Top 5 Illinois RN to MSN Programs

by NurseJournal Staff

Illinois offers some of the country's most prestigious MSN programs and there are many of them to choose from. It is one of the most populous states in our country, and the 25th largest. It is also home to Chicago...

Are you ready to earn your online nursing degree?

Illinois offers some of the country's most prestigious MSN programs and there are many of them to choose from. It is one of the most populous states in our country, and the 25th largest. It is also home to Chicago, the third largest city in the country. Found in the Midwestern Great Lakes, people feel as if they can sense a little bit of every other state there, not in the least because its economy is also so diverse. Before taking a look at some of the best MSN options that exist in the state, let's take a look at why it is advisable to obtain your MSN degree there.

Top RN-to-MSN Programs in Illinois

Rank School Location
1 Aurora University Aurora, IL
2 Benedictine University Lisle, IL
3 Bradley University Peoria, IL
4 DePaul University Chicago, IL
5 Elmhurst College Elmhurst, IL

Salary Expectations and Job Outlook for MSN Degree Holders in Illinois

Illinois employs a lot of RNs. Indeed, the metropolitan district of Chicago, Naperville and Joliet is the second biggest in the country, according to the 2010 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics census. Some 76,000 RNs worked in this area while 32,270 RNs worked in the area of St. Louis. In the entire state, there were some 120,810 RNs employed at any given time, and their average annual salary was $66,660.

The median annual salary was actually lower than the national average. The top 10% earned $91,810 or more and the bottom 10% earned less than $46,630. Although just below the national average, the difference is actually very minimal. This is also because the cost of living in Illinois was just 0.7% lower than the average. Hence, the salary is at par with expectations.

The highest RN salaries were paid in the metropolitan division of Chicago, Naperville and Joliet, as well as in the Lake County, where the average RN salary was $71,000. It should be noted that the cost of living in these areas was well above the national average. In Naperville, for instance, it was 35.30% higher than the average. Joliet, however, was only just above the national average, making this a very good place to work as an RN in the state.

The areas with the lowest pay for RNs were Moline and Rock Island. The average there was just $50,230. The top 10% were at $69,170 and the bottom 10% were at $35,320. Although this seems very low, it should be observed that the cost of living there was around 13% lower than the national average. It is important to look into such details before deciding whether or not a salary seems fair.

In all areas of Illinois, the top 10% earners were also the most highly educated. They hold an MSN at the very least, if not a doctorate degree. This is why it is so important to further your education, as it opens up far more job prospects and leads to higher salaries. Additionally, the competition for nursing jobs in Illinois is quite fierce, although a large growth is expected as the baby boom generation is approaching retirement age.

Top 5 Illinois MSN Degree Programs

It is hugely important to make sure that you research the various institutions that offer MSN degree programs. You must find one that fits not only your budget, but also your own personal interests and, sometimes, world philosophies.

Let's take a look at the five best Illinois MSN degree programs.

Aurora University View School Profile Aurora, IL

Aurora University is based in the second largest Illinois city. It is just outside of Chicago and it has a second satellite location found at Lake Geneva at the George Williams Campus. The university is inclusive and private and is situated on the so-called “Research and Development Corridor.” The commitment of the school is to transform the power of learning in settings other than classrooms. This is why it offers some of the most innovative nursing education facilities so that students become the best of the best in terms of providing care, doing research, managing and being advocates for patients. All MSN programs are available in Aurora, at the Woodstock Center and online.

• Campus: Aurora, IL
• Type: Private
• Accreditation: CCNE
• Tuition: Varies depending on chosen pathway and format
• Degree requirements: BSN, RN
• Programs: Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) (nurse educator or nurse administrator)
• Minimum time commitment: 38 semester hours
• School Site: Tuition | Financial Aid

Benedictine University View School Profile Lisle, IL

The Benedictine University uses Roman Catholic traditions that teach liberal arts to students from a range of different backgrounds. The university is situated on a beautiful campus of 108 acres in Lisle, a suburban setting. The U.S. News and World Report has recognized the MSN program offered by the Benedictine University as being 49th best in the country, which is highly significant. The program is also offered online.

• Campus: Lisle, IL
• Type: Private
• Accreditation: CCNE
• Tuition:
• Degree requirements: Varies, students are urged to contact the program administrator
• Programs: Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) (nurse administrator and nurse educator)
• Minimum time commitment:
• School Site: Tuition | Financial Aid

Bradley University View School Profile Peoria, IL

The Bradley University is a private, independent facility that offers globally recognized education. Some 5,700 students are currently enrolled there. The campus is situated in West Bluff, a historic residential area of Peoria which is around three hours away from Chicago. It is classed as the 5th best college, as well as the 7th in terms of top value in the Midwest. This really makes it one of the better schools in the country and graduates from Bradley University are highly sought after.

• Campus: Peoria, IL
• Type: Private
• Accreditation: NLNAC
• Tuition: $810 per semester hour
• Degree requirements: BSN
• Programs: MSN Nursing Administration, MSN Nursing Education
• Minimum time commitment: 36 semester hours
• School Site: Tuition | Financial Aid

DePaul University View School Profile Chicago, IL

DePaul University is the largest Catholic university in the US. Some 25,000 students are currently enrolled and the school has six campuses in Chicago. It has strong foundations on liberal arts and their programs are consistently ranked among the 25 best in the country. The nurse anesthesia program in particular has been recognized for its excellence several tmes.

• Campus: Chicago, IL
• Type: Private
• Accreditation: CCNE and CANAEP
• Tuition: $645 per credit hour
• Degree requirements: Varies depending on the student’s previous qualifications and experience
• Programs: MSN Adult/Gerontology Nurse Practitioner (AGNP), MSN Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP), MSN Nurse Anesthesia
• Minimum time commitment: 54 semester hours
• School Site: Tuition | Financial Aid

Elmhurst College View School Profile Elmhurst, IL

Elmhurst College is found in a tranquil campus that spans 48 acres, where you will find cornfields and apple orchards. In addition, it is surprisingly close to Chicago. As a liberal arts college, it also follows the traditions of the United Church of Christ. This means that it integrates the teachings of the Holy Bible and Christ into the scientific teachings of nursing. It is ranked as the 13th top value school and 11th overall best school in the Midwest. It has also been nationally recognized for offering one of the best nursing programs in the country.

Campus: Elmhurst, IL
Type: Private
Accreditation: CCNE
Tuition: $700 per semester hour
Degree requirements: BSN, transcripts, RN, 3 letters of recommendation, personal statement, resume, interview
Programs: MSN Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL), MSN Clinical Nurse Educator (CNE)
Minimum time commitment: 33 semester hours
School Site: Tuition | Financial Aid

Popular Resources

Resources and articles written by professionals and other nurses like you.