Best Nursing Schools in Chicago in 2023 (Online & On-Campus)

Best Nursing Schools in Chicago in 2023 (Online & On-Campus)

Nursing Schools in Chicago

If you want to go to a nursing school in Illinois, Chicago has some great options. This list of the best nursing schools in Chicago combines tuition expense and graduation rates to rank each school in order from best (#1) to last (#50). The schools in this list vary in their types of nursing degree programs and curriculums available. Information about each nursing school in the list includes some information about their NCLEX-RN exam pass rates in recent years if that data is available. Also included is information regarding the school’s degree programs and availability. Lastly, information has been provided about each college’s student/employment resources, statistics, accomplishments or admissions requirements. Whether you’re looking for a Chicago BSN program or another type of nursing program, you’ll find the best here.

Take a look at the 50 best nursing schools in Chicago.

1. City Colleges of Chicago – Malcolm X College

City Colleges of Chicago - Malcolm X College nursing schools in chicago

City Colleges of Chicago – Malcolm X College tops our list of best schools for nursing in Chicago, IL. It is part of the City Colleges of Chicago System. The school’s annual tuition comes in at only $4,858. That makes it tied with the most affordable college on this list. At a 75 percent graduation rate, the school on the west side of Chicago is ranked #5 for graduation rates on this list.

  • Registered Nurse Program
  • Associates Degree Program
  • 94% NCLEX-RN Pass Rates

2. City Colleges of Chicago – Wilbur Wright College

City Colleges of Chicago – Wilbur Wright College is also part of the City Colleges of Chicago system and thus has the same tuition rate as the Malcolm X College campus at $4,858. The City Colleges system has the most affordable college tuition for Chicago residents. The school’s graduation rate is 73.4 percent, ranking it #9 for graduation rates on this list.

  • Registered Nurse and Advanced Certificate Program
  • Associate in Applied Science Degree Program
  • Unknown NCLEX-RN Pass Rates
  • 2.5 GPA Requirement

3. Morton College

Morton College is number three on the list of best nursing schools. Their nursing program will cost approximately $7,764 per year. They are the fourth most affordable college on this list of schools with nursing programs in Chicago. For graduation rates, they rank 8 on the list with a 73.8 percent rate.

  • Registered Nurse Program
  • Associates Degree Program
  • 83% NCLEX-RN Pass Rates
  • 100% job placement rate

4. College of Lake County

College of Lake County, number four on our list of the best nursing schools in the Chicago area, costs around $8,358 to attend per year in tuition for students already living in the state. On this list, they are ranked #6 for tuition affordability. They have a 71.9 percent graduation rate, ranking them at #10 in that category.

  • 88% NCLEX-RN Pass Rates
  • 95% job placement rate
  • ADN (associates), CNA (certification) and BSN (bachelors) degree programs

5. Moraine Valley Community College

Moraine Valley Community College is a two-year college that provides a formative nursing program in Illinois. Their annual tuition will cost around $8,916 per year. They have a 74 percent graduation rate. This graduation rate is ranked #7 on the list of 50 best nursing programs in the city of Chicago, IL.

  • AAS degree program
  • Must submit TEAS results prior to enrolling
  • Minimum 2.5 GPA requirement

6. Prairie State College

Prairie State College is the 6th best nursing college in Chicago on this list comparing tuition and graduation rates combined. For tuition, the annual in-state cost to students will be about $7,800. Their graduation rate at 62.5% is #15 on this list.

  • 83% NCLEX-RN pass rates
  • 96% job placement rates
  • Associates degree and CNA training

7. Southern Illinois University Edwardsville

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville is the seventh overall ranked school between tuition and graduation rates. The tuition per year at this campus will cost around $15,360, making it #17 for tuition affordability, but its 74% graduation rate is #6 on this list, pulling it up to an impressive 7th place overall.

  • 89% NCLEX-RN pass rates
  • Undergraduate, graduate and international degree programs available
  • Experiential learning

8. Illinois Central College

Illinois Central College ranks number 8 on the list for its combined tuition affordability and graduation rates for nursing schools in Chicago, IL. Annual tuition is only about $8,700, coming in at #7 on most affordable colleges on the list. For graduation rate, the school is ranked at #17 with a rate of 59.7 percent.

