In the state of Illinois, they wholeheartedly believe in nursing care that provides a patient-focused philosophy, and to provide that level of care they support the industry’s move toward furthering education. The state has a high rate of nurses holding or pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree, which has given them the benefit of earning higher salaries and improved their position to accept advancements. Candidates with a like-minded philosophy of patient-focused health care who strive to better the industry of nursing are called upon to help fulfill the future need.

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Cities in Illinois

Best RN Programs in Illinois

Selecting the best nursing school in Illinois can be difficult. To make the process easier first look for a school that supports students towards licensure and beyond. A great way to measure this is through NCLEX-RN "pass rates." We have ranked the top 20 nursing schools in Illinois by analyzing current and historical NCLEX-RN "pass rates", meaning the percentage of graduates who pass the exam, out of the 79 RN programs in the state. Programs reviewed include schools that offer an Associate in Nursing (ADN/ASN), BSN, or Direct-Entry MSN Degree.

For more information on our top nursing school rankings, see our Methodology Page (


6601 W College Dr, Palos Heights, IL 60463

Score: 99.79

Trinity Christian College’s BSN program prepares students both academically and clinically to care for patients’ physical, spiritual, and mental needs. Students are able to gain hands-on learning in the simulation lab, allowing them to hone their skills in a safe and controlled environment.

Program Details

  • Programs: BSN
  • Phone: (708) 597-3000

3301 N. Mulford Road, Rockford, IL 61114

Score: 98.50

Saint Anthony College of Nursing in Rockford, Illinois is known for its standard of academic excellence paired with practical experience. With state of the art skills labs and low student/teacher ratio, students excel in the demanding yet nurturing program.

Program Details

  • Programs: BSN
  • Phone: (815) 282-7900

600 S Paulina St, Chicago, IL 60612

Score: 97.37

Located in the metropolis of Chicago, Illinois, Rush University is home to a prestigious college of nursing. With a direct-entry MSN option for non-nurses, students work with nationally and internationally renowned faculty to prepare them for their profession.

Program Details

  • Programs: MSN
  • Phone: (312) 942-5000

5210 Trillium Blvd, Hoffman Estates, IL 60192

Score: 96.78

Ambria College of Nursing supports students through multiple nursing program pathways. Their associate degree pathway has options for new nurses and licensed LPNs, and accepts students 3 times per year in the spring, summer, and fall semesters.

Program Details

  • Programs: Associate in Nursing, LPN to ADN
  • Phone: (847) 397-0300

1 University Pkwy, Romeoville, IL 60446

Score: 96.33

Located in Romeoville, Illinois, Lewis University creates leaders in the high-tech patient care environment. With attention to the pacing of the healthcare field today, Lewis University nursing graduates are well-informed on the advancements of health care.

Program Details

  • Programs: BSN
  • Phone: (815) 838-0500

700 Logan College Dr, Carterville, IL 62918

Score: 95.92

John A. Logan College's associate degree nursing program is located in the community of Carterville, Illinois. Designed to assist nurses in upgrading their skills and knowledge, the college's graduates are a welcome addition as therapeutic and caring members of the healthcare team.

Program Details

  • Programs: Associate in Nursing
  • Phone: (618) 985-3741

1215 Houbolt Rd, Joliet, IL 60431

Score: 95.86

Joliet Junior College is home to one of the state's most well regarded nursing programs. With an eye on the burgeoning demand for nurses, Joliet graduates are informed collaborators and managers who influence health outcomes.

Program Details

  • Programs: Associate in Nursing
  • Phone: (815) 729-9020

1 University Cir, Macomb, IL 61455

Score: 95.74

The CCNE-accredited BSN program at Macomb’s Western Illinois University focuses on preparing nurses for a wide variety of healthcare settings, particularly rural settings. Their nursing resource center houses computer simulation programs and simulators for students to practice new skills before working on real patients.

