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Illinois is home to some of the most prestigious and largest medical systems in the country, including Northwestern, University of Chicago, and Rush. While these are all located in Chicago, Illinois is also home to several medium-sized cities with midwestern charm, as well as rural communities.
This guide outlines typical registered nurse (RN) salaries in Illinois, information about the cost of living, and locations where nurses earn the most. Keep reading for the information you need when considering where to practice and negotiating your salary.
- Average Illinois RN Salary: $78,260 (Ranks 19th among all states)
- Hourly Illinois RN Salary: $37.63
- Projected Illinois RN Employment Growth (2018-2028): 12.4%
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Average RN Salaries in Illinois
The median annual registered nurse salary in Illinois is $77,580, almost exactly the $77,600 median salary in the United States, according to the BLS. However, the state average for registered nurse salaries in Illinois is skewed by a higher average salary in Chicagoland of $81,300 and the average unincorporated southern RN salary in Illinois at $65,890.
|Percentile||Average Annual RN Salary||Average Hourly RN Salary|
Illinois RN Salary, Adjusted for Cost of Living
In the same way that the median RN salary in Illinois is close to the national median, adjusted for cost of living, the average registered nurse salary in Illinois sits at 25th. Illinois' cost of living index is 100.5, just 0.5% higher than the national average. Cost of living is determined by how much goods and services cost in a particular area, compared to national averages. The index includes costs for housing, medical, transportation, education, and food, as well as typical consumer goods.
Significantly lower housing prices keep Chicagoland more affordable than other large cities, such as Boston, Los Angeles, and New York City. The cost of living is also lower in downstate Illinois.
- Average RN Salary Adjusted for Cost of Living: $77,869 (Ranks 25th among all states)
- Cost of Living Index (RPP): 100.5 (0.5% higher than the U.S. average)
Highest-Paying Cities for RNs in Illinois
As you would expect, the highest RN average salary in Illinois is in the Chicagoland area. Chicago is home to Northwestern, University of Chicago, and Rush medical systems, as well as many smaller systems and providers. Almost 100,000 nurses work in the Chicago area. Kankakee is to the south and east of Chicago and has a population of over 100,000.
The Champaign-Urbana area is home to the largest campus of the University of Illinois, which also has a notable medical school. Springfield, the state capital, is famous for its association with Abraham Lincoln. Rockford, in the north-central part of the state, is the largest city in Illinois after Chicago, home to 3,710 nurses.
|City||Average RN Salary|
|Chicago — Naperville — Elgin, IL — IN — WI||$81,300|
|Champaign — Urbana, IL||$74,800|
Average Salaries for Other Nursing Roles in Illinois
While the average RN salary in Illinois is above the state average salary of $59,650 for all occupations, earning a master of science in nursing or doctor of nursing practice degree can open the door to even higher salaries. Nurse midwives and nurse practitioners earn significantly more, and nurse anesthetists earn more than three times the average registered nurse salary in Illinois.
- Nursing Assistants: $33,230
- LPN/LVNs: $54,080
- Nurse Midwives: $115,690
- Nurse Practitioners: $120,470
- Nurse Anesthetists: $250,280
Methodology and Sources
Registered nursing salary data by state is collected from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics program, released on March 31, 2022. Data reflects RN salaries as of May 2021. The highest-paying cities and states for RNs are ranked by average annual salary.
Cost-of-living data is collected from the U.S Bureau of Economic Analysis real personal income for states and metropolitan areas, released on December 14, 2021. RN salary adjusted for cost of living is calculated by multiplying each state's RN salary by its regional price parity (RPP). RPP measures differences in the cost of goods and services in a region compared to national prices.
Projected employment growth data by state is collected from Projections Central.
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