Accelerated Nursing Programs in Illinois
Becoming a registered nurse means entering a helping profession that is in high demand. The demand for registered nurses is growing at a rate of six percent, and the profession expects to lose 1,000,000 registered nurses to retirement by the year 2030. Earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing increases your likelihood of getting hired, your earning potential, and your skill set as a nurse.
What is a BSN?
The BSN is an academic title typically used when referring to the Bachelor of Science in Nursing. The BSN is a very popular degree choice for RNs or aspiring RNs. A 4-year program, the BSN is pursued in a couple of scenarios. An RN who earned a nursing license with an associate’s degree or diploma program may choose the BSN to earn a bachelor’s degree and improve career opportunities. This is called an RN to BSN. If you are a practical nurse, then you may be interested in an LPN to RN program.
An individual interested in becoming an RN and doing it through a baccalaureate degree may choose the BSN program. Nurses with bachelor’s degrees are shown to have higher skill sets in areas like management, systems thinking, health policy, evidence-based practice and skill at working within a team.
BSN Requirements for Illinois
Illinois graduates approximately 7,000 RNs each year. Of the RNs in Illinois, at least 43 percent had at least a BSN, lower than the national average of 51 percent. And there is a push for more highly-educated nurses – the Institute of Medicine recommended that all RNs become BSNs by the year 2020 – that goal was not met but is still in process.
Nursing schools across the state are attempting to make it easier to meet the demands by continually opening pre-licensure programs. Currently, there are 33 prelicensure BSN programs in Illinois. The pre-licensure programs are aimed at helping nursing students complete their prerequisite courses prior to enrolling in the program, thus making it easier to earn the BSN quicker.
To earn the BSN in Illinois, nursing students must be admitted to the college and be admitted to the nursing school, which can only happen after nursing prerequisite courses are completed.
The BSN program usually requires completion of 120 credits. Of these credits, 60 credits are undergraduate and nursing prerequisites, and the other 60 are upper-division nursing courses. In addition to coursework, nursing students must also complete clinical education.
Every nursing school in Illinois has its own admission requirements, but most require a certain GPA on nursing prerequisites, a minimum cumulative GPA, and letters of reference. Because BSN students must complete clinical education in the form of rotations, they must also meet these requirements.
- Drug screening and criminal background check
- Current on immunizations
- TB skin test
- Liability insurance
- CPR certification
- Blood-borne pathogens training
Accelerated BSN Programs in Illinois
There are currently 11 ABSN programs in Illinois. These programs allow for the bachelor in nursing to be completed at a more rapid pace since the student already has a bachelor’s in a different field. The general education credits and elective credits may be transferred in, and the ABSN will then focus solely on nursing curriculum and clinicals.
Bachelor’s Level RN Salary Information for Illinois
Earning a BSN has many advantages. A BSN graduate has more knowledge and skill of nursing than an ADN (Associate Degree in Nursing) graduate because they’ve been in school longer and studied more areas of nursing. Nurses with a BSN have the option of specializing in different areas of nursing. Nurses with a BSN generally have more career opportunities available and more chances of promotions. Last, but not least, nurses with a BSN earn higher wages than those with an ADN.
As of May 2023, RNs employed in Illinois earned an annual wage of $82,220, with the average staff nurse salary ranging from $55,000 to $85,000. Nurse administrators and manager salaries range from $75,000-$185,000, according to the 2020 RN Report by the State of Illinois.
Largest Employers of Nursing Professionals for Illinois
The bureau reports that Illinois had 129,390 RNs employed in 2022. The largest employers of nursing professionals in Illinois from highest to lowest are as follows:
- General medical and surgical hospitals
- Offices of physicians
- Home health care services
- Nursing care facilities
- Outpatient care facilities
Below are the ten best places for nurses to work according to employee feedback on Glassdoor.