Program Details

  • Programs: BSN
  • Phone: (309) 298-1414

6600 34th Ave, Moline, IL 61265

Score: 95.68

Black Hawk College’s Associate Degree in Nursing program offers a career-oriented curriculum to prepare students to provide quality care to patients. Students will develop skills such as clinical reasoning and nursing judgment to minimize risk, and effective communication techniques to ensure positive outcomes.

Program Details

  • Programs: Associate in Nursing
  • Phone: (309) 796-5000

Campus Box 5810, Normal, IL 61790

Score: 95.66

Mennonite College of Nursing at Illinois State University in Normal, Illinois has the benefit of small city environment with big-city opportunities from nearby Bloomington. Nursing graduates of the BSN program are able to integrate classroom knowledge and skills to find solutions in patient care.

Program Details

  • Programs: BSN
  • Phone: (309) 438-7400

3575 College Rd, Harrisburg, IL 62946

Score: 95.35

Located in beautiful south Illinois in the city of Harrisburg, Southeastern Illinois College is proud to offer excellent nursing programming to hundreds of soon-to-be RNs. With flexible offerings and emphasis on clinical experience, nursing graduates are a welcome addition to area healthcare teams.

Program Details

  • Programs: Associate in Nursing
  • Phone: (618) 252-5400

27210 College Rd, Centralia, IL 62801

Score: 95.21

Kaskaskia College in Centralia offers an ACEN-accredited Associate Degree in Nursing. They have prepared over 1800 graduates for a career in registered nursing, and their program gives students the tools they will need to successfully pass the NCLEX-RN exam.

Program Details

  • Programs: Associate in Nursing
  • Phone: (618) 545-3000

8900 US Hwy 14, Crystal Lake, IL 60012

Score: 95.14

McHenry County College, located in Crystal Lake, Illinois has a number of program pathways, including an ADN program, to best support new or returning nursing students. With full- or part-time course loads, MCC's flexibility is designed to meet nursing needs now and in the future.

Program Details

  • Programs: Associate in Nursing
  • Phone: (815) 455-3700

1600 East Golf Road, Des Plaines, IL 60016

Score: 94.45

Des Plaines, Illinois is the proud home of Oakton Community College. With renowned nursing faculty and state of the art facilities for clinical practice, Oakton's ADN students graduate prepared to use clinical and professional leadership skills to improve the health of individuals in their communities.

Program Details

  • Programs: Associate in Nursing
  • Phone: (847) 635-1600

2500 Carlyle Ave, Belleville, IL 62221

Score: 94.33

Belleville, Illinois - located just southeast of St. Louis, MS - is home to the Southwestern Illinois College. With a formidable nursing program, SIC graduates enter the workforce as they develop into knowledgeable and effective care providers.

Program Details

  • Programs: Associate in Nursing
  • Phone: (618) 235-2700

425 Fawell Blvd, Glen Ellyn, IL 60137

Score: 94.01

Glen Ellyn's College of DuPage offers students an Associate Degree Nursing (ADN) pathway to enter registered nursing practice. This 2-year program begins every Fall and Spring semester to prepare students for entry-level positions caring for patients in a variety of healthcare settings. Graduates leave the program with exceptional clinical decision-making abilities.

Program Details

  • Programs: Associate in Nursing
  • Phone: (630) 942-2380

1500 W Raab Rd, Normal, IL 61761

Score: 93.23

Heartland Community College serves students in the Normal vicinity through its excellent ADN and LPN to RN program pathways. Enrolled students learn a number of contemporary nursing principles and techniques to help them find success amongst healthcare teams.

Program Details

  • Programs: Associate in Nursing, LPN to RN
  • Phone: (309) 268-8000

7900 West Division Street, River Forest, IL 60305

Score: 92.97

Located in River Forest, Dominican University’s BSN program allows students to learn and explore in its state-of-the-art labs, collaborate with educated faculty, and gain the skills needed to become licensed as an RN. The curriculum emphasizes student attention, faculty interaction, and personal accountability.

