nurses.

  21. #21: Olivet Nazarene University

    Olivet Nazarene University offers nursing instruction in the context of a Christian liberal arts education. Students learn from twenty faculty members who lead an array of nursing programs, including BSN, ABSN, RN-to-BSN, two MSN tracks (generic and FNP focus), and a post-master’s FNP certification. Olivet’s small class sizes and personalized instruction have helped BSN graduates to pass the NCLEX exam at an 89% rate over the last decade. The school’s well-equipped Simulation Lab includes wireless smart mannequins, and the nursing curriculum incorporates innovative learning techniques like disaster simulation.

  22. #22: Millikin University

    Millikin University’s School of Nursing offers BSN, MSN, and DNP degree programs. The BSN program has both a traditional prelicensure pathway and an online RN-to-BSN pathway. The MSN program has a track for RNs who already hold a BSN degree, as well as a master’s entry into nursing practice: prelicensure (MENP-PL) track for aspiring nurses with a non-nursing bachelor’s degree. The DNP has four options: BSN-to-DNP nurse anesthesia, BSN-to-DNP family nurse practitioner, MSN-to-DNP family nurse practitioner, and DNP completion for APRNs. A school nurse certificate is also available. Traditional BSN graduates have scored an 88% pass rate on the NCLEX exam over the past decade, while their MENP-PL counterparts have achieved a perfect 100% pass rate eight out of the last nine years.

  23. #23: Aurora University

    Aurora University offers a traditional prelicensure BSN program at both the main AU campus and at George Williams College in Williams Bay, Wisconsin. The program features small class sizes, with a 32:1 student-to-faculty ratio in classes and an 8:1 ratio in clinical practicum. Nursing students complete 40 hours of prerequisites, 59 hours of nursing courses, and clinical experiences at area hospitals, clinics, and community agencies. Aurora University graduates approximately 150 newly minted nurses each spring. Over the past decade, these students have sustained a strong 91% first-time pass rate on the NCLEX-RN licensure examination.

  24. #24: Methodist College

    Methodist College offers baccalaureate and master’s degree programs in nursing, with several options at each degree level. The BSN has a traditional prelicensure track, an RN-to-BSN completion pathway, and an accelerated second degree track. Students also have the option to add a certificate, such as gerontology, or a minor in fields like arts and humanities, social and behavioral sciences, or mathematics and science. The college graduates 130-180 students annually across the prelicensure BSN tracks. These students have passed the NCLEX-RN licensure exam at an 84% first-attempt rate over the past decade. The MSN program offers generalist, nurse educator, and nurse leader executive tracks. The program also recently launched a prelicensure option for individuals who hold a bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing field.

  25. #25: McKendree University

    McKendree University’s School of Nursing and Health Professions offers an RN-to-BSN completion program, an online MSN with four tracks, and a DNP in Ethical Leadership. The RN-to-BSN program builds upon the nurse’s previous ADN or nursing diploma education. The MSN offers specialization options in nursing education, nursing management / administration, and population health, as well as a dual MSN/MBA degree pathway. The DNP program is designed specifically for working practitioners. It features a 30-credit-hour online curriculum, plus two on-campus immersion experiences during each August of the two-year program.

  26. #26: Illinois Wesleyan University

    The School of Nursing at Illinois Wesleyan University offers a traditional BSN program that allows students to pursue a minor in Hispanic studies, human services management, or health. The program has several unique features including collaborative research opportunities with nursing faculty, facilities that simulate hospital and home healthcare settings, internships across several healthcare fields, study abroad trips, and early clinical experiences. School of Nursing students also benefit from the program’s 100% job placement rate. Over the past decade, the BSN program has graduated 30-40 students each year who achieved an excellent 91% pass rate on the NCLEX-RN licensure exam.

  27. #27: North Park University

    The School of Nursing and Health Sciences at North Park University has a breadth of options for nursing students, including two BSN programs (traditional, RN-to-BSN), an MSN degree, a DNP degree, and post-master’s certificates. The traditional BSN program graduates about 80 students annually, who have achieved a solid 85% pass rate on the NCLEX-RN exam over the past decade. The RN-to-BSN pathway blends online and in-person classes, allowing students to continue working full-time. The MSN program has three degree focuses: adult-gerontology nurse practitioner, family nurse practitioner, and leadership / management. The DNP program allows students to complete coursework online, with a visit to North Park’s campus once a semester.

