How to Become a Registered Nurse in Illinois

Illinois map

Take a step toward becoming a registered nurse in Illinois with these five colleges and nursing programs.

Each school in IL providing nursing training leads students to the national certification board called the NCLEX-RN.

This allows students to pursue an education in nursing followed by a job as a registered nurse in Illinois.

Learn about the different registered nursing programs to determine which one is best for your circumstances.

Nursing Schools in Illinois

University of Illinois-Chicago

University of Illinois-Chicago Logo

At the University of Illinois-Chicago, students can enroll in a nursing school to prepare to become registered nurses.

Earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing or BSN, which is the typical and traditional degree for registered nurses.

This is a four-year training program that focuses on research and application.

You will become a Nurse Generalist who is eligible to sit for the NCLEX-RN board upon graduation.

The tuition for the College of Nursing at UIC varies from semester to semester from $330 to $475 a credit hour.

Rush University

Rush University Logo

Rush University trains registered nursing students in Illinois.

This is a four-year BSN training program that costs $221,833 in total, making it the most expensive school on this list.

Notice that some of the years are more or less expensive and the tuition varies annually for this program.

Loyola University-Chicago

Loyola University-Chicago Logo

The School of Nursing at Loyola University-Chicago has a conventional four-year program for nursing students.

Become a registered nurse in IL through Loyola University for $60,920, or $15,230 a semester.

Also, at Loyola, students in a rush can complete an Accelerated Bachelor of Science (ABSN) degree option, which reduces the time it takes to complete the four-year program.

Elmhurst University

Elmhurst University Logo

Attend Elmhurst University and its accelerated nursing program if you are short on time.

This is the fastest route to becoming a registered nurse in Illinois.

The program takes only four semesters and is 60 credit hours over 15 courses.

The total cost is $50,000, which is broken down over the four semesters.

Notice that the cost per credit hour is $833.

Additionally, Elmhurst University provides an online training program for nurses called the ABSN.

According to the school, “All distance ABSN coursework is online, with the exception of two on-campus residencies in Elmhurst, IL, and nursing clinical in your local area.”

DePaul University

DePaul University Logo

Nursing school hopefuls attending DePaul University will need to live in or near the windy city of Chicago to do so.

This school offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, which takes four years to complete.

The cost per credit hour is $750, as determined by the College of Science and Health.

The annual tuition cost is $41,000 a year, making this one of the more expensive nursing schools in the state.

For the four years, look to spend approximately $160,000 on a nursing degree at DePaul University.

Registered Nurse Schools in Illinois – Summary Table

Top 5 Schools in Illinois

School NameAddress
University of Illinois-Chicago1200 W Harrison St, Chicago, IL 60607
Rush University1620 W Harrison St, Chicago, IL 60612
Loyola University-Chicago1032 W Sheridan Rd, Chicago, IL 60660
Elmhurst University190 S Prospect Ave, Elmhurst, IL 60126
DePaul University2400 N Sheffield Ave, Chicago, IL 60614

Salary for a Registered Nurse

Did you know that the average annual salary for registered nurses is $59,570 and $106,830 in the US?

Expect to earn anywhere around this amount of money when you become a registered nurse in Illinois.

The average cost of living in IL is 93.7, according to Sperling’s Best Places, and this is based on the national average of 100.

Since the cost of living in Illinois is lower, RNs working in IL will earn more toward the $59,570 range, especially when starting in an entry-level position.

Annual Salary Range:

Average Salary of Registered Nurse (RN)s in Illinois

City NameSalary
* Salary information last updated 2024

Regional Salary in Illinois

RegionEmployedAvg. Annual SalaryAvg. Hourly PayTop 10% Annual SalaryBottom 10% Annual Salary
Bloomington, IL1,540$74,600$35.86$93,720$59,110
Carbondale-Marion, IL2,120$74,590$35.86$96,830$50,750
Champaign-Urbana, IL3,440$79,310$38.13$96,010$62,460
Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI94,640$85,260$40.99$105,560$64,710
Danville, IL640$78,390$37.69$96,680$59,070
Decatur, IL1,240$77,960$37.48$94,550$60,600
Kankakee, IL1,450$80,980$38.94$104,980$60,550
Peoria, IL5,520$72,650$34.93$93,540$61,250
Rockford, IL3,900$77,190$37.11$95,430$62,250
Springfield, IL3,720$78,630$37.8$96,790$63,220
* Salary information based on the May 2022 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Registered Nurses, OCC Code 29-1141, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to be a registered nurse in Illinois?

Some of the programs in Illinois take four years to complete to become a registered nurse in IL.

However, there are also online and accelerated training programs that speed up the timeline.

These schools, such as the Elmhurst University online program, allow nursing students to train as an RN in as little as 12 months or one year.

How much does it cost to take the NCLEX-RN in Virginia?

It costs $200 to take the NCLEX-RN in Virginia.

If you do not pass the exam on your first try, you can retake it up to eight times a year, but you will have to pay $200 each time you take it again.

What certification exam is required to become an RN in Virginia?

If you are training to be a registered nurse in VA, the school will prepare you to pass a certification exam.

This exam must be successfully passed after you graduate with your diploma or degree.

If you are unable to pass the certification exam, you cannot work for money as a registered nurse.

The nursing schools are generally teaching toward the NCLEX-RN board.

This is the national RN exam that most students take to get certified.

How hard is a nursing school in IL?

The nursing schools in IL are just as difficult as the nursing schools in any other state.

Those students who feel that nursing school is too hard may not be the right candidate for a nursing program.

What are the requirements to be an RN in Illinois?

Depending on how much time you have to train to become an RN in IL, there are three main pathways.

You can take a diploma course, such as a 100 percent online class, that includes clinical.

Students who want to register for the NCLEX-RN must have completed and show evidence of clinical experience.

Therefore, if you do a shorter diploma program, make sure the course includes hands-on in-person training.

Other options are to attend a two-year or four-year degree program to earn an Associate Degree in Nursing or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.

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