- Advocate Aurora Health – Chicago, IL
- Northwestern Medicine – Chicago, IL
- Rush University Medical Center – Chicago, IL
- Cross Country Nurses – Chicago, IL
- NorthShore University Health System – Chicago, IL
- UChicago Medicine – Chicago, IL
- Edward-Elmhurst Health – Chicago, IL
- Northwest Community Hospital – Chicago, IL
- Franciscan Health – Chicago, IL
- Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago – Chicago, IL
Nursing Associations for Illinois
There are various nursing associations across the state of Illinois for nursing professionals. Joining any or all these associations puts nursing professionals in a position to be up to date on all nursing news and laws. They also can network with other nursing professionals and learn of job postings, find nursing schools, or just share nursing stories. Here are a few of the many nursing associations in Illinois.
- Illinois Association for the History of Nursing
- Emergency Nurses Association
- American Nurses Association Illinois
- Illinois Association of School Nurses
- Illinois Organization of Nurse Leaders
- Illinois League for Nursing
BSN Programs in Illinois
There are a lot of BSN programs in Illinois, but we are showing you five that meet our criteria for a top program. You can read more about our methodology here.
Saint Anthony College of Nursing – Rockford, IL
The BSN at Saint Anthony College of Nursing is a four-year pre-licensure program that prepares students to take the NCLEX-RN and to work as an RN in various healthcare settings. Students are admitted as juniors, having completed their prerequisites and an Associate’s degree elsewhere. The student must complete 128 credits with 64 being completed at SACN. They also must complete at least 30 hours in a clinical residency. Students will complete their clinical rotations in 20-30 different settings. SACN also offers an RN to BSN program for applicants who are already nurses but wish to earn the bachelor’s degree and an Accelerated BSN for students who have completed a Bachelor of Arts at another college or university.
St. Francis Medical Center College – Peoria, IL
Students must complete at least 30 semester hours of pre-nursing courses prior to enrollment. To earn the degree, students must complete 124 semester hours. Of this total, 59 must be pre-nursing courses and 65 nursing courses. Course topics include health assessment; pathophysiology; pharmacology; nursing and healthcare ethics; trends and issues for professional nursing, and concepts in nursing management. Clinical rotations take place every semester. Students have a wide variety of clinical opportunities without leaving the campus, including a Level I Trauma Center, Children’s Hospital of Illinois, and primary care.
Ambria College of Nursing – Hoffman Estates, IL
The RN to BSN program at Ambria College is aimed at students who have the Associate in Science in Nursing degree and are already a Registered Nurse, but want to earn a bachelor’s degree in nursing. This program can be completed in only eight months. Students complete courses in nursing informatics; role advancement in nursing; nursing theory; ethical and legal issues in nursing; and evidence-based practice. Students may attend full- or part-time and can take advantage of the Ambria RN scholarship to help with tuition.
Lakeview College of Nursing – Danville, IL
The BSN program at Lakeview College is offered as a traditional 4-year program or as an accelerated program. Both programs can be completed in two years if the prerequisite courses are completed. This program is very popular among nursing students because it allows students to earn their nursing degree quicker. Students will be prepared to take the NCLEX-RN exam for licensure as a registered nurse (RN) upon successful completion of the program.
University of Illinois Chicago – Chicago, IL
The 100% online RN to BSN program at the University of Illinois Chicago boasts a 94% graduation rate. Students will take 30 core nursing credits and 57 general education credits and must have 33 proficiency credits in prior nursing education. All you need for admission to the RN to BSN program is a 2.5 GPA, a current RN license, and your previous transcripts. In some cases, you can begin the program prior to earning your RN license, if you can show proof of passing the NCLEX by the end of the first semester.
There are many pathways to becoming a nurse in Illinois, and a BSN-educated nurse is a great way to enter this growing field. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing states that BSN nurses are highly valued, particularly in the military, with minority nurse advocacy groups, by executives and in public and private healthcare settings. Inquire about a BSN program in Illinois today!