BSN Programs Illinois

Aging baby boomers and the looming retirement of more than 50 percent of Illinois nursing workforce are driving the demand for more registered nurses. A survey of 53,000 registered nurses, conducted by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation in May 2015, warned of an impending shortage of nurses as over 40 percent of the workforce fell into the 55 years or older age group. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services took an entirely different position by estimating a surplus of 9,700 registered nurses for Illinois by 2025. Surplus or shortage, the reality is that a spike in the population and planned retirement of the aging workforce will create room for new nurses in the complex health care system.

Nurses are critical to the delivery of care in hospitals, nursing homes, and other medical settings. Rural areas are especially prone to shortages as patients feel the pinch of understaffed hospitals and clinics. A shortage of staff is also widespread in specialty areas, such as in home health care and psychiatry. These non-so-obvious areas of shortages should grasp the minds of prospective nurses who can map out their career goals to meet the demands. Teaching is another area that a prospective nurse should consider. Most nurses fall back to teaching later on in their careers. But a forward-thinking student will choose a BSN program over an ADN program if graduate study is a career goal.

The BSN program is not only appropriate for those considering graduate study. As one in four American adults suffer from two or more chronic conditions, there will be a greater need for advanced care. The BSN program prepares graduates for patient care in the complex healthcare system by equipping them with leadership, communication, and critical thinking skills to improve patient outcomes. They also acquire knowledge and clinical skills to educate patients, families, and communities on preventative health and wellness. A nurse’s role has changed in the last decade. Today, they care for patients outside the hospital setting, in home health and community clinics, requiring a higher level of education and solid clinical skills.

In an industry where there are major changes, nurses must embrace new innovations and pursue advancing education to keep up. Nurses are responsible for the coordination of care in line with regulatory demands. The BSN program fits them to fill the leadership role and gaps in the health care system. There is hope for the future of nursing. The reported shortage of nurses highlights a need in a fast-growing sector that will offer numerous opportunities for registered nurses with a bachelor’s degree in nursing.

There are 31 board-approved universities offering the baccalaureate programs leading to a BSN in Illinois. Before enrolling in a program, check to see the school’s status with the Board of Nursing. Accreditation is also critical if you need financial aid for your studies. It is also essential when seeking employment and graduate study. The Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing, ACEN, and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, CCNE are the national accrediting institutions for nursing programs.

LPN to BSN: Licensed practical nurses have a unique opportunity to secure advanced placement in a BSN program. General education and nursing courses may be transferable into the BSN program – as long as they were completed at an accredited institution. With the transfer of credits, an LPN can take shorten the time it takes to complete a BSN by 1 to 2 semesters.

RN-BSN: BSN completion programs are specially targeted to registered nurses who have a current license and at least one year’s practice. The content is almost always delivered exclusively online, but there are planned clinical opportunities for nurses to develop their skills in the areas of public health, leadership, and preventative care. The program makes use of the RN’s education and experience, allowing students to complete the degree in just 12 months.

Traditional BSN: This route is for individuals who do not have experience and education in nursing. Students admitted to the program must complete the general education and science requirements before securing admission to the university’s department of nursing. Generally, the nursing department will admit students at the junior level after they complete at least 60 credit hours of college-level courses. Juniors begin hands-on and face-to-face instruction from the onset and complete the degree requirements with two years of full-time attendance.

Fast-track BSN: This program is designed for people with a bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing discipline. All general education and science courses earned at an accredited institution may be transferred, allowing the student to get a BSN in the shortest possible time – usually 12 to 24 months.

At the conclusion of the LPN to BSN, traditional and fast-track BSN programs, the graduate will be eligible to take the NCLEX-RN to become a registered nurse.

Traditional BSN Programs

The Bachelor of Science in Nursing program combines sciences, nursing courses, and clinical experiences to give students a strong foundation for continuing study. The supervised clinical experiences, which are built into the coursework, provide opportunities for students to learn in real-world settings by working with other health care professionals.