Program Details

  • Programs: BSN
  • Phone: (708) 366-2490

1501 W Bradley Ave, Peoria, IL 61625

Score: 92.82

Located in Peoria, Illinois, Bradley University faculty believe that nurses need to care for the whole patient by using ethical and scientific patient-centered care models. They offer a direct-entry BSN program in which students begin taking nursing courses during freshman year. The nursing profession welcomes Bradley graduates to their ranks.

Program Details

  • Programs: BSN
  • Phone: (404) 975-5000

1200 W Algonquin Rd, Palatine, IL 60067

Score: 92.66

Harper College in Palatine, Illinois strives to provide one of the state's most acclaimed associate degree nursing programs. With almost 50 years' experience in nursing education, Harper College works to fill today's growing demand for empathy and evidence-based care in registered nursing.

Program Details

  • Programs: Associate in Nursing
  • Phone: (847) 925-6000

ADN Programs in Illinois

With a history of strong and proactive nursing schools dating back as far as 1889, the state of Illinois is prepared to meet today’s growing health care demands. With many students opting to graduate high school and begin their post-secondary path toward an Associate’s Degree in Nursing diploma at a college convenient to them, the ADN program offers evidence-based, hands-on training toward licensure exams for those students who need or want a quick path to the first steps in their nursing career.

There are more than 40 ADN programs in the state, and program entry is offered one or more times per year for a two-year diploma.

What to Look For in an ADN Program in Illinois

With the sheer number of programs that are available and reasonably priced for in-state students, how do you decide which one is right for you? Data-based decision-making on some important student outcomes can help you make the right choice for your learning style and lifestyle.


Accreditation is a voluntary, non-profit measure that protects students as consumers. With accreditation in place, you’re guaranteed that the degree you’re buying with your money, time, and dedication is of a comparable standard throughout the state. Colleges are accredited through the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools as designated by the federal government, whereas ADN programs are accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) or the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (CCNE).


The healthcare industry is subject to regulations, just like every other industry in our great country. For nurses, this means ensuring that the program they pick for ADN will fully prepare them to take the NCLEX. To this end, the Illinois Board of Nursing maintains a list of post-secondary programs that have program goals that are in line with industry standards and knowledge.

Program Outcomes

Perhaps the most telling pieces of information come from the institution's ‘Progress and Outcomes’ section of their website. From that data, compared from year to year and between colleges, you’ll be able to form an opinion of how various colleges stack up. Look for:

  • Enrollment data
  • RN exam attempts per student
  • Student satisfaction survey data
  • In-field employment data

With campuses in both Danville and Hoopeston, Illinois, Danville Area Community College is a fully accredited institution with a nursing program that is licensed and in good standing with the Illinois Board of Nursing.

ADN Program Admission Requirements in Illinois

While ADN programs are similar throughout the state, there remain some differences in the admission processes and criteria between each institution. Prepare for the following types of requirements, but don’t be afraid to contact your school directly if you’re not sure:

  • Competitive GPA, verified by original transcript
  • Verification of any college-level courses taken
  • Have a TEAS score of 60% or greater
  • Carry current CPR certification
  • Have a grade of ‘B’ or better in core pre-requisite courses
  • Complete all forms on time

Tuition and Costs of ADN Programs in Illinois

The cost of college programs has remained reasonably stable over the last decade. Small increases in tuition, housing, food, materials, textbooks, and supplies have occurred but overall, in-state students can get great value from their 2-year program choice, especially since they are likely to land a job in their field soon after graduation and licensure. To give you an idea of the cost of tuition in Illinois, we’ve included a sample school below:

At Shawnee Community College, in-state students pay about $125 per credit hour, while out-of-state students pay considerably more. There are additional administrative and campus fees that also apply, such as technology and lab fees, and transcript fees. Due to fluctuations in the cost of living prices, the college doesn’t publish data on the costs of residence and food for students.