  • RN and LPN programs
  • 70 credit hours RN associates degree program
  • 59% NCLEX-RN pass rates

9. John Wood Community College

John Wood Community College is the ninth-ranked college in this list of best nursing schools in Chicago. Their tuition is only $7,710 per year, making them the third most affordable college in this entire list of 50 schools. Their low graduation rate of 56.2 percent, however, drags them a little lower.

  • Nearly 98% NCLEX-RN pass rates
  • Associates degree program
  • 20% attrition rate

10. Illinois State University

The Illinois State University campus comes in as number 10 out of 50 nursing schools in the Chicago area. Its tuition is around $18,415 per year with a stable graduation rate of 86.5 percent.

  • 95% NCLEX-RN pass rates
  • BSN, Accelerated BSN and Online RN to BSN undergrad programs
  • Advanced degree programs also available

11. Elmhurst College

Elmhurst College is in eleventh place. Their campus is comparable in cost to Illinois State University, with an annual price tag of around $18,825. In terms of graduation rate, the college is ranked second of all 50 listed schools with a stunning rate of 92.9 percent.

  • Bachelors and masters programs available
  • 92% NCLEX-RN pass rates
  • Four different program tracts

12. University of Illinois at Chicago

The University of Illinois at Chicago’s annual tuition cost is $11,571, putting them at 14th most affordable campus on the list. Their graduation rate is lower on the scale and sits at 61.4 percent.

  • Bachelor’s, masters and doctoral degree program
  • Certifications available
  • 76 percent NCLEX-RN pass rates

13. Elgin Community College

Elgin Community College is definitely not the most affordable community college on the list with an annual price tag of $10,439. Their graduation rate is 58.7 percent. They rank #12 and #19 in those respective categories for this list.

  • 80% NCLEX-RN pass rates
  • Associates degree available
  • Nursing assistant certificate available

14. Oakton Community College

Oakton Community College‘s tuition is around $8,878, giving them a rank of #8 for tuition affordability. Their graduation rates are 54.5 percent, putting them at #26 for graduation rates on this list.

  • 89% NCLEX-RN pass rates
  • 2.5 GPA and chemistry high school or college course requirement
  • Associates degree with 70 credits

15. Black Hawk College

Black Hawk College is the 15th ranked nursing school in Chicago based on their tuition and graduation rates combined. With a tuition rate of $16,781 per year, they are ranked the 20th most affordable school on the list. Graduation rates are at 62.7 percent so they rank #14 in that category.

  • 90% NCLEX-RN pass rates
  • Associates degree program
  • 2.7 GPA requirement

16. College of DuPage

The campus for the College of DuPage and their nursing program lands at #16 ranking by combined tuition and graduation rates. Their tuition ranks at #11 with an annual in-state price of $9,736 and their graduation rate is 55.9 percent. That gives them the #24 ranking on this list for graduation rates.

  • 62% NCLEX-RN pass rates
  • Degree and certificate programs
  • ADN degree and CNA training programs

17. Argosy University Chicago

Argosy University Chicago ranks 17 on this list with its affordable tuition and moderate graduation rates. It is 15 on the list for tuition affordability with students paying about $13,438 every year in the state of Illinois. Their graduation rates are at 57.5%, which puts the school at #20 ranked in that category.

  • RN to BSN degree option
  • Many non-traditional students
  • 93% of students enrolled part-time
  • NCLEX-RN pass rate unknown

18. Rush University

Rush University is a four-year school in Illinois that offers a nursing degree program. It is not quite as affordable as other schools in this list, however, with an annual in-state tuition price tag of about $25,402. That makes them #38 in terms of cost. Their cost is made up by the fact that they are the #1 ranked school for graduation rate at 93%.

  • Wide range of advanced degrees from certificates to masters, doctoral and post-doctoral
  • 95% NCLEX-RN pass rates
  • Holistic admissions process

19. Triton College

Triton College is the tenth most affordable campus and 31st in graduation rates for nursing schools on this list out of 50. Their 19th rank for schools overall is due to their low tuition and 51.3 percent graduation rate. They rank #31 in graduation rates on this list. It costs around $9,360 to attend Triton College in Illinois.

  • NR and LPR to RN degree programs
  • Special nursing college application process in addition to mandatory Triton admission application
  • 84% NCLEX-RN pass rates

20. Western Illinois University

Another four-year university, this school ranks 20th on the list of 50 schools for nursing in the Chicago area. Western Illinois University is 19th most affordable and 22nd for graduation rates on the list of schools here. It will cost about $16,463 to attend per year. Their graduation rate is 56.5 percent.