The traditional BSN program typically requires students to complete 125 credit hours of general education and nursing courses. The general education, science, and math requirements are completed in the first two years and the nursing and clinical requirements in the third and fourth years.

Graduates can take the NCLEX-RN to become a registered nurse and enter the workforce. Baccalaureate-trained nurses work in schools, hospitals, community care, home health care, clinics, and correctional facilities.

Using their communication, leadership, critical thinking, and decision-making skills, BSN nurses will deliver expert care to culturally diverse patients in a variety of medical settings. The BSN nursing curriculum covers health assessment, community health nursing, introduction to professional nursing, fundamentals of nursing, pathophysiology and psychopathology, pharmacology, adult and child nursing, transcultural nursing, nursing research, genetics, public health, nursing leadership and management, and maternal child nursing.

There will be specific criteria for admission at the school of your choice. However, you can use the following list of general requirements as a basic guide:

  • Complete an application and interview with an admissions representative.
  • Possess a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or more on the prerequisite general education/science college-level courses.
  • Complete the A2 admissions assessment prior to admission.
  • Submit official transcripts of all college-level coursework.

Prerequisite courses and admissions testing must be completed within 2 to 5 years of enrolling in the nursing program – policies vary by university. Prerequisite courses may include general chemistry, biochemistry, anatomy and physiology, microbiology, human nutrition, lifespan development, electives, and general education requirements.

Second Degree BSN

The surplus of jobs in the nursing and healthcare attracts professionals who are trained and educated in other areas. The second degree BSN is a fast-track option for people who already have a bachelor’s degree in another discipline. They qualify for advanced placement and begin nursing courses and clinical experiences almost immediately. In Illinois, fast-track programs are available in the traditional format, but there are also online options for working professionals.

The clinical experience is a critical component of the program. The practical experience goes hand-in-hand with didactic instruction, so students can apply their knowledge in a real-world setting.

Admission to the fast-track BSN is always competitive, so students with the strongest academic background will receive priority. An A or B grade is especially essential in math, the science, and English. The applicant will need to submit records of a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution, a personal statement, letters of recommendation, and prerequisite courses. Access to upper division nursing courses will only be granted after the student completes the prerequisite courses.

How Much Do BSN Programs Cost?

The Illinois Center for Nursing and other associations provide resources for nursing students to overcome financial barriers to education. These programs seek to boost the nursing workforce by giving individuals the help they need to become a registered nurse. The Nursing Education Scholarship program is one such program that caters to practical and registered nursing students. The NES program is a first point of reference for more than 4,700 nursing students, so qualifying will be a competitive process. There are other unique but substantial awards that are targeted to special groups that would not have the wide appeal as the NES program. It is worthwhile that you consider these smaller programs if you qualify.

Scholarships, grants, and financial aid provide just one means of cutting your education expenses. Another option is to compare programs extensively. Public schools are cheaper than private colleges, which offer no special distinction in the programs. Therefore, you should consider a public program as a cost-cutting measure. You can complete the general education and science courses at a community college, where the rates are more than 40 percent cheaper, and transfer the credits to the BSN program. Compare apples to apples, by considering the full cost of attendance. A university with the lowest tuition rate may not always be the cheapest. For instance, they may not offer flat rate tuition if you take blocks of 12 to 18 credits per semester. Some school tag additional fees to the advertised rate while others have fees rolled in. For instance, the University of Chicago has a flat rate of $9,543 per semester while Chamberlain College charges $675 per credit plus fees that will add up if you attend college full-time.


Graduates of associate’s degree and bachelor’s degree in nursing programs are eligible to take the NCLEX-RN. Both are recognized as registered nurses. Therefore, more than 77 percent of prospective nurses go for the cheaper route and complete two years of college to start earning income as a registered nurse. However, countless studies prove that BSN prepared nurses are more efficient and effective than their ADN counterparts – at least later on. Changes in healthcare drives employer preferences, which at this time, favors BSN graduates. If you’re serious about patient care and want to make the most of your career with graduate study, then a bachelor’s degree in nursing is the way to go.

