20 Best ADN Programs in Illinois in 2023

If you dream of becoming a registered nurse and serving the people of Illinois, our meticulously selected ADN programs will provide you with the knowledge and skills to make a meaningful difference in patients' lives. Articles Programs

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Becoming a registered nurse (RN) in Illinois involves exploring several educational pathways. Among them, the Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is one of the fastest and most popular options.

Considering this, we've provided everything you need to know to apply for an ADN in Illinois, along with salary expectations after graduation and recommendations for the best programs in the state.

Best ADN Programs in Illinois

The following schools have been selected based on allnurses' methodology of surveying our readers to understand what they value most while selecting schools with the addition of NCLEX pass rates, graduation rates, student-faculty ratio, price, mode, duration, and admission rate of hundreds of the most prominent nursing schools in the United States.

1. Black Hawk College

In Moline, Black Hawk College offers an ADN program at an estimated annual tuition of $4,046, ensuring affordability without compromising quality education. With a solid 92% NCLEX pass rate and ACEN accreditation, the college equips students for a successful nursing career.

2. College of DuPage 

Nestled in Glen Ellyn, the College of DuPage offers a well-structured ADN program that sets a strong foundation for aspiring nurses. With a commendable 92% NCLEX pass rate and ACEN accreditation, the program ensures students receive the necessary preparation for a successful nursing career. With a comprehensive curriculum and an estimated annual tuition of $5,519, the College of DuPage provides a promising pathway to excel in healthcare.

3. Elgin Community College

Elgin Community College offers an ADN program at an estimated annual tuition of $3,628, providing an affordable pathway to a nursing career. With a respectable 88% NCLEX pass rate and ACEN accreditation, the college is committed to delivering a quality nursing education to its students.

4. Waubonsee Community College

At Waubonsee Community College in Sugar Grove, aspiring nurses can enroll in an ADN program at an estimated annual tuition of $5,597. With a 90% NCLEX pass rate and ACEN accreditation, the college sets a strong foundation for students' nursing success.

5. Southeastern Illinois College 

Southeastern Illinois College, located in Harrisburg, offers an ADN program at an estimated annual tuition of $5,697, providing a valuable investment in nursing education. With an exceptional 98% NCLEX pass rate and ACEN accreditation, the college stands out as a top choice for nursing students.

Score School Program City Estimated
NCLEX Pass Rates
(Avg. 2018-2022)
99.59 Black Hawk College ADN Moline $4,046 92% Yes
96.92 College of DuPage ADN Glen Ellyn $5,519 92% Yes
96.35 Elgin Community College ADN Elgin $3,628 88% Yes
94.78 Waubonsee Community College ADN Sugar Grove $5,597 90% Yes
92.60 Southeastern Illinois College ADN Harrisburg $5,697 98% No
92.23 Joliet Junior College ADN Joliet $3,695 94% No
91.00 Moraine Valley Community College ADN Palos Hills $1,610 89% No
90.75 John A Logan College ADN Carterville $5,616 96% No
90.33 Danville Area Community College ADN Danville $4,191 83% Yes
87.94 Kaskaskia College ADN Centralia $6,064 94% No
87.60 Southeastern Illinois College ADN Harrisburg $5,697 93% No
87.55 Oakton Community College ADN Des Plaines $6,277 94% No
87.09 Shawnee Community College ADN Ullin $4,875 91% No
86.66 McHenry County College ADN Crystal Lake $7,319 95% No
86.63 College of Lake County ADN Grayslake $6,235 83% Yes
85.94 Ambria College of Nursing ADN Hoffman Estates $14,901 98% Yes
85.05 Kankakee Community College ADN Kankakee $5,999 91% No
84.06 Carl Sandburg College ADN Galesburg $3,232 75% Yes
83.61 Lincoln Land Community College ADN Springfield $6,245 90% No
82.36 South Suburban College ADN South Holland $5,277 87% No

What Is an ADN?

An ADN is an entry-level degree that provides students with the necessary knowledge and skills to become RNs. Upon completion of an ADN program, students are eligible to sit for the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed.