  28. #28: Northern Illinois University

    Northern Illinois University’s School of Nursing offers a traditional BSN program that consists of 61-64 nursing credits and 31-33 non-nursing credits. Sample courses for the program include Genetics & Human Genomics, Microbiology, and Nursing Ethics & the Law. Students enjoy a wide range of clinical experiences with over 230 regional healthcare partners, a dedicated advisor, and a Student Success Program that helps students meet program demands. Over the past decade, graduates of the four-year BSN program have achieved an 88% pass rate on the NCLEX-RN licensure exam. NIU’s School of Nursing also offers an online RN-to-BSN, an MSN with two specializations (education, FNP), a post-master’s certificate in nurse education, and a DNP with FNP focus.

  29. #29: Benedictine University

    Benedictine University’s Department of Nursing and Health offers both an accelerated RN-to-BSN pathway and an MSN degree. The flexible RN-to-BSN program features courses that can be taken at various community colleges and medical centers near the cities of Lisle and Springfield. Students are prepared for employment opportunities in the fields of case management, informatics, occupational health, public health, quality improvement, and nursing supervision. BenU’s MSN program offers concentrations in nurse educator and nurse executive leader. The MSN coursework is offered 100% online.

  30. #30: Ambria College of Nursing

    Ambria College of Nursing has several options for aspiring nurses: an LPN certificate, two ADN pathways (traditional, LPN-to-RN), and an RN-to-BSN degree completion program. With day, evening, fulltime, and parttime schedules, Ambria’s flexible LPN and LPN-to-RN programs can be completed in just 12 months. The traditional ADN is a two-year program that prepares graduates for initial RN licensure, and the RN-to-BSN is a fast-track program that students can complete in just eight months. Ambria’s ADN program graduates about fifty students annually, with a strong 90% NCLEX-RN pass rate since the program’s inception. The classes of 2019 and 2020 scored NCLEX-RN pass rates of 96% and 100%, respectively. Ambria graduates another 40-50 LPN candidates each year, with a stellar 95% NCLEX-PN pass rate over the past decade. Indeed, five of the past six graduating LPN classes scored a perfect 100% NCLEX-PN pass rate.

  31. #31: Lakeview College of Nursing

    Lakeview College of Nursing in Danville offers a BSN program with five progression tracks: traditional, accelerated, paced, LPN-to-BSN, and RN-to-BSN. Students have access to Lakeview College’s extensive facilities: classrooms equipped with the latest technology, a fully-stocked nursing arts laboratory, a modern chemistry laboratory, a learning resource center, a state-of-the art computer lab, quiet study areas, and a student lounge. Over the past decade, Lakeview College has graduated 100-160 prelicensure BSN students each year, with an average first-time NCLEX exam pass rate of approximately 79%.

  32. #32: Trinity Christian College

    The BSN program at Trinity Christian College prepares generalists to begin practice in all areas of clinical nursing. The 120-credit program features Christian faculty, hands-on experience, a worldwide alumni network, and a perfect 100% rate of graduate employment. Sample coursework includes health assessment promotion, mental healthcare nursing, principles of community health, and therapeutic nursing intervention. The college’s BSN graduates have enjoyed a phenomenal 99.5% first-time NCLEX pass rate over the past six years.

  33. #33: Dominican University

    Dominican University offers a traditional prelicensure BSN program and an RN-to-BSN pathway. The four-year traditional BSN includes courses such as Adult Health Nursing: Medical and Surgical, Evidenced-based Practice, and Transcultural Nursing. Since the program’s inception several years ago, traditional BSN graduates have maintained a strong 91% first-time pass rate on the NCLEX-RN licensure exam. The three-semester RN-to-BSN curriculum is designed for working nurses. This flexible program offers a mix of on-campus and online courses; individual and group activities; and discussion boards, readings, and special assignments. Sample RN-to-BSN courses include Community, Family, and Population Nursing; Professional Development for the RN; and Nursing Leadership and Management.

  34. #34: Eastern Illinois University

    The Gail & Richard Lumpkin School of Nursing is a core part of Eastern Illinois University’s College of Health and Human Services. The school offers both a traditional prelicensure BSN and an online RN-to-BSN completion pathway. The traditional BSN program launched in the fall of 2020. Prospective nursing majors first complete a year of prerequisite and general education courses. They then apply to be fulltime nursing students at the end of freshman year. The program requires at least 124 credit hours of study, and it prepares graduates to sit for the NCLEX-RN licensure examination. Students have access to clinical experiences that span both rural and large-organization settings, as well as state-of-the-art simulation laboratories. EIU’s RN-to-BSN program is designed for registered nurses with an associate degree or nursing diploma. The curriculum of eleven courses – ten nursing core courses and a senior seminar – may be completed entirely online in as little as 14 months.

