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Nurses are the largest group of healthcare providers in both acute-care and community settings in Illinois. An adequate, well-prepared, and diverse nursing workforce depends upon academically rigorous education programs and adequate resources to prepare the next generation of high-quality professional nurses.

Types of Pre-Licensure Nursing Education Programs:

Traditional pre-licensure nursing education programs for Registered Nurses (RNs) in Illinois are the associate degree obtained at a community college or a private college, or a bachelor’s degree obtained at a university or college. For Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs), the options are a proprietary school program or a community college program.  Illinois also has non-traditional pre-licensure nursing education programs as well.  Ladder programs allow students to take the national LPN licensure exam (NCLEX-PN®) after a certain point in the curriculum and/or continue the program and complete the RN education requirements and take the national RN licensure exam (NCLEX-RN®).  Bachelors of Science in Nursing (BSN) Accelerated programs admit students that already have obtained a bachelor’s degree in another discipline to obtain a BSN degree in an accelerated format and amount of time.  Masters of Nursing (MSN) Entry programs allow students that already have a bachelor’s degree in another discipline to obtain a MSN degree, instead of a BSN degree, while preparing them to take the NCLEX-RN® exam.

Types of Post-Licensure Nursing Education Programs:

Baccalaureate completion programs: the Nursing Workforce Center lists the Illinois baccalaureate completion (BSNc) programs located in Illinois.  The overwhelming majority of Illinois BSNc programs are 100% online.  The list of programs includes a table of partnerships between universities and community colleges.

Graduate education programs: The list of programs located in Illinois includes a grid of graduate nursing education with focus areas leading to systems focused roles.  Another grid indicates various specialty areas located at the education programs.