Advantages of ADN Programs

Almost 50% of nurses in the United States were educated first through ADN programs. The numbers are even higher for nurses educated in the ’90s. The fact remains that community colleges are important in boosting nurses from minority backgrounds throughout the country. Programs have a considerably lower cost than their BSN counterparts do.

LPN to RN Programs in Illinois

An increasingly popular pathway to registered nursing is the LPN to RN program. This allows Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) to take a specialized curriculum designed to expand upon their prior knowledge and experience in order to become registered nurses. Enrolled students enjoy shorter program times than traditional RN pathways and are able to choose which type of RN degree they wish to obtain.

LPN to ADN/BSN Programs

The first option nurses have for the LPN to RN pathway is an LPN to Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN). These LPN to ADN programs are the fastest route to an RN degree, often taking just a few months to complete. Lincoln Land Community College, for example, offers an LPN to ADN program to transition students into a rewarding RN career.

LPN to BSN programs also exist for those who are interested in the popular baccalaureate route, though they tend to require a few more semesters than the ADN pathway. Chicago’s Saint Xavier University offers an LPN to BSN, combining classroom study and clinical practice to bridge the student’s learning.

No matter the pathway, LPN to RN programs typically require the following for admission:

  • Graduate of an approved LPN program
  • Current, unencumbered Illinois LPN license
  • Completion of prerequisite courses with a minimum GPA

BSN Programs in Illinois

When students consider their options for post-secondary school, often they think of a BSN or Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree when they consider nursing. Universities are found in larger centers and offer frameworks that are more theoretical for students who are interested in more than the practice of nursing. When their degree has been earned, however, BSN graduates must sit the same NCLEX licensure exam as their ADN counterparts – it’s only this license that determines eligibility for nursing.

What To Look For in a BSN Program in Illinois

BSN grads and faculty strive to provide effective and evidence-based ethics in practice to their patients. More than a degree, nursing is a worldview and full-time practice. Nurses at all levels practice integrity and evidence-based care as part of a team. Graduates look forward to sharing new ideas with doctors, colleagues, and patients.

Since 1971, the University of Chicago’s nursing program has continued to grow and expand. Faculty in the department provide experiences that meet the needs of student nurses to empower them and promote competence in all areas of their practice and professional development.

BSN Program Length in Illinois

Bachelors in nursing programs differ from their ADN counterparts in a couple of key ways, and one of them is the length. Generally, a BSN program requires that students attend and pass about 120 credit hours to be eligible for graduation and thus licensure. Generally divided into approximately 15 credit hours per semester, students take an average of four years to complete their degree.

BSN Program Admission Requirements in Illinois

BSN programs have unique admissions criteria that vary between institutions. Here’s a selection of the most common requirements that you may see for your nursing program of choice:

  • Cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • Pre-requisite courses are complete with competitive marks
  • Personal essay
  • Up-to-date vaccination history
  • Complete a background and health inquiry screening

Tuition and Costs of BSN Programs in Illinois

With the nursing industry demands forecast to increase until 2020, students can safely gamble that the cost of a university degree in nursing, as well as their diligence, aptitude, and licensure, will pay off by landing them a job shortly after graduation. However, that doesn’t mean that there’s unlimited money to spend. Part of transitioning to adulthood and professionalism is carefully evaluating the costs of a major investment like a university. Luckily, all universities make this information publicly available. For example, Robert Morris University’s BSN program in Moon, Illinois has a per-credit-hour cost of $990 not including room/board or additional fees.

Advantages of BSN Programs

Students who choose a BSN have ample time and the right technical environment to use reasoning and clinical judgment to improve patient outcomes. BSN graduates are well regarded in their demonstration of leadership through nursing activities. BSN grads are ideally positioned to grow in their career track or to undergo additional schooling toward an MSN degree.

MSN Programs in Illinois

Beyond the BSN, graduate degree programs can help nurses become leaders in their workplace or in a new role entirely. It’s only at the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) level that nurses can become Nurse-Midwives, advanced clinical nurses, or continue even further to a doctorate of nursing. Nurses who choose to begin their graduate course of study can choose from online, on-campus, and either full- or part-time options.