  35. #35: Illinois College

    Illinois College is a small liberal arts college that offers degrees in 45 areas of study to 1,000 students. The college was founded in 1829, and it was the first college in Illinois to conduct classes and grant a bachelor’s degree. The nursing program at Illinois College was developed by industry leaders from partner hospitals such as Jacksonville Memorial Hospital, Illini Community Hospital, and the Morgan County Health Department. Pathways include a traditional BSN and a fully online RN-to-BSN. The traditional BSN is a four-year program in which students begin clinicals as early as their sophomore year. The RN-to-BSN pathway is a 42-credit-hour track that requires 12-18 months to complete. The nursing programs at Illinois College are fully accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

  36. #36: CAAN Academy of Nursing

    CAAN Academy of Nursing is a nonprofit entity designed to help adult learners enter the nursing profession. Accredited by the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools, the institution offers two prelicensure nursing programs. CAAN launched its 59-week practical nursing certificate program over a decade ago. During the past ten years, LPN graduates have enjoyed an 88% first-time pass rate on the NCLEX-PN licensure exam, including several years with a perfect pass rate. Recent LPN graduating classes have also enjoyed a 100% job placement rate. In 2018, CAAN launched a new LPN-to-RN bridge program that awards an associate degree and prepares students for the NCLEX-RN licensure exam.

  37. #37: Oakton Community College

    Oakton Community College serves 46,000 students annually across more than eighty areas of study, preparing graduates either to transfer to four-year institutions or to step directly into rewarding careers. The college’s nursing programs include a certificate for aspiring LPNs and an associate degree for aspiring RNs. Both programs feature a rigorous combination of classroom learning and clinical experiences, preparing students for a variety of healthcare settings. Over the past decade, LPN graduates have achieved an outstanding 96% first-time pass rate on the NCLEX-PN exam. During the same timeframe, ADN graduates scored an excellent 93% first-time pass rate on the NCLEX-RN exam.

  38. #38: Western Illinois University

    The School of Nursing at Western Illinois University offers three nursing programs: a pre-nursing curriculum, a traditional prelicensure BSN, and an RN-to-BSN pathway conducted 100% online. The pre-nursing program prepares students to apply to the prelicensure BSN program by satisfying all general education and support course requirements. The prelicensure BSN program builds upon this foundation to prepare students for initial RN licensure. WIU has achieved a strong 91% first-time pass rate on the NCLEX examination over the past decade. Finally, the online RN-to-BSN program is for working RNs seeking a bachelor’s degree in nursing.

  39. #39: Roosevelt University

    Roosevelt University’s College of Science, Health & Pharmacy offers an accelerated direct-entry nursing program at its downtown Chicago campus. Students begin nursing-focused courses during the first semester, and they may complete the BSN curriculum in just three years of study. Coursework covers a breadth of critical topics like medical-surgical nursing, psychiatric-mental health nursing, pharmacology, anatomy, and physiology. Roosevelt holds clinical affiliations with a number of highly regarded local healthcare providers, including UChicago Medicine Ingalls Memorial Hospital and Northwestern Memorial Hospital. Since the program’s recent inception, BSN graduates have achieved an 81% first-time pass rate on the NCLEX licensure examination.

  40. #40: Verve College

    Verve College is a professional career certification and training institute with more than twenty years of experience. The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation approved the college’s practical nursing program in 2007, and the first class graduated in 2008. The 1,080-hour program may be completed in 14 to 15 months fulltime. Verve College offers its students a full suite of career services including job placement assistance, resume development, and interview coaching. Recent graduates have earned some of the nation’s highest pass rates on the NCLEX-PN licensure examination, including a perfect 100% pass rate in 2017 and a 98% pass rate in 2020.

  41. #41: Beck School of Practical Nursing

    Beck School of Practical Nursing’s LPN program combines classroom theory with clinical experiences at local hospitals and facilities. The course sequence is divided into five 9- to 10-week blocks for a total of 1,440 clock hours over 11 months. The curriculum covers topics like anatomy, community health, growth and development, maternity nursing, and pharmacology. Although the Beck LPN is a daytime program, students may also attend some meetings, seminars, and clinical practicums during the evenings or weekends. Over the past decade, LPN graduates achieved a noteworthy 87% pass rate on the NCLEX-PN exam. Recent classes have also boasted an 86% job placement rate.