  • 95% NCLEX-RN pass rates
  • 100% passed on NCLEX-RN licensure exam in 2017
  • 100 percent job placement

21. Aurora University

Aurora University, a four-year Illinois college, ranks 21 on the list of nursing schools. It has an annual in-state tuition price tag of around $18,329. That gives it the 23rd rank for that category. Their graduation rate is 59.5 percent, putting them at #18 in that category. This school ties overall with Triton College and Western Illinois University when comparing average tuition and graduation rates.

  • 94% NCLEX-RN pass rates
  • Bachelor degree available
  • Direct admissions opportunity

22 . Lewis University

Lewis University is another four-year Illinois institution with degree programs for nursing. They land at number 22 on this list of nursing schools in the area. Their annual cost of tuition is going to run approximately $20,232. That gives them the tuition affordability rank of #32 on this particular list of schools. Their graduation rate is around 71.2 percent.

  • 95% NCLEX-RN pass rates
  • Wide variety of degree programs including RN to BSN, undergraduate, graduate, doctoral, post-masters certificate and partnership degree programs
  • 54 clinical sites, 120 healthcare partners and 40 years of teaching experience

23. Eastern Illinois University

Eastern Illinois University offers several nursing programs for students and is ranked 23rd on this list of schools. It has an annual tuition cost of about $14,788, which puts them at #16 for tuition on this list. Their graduation rate is 53.4 percent, placing it in 28th place for that category.

  • 5 start dates per year
  • Accredited accelerated online program can be completed in 14 months
  • NCLEX-RN pass rates unknown

24. South Suburban College

South Suburban College in the Chicago area is a nursing school that is more affordable than Eastern Illinois University but graduates fewer students. Their annual tuition sits around $10,786, giving them spot #13 for the tuition rate category. Their graduation rate is 50.9 percent, placing them 32nd in that category.

  • ADN program available
  • 90% NCLEX-RN pass rates
  • Basic Nursing Training Assist Program available

25. Chamberlain College of Nursing

Chamberlain College of Nursing falls at the mid-point when comparing tuition rates and graduation rates to similar nursing schools in the Chicago area. They’re ranked #25 in tuition price and #21 for graduation rate on this list. Their in-state tuition for students will cost around $18,360 per year and the school’s graduation rate rests at 57.3 percent.

  • Undergraduate and graduate degree offerings
  • 81% NCLEX-RN pass rates
  • 3-year BS degree program available

26. Olivet Nazarene University

Olivet Nazarene University will cost students in the state of Illinois around $20,300 per year. That gives them a tuition rank of #33 on this list of schools. The school’s graduation rate is 64.3 percent, placing them 13th for that specific category in this list of nursing schools in the Chicago, IL area.

  • Bachelors, masters and doctoral degrees available
  • 87% NCLEX-RN pass rates
  • Typical admissions process

27. Trinity Christian College

Coming in at number 27 on the list of 50 best nursing schools in Chicago is Trinity Christian College. This school is 34th for tuition rank with its annual cost around $21,770. Their graduation rates hover around an average of 70 percent, ranking them 12th for graduation rates on this list of schools.

  • 97-100% NCLEX-RN pass rates in recent years
  • 100% job placement
  • Christian faculty and fellowship

28. Saint Xavier University

Saint Xavier University will not cost nearly as much to attend as the previous two schools on this list, but their graduation rates aren’t quite as high either. Saint Xavier state residents should expect to pay about $15,450 every year in tuition. Their graduation rate is 52 percent. On this list, ranked by combined tuition rate and graduation rate, the school is ranked #18 for tuition price and #30 for graduation rate.

  • 82% NCLEX-RN pass rates
  • BSN degree program and other health sciences degree options available
  • Awarded the National League for Nursing Center of Excellence (COE) in Nursing Education designation continuously since 2007

29. Dominican University

Dominican University is slightly more expensive than Saint Xavier but less than Trinity or Olivet Nazarene. Its graduation rate is slightly higher than Saint Xavier. The school will cost students in Illinois around $18,220 per year. That gives it a tuition rank of #22 on this list. The graduation rate is 54.3 percent, giving the school 27th place for that category on this list of schools.

