Nursing is a rewarding and in-demand career path, but it’s also one that can be difficult to enter.
We have listed the multiple accelerated nursing programs in Illinois that can help you get started on your way if you’re looking to accelerate your entry into the field of nursing.
In this article, we’ll cover 20 accelerated nursing programs in Illinois, including their locations and details about how they work so you can find one that’s right for you.
Overview of Nursing in Illinois
Illinois is a state that has proudly embraced its rich history and storied heritage. The state is home to many colleges and universities, including the University of Illinois, Rush University, and Illinois State University.
In addition to being a major hub for higher education in general, Illinois also serves as an important educational center for nursing programs.
There are more than 100,000 nurses working within this state’s borders at any given time; however, there are not enough people graduating from these programs each year to keep up with the demand for qualified workers in this field.
This means that if you want your shot at becoming part of this expansive workforce—or if you’re just looking ahead to your future career options—you’ll need to choose one of these top accelerated nursing programs in Illinois before starting out on your journey toward becoming a registered nurse (RN).
Accelerated Nursing Programs in Illinois
Accelerated nursing programs in Illinois are designed to help students move through their nursing education more quickly, and get into the workforce faster.
Most accelerated programs in Illinois listed in this article are designed for students who already have a bachelor’s degree, with some taking as little as two years (or less) to complete.
So, if you have no nursing background, and are looking to enter the nursing profession with accelerated programs, then you should do more research on nursing programs for non-nurses.
Furthermore, Advanced standing is available for students who have earned an Associate of Science degree in Nursing, or are currently enrolled in an Associate of Science program.
The ability to take courses online is also an advantage for those who are working full-time while they attend school.
The type of advanced standing that is available varies by program, so be sure to check with your individual school for details.
Most accelerated programs require that you take at least 60 credits within two years, including a specific number of clinical hours per semester. Most require that you pass all required courses with a grade of “C” or better.
Accelerated nursing programs often allow students to earn their Master’s degree while completing their bachelor’s degree requirements. This can save time and money when compared to attending two separate schools for each level of education at once.
Here is our list of the best accelerated nursing programs in Illinois:
The Blessing-Rieman College of Nursing & Health Sciences offers an accelerated nursing program. The school is located in Quincy, Illinois.
The accelerated nursing program at Blessing-Rieman lasts for two years, and students can earn their Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree within 28 months of enrollment. The curriculum includes 24 semester credit hours (SCH) each year (96 SCH total).
While students may complete the program faster than two years, they must complete a minimum of 96 SCHs within 2-3 years (120 SCH maximum). If you are looking to save time and money on your education, then this accelerated option could be for you.
2. Bradley University, Peoria
Nursing students at Bradley University can expect to complete the accelerated nursing program in less than two years.
The program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), a prestigious accrediting body that establishes standards of excellence for nursing education programs.
Bradley University’s accelerated program is also one of the top nursing schools in Illinois, offering a high-quality educational experience with small class sizes and rigorous coursework.
This means that as you are completing your degree, you will have an opportunity to develop strong relationships with professors who are experts in their fields and can offer valuable feedback on your work.
With its highly selective admission process, Bradley University places a premium on students’ ability to succeed academically—which makes sense considering it’s one of the best-known universities in Illinois.
Chamberlain College of Nursing is a private, non-profit, accredited nursing school with campuses in Schaumburg, Tinley Park, and Chicago.
The school offers accelerated nursing programs in both registered nursing and practical nursing.
The program begins with two years of coursework followed by a few months of clinical practice. Students can choose to specialize in a family nurse practitioner or hospice/palliative care administration.
The program also features an optional year for those who choose to pursue the Doctor of Clinical Nurse Specialist (DNCS) degree from the American Association of Critical Care Nurses (AACN).
4. Illinois State University, Normal
ISU’s Accelerated BSN program is offered in two formats: on-campus and online.
The program is designed for students who have already completed an associate degree in nursing.
Students are required to complete a minimum of 80 credits to receive their bachelor’s degree, which can be earned in as little as 16 months.
ISU’s Accelerated BSN program is offered in a cohort format and requires students to take classes throughout the day Monday through Friday during three separate terms each year (fall term, spring term, summer term).
Furthermore, ISU offers an accelerated nursing program in Illinois that is suitable for non-nurses or those who have no background history in nursing but want to change careers and become nurses.
5. Lewis University, Romeoville
Lewis University is located in Romeoville, Illinois. The university is a Catholic institution and has been offering nursing programs since 1928.
The school offers several undergraduate and graduate degrees, including an accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing program that can be completed in three semesters.
The accelerated BSN program at Lewis University requires students to complete one additional course each semester which leads to graduation with a bachelor’s degree after only three years instead of four years.
In order to enroll in the accelerated BSN program, applicants must have previous coursework related to nursing or have completed the prerequisite courses for taking them at Lewis University (e.g., anatomy).
The cost of tuition for an accelerated BSN degree at Lewis University is $25,180 per year (which falls within the range of cost of most accelerated nursing programs in Illinois) for residents; however, if you are not a resident of Illinois you will pay $25,180 plus applicable expenses such as room and board fees based on where your campus housing is located as well as any other extra expenses associated with living away from home while attending college (e.g., transportation costs).
6. Loyola University Chicago, Downers Grove (online) & Maywood (on-campus)
Loyola’s accelerated BSN program is offered in both on-campus and online formats.
The online program is 100% online, while the on-campus program is a hybrid format, meaning students will spend two weeks of the 10-week session at a Loyola campus (Maywood) before returning home for six weeks to complete coursework remotely.
Loyola’s online nursing courses are designed for working adults who want to use technology as an efficient way to learn.
In addition to offering flexible scheduling options, Loyola’s accelerated nursing programs in Illinois are available at multiple campuses across Illinois.
7. Methodist College of Nursing, Peoria
Methodist College of Nursing offers the accelerated BSN program, which is accredited by CCNE and prepares students to pass the NCLEX-RN exam.
Students take courses during one summer session and one winter session. The program can be completed in 16 months.
The MSN program is offered at both on-campus and online locations, as well as through part-time evening scheduling at various locations throughout Illinois.
This full-time accelerated option allows you to complete your degree in 15 months or less (depending on your schedule).
The DNP program can be completed in two years if you already hold a master’s degree from an accredited university; it may take up to four years if you do not hold this credential already.
All candidates must have prior experience working with patients in the healthcare field before applying for admission into this rigorous nursing leadership training program.
8. Resurrection University (now Oak Point University), Rock Island
Resurrection University is a private university located in Rock Island, Illinois. It offers accelerated nursing programs and is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
The school’s accelerated nursing program offers students an opportunity to earn their bachelor’s degree in three years instead of four.
The first year of study focuses on basic science courses such as anatomy, physiology, and microbiology; during this time, you’ll also complete clinical rotations at hospitals or clinics around the Rock Island area.
In your second semester, you’ll have six clinical shifts on your own schedule; these shifts are followed by another three months’ worth of classes covering topics like public health and ethics before beginning your final two semesters as a senior student.
9. Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville, Edwardsville
Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville (SIU) is a state university located in Edwardsville, Illinois.
Originally called the Southern Illinois Normal School, it was renamed SIU after joining the University of Illinois Board of Trustees system.
The school currently offers more than 120 undergraduate majors and concentrations as well as over 100 graduate programs across seven colleges.
The accelerated nursing program at SIUE has been offered since 2006. It allows students to complete both their bachelor’s degree and RN certification requirements within three years instead of four or five years.
This means that students who choose this accelerated option can potentially earn their BSN in just 2 years and then start working as an RN right away.
Program outcomes for this accelerated nursing program include higher pass rates on licensure exams when compared with traditional undergraduates; which suggests that these nurses are more prepared for clinical practice once they graduate from school.
The flexibility provided by this program allows students both part-time and full-time enrollment options based on the availability of seats within each cohort cycle.
Trinity College of Nursing is a private, not-for-profit, 4-year college located in Rock Island, Illinois. However, TCU offers an accelerated BSN program that can be completed in 15 months.
The Trinity College of Nursing accelerated nursing program is offered part-time, which allows you to complete your Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree while working.
The curriculum for this program includes both online and classroom instruction with clinical rotations occurring at various sites throughout Illinois and Missouri.
The Trinity College of Nursing’s curriculum emphasizes leadership and management skills as well as cultural competence.
Courses cover all aspects of health care including ethical issues that arise when providing care to patients from diverse backgrounds or living with chronic diseases such as:
- diabetes or heart disease;
- managing emergency situations such as stroke protocols or childbirth emergencies;
- pediatrics (including neonatal);
- psychiatric disorders including depression and anxiety disorders;
- behavioral health problems such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder;
- end-of-life issues including hospice care;
- substance abuse counseling techniques, including drug addiction treatment methods like methadone maintenance therapy programs or outpatient counseling services.
11. Lakeview College of Nursing, Danville
The Lakeview College of Nursing’s Accelerated Master of Science in Nursing Program is the only accredited accelerated nursing program in Southern Illinois.
This program allows students to complete their bachelor’s degree in a shorter time (unspecified), which can help them advance their careers and earn more money.
The program uses a cohort model so all students start together, take classes simultaneously, and graduate together.
The curriculum also includes a mentorship component that pairs each student with an experienced nurse who provides guidance during the school year as well as feedback on each assignment or test completed by the student.
12. St. John’s College, Springfield
St. John’s College, Springfield’s accelerated nursing program is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and has a 100% pass rate in the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN).
The program offers pathways for both RNs and LPNs to earn their Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree through its 10-month, full-time program.
As an accelerated BSN student at St. John’s College, you’ll complete your clinical experience at Springfield hospital where you will have access to cutting-edge technology and equipment that makes learning easier than ever before.
You will also have access to state-of-the-art simulation labs where you can prepare yourself for real-life scenarios in your field while working under supervision from experienced faculty members who care about your success as much as you do.
13. Ambria College of Nursing, Hoffman Estates
Ambria College of Nursing is a small private, not-for-profit college located in Hoffman Estates, Illinois.
It offers an accelerated nursing program that lasts 10 months and includes a one-year clinical internship requirement.
Ambria’s accelerated BSN program is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA).
The BSN curriculum meets all requirements mandated by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) for accreditation as well as those required by several health care organizations including the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) and the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC).
Ambrian graduates have full eligibility to take any state licensing exam or certification test offered in Illinois after graduation from the program.
14. Illinois College of Nursing, Jacksonville
If you’re looking to earn your Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) in just two years, then Illinois College of Nursing is the school for you.
You’ll find this private, independent school located on the campus of Rock Island Arsenal in Rock Island, Illinois.
It offers an accelerated nursing program designed to help students complete their BSN in two years.
15. St. Francis Medical Center College of Nursing, Peoria
St. Francis Medical Center College of Nursing is a private, not-for-profit college with campuses in Peoria, Illinois and St. Francis Medical Center in Peoria.
The college offers a bachelor’s degree in nursing, a master’s degree in nursing, and a doctorate in nursing practice.
St. Francis’ accelerated nursing program is available to students who have already completed courses at another accredited school of nursing or allied health professions, as well as students who have completed their associate degree but wish to continue their education by earning their BSN at St. Francis.
The Following Schools Offer Entry-Level/Accelerated MSN Programs
If you are looking for accelerated Master’s nursing programs in Illinois, the following schools are the best option for you
16. DePaul University, Chicago
DePaul University is a private, coeducational, non-sectarian, and non-profit university.
The city of Chicago has amazing diversity with over 30% of its population being foreign-born.
DePaul University is a member of the Big East Conference and is located in Chicago, Illinois.
The school offers an Entry-Level MSN degree for college graduates that want to pursue a career in nursing.
Alongside the MSN program offered by Elmhurst College, it is ranked as one of the best accelerated MSN programs in Colorado.
17. Elmhurst College, Elmhurst
Elmhurst College is a private liberal arts college in Elmhurst, Illinois. It is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA) and holds membership in The Association of American Colleges & Universities.
Elmhurst College is a member of the Illinois Independent College Foundation, an organization of independent colleges and universities in Illinois.
The online accelerated nursing program at Elmhurst College offers students a unique opportunity to begin their nursing studies while they are still enrolled at Elmhurst College or another college or university.
Students who complete this program (in under two years) receive both their bachelor’s degree from Elmhurst College as well as their registered nurse license upon graduation; this means that they’re eligible for more advanced clinical training without having to retake classes or spend extra time away from their families when compared with traditional nursing students.
18. Millikin University, Decatur
Millikin University is a private university located in Decatur, Illinois. The school’s student body includes 2,400 undergraduate students from all around the world.
Millikin offers professional certificate programs as well as master’s degree programs with an accelerated option that allows students to complete their degrees within one year.
These programs include finance and accounting, healthcare management, nursing (RN-to-BSN), and public relations management.
The accelerated nursing program at Millikin University consists of two semesters with clinical placements offered during this time period starting in either June or July depending on which semester you start your studies in.
19. Rush University, Chicago
Rush University is a private university located in Chicago and offers an online accelerated nursing program for non-nurses.
Rush University offers a top-quality accelerated nursing program