The terminal degree type within the field of nursing is the doctor of nursing practice (DNP) degree. The DNP degree is considered ‘terminal' because it's the highest ranking degree type within nursing education and in the field. Depending on the pathway a nursing student chooses to take, DNPs can prepare them to work either in organizational/educational settings or in clinical settings.

Depending on the state and depending on the university program, BSN to DNP students will be expected to successfully complete 65 to 95 unit hours along with a number of supervised clinical clerkship hours to be awarded the degree. Most MSN to DNP programs will expect students to complete at minimum 39 unit hours to earn the degree. Depending on the prospective students starting place prior to matriculating (i.e. BSN or MSN), the amount of time it will take to complete a DNP program will vary. In most cases, a full-time BSN to DNP program will take most students approximately three to four years to complete, whereas a full-time MSN to DNP program takes only two years.

Core competencies to be mastered by students during DNP programs will include:

  • Advanced pharmacology
  • Health and Physical Assessment
  • Clinical Research for Advanced Practice Nursing
  • Quantitative Research Methods and Evidence Based Practice
  • Public Policy

Choosing a Doctor of Nursing Practice Program

The state of Illinois offers eleven different DNP programs. There are a few important factors to consider before applying.

What to Consider When Choosing a DNP Program

  • Program Cost- Tuition costs for DNP programs in Illinois vary. For in-state students, prices can range from $950 to $1,100 per unit hour. For out-of-state students, DNP programs will cost around $1,200 to $1,500 per unit hour. Online DNP programs will typically cost students anywhere from $850 to $1000 per unit hour regardless of whether they are in-state or out-of-state.
  • Online Campus options-
  • Accreditation- DNP programs in Illinois are accredited by the Commission on Nursing Education (CCNE).
  • Clinical Residencies-Residencies or fellowships are a stage in a nurse practitioner's clinical education where they provide care to patients under the supervision of either a physician or another nurse practitioner, while being paid a salary. Options in the area include:

Admission & State Licensing or Certification Requirements

Admission

  • Although admission requirements to DNP programs in Illinois will vary from university to university, generally, to be accepted for admission to most programs in the state, candidates must meet the following prerequisite requirements:
  • Be in possession of an unencumbered RN license
  • Possess a BSN or MSN degree issued by a CCNE or ACEN accredited program
  • Minimum of two years of professional nursing practice as a Registered Nurse (RN)
  • Have maintained a 3.0 grade point average, based on a 4.0 system in either undergraduate or graduate degree programs
  • Provide academic transcripts
  • Write a Statement of Purpose
  • Pass a drug and background test
  • Provide resume or curriculum vitae (CV)
  • Verification/documentation of clinical hours
  • Provide two letters of recommendations from professions with graduate level education

Certification

Accredited DNP programs in the state of Illinois allow successful students to sit for certification upon completion of programs. DNP tracks offered at universities in Illinois allow students to become certified in the vast majority if not all advanced practice nursing specialty disciplines.

Licensing

Illinois advanced practice nurses are licensed by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDPR). Becoming licensed as an APRN requires the following:

  • Complete an application
  • Pass a criminal background check
  • Provide transcripts from all educational institutions
  • Submit proof of all clinical hours worked during your graduate studies, as well as any other clinical experiences acquired
  • Submit verification of specialty certification
  • Complete fingerprinting
  • Apply for prescriptive authority

Illinois BSN to DNP Program Options

Six universities have programs that offer BSN to DNP pathways in the state of Illinois:

  • University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago- Post MSN and BSN-DNP options
  • Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, Edwardsville- Post MSN and BSN-DNP options
  • Rush University, Chicago- Post MSN and BSN-DNP options
  • Loyola University Chicago, Maywood- Post MSN and BSN-DNP options
  • DePaul University, Chicago- Post MSN and BSN-DNP options
  • Chamberlain College of Nursing, Downers Grove- Post MSN and BSN-DNP options

Helpful DNP Agencies and Organizations in Illinois

RELATED EDUCATION PATHS

List of Campus and Online DNP Programs in Illinois

Find DNP Programs By City:

SchoolContact Information
Bradley University
1501 W Bradley Ave
Peoria, IL 61625
(309) 676-7611
Illinois State University
Campus Box 4040
Normal, IL 61790
(309) 438-2583
Lewis University
One University Parkway
Romeoville, IL 60446
(815) 838-0500
Loyola University of Chicago
1032 W. Sheridan Rd
Chicago, IL 60660
(773) 274-3000
Millikin University
DNP Programs
1184 W. Main St.
Decatur, IL 62522
(800) 373-7733
Northern Illinois University
1425 W. Lincoln Hwy.
DeKalb, IL 60115
(815) 753-1000
Rush University
600 S. Paulina St.
Chicago, IL 60612
(312) 942-7100
Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
1 Hairpin Dr
Edwardsville, IL 62025
(888) 328-5168
University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC)
845 South Damen Ave
Chicago, IL 60612
(312) 996-7800
University of Illinois College of Medicine at Rockford
1601 Parkview Ave
Rockford, IL 61107
(815) 395-0600
University of Illinois Springfield
DNP Programs
One University Plaza
Springfield, IL 62703
(217) 206-6600
University of Saint Francis
DNP Programs
500 Wilcox St
Joliet, IL 60435
(800) 735-7500

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