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Best Nursing Schools in Illinois in 2018 (On-Campus & Online)

Best Nursing Schools in Illinois in 2018 (On-Campus & Online)

Nationwide, there is a demand for nurses, and this demand is particularly evident in Illinois, where nursing jobs are growing in the double digits, and twice as fast as other industry jobs. While the demand for registered nurses (RNs) remains high, the demand for BSN nurses is even higher. Attending one of the nursing schools in Illinois will get you started.

Illinois definitely has a nursing shortage; many nurses are retiring and there are not enough new nurses to fill those job positions. Not only do hospitals needs nurses, but so do home care companies and long-term care facilities.

An average nursing salary in Illinois is between $60,000 and $65,000, so you can earn a great living in this career. With a formal nursing education, many nurses hold prominent positions within community hospitals and other settings and usually work their way up to hold important leadership roles.

To help provide nurses to meet this demand, we’ve created this list of the best nursing schools in Illinois. Happy reading!

1. Elmhurst

Elmhurst College nursing schools in illinois

Elmhurst is a small private Christian college located in Elmhurst, Illinois and has an enrollment of around 2,700 undergraduate students. The nursing program offers real-world experience and personal mentoring in four programs of study: BSN, RN to BSN completion, MSN and Master’s Entry in Nursing Practice.

  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 100
  • Program length or credit hours: varies
  • Admission requirements: SAT 900-1170, ACT 20-26
  • Tuition: $18,825
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)

2. Trinity Christian

Trinity Christian is a private, Christian college located in Palos Heights, Illinois near Chicago. The school is relatively small with around 1,000 undergraduate students and offers a traditional BSN program in nursing.

  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 100%
  • Program length or credit hours: 120 hours
  • Admission requirements: SAT 878 to 1153 or ACT 21-27
  • Tuition: $21,772
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)

3. Aurora University

Aurora University is a private university in Aurora, Illinois, that offers RN to BSN, BSN, MSN and Nurse Educator degree programs all approved by the Illinois Board of Nursing. Enrollment for the entire university is small—under 6,000 students, with a student-to-faculty ratio of 17:1. The program offers clinical experience at area hospitals, clinics and community agencies.

  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 97%
  • Program length or credit hours: 99 credit hours (40 are prerequisites)
  • Admission requirements: Minimum ACT score of 23
  • Tuition: $22,800 annually
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)

4. Bradley University

Bradley’s nursing program allows students to enter by direct-admit into undergraduate programs with no college background, an RN or LPN. Students can earn graduate nursing degrees on campus or online. The university in Peoria is a mid-sized university with 5,400 students and has a 12:1 student-faculty ratio. The school is three hours away from three major cities: Chicago, St. Louis, and Indianapolis.

  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 96%
  • Program length or credit hours: varies
  • Admission requirements: ACT 22-28
  • Tuition: $26,733
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)

5. Illinois Weslayan

Illinois Wesleyan is a small highly rated private university located in Bloomington, Illinois, and is among one of the best nursing schools in Illinois. The school has an enrollment of under 2,000 students, so admissions are competitive; the student acceptance rate in about 60%. Nursing is a very popular major. The School of Nursing at Illinois Wesleyan extends the University’s liberal arts tradition to prepare exceptional thinkers, compassionate professionals and leaders for nursing and global health care.

  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: not available
  • Program length or credit hours: 126 credit hours
  • Admission requirements: ACT of 25-29 or SAT 1130-1400
  • Tuition: $31,220
  • Accreditation: not available

6. University of Illinois at Chicago

The University of Illinois at Chicago is a highly rated public university and large institution of over 16,000 undergraduate students. Nursing is a popular major and the school offers a  traditional BSN and RN to BSN completion.

  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: n/a
  • Program length or credit hours: 120 hours
  • Admission requirements: ACT 21-27
  • Tuition: $11,571
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)

7. Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville

With about 10,000 undergraduate students, Southern Illinois Edwardsville is a public university located in Edwardsville, Illinois near the St. Louis Area. The SIUE School of Nursing offers dynamic programs of undergraduate study that are both theoretical and practical and are designed to meet current and future challenges of nursing. The school offers both traditional and accelerated BSN degrees as well as an RN to BSN completion program. The undergraduate nursing programs prepare graduates to work in a wide variety of clinical settings and provide the necessary foundation for master’s and doctoral degrees in nursing.

  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: n/a
  • Program length or credit hours: varies
  • Admission requirements: ACT 20-26
  • Tuition: $15,360
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)

8. St. Xavier

St. Xavier is a private Catholic university located in Chicago with an enrollment under 2,500 students. SXU’s School of Nursing and Health Sciences (SONHS) has the right bachelor or master program for you by offering a traditional BSN as well as an RN to BSN online completion program and an LPN to BSN program. The school also offers graduate degrees for a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree or post-master’s certificates.

  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: n/a
  • Program length or credit hours: varies
  • Admission requirements: SAT 865-1065
  • Tuition: $15,448
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)

9. St. Francis – Illinois

St. Francis – Illinois is a private Catholic university located in Joliet near Chicago. The college is small with under 1,500 undergraduate students, and admissions are competitive as the school overall accepts about half of all applicants. Nursing is a popular major and the Leach School of Nursing offers traditional BSN, RN to BSN completion and RN to BSN fast-track bridge program in conjunction with Joliet Junior College.

  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: n/a
  • Program length or credit hours: n/a
  • Admission requirements: ACT score of 24-29, SAT 910-1110
  • Tuition: $17,968
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)

10. Dominican University

Dominican is a private Catholic university located near Chicago in River Forest, Illinois. The institution is small, with as few as 2,100 undergraduate students. As an undergraduate program of Dominican’s new Borra College of Health Sciences, the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) equips students with the knowledge to sit for and pass the NCLEX-RN examination.