MSN Program Length in Illinois

With a focus on leadership and specialized practice, MSN programs in Illinois are offered on- and off-campus. The average program length is about 2 years of full-time study, and program admissions are very competitive. The high amount of clinical hours, as well as the low student-faculty ratio, ensures that clinical experiences are diverse and valuable.

MSN Admission Requirements in Illinois

MSN programs are often small and require competitive experience and undergraduate grades in order to enter the program. There are five or so programs throughout the state, and many more online offerings. Criteria for admissions often look like this:

  • Undergraduate degree from an accredited institution within the region
  • A current Illinois RN license in good standing
  • 2-4 professional reference letters
  • Transcripts that reflect a GPA that exceeds the minimum cut off of ‘C’
  • Official transcripts from each post-secondary and CE studies
  • Attend an interview with faculty

Tuition and Costs of MSN Programs in Illinois

MSN programs throughout the state can vary widely in their cost. One such example is that of Millikin University where tuition for the MSN – Master’s Entry to Nursing Practice is about $890 per credit hour. The full-time program requires 83 total credit hours to complete the degree.

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Getting an Illinois Nursing License

State of Illinois nursing licensure requirements either by examination or endorsement must provide the following documentation:

  • Application must include the following sections to be completed, as well as supporting documentation:
  • Category Information
  • Identity Information
  • Nurse education and employment information
  • Record of Examination (if applicable)
  • Personal history
  • Child support/student loan information
  • Certifying statement
  • Criminal background check
  • ED-NUR form - completed by institution and sent to the board

Licensure by endorsement must include the same application form with completed sections, as well as the this additional information:

  • Record of licensure information
  • Record of Examination
  • CT-NUR form - certification of licensure by licensing state

Accelerated Nursing Programs in Illinois

Illinois nurses, prospective or existing, are looking at accelerated and bridging programs to obtain their degrees faster. You can fast track your career by taking one of these programs for as little as 10 to 18 months. The courses are intensive and require full-time commitments to fulfill program and clinical requirements. When looking into these programs, at one on the 11 or so offered over the state, you should take note of the requirements for entry. There are some programs that will require candidates to take specific course before the program start date. Tuition costs are subsequent to change, as any additional cost, such as prerequisite course, housing, etc., can all increase the overall costs.

Continued List of All RN Programs in Illinois

Here is a continued list of all RN Programs a continued list of all RN Programs a continued list of all RN Programs a continued list of all RN Programs a continued list of all RN Programs a continued list of all RN Programs.

