21 Best RN to BSN Programs in Illinois | 2024

Illinois offers more than 20 accredited online RN to BSN programs. We'll help you explore your options for continuing your nursing education by showcasing our top picks. Articles Programs


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.

However, ADN-prepared RNs often return to school to achieve their Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) in bridge programs called RN to BSNs, allowing them to take on more responsibilities and earn higher salaries.

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

Best RN to BSN Programs in Illinois

The following schools have been selected based on allnurses' methodology of surveying our readers to understand what they value most in their RN to BSN program, including affordability, duration, flexibility, and more. We'll start with a deep dive into the top five.

1. University of Illinois at Chicago

At the top of our Illinois RN to BSN list is the University of Illinois at Chicago. This CCNE-accredited RN to BSN program, located in Chicago, offers a swift 12-month completion timeline. 

University of Illinois at Chicago's RN to BSN program is an inexpensive option at $9,900, translating to $330 per credit hour. The program comprises 30 nursing credit hours, conveniently delivered online. It boasts four start dates: two for the fall (8/11 and 10/6) and two for the Spring (1/2 and 2/23). 

2. Olivet Nazarene University

Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais stands as the second choice on our Illinois list. Their RN to BSN pathway, accredited by CCNE, is available entirely online for convenience.

Students have the opportunity to enroll in this program for a budget-friendly $9,995, with the flexibility to opt for either a standard core completion track spanning 15 months or an accelerated fast-track alternative lasting 12 months.

The curriculum encompasses 30 credit hours along with a mandatory 60 practicum hours, ensuring a well-rounded learning experience. This program caters to working nurses, offering a manageable timeframe for career advancement.

3. Eastern Illinois University

Claiming the third spot on our Illinois list is Eastern Illinois University, located in Charleston. This program offers a streamlined RN to BSN pathway that's fully accredited by CCNE and tailored for accelerated 100% online coursework.

Offering an efficient path to your BSN, the RN to BSN program at EIU can be completed in just 14 months, at an estimated cost of $8,685. The curriculum consists of 32 credit hours and allows for five start dates per year, giving you multiple opportunities to begin your studies.

With its commitment to quality education and flexibility, this program is an excellent choice for aspiring nurses seeking career advancement.

4. Illinois College

Ranked fourth on our list of Illinois RN to BSN programs is Illinois College, located in Jacksonville. Their CCNE-accredited program offers a flexible and comprehensive online learning experience.

Illinois College RN to BSN program is estimated to cost $13,500, calculated at $375 per credit, with individual courses priced at $1500. Additionally, a $25 fee is applied per term. This estimate is based on 36 credit hours, factoring in a potential transfer of up to 84 credits.

With a focus on adaptable online education and the freedom to progress at your own speed, this program stands as an excellent option for nurses seeking career advancement within a condensed 12-month period.

5. Benedictine University

Benedictine University, located in Lisle, secures the fifth spot on our Illinois list with its RN to BSN program. This program, accredited by CCNE, offers the convenience of multiple locations or online learning.

With an estimated cost of $14,100, the RN to BSN program at Benedictine University is tailored for working RNs. It's accelerated format allows for completion within 12 months. Alternatively, students have the flexibility of up to 3 years to complete the program, ensuring they can balance their education with their commitments.

Designed to cater to working professionals, classes are offered in the evenings, providing a convenient option for those looking to advance their nursing careers within a manageable 12-month timeframe.

Online RN to BSN Programs

Here is our complete list of rankings for the top 21 RN to BSN programs in Illinois, for the 2023-2024 school year.