  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: not available
  • Program length or credit hours: varies
  • Admission requirements: Minimum ACT 25, SAT 1250
  • Tuition: $18,219
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)

11. Illinois State University

Illinois State is a large public university in Normal, Illinois with nearly 20,000 enrolled undergraduate students. The school of nursing offers both traditional and RN to BSN degrees as well as graduate degrees. The Mennonite College of Nursing offers a traditional nursing curriculum over four semesters of full-time study. Each semester of the academic year provides for the practice of skills and the application of knowledge through a variety of classroom, laboratory and clinical experiences.

  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: n/a
  • Program length or credit hours: 4 semesters
  • Admission requirements: ACT 21-26
  • Tuition: $18,415
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)

12. McKendree University

McKendree U is a small college that offers an RN to BSN program and an RN to MSN program, which is fairly unique. The school also offers an MSN/MBA degree as well as upper-level degrees in Nurse Practitioner and DNP. Registered nurses can enroll in the McKendree Online RN to BSN degree program.

  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: not available
  • Program length or credit hours: 120 hours, 30 from McKendree
  • Admission requirements: Minimum 2.75 GPA
  • Tuition: $19,694
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)

13. Northern Illinois University

DeKalb is home to Northern Illinois University. Acceptance rate is around 50% and undergrad and admissions are fairly competitive. The school offers RN to BSN accelerated programs and prepares students to pursue advanced degree programs such as a Doctor of Nursing Practice, an MSN, a Post-Master’s Certificate in Nursing Education and DNP degree.

  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: An NCLEX first-time pass rate exceeds the state and national average
  • Program length or credit hours: varies
  • Admission requirements: Minimum 2.75 GPA
  • Tuition: $19,782
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)

14. Benedictine University

Benedictine is a private Catholic university located in Lisle, Illinois near Chicago. The school is small with under 3,000 enrolled undergraduate students. The school offers an RN to BSN completion program with classes are held at multiple locations near Benedictine’s Lisle campus, in Central Illinois and online. This program is specifically designed for the working RN and the accelerated format allows registered nurses to complete all nursing major and core courses within 12-16 months.

  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: n/a
  • Program length or credit hours: 12 to 16 months
  • Admission requirements: Minimum 2.5 GPA
  • Tuition: $20,017
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)

15. Northpark University

Northpark University is known for its excellent 50-year history of offering nursing degrees. RN to BSN participants can earn credit for RN training while advancing the career with a BSN. Classes are a mix of in-person and online to work with RN’s flexible schedules. Programs include BSN, an MSN with one of three degree focuses, two post-master’s certificates, and a DNP degree.

  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: n/a
  • Program length or credit hours: varies
  • Admission requirements: ACT 21-24
  • Tuition: $20,076
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)

16. Lewis University

Lewis is a private Catholic university located in Romeoville, Illinois near Chicago. It is a small institution with an enrollment of 3,744 undergraduate students. Admissions is competitive, and the nursing school offers BSN, RN to BSN and BAC to BSN programs.

  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: n/a
  • Program length or credit hours: varies
  • Admission requirements: ACT 21-26, SAT 980-1210
  • Tuition: $20,232
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)

17. Olivet Nazarene

Olivet Nazarene is a private Christian university in Bourbonnais, Illinois. It has an enrollment of around 3,000 undergraduate students. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) is a highly respected degree with an ever-growing national demand. Students, employers and society can be confident that Olivet’s accredited nursing program meets the quality standards of the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and Illinois Department of Professional Regulation. Olivet graduates enrolled in the traditional program consistently exceed the national average pass rate for the NCLEX-RN, the licensing exam for registered nurses.

  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: exceeds the national average
  • Program length or credit hours: varies
  • Admission requirements: ACT 21-27
  • Tuition: $20,302
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)

18. Millikin

The RN to BSN program through the School of Nursing at Millikin University is for licensed registered nurses who want to further their career by earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Graduates are prepared to move into nursing leadership positions, continue their education to become advanced practice nurses or move into other fields. The program can be completed in one year of full-time study or a part-time option is also available. The school also offers tradition BSN as well as MSN programs. Millikin is a private Christian university located in Decatur; it has less than 2,000 enrolled undergraduate students.

  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: n/a
  • Program length or credit hours: 1 year
  • Admission requirements: varies
  • Tuition: $21,935
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)

19. Rockford University

Rockford U is a very small school with fewer than 1,000 undergraduates. Rockford University Nursing Department is to prepare registered professional nurses to provide quality nursing care to individuals, families, groups, and communities with diverse health needs. At Rockford, nursing students are challenged to think critically, act compassionately, and engage with their wider community.

  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: n/a
  • Program length or credit hours: varies
  • Admission requirements: Minimum 2.75 GPA
  • Tuition: $19,782
  • Accreditation: Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN)

20. Loyola University of Chicago

The Loyola University of Chicago is a highly rated private Catholic university and large institution with over 10,000 undergraduate students and competitive admissions. The Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing is a very popular major at the school. The school offers traditional and accelerated BSN as well as RN-to-BSN completion programs.

  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: n/a
  • Program length or credit hours: n/a
  • Admission requirements: ACT score of 24-29, SAT 1030-1260
  • Tuition: $34,924
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)

To perform the ranking, schools were first ranked on NCLEX pass rate, then on tuition costs. We hope you find this list useful as you prepare to embark on your exciting new nursing education and career.

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