  42. #42: Southern Illinois University

    The School of Health Sciences at Southern Illinois University launched a nursing program in the fall of 2020 to address the nursing shortage within the region. This competitive program trains around 300 students annually. Specific pathways include a traditional BSN, a 12-month accelerated BSN, and an RN-to-BSN degree completion program. To enhance their degree, students may add a minor in health care management. Students take coursework on critical topics like nursing clinical theory, adult nursing, and pathophysiology. SIU offers several nursing internships, including the nursing immersion internship, nursing leadership internship, and complex care internship. Graduates of the traditional and accelerated BSN pathways are prepared to sit for the NCLEX-RN exam and gain initial licensure in the field.

  43. #43: Rockford University

    Rockford University’s College of Science, Math, and Nursing offers a BSN program with a variety of unique opportunities. Recent experiences have included an interprofessional education day at UIC, a Haiti clinical experience, a simulation with SwedishAmerican Hospital, and a bioterrorism preparedness project. The 124-credit-hour BSN program features a breadth of courses: Contemporary Nutrition, Health Promotion & Population-Based Care, Nursing Care of the Geriatric Client, and Pathophysiology & Pharmacology. The university graduates around 70 BSN students annually, who have achieved a noteworthy 82% pass rate on the NCLEX-RN licensure exam over the past decade.

  44. #44: Capital Area School of Practical Nursing

    Capital Area School of Practical Nursing offers an accelerated LPN program that can be completed in just nine months. The 1,330-hour program, which includes 868 theory hours and 462 clinical hours, is divided into four quarters that must be taken in sequence. Nursing theory is taught during daytime hours, and clinical placements are on four- to six-week rotations. Students may enter CASPN in either August or February of each year. Upon completion of the program, they receive a certificate and are eligible to sit for the NCLEX-PN licensure exam. Over the past decade, the school’s 100-plus annual graduates have recorded a strong 91% first-time NCLEX pass rate.

  45. #45: Graham Hospital School of Nursing

    Graham Hospital School of Nursing offers a three-year diploma program for aspiring nurses. Coursework includes both classroom instruction and clinical experiences, allowing students to put the theoretical knowledge they’ve gleaned into immediate practice. While students will engage in clinical experiences primarily at Graham Hospital, they may also participate in other employment settings. For example, students work in a variety of local community agencies, providing exposure to the increasing home health aspects of nursing. Each RN diploma cohort is a select group of 20-25 individuals. Over the past decade, these students have maintained an 85% first-time pass rate on the NCLEX-RN licensure examination.

  46. #46: Moraine Valley Community College

    Founded over fifty years ago, Moraine Valley Community College is the second-largest community college in Illinois. The ADN program is a two-year special admission program which starts in either the fall or spring of each year. It features in-class high-fidelity simulations, hybrid and online courses, clinical experiences in hospital and community-based settings, and a 90% job placement rate immediately after graduation. The traditional ADN curriculum takes five semesters to complete, excluding summers. An LPN-to-RN bridge pathway is also available, and it may be completed in four consecutive semesters. Over the past decade, Moraine Valley’s ADN graduates have achieved a noteworthy 88% pass rate on the NCLEX-RN licensure exam.

  47. #47: Harper College

    Harper College is named for Dr. William Rainey Harper, a pioneer in the junior college movement and the first president of the prestigious University of Chicago. It is one of the largest community colleges in the Chicagoland area, serving more than 35,000 students annually. Harper offers several nursing programs including a six-credit-hour CNA certificate, a 15-month LPN certificate, and a two-year associate degree. A unique military-medical-corpsman-to-LPN pathway is also available. Over the past decade, ADN graduates have achieved an outstanding 93% NCLEX-RN pass rate, while LPN graduates have scored a near-perfect 99% NCLEX-PN pass rate. Harper College also partners with more than twenty colleges and universities to provide seamless transfer into their RN-to-BSN completion programs.