Decatur, IL 62522 | Phone: (217) 424-6211
Programs: BSN, MSN
Kankakee, IL 60901 | Phone: (815) 802-8100
Programs: Associate in Nursing
Chicago, IL 60660 | Phone: (773) 274-3000
Programs: BSN
Chicago, IL 60614 | Phone: (773) 687-1000
Programs: MSN
DeKalb, IL 60115 | Phone: (815) 753-1231
Programs: BSN
Aurora, IL 60506 | Phone: (630) 892-6431
Programs: BSN
Bourbonnais, IL 60914 | Phone: (800) 648-1463
Programs: BSN
Ullin, IL 62992 | Phone: (618) 634-3200
Programs: Associate in Nursing
Springfield, IL 62794 | Phone: (217) 786-2437
Programs: Associate in Nursing
Chicago, IL 60612 | Phone: (312) 850-7000
Programs: Associate in Nursing
Elgin, IL 60123 | Phone: (847) 697-1000
Programs: Associate in Nursing
Carbondale, IL 62901 | Phone: (618) 536-6666
Programs: BSN
Quincy, IL 62301 | Phone: (217) 228-5520
Programs: BSN, MSN
Canton, IL 61520 | Phone: (309) 647-5240
Programs: Diploma
Springfield, IL 62702 | Phone: (217) 525-5628
Programs: BSN
Palos Hills, IL 60465 | Phone: (708) 974-4300
Programs: Associate in Nursing
Danville, IL 61832 | Phone: (217) 709-0920
Programs: BSN
Peoria, IL 61615 | Phone: (309) 672-5513
Programs: BSN
Malta, IL 60150 | Phone: (815) 825-2086
Programs: Associate in Nursing
Quincy, IL 62305 | Phone: (217) 224-6500
Programs: Associate in Nursing
Rockford, IL 61114 | Phone: (815) 921-7821
Programs: Associate in Nursing
Elmhurst, IL 60126 | Phone: (630) 617-3400
Programs: BSN, MSN
Joliet, IL 60435 | Phone: (800) 735-7500
Programs: BSN
Canton, IL 61520 | Phone: (309) 647-4645
Programs: Associate in Nursing
Oglesby, IL 61348 | Phone: (815) 224-2720
Programs: Associate in Nursing
Mattoon, IL 61938 | Phone: (217) 234-5253
Programs: Associate in Nursing
Downers Grove, IL 60515 | Phone: (877) 751-5783
Programs: BSN
Peoria, IL 61603 | Phone: (309) 655-2201
Programs: BSN
Rock Island, IL 61201 | Phone: (309) 779-7700
Programs: BSN
Sugar Grove, IL 60554 | Phone: (630) 466-7900
Programs: Associate in Nursing
Grayslake, IL 60030 | Phone: (847) 543-2000
Programs: Associate in Nursing
South Holland, IL 60473 | Phone: (708) 596-2000
Programs: Associate in Nursing
Bloomington, IL 61701 | Phone: (309) 556-1000
Programs: BSN
Chicago, IL 60655 | Phone: (844) 468-6798
Programs: BSN
Godfrey, IL 62035 | Phone: (618) 468-4401
Programs: Associate in Nursing
Chicago, IL 60607 | Phone: (312) 996-7000
Programs: BSN, MSN
Chicago Heights, IL 60411 | Phone: (708) 709-3500
Programs: Associate in Nursing
Chicago, IL 60625 | Phone: (800) 888-6728
Programs: BSN
Dixon, IL 61021 | Phone: (815) 288-5511
Programs: Associate in Nursing
Romeoville, IL 60446 | Phone: (815) 306-2600
Programs: Associate in Nursing, BSN
Decatur, IL 62521 | Phone: (217) 875-7200
Programs: Associate in Nursing
Champaign, IL 61821 | Phone: (217) 351-2200
Programs: Associate in Nursing
East Peoria, IL 61635 | Phone: (309) 694-5422
Programs: Associate in Nursing
Danville, IL 61832 | Phone: (217) 443-3222
Programs: Associate in Nursing
Rockford, IL 61108 | Phone: (815) 226-4000
Programs: BSN
River Grove, IL 60171 | Phone: (708) 456-0300
Programs: Associate in Nursing
Freeport, IL 66035 | Phone: (815) 235-6121
Programs: Associate in Nursing
Galesburg, IL 61401 | Phone: (309) 344-2518
Programs: Associate in Nursing
Chicago, IL 60622 | Phone: (773) 252-6464
Programs: BSN
Cicero, IL 60804 | Phone: (708) 656-8000
Programs: Associate in Nursing
Bridgeview, IL 60455 | Phone: (888) 205-2283
Programs: Associate in Nursing
Chicago, IL 60628 | Phone: (773) 995-2000
Programs: BSN
Chicago, IL 60605 | Phone: (312) 341-3500
Programs: BSN
Matteson, IL 60443 | Phone: (708) 983-1645
Programs: LPN to ADN
Carbondale, IL 62901 | Phone: (618) 453-7211
Programs: BSN
Chicago, IL 60605 | Phone: (800) 762-5960
Programs: BSN
Chicago, IL 60608 | Phone: (773) 890-0055
Programs: Associate in Nursing
Charleston, IL 61920 | Phone: (217) 581-5000
Programs: BSN
Isle, IL 60532 | Phone: (630) 829-6000
Programs: MSN/MBA

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