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How to Become a Nurse in Illinois

Nurses are in high demand in Illinois. In fact, becoming a nurse in Illinois leads to a well paying job in one of the fastest growing occupations in the USA.

There are three ways to become an Illinois nurse: through a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) program, or through an Associate Degree, Nursing (ADN), or Bachelor of Science, Nursing (BSN), which both lead to licensure as a Registered Nurse (RN).

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Becoming an LPN in Illinois is the fastest way into nursing in the state. Although they may vary slightly from program to program, prerequisites generally include around 15 credit hours of undergraduate study in introductory English, math, biology, physiology and so forth. Studies then cover basic patient care and problem solving, with an emphasis on both classroom study and clinical training. The year of studies then culminates with the nationally-standardized NCLEX-PN, which is the gateway examination to becoming a Licensed Practical Nurse in Illinois. Once the exam has been passed, LPNs can immediately enter the workforce, where they make, on average, $44,000 per year plus benefits; not bad for someone only a couple years out of high school.

To become an RN in Illinois, students must first complete prerequisite courses in introductory topics, much like entering an LPN program. Grades in prerequisites are a big part of acceptance into a college of nursing, so it is important to do well. Then, they must choose an Illinois nursing education program. An ADN takes two years and a BSN takes four, but nurses graduating from a BSN program receive specialized training that gives them a leg up entering the work force. Advanced management processes, patient care, and specialized topics like pharmacology, radiology and beyond are all within the scope of a BSN education program in Illinois.

Both BSN and ADN students take the same exam to become Registered Nurses: the NCLEX-RN. A comprehensive exam, it is the last hurdle to becoming a nurse through an Illinois nurse training program. Registered Nurses in Illinois cities, on average, make around $71,000 per year (according to BLS.gov) once they have a few years experience, and those with a BSN often have the opportunity to make more.

For more information on nursing education programs and becoming a nurse in Illinois, visit our in-depth state-specific page.