Related: 10 Best RN to BSN Programs in 2023

ADN Coursework

The robust curriculum, including a blend of classwork and hands-on coursework, means students will be well prepared to take the NCLEX-RN exam and begin in a clinical nurse role upon graduation. Since ADN students work towards an associate of applied science, coursework in general education and nursing is required. Standard classes include:

  • Fundamentals of Nursing
  • Nursing care of adults
  • Community Health Nursing
  • Behavioral Health
  • Microbiology
  • Humanities
  • Psychology
  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Chemistry

Can ADNs Be Taken Entirely Online?

Acquiring nursing skills requires hands-on learning and real-life practice, which can't be fully replicated in an entirely online environment for an initial nursing degree. Because of this, ADN programs aren't entirely online, as in-person skills training and direct patient care experiences in healthcare facilities are needed. However, plenty of ADN programs offer online coursework options, providing a hybrid environment for working students or those who require more flexible schedules.

Where Do ADN-Prepared Nurses Work?

Nurses with an ADN have many career options and opportunities and can practice in most care settings, including:

  • Hospitals
  • Nursing Homes
  • Home Care Agencies
  • Physician Office
  • Educational Services
  • Government Agencies
  • Schools
  • Community Centers
  • Hospices
  • Dialysis Centers
  • Telephonic and Virtual Care Settings

ADN Prerequisites and Requirements

Acceptance to an ADN program comes with several prerequisites and requirements, including:

  • Proof of Prior Education: Verification of high school diploma or GED.
  • Prerequisite studies: Research your program for the exact courses needed.
  • Pre-Entrance Exam: Tests like the TEAS or HESI.
  • CPR Certification: Varying depending on the program.
  • Criminal Background Check: To ensure patient safety.

ADN Salary Expectations in Illinois

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), RNs in Illinois in 2022 earned:

  • Mean Hourly Wage: $39.53
  • Annual Mean Wage: $82,220

Unfortunately, the BLS does not specify whether this is an ADN-prepared RN or BSN-prepared RNs; however, given that a BSN is likely to increase earning potential, this is likely to be representative of slightly lower than the average BSN-RN salary.

RN salary in Illinois is 8% lower than the national estimates for 2022, as the BLS reports RNs across the U.S. earning:

  • Mean Hourly Wage: $42.80
  • Annual Mean Wage: $89,010

With the highest-paying states being:

  1. California: $133,340
  2. Hawaii: $113,220
  3. Oregon: $106,610
  4. Massachusetts: $104,150
  5. Alaska: $103,310

The BLS collected the Illinois RN wage data from over 129,390 nurses.

How to Choose a Nursing School

Reasons for choosing a nursing school will vary per student and their specific needs. Some students value the cost of education, while others may place greater emphasis on NCLEX pass rates, academic reputation, or other factors.

Although it will vary by individual, a survey by allnurses revealed the top 11 reasons nursing students chose their programs:

  1. Cost
  2. High NCLEX Pass Rate
  3. Location
  4. Academic Reputation
  5. Availability of Financial Aid and Scholarships
  6. Length of Time to Obtain Degree
  7. Flexibility of Schedule
  8. Curriculum
  9. Campus and Surroundings
  10. Nursing Clinicals Location
  11. Availability of Online Courses

Ultimately, prospective students should assess their needs and pick schools that best fit them.

FAQ and Additional Readings

Q: How do I transfer my nursing license to Illinois?

Illinois is not part of the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC), so you must apply for licensure with the Illinois Board of Nursing.

Q: Are there specialization programs for nurses in Illinois?

Many schools in Illinois offer advanced nursing degrees, allowing RNs to specialize in pediatric, geriatric, family nurse practitioner, acute care, and more.

Q: Is it better to have an ADN or a BSN?

While obtaining an RN license after completing an ADN is possible, the opportunities after graduation and beyond are more significant with a BSN degree. BSNs focus more on research, leadership skills, and evidence-based practice, whereas an ADN primarily focuses on clinical skills.

Additionally, many healthcare institutions now require BSN-prepared RNs to fulfill various accreditation and Joint Commission requirements and achieve Magnet status prestige.

Editorial Team / Admin

Erin Lee has 11 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Critical Care, Procedural, Care Coordination, LNC.

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