Average RN Salary in Illinois: See How Much IL Nurses Make

NurseJournal Staff
Updated June 16, 2023
Whether you plan to live in Chicagoland, a medium-sized city, or a rural community, this guide to RN salaries in Illinois gives you the information you need to negotiate your salary.
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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%

Source:BLS, Projections Central

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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.

Infographic of registered nursing salary data in Illinois. The average annual RN salary is $78,260. The average hourly RN salary is $37.63. Average RN salaries range from 59640 among the bottom 10th percentile of earners to $100,650 among the top 90th percentile of earners.
Illinois RN Salary Range
PercentileAverage Annual RN SalaryAverage Hourly RN Salary
50% (Median)$77,580$37.30


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.

Highest-Paying Cities for RNs in Illinois
CityAverage RN Salary
Chicago — Naperville — Elgin, IL — IN — WI$81,300
Kankakee, IL$76,040
Champaign — Urbana, IL$74,800
Springfield, IL$73,360
Rockford, IL$72,830


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

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