How to Become a Registered Nurse in Illinois
The Illinois Board of Nursing (IBON) regulates the licensing process in the state. The board sets policy and adapts regulations and continually monitors the field of nursing and identifies areas where improvements can be made. The ultimate goal is to provide the best possible nursing care for patients.
The field of nursing continues to grow and remains a strong employment prospect. Nursing opportunities will increase by 18 to 20% through the year 2020. As healthcare options expand, nursing opportunities will increase.
The IBON requires nurses to be licensed and candidates must meet certain educational requirements to qualify to take the National Council for Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). Nursing candidates are required to earn a minimum of an Associate’s degree in nursing from an accredited school of nursing and approved by the IBON. An Associate degree program typically takes two years to complete.
Once the nursing candidate completes an approved nursing program, the next step is to take the NCLEX-RN. Candidates must submit an application to the IBON to take the exam and then register with Pearson VUE, the exam administrator. The application to test includes a criminal background check, a fingerprint card and documentation of education. Graduates have three years to take the NCLEX-RN, and the clock starts ticking once the application is received by the IBON. Graduate nurses are not allowed to practice nursing until the exam is passed and the IBON issues an RN license. Once the application to test has been approved by the IBON, the applicant can schedule the exam with Pearson VUE.
RNs in Illinois are required to renew their license every two years. Beginning with license renewals in 2012, RNs are now required to complete 20 hours of approved continuing education hours every renewal period. RNs that hold an RN license in addition to other nursing license must renew the RN license first before renewing their other licenses.
RNs will find employment in a variety of facilities including hospitals, nursing homes, assisted care facilities, clinics, doctors office, occupational healthcare centers, visiting nurse and hospice organizations, the American Red Cross, blood banks, seasonal retreats and educational and government facilities. Experienced RNs will also find opportunities with nursing staffing companies or nursing help hot lines.
RNs undertake a variety of tasks that are challenging and often change on a daily basis. RN’s establish patient care plans, monitor a patient’s progress, dispense medication including injections, perform diagnostic testing, dress wounds and change dressings, evaluate patients conditions, answer patients questions and make sure the patient, their families and the medical staff are all on the same page. RN’s also supervise the entire nursing staff including the certified nursing assistants (CNA).
The average RN salary is $72,000. The average starting, entry level RN salary is $47,000. RNs who take on a supervisory position such as Director of Nursing or unit manager may earn a salary close to $125,000. Salary also depends on geographic location, education, area of specialty and years of experience. RNs who work in larger cities may find the salary offerings slightly higher than other parts of the state.
RN Nursing Schools in Illinois
- 100% online programs at associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral level.*
- Transfer up to 90 credits into an undergraduate degree program.
- Up to 50% of your master’s degree can be transferred in to help maximize the credit you previously earned.
- *Excludes licensure, certification, and some doctoral programs
- Master of Science in Nursing: Nursing Administration
- Master of Science in Nursing: Nurse Educator
- Nursing Degree Programs from Grand Canyon University's College of Nursing & Health Care Professions
- Degree Variety: GCU offers a full-spectrum of nursing programs including bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees, as well as post-master’s certificates.
- The baccalaureate degree in nursing and master's degree in nursing at Grand Canyon University are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (http://www.aacn.nche.edu-accreditation).
- GCU provides a Christian environment that provides an opportunity for you to embrace a holistic approach to caring for patients: physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
- Depending on the degree you choose, you could take online, evening, or on-campus classes. Speak with an enrollment counselor to discuss your options!
- Doctor of Nursing Practice with an Emphasis in Educational Leadership
- M.S. in Nursing with an Emphasis in Leadership in Health Care Systems (Bridge)
- M.S. in Nursing: Nursing Leadership in Health Care Systems
- Flexible, online RN-BSN and MSN programs available
- RN-BSN program is designed to help registered nurses earn their bachelor’s in as little as 9 months
- Courses designed to expand on student’s prior knowledge and enhance their patient care skills
- Master of Science in Nursing - Nursing Administration
Kaplan University is focused on recognizing the achievements of military and veteran students and offers the flexibility of an online education. Eligible students can receive college credit for prior military experience and coursework—up to 75 percent of the credit needed for a Kaplan University undergraduate degree.*
- MS in Nursing
- Master of Science - DNP Path (Doctor of Nursing Practice)
- Master of Science in Nursing-Family Nurse Practitioner
- And more...
Northwestern College is a special place. Focused programs. Flexible schedules. Supportive faculty. Externship opportunities. But you probably know all of that. What you may not know is what’s behind it. Our history, our mission, our whole philosophy really. Simply put, it’s about preparing people well and quickly for a lifetime of opportunities.
Established in 1897, Bradley University is a private, independent institution of higher learning in Peoria, Illinois. Inspired by our founder, notable philanthropist Lydia Moss Bradley, we pursue excellence in teaching, research, scholarship and service; and we celebrate leadership, integrity, diversity and collaborative learning. Today, we offer an impressive array of more than 130 undergraduate, graduate and continuing education programs across five colleges and the Graduate School.
- Online Doctor of Nursing Practice - Leadership Track (MSN to DNP)
- Online Master of Science in Nursing (BSN to MSN-FNP)
- Online Doctor of Nursing Practice - Family Nurse Practitioner Track (BSN to DNP)
- And more...
Baker College is proud to be the largest independent college in Michigan with the most focused approach to education and training available. With one of the highest graduate employment rates in the country, our mission is to help our students find meaningful employment.
At Baker College, you’ll have the opportunity to choose between an on campus education or an online education, depending on what works best for you and for your schedule. Our ground campuses are located across Michigan and one campus in Reading, Pennsylvania.
- Nursing (Post-licensure) - Bachelor
- Nursing Administration - Master's
Earn your graduate degree online with Northcentral University. We offer online programs focused on doctoral and master’s degrees in the schools of business and technology management, education, psychology and marriage and family sciences.
- Doctor of Education - Nursing Education
- Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
With over 80 years of academic achievements, Jacksonville University is a traditional, longstanding institution consistently ranked by U.S. News & World Report as one of America's best colleges.
- MSN Clinical Nurse Educator