  • 93% NCLEX-RN pass rates
  • BSN degree program available
  • Small class sizes and two clinical simulation laboratories

30. University of St. Francis

The University of St. Francis is another prestigious four-year college that offers nursing programs to students in the state of Illinois. Their annual tuition cost for incoming resident students will cost around $17,970. Their graduation rate is 50.2 percent.

  • 93% NCLEX-RN pass rates
  • Wide range of degree options from bachelors to post-doctoral
  • Top ranked nursing school by many organizations

31. Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science

Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science offers a nursing program in Illinois as well as other medical and science intensive course programs and degrees. Their tuition remains the highest priced on this list at $49,920 approximately per year of college at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science. However, they have a 85.4 percent graduation rate. Compared to the other schools on this list, they rank fourth for graduation rates out of the 50 in this list for nursing schools.

  • DNP degree and other health science degree options
  • Online programs also available
  • Information about NCLEX-RN pass rates N/A

32. Benedictine University

The 32nd spot goes to another four-year college in Illinois. Benedictine University has a moderate tuition price per year for Illinois students and they fall right in the middle of the list for graduation rates. They are ranked #30 for tuition rates with an annual price of about $20,017. They are ranked in graduation rates at #25 on the list. Their graduation rates are 55 percent.

  • NCLEX-RN pass rates unknown
  • RN to BSN program available
  • MSN program available

33. North Park University

North Park University, a nursing school in the Chicago area, has annual tuition that costs around $20,076 per year in Illinois. That puts them in 31st place for tuition. Their rank for graduation rate is #29, theirs sitting at 53 percent.

  • 84% NCLEX-RN pass rates
  • Nursing and Health Science programs available
  • Wide range of programs from bachelors to doctoral

34. Northern Illinois University

Northern Illinois University‘s performance and tuition rate combined show that the average student will pay about $19,782 for each year of school. The school has a graduation rate of 47.9 percent.

  • Undergraduate degree program
  • 93% NCLEX-RN pass rates
  • More than $130,000 in student scholarships awarded to nursing students annually

35. Millikin University

Millikin University is currently ranked number 35 on this list of nursing schools for a yearly tuition price of $21,935 each year and a graduation rate of 38.6 percent.

  • 100% NCLEX-RN pass rates in recent years
  • Bachelors, masters and doctoral degree programs available
  • Summer nursing internship partnership with St. Mary’s Hospital in Decatur, IL

36. Quincy University

Quincy University is ranked at number 36 out of 50 on this list of nursing schools in the Chicago, IL area. Their tuition is reasonable. Students should expect to pay approximately $18,949 per year. That makes the school’s tuition rank on this list at #27, so within the mid range price. Their graduation rates are below ten percent, estimated around 9.5 percent currently. That puts them at #49 in graduation rate performance on this list of nursing schools.

  • Wide range of degree programs including bachelors, masters and doctoral
  • NCLEX-RN pass rate data not available
  • Ranked highly by many organizations

37. McKendree University

McKendree University is another Illinois four-year college with exceptional nursing programs. They are #37 on this list of schools in the Chicago area with a tuition price of $19,694 per year and a graduation rate of 14 percent.

  • Undergraduate and graduate programs available
  • NCLEX-RN pass rate data unknown
  • Division of Nursing and Division of Health programs available

38. Rockford University

Rockford University is next on the list with a rank of number 38 for nursing schools in the Chicago, IL area. This school has an annual tuition price for Illinois students at $23,289. That puts the school at a rank of #36 for affordability on this list of 50 nursing schools. The graduation rate is 30.1 percent. That puts the school at a rank of #40 for graduation rate performance when factored into this list of 50 schools.

  • 80% NCLEX-RN pass rates
  • BSN program available
  • Lists nursing employment opportunities locally online

39. Resurrection University

Resurrection University will cost Illinois students about $24,562 per year of school, putting it at 37th for affordability. Their graduation rate sits at 33.3 percent.

  • 85% NCLEX-RN pass rates
  • BSN and graduate programs available
  • 2.75 GPA requirement

40. Bradley University

Bradley University’s combined rate of tuition and rate of graduation puts the school at number 40 out of 50 for nursing schools in Chicago, IL. Students residing in the state of Illinois can expect to pay an average annual tuition rate of $26,773. Their graduation rate sits at 34 percent.