The list of BSN programs below with the accompanying NCLEX-RN pass rates should give you a head start in your search for accredited BSN programs in Illinois.

BSN Programs and NCLEX-RN Pass Rates Illinois:

Aurora, IL BSN Programs:
Aurora University
347 South Gladstone Avenue, Aurora, IL 60506-4892
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 94%

Bloomington, IL BSN Programs:
Illinois Wesleyan University
1312 Park Street Bloomington, IL 61701
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 91%

Chicago, IL BSN Programs:
North Park University
3225 West Foster Avenue, Chicago, IL 60625-4895
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 84%

Loyola University Chicago
1032 West Sheridan Road, Chicago, IL 60660
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 92%

Saint Xavier University
3700 West 103rd Street, Chicago, IL60655
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 83%

Resurrection University
1431 North Claremont Avenue, Chicago, IL 60622
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 88%

University of Illinois at Chicago
1200 West Harrison Street, Chicago, IL 60607
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 75%

Chicago State University
9501 South King Drive Chicago, IL 60628
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 71%

Danville, IL BSN Programs:
Lakeview College of Nursing.
903 North Logan Avenue, Danville, IL 61832
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 73%

Decatur, IL BSN Programs:
Millikin University
1184 West Main Street, Decatur, IL 62522
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 78%

DeKalb, IL BSN Programs:
Northern Illinois University
1425 West Lincoln Highway, DeKalb, IL 60115-2828
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 87%

Downers Grove, IL BSN Programs:
Chamberlain College of Nursing
3005 Highland Parkway, Downers Grove, IL 60515
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 83%

Edwardsville, IL BSN Programs:
Southern Illinois University- Edwardsville
State Route 157, Edwardsville, IL 62026
888-328-5168, 618-650-3705
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 77%

Elmhurst, IL BSN Programs:
Elmhurst College
190 Prospect Avenue, Elmhurst, IL 60126-3296
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 85%

Jacksonville, IL BSN Programs:
MacMurray College
447 East College Avenue, Jacksonville, IL 62650
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 94%

Joliet, IL BSN Programs:
University of St. Francis
500 Wilcox Street, Joliet, IL 60435
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 97%

Macomb, IL BSN Programs:
Western Illinois University
1 University Circle, Macomb, IL 61455
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 95%

Normal, IL BSN Programs:
Mennonite College of Nursing
Campus Box 5810, Normal, IL 61790-5810
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 96%

Palos Heights, IL BSN Programs:
Trinity Christian College
6601 West College Drive, Palos Heights, IL60463
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 100%

Peoria, IL BSN Programs:
Bradley University
1501 West Bradley Avenue, Peoria, IL 61625
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 100%

Saint Francis Medical Centre College of Nursing
511 Northeast Greenleaf Street, Peoria, IL 61603
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 83%

Methodist College
415 Street Mark Ct., Peoria, IL 61603
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 85%

Quincy, IL BSN Programs:
Blessing-Rieman College of Nursing
PO Box 7005 11th & Oak, Quincy, lL 62305-7005
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 89%

Rockford, IL BSN Programs:
Saint Anthony College of Nursing
5658 East State Street, Rockford, IL 61108-2468
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 99%

Rockford University
5050 East State Street, Rockford IL 61108
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 81%

Rock Island, IL BSN Programs:
Trinity College of Nursing & Health Sciences
2122 25th Avenue, Rock Island, IL 61201
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 92%

Romeoville, IL BSN Programs:
Lewis University
One University Parkway, Romeoville, IL 60446-2200
815-838-0500, 800-897-9000
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 95%

Springfield, IL BSN Programs:
St. John’s College
729 East Carpenter Street, Springfield, IL 62702
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 92%

Crystal is a certified Registered Nurse (RN) with a passion for writing about nursing education. Through her articles, Crystal shares insights and tips to help fellow nurses enhance their skills and stay updated with the latest developments in the field. With a focus on practical advice and relevant topics, Crystal's writing is a valuable resource for nursing professionals seeking to advance their careers.