  48. #48: CALC, Institute of Technology

    CALC is a nationally accredited career institution that provides training for in-demand careers such as administration, engineering, and healthcare. The school’s practical nursing program integrates theory, laboratory work, and clinical experience to prepare graduates for initial LPN licensure. Since the program’s launch, students have achieved a near-perfect 99% first-time pass rate on the NCLEX-PN licensure exam. The 15-month LPN curriculum is a fulltime course of study, comprised of four 15-week terms and one five-week term. Clinical experiences take place 24/7 during the program, so students must be available for all work shifts.

  49. #49: McHenry County College

    McHenry County College offers more than 100 degree and certificate programs, including several options within the nursing field. Aspiring nurses can pursue either a nursing assistant certificate or an associate of applied science (AAS) degree. The associate degree program offers both generic and LPN bridge pathways. MCC graduates a tight-knit cohort of approximately 25 AAS students each year. These nursing graduates have posted an impressive 97% first-time NCLEX pass rate over the past decade, including a perfect 100% pass rate the last two years. Graduates who wish to continue their nursing studies can consult the college’s RN-to-BSN transfer planning guides for approximately twenty four-year colleges and universities in the surrounding area.

  50. #50: Chicago State University

    Chicago State University’s Department of Nursing sits within the College of Health Sciences. Students can earn either a BSN degree or an MSN degree. The BSN program prepares 20-50 graduates each year for the NCLEX-RN licensure examination, posting a 70% first-time pass rate over the past decade. BSN students have also achieved 100% graduation and job placement rates since 2015. The 45-credit MSN program is designed to prepare nurses for the challenges facing the profession in the 21st century. The program focuses on three specialties: community health nursing, nursing administration, and nursing education. Additional nursing specialties will be developed in the future.

  51. #51: Joliet Junior College

    The Nursing Education Department at Joliet Junior College has three programs of study: an LPN certificate of achievement, a traditional ADN curriculum, and an LPN-to-RN transition pathway. The department offers a state-of-the-art simulation center, clinical experiences at a number of community health facilities, and a 91% job placement rate across all programs. Licensure exam pass rates are stellar as well. Over the past decade, the school’s 120-150 ADN graduates per year have posted an outstanding 95% pass rate on the NCLEX-RN exam. JJC’s 50-70 annual LPN graduates have performed even better, with a near-perfect 99% pass rate on the NCLEX-PN exam over the same time period.

  52. #52: Illinois Valley Community College

    Illinois Valley Community College offers an LPN certificate and an ADN degree. In just three semesters, LPN students are prepared either for entry-level positions at area hospitals or for entry into the IVCC ADN program. Approximately 20 students graduate the LPN program each year. Over the past decade, these individuals have scored an exceptional 97% pass rate on the NCLEX-PN licensure exam. The ADN curriculum includes nursing lectures and seminars, as well as clinical experiences at local hospitals, long-term care facilities, home healthcare agencies, physician’s offices, and clinics. Approximately 60 students graduate the ADN program each year. Over the past decade, these individuals have scored a strong 89% pass rate on the NCLEX-RN licensure exam.

  53. #53: Waubonsee Community College

    Founded in 1966, Waubonsee Community College serves nearly 12,000 credit students across campuses in Sugar Grove, Aurora, and Plano. The school offers certificates and associate degrees in more than 80 different disciplines, as well as noncredit classes for personal enrichment to another 2,300 students. Programs are organized into ten academic groups, including Health Sciences, which offers a one-semester CNA certificate and an associate degree in nursing. The associate degree program has two distinct tracks: a traditional associate in applied science (AAS) and an associate in science (AS) transfer degree pathway. After the fourth semester in the transfer degree pathway, students may enroll in a BSN program at a four-year college or university. Traditional AAS nursing students are eligible to sit for the NCLEX licensure examination. Waubonsee Community College graduates nearly 100 AAS nursing students each year. Over the past decade, these nursing graduates have achieved an excellent 90% first-time NCLEX pass rate.

  54. #54: Rasmussen University

    Rasmussen University offers traditional ADN, LPN-to-RN, and RN-to-BSN programs at its four Illinois campuses. The traditional ADN program can be completed in 18 to 24 months. It offers small class sizes, four start dates, and an innovative option called Flex Choice. Flex Choice allows students to combine traditional courses and optional self-directed assessments for significant time and money savings. The LPN-to-RN bridge program can be completed in 12 to 18 months. It features a streamlined curriculum for current LPNs looking to advance to an RN role. Collectively, Rasmussen’s traditional ADN and LPN-to-RN students have scored an 80% first-time pass rate on the NCLEX-RN licensure exam over the past six years. The RN-to-BSN program is conducted online and can be completed in as little as 18 months.