Score School City Program Estimated Costs1
99.11 University of Illinois
at Chicago
Chicago RN - BSN $9,900 12 months CCNE
99.04 Olivet Nazarene University Bourbonnais RN to BSN $9,995 12 months CCNE
98.67 Eastern Illinois University Charleston RN to BSN $8,685 14 months CCNE
96.46 Illinois College Jacksonville RN to BSN $13,500 12 months CCNE
96.02 Benedictine University Lisle RN to BSN $14,110 12 months CCNE
94.22 Illinois State University
Mennonite College of Nursing
undefined RN to BSN $16,554 12 months CCNE
91.46 Methodist College Peoria RN to BSN $20,310 12 months CCNE
91.15 Governors State University University Park RN to BSN $9,840 -- CCNE
90.96 Northern Illinois University DeKalb RN to BSN $10,102 -- CCNE
90.00 Purdue University Global undefined RN to BSN -- 12 months CCNE
90.00 Saint Anthony College
of Nursing
Rockford RN to BSN -- 12 months CCNE
90.00 Saint Francis Medical Center
College of Nursing
Peoria RN to BSN -- 12 months CCNE
89.42 Southern Illinois University,
Edwardsville Accelerated
RN to BS (Option)
$9,477 12 months --
82.15 Loyola University Chicago Chicago RN to BSN $19,380 12 months --
82.00 Millikin University Decatur RN to BSN -- 9 months --
82.00 Oak Point University Chicago BSN for RN
-- -- CCNE
80.00 McKendree University,
Lebanon RN to BSN -- 12 months --
79.74 Western Illinois University Macomb RN-BSN
$11,761 24 months --
79.02 University of Saint Francis,
Joliet RN - BSN
$12,750 -- --
78.89 Saint John's College, Springfield Springfield RN to BSN $12,927 -- --
78.24 Blessing-Rieman
College of Nursing
Quincy RN to BSN $13,800 -- --

*Please contact us if you'd like to update your program's information.

1Costs are based on the minimum required RN to BSN credits and are not inclusive of core credits, nor all fees. Actual costs will vary from student to student and are based on multiple factors, including transfer credits and scholarships. For the most accurate costs breakdown, please reach out to a school representative.

2Program lengths included are typically the shortest possible program length, requiring the maximum amount of transfer credits prior to admission. Outstanding general curriculum requirements will likely increase program length.

What Is an RN to BSN?

An RN to BSN Program is an RN returning to school to obtain a BSN degree. This involves experienced RNs and new graduates with a diploma or an ADN. A BSN degree program provides a more comprehensive education in social and physical sciences, nursing management, research, informatics, and public health. It enhances knowledge and understanding of community health, healthcare management, leadership, and policy for a broader scope of practice.

Related: 10 Best RN to BSN Programs in 2023

RN to BSN Coursework

Typical RN to BSN Coursework includes:

  • Professional Nursing Practice
  • Family-Centered Health Promotion
  • Community and Public Health Nursing
  • Statistics for Health Professions
  • Introduction to Nursing Research
  • Ethical Nursing Practice
  • Nursing Leadership and Management
  • Trends and Issues in Today's Health Care
  • Professional Capstone and Practicum

Can RN to BSNs Be Taken Entirely Online?

RN to BSN programs can be taken entirely online. These programs are designed for working RNs who have already completed an ADN or nursing diploma program and obtained licensure, meaning they've gained significant hands-on experience in their initial programs and through work. However, it's important to note that some online RN to BSN programs may have in-person requirements such as exams or capstone projects, so students should check the specific requirements of a program to ensure it fits their needs.

Where Do BSN-Prepared Nurses Work?

Nurses with a BSN 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

RN to BSN Prerequisites and Requirements

There are several prerequisites to enter an RN to BSN program, including:

  • Current, unrestricted RN license
  • An ADN or Diploma in Nursing
  • Minimum GPA (varying per program)
  • Official transcripts

RN to BSN 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 are the best fit for 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'll be required to 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 to achieve the prestige of Magnet status.

AD DISCLOSURE: This page may contain affiliate links. These links are designed for allnurses to generate revenue at no cost to you. The websites you visit are operated by third parties and have no influence in our recommendations, which are grounded in research.

Editorial Team / Admin

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

23 Articles   93 Posts

There are no comments to display.

By using the site, you agree with our Policies. X