  • 98-100% NCLEX-RN pass rates in recent years
  • Undergraduate, graduate and online degree program offerings
  • 100% job placement within 6 months

41. Methodist College

Methodist College is the first nursing school in this list to reach past the $30k mark for annual tuition cost. Methodist College will cost the average Illinois student about $30,794 in tuition per year. The college has a graduation rate of 42 percent, giving it the graduation rank of #36 on this list of schools.

  • 93% NCLEX-RN pass rates
  • Undergraduate and graduate degree programs available
  • Illinois Center for Nursing Resource

42. Depaul University

Depaul University is a four-year college in Illinois that offers wonderful nursing programs in the state. Depaul University charges about $36,360 yearly for students in Illinois. They have a 50 percent graduation rate.

  • 86% NCLEX-RN pass rates
  • Masters and doctoral programs available
  • Many graduates employed at local health care institutions

43. Trinity College of Nursing

The 43rd ranked school in this list is Trinity College of Nursing in Illinois. Students will pay an average of $27,067 per year at Trinity College of Nursing. Graduation rate performance for this school sits at 19.3 percent.

  • 98% NCLEX-RN pass rates
  • Graduate and undergraduate degree programs available
  • Articulation agreements with other institutions available

44. Ambria College of Nursing

Coming in at number 44 of 50 nursing colleges in the Chicago, IL area is Ambria College of Nursing. The Ambria College of Nursing will cost students in the state an estimated $30,632 annually. Graduation rates at this particular school are around 24.6 percent.

  • 98% NCLEX-RN pass rates
  • LPN, RN and BSN programs available
  • Tutoring available

45. Illinois Wesleyan University

Illinois Wesleyan University is ranked number 45 of 50 best colleges for nursing listed here. Tuition per year at Illinois Wesleyan University will cost about $31,227 for resident students. That puts the school’s tuition rank on this list at #45 in terms of affordability. The school’s graduation rate is about 25.2 percent.

  • 98% NCLEX-RN pass rates
  • Undergraduate program available
  • Study abroad program available

46. Robert Morris University – Illinois

Robert Morris University – Illinois makes the cut at number 46 on the list of best nursing schools here. Robert Morris University – Illinois has a tuition price of approximately $33,600 per year of college. The graduation rate at this university is 27.1 percent.

  • Bachelors degree program available
  • 73% NCLEX-RN pass rates
  • Most students finish in four years or less

47. Adler University

Number 47 on the list of best schools for nursing in Chicago is Adler University. The tuition at Adler will cost students in the state of Illinois around $30,360 per year. For graduation rates at Adler University, the school has a 19 percent rate in its performance.

  • NCLEX-RN pass rate unknown or unavailable
  • Many psychology related programs
  • Health science programs

48. University of Chicago

The University of Chicago falls to number 48 on this list of schools when combining tuition cost and graduation rate. The tuition at the University of Chicago is around $31,068 annually. That ranks the school at #44 in terms of affordability. Their graduation rate sits at around 24 percent, making them #45 on the ranking list for that specific category.

  • NCLEX-RN pass rates unavailable or unknown
  • 100 percent tuition reimbursement for BSN and MSN completion at the school of their choice
  • 75 percent tuition reimbursement toward the completion of a doctoral degree in nursing
  • Onsite hospital medical environment

49. Loyola University

Loyola University is the second to last school on the list for nursing schools in Chicago. The school has an approximate price tag of $34,934 per year and has a graduation rate of 24.8 percent.

  • 92% NCLEX-RN pass rates
  • Bachelors, masters, doctoral and post-doctoral degree programs as well as certificates available
  • Many available career resources on campus

50. Valparaiso University

Valparaiso University has an annual tuition cost of $37,550, making it the second to last most affordable college on the list of schools here. It has the lowest graduation rate on the list.

  • NCLEX-RN pass rates unknown
  • BSN, MSN and DNP degree programs
  • Nursing abroad program available


Ranking Methodology

The methodology used to create the 50 best nursing schools in Chicago list posted here was to score schools based on the affordability of their tuition combined with their graduation rates. Using publicly available data about each school including research by other organizations, the schools themselves and the State of Illinois, scores were calculated by ranking schools first in order of tuition price ascending from least expensive to most expensive annually. Then the schools were ranked in order of graduation rates with the highest rates first followed by the lowest. Combining those rankings and finding the difference, points were given to each school to get their overall rank on this list. Chicago has amazing BSN programs in IL, as well as other types of nursing programs.

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