  55. #55: Illinois Eastern Community Colleges

    IECC has four member colleges: Frontier Community College in Fairfield, Lincoln Trail College in Robinson, Olney Central College in Olney, and Wabash Valley College in Mt. Carmel. At all campuses, students can take skills-based training courses or earn a degree or certificate in an in-demand career field. IECC’s associate degree nursing program is accredited by the Accreditation Commission on Education in Nursing and approved by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. Coursework runs the gamut of critical healthcare topics including human anatomy, psychology, and advanced nursing in preparation for the NCLEX-RN licensure examination. ADN students can also earn a practical nursing certificate through a summer “exit” course between the first and second year of study. This course prepares students for the NCLEX-PN licensure exam, and they needn’t actually exit the ADN program to take it. Over the past decade, IECC students have averaged an 81% first-time NCLEX-RN pass rate and an exceptional 95% first-time NCLEX-PN pass rate.

  56. #56: College of Lake County

    The College of Lake County provides 40 degree transfer programs and 200 career certificate options to more than 10,000 students. For aspiring nurses, CLC offers CNA, ADN, and BSN transfer pathways. The CNA program requires seven credit hours of blended coursework and clinical experiences at community health centers. The ADN program incorporates 73-74 credit hours, with coursework on nursing practice foundations, mental health nursing, family-centered nursing care, and medical-surgical nursing. Approximately 70-80 ADN graduates each year are prepared to sit for the NCLEX-RN exam. These students have averaged an 86% first-time NCLEX pass rate over the past decade. The college’s BSN transfer pathway offers the opportunity to transfer to a BSN program at a major university such as University of Illinois Chicago, Olivet Nazarene University, or University of St. Francis.

  57. #57: State Career College

    State Career College is a private, accredited institution that conducts education and training for in-demand healthcare careers such as dental and medical assisting, certified nursing assistant, and practical nursing. The eight-week CNA program explores nursing roles and responsibilities, legal and ethical issues in nursing, and emergency care. Graduates of the CNA program are prepared to take the state certification examination and pursue entry-level positions such as orderly, nursing assistant, and psychiatric aide. The 69-week LPN program requires extensive study in medical-surgical nursing, pharmacology, and pediatric and geriatric nursing. More than half of the program is dedicated to practice in the SCC labs and off-campus clinical experiences. LPN graduates are prepared to sit for the NCLEX-PN licensure examination and to pursue positions at local and state healthcare facilities.

  58. #58: Elgin Community College

    The ADN program at Elgin Community College goes well beyond the traditional classroom setting, delivering content through distance learning, simulations, multimedia, small group discussions, and laboratory practice. The college believes that this approach delivers more individualized instruction and places greater responsibility on each student for his/her education. Sample ADN courses include nursing practice, pharmacology, human anatomy, and physiology. The program graduates approximately 100 students annually. Over the past decade, these individuals have scored a 90% first-time pass rate on the NCLEX-RN licensure examination.

  59. #59: College of DuPage

    Serving nearly 25,000 students, College of DuPage is the largest community college in Illinois. The school offers 250 programs leading to an associate degree or career-focused certificate. Nursing options include the Certified Nursing Assistant Training Program (CNATP) and an ADN program that offers an LPN exit option. The college’s nursing curriculum combines classroom instruction, lab and simulation experiences, and clinical rotations at area hospitals. Nursing graduates are prepared for positions in acute care settings, clinics, nursing homes, and home healthcare. The ADN program graduates more than 100 students annually, with an 85% first-time NCLEX-RN pass rate over the past decade. Approximately 20-40 students take the LPN option each year, scoring an impressive 94% first-time NCLEX-PN pass rate over the past decade.

  60. #60: Carl Sandburg College

    The College of Nursing & Health Professions at Carl Sandburg College offers practical nursing, traditional ADN, and LPN-to-RN programs. The practical nursing curriculum prepares students to pass the NCLEX-PN licensure exam and assume entry-level LPN positions. Carl Sandburg graduates a small cohort of 15-30 LPN students each year, who have achieved a solid 83% NCLEX-PN pass rate over the past decade. The traditional ADN and LPN-to-RN programs prepare students to pass the NCLEX-RN licensure exam and assume entry-level RN positions. Carl Sandburg produces 40-60 ADN graduates each year, who have posted a respectable 79% NCLEX-RN pass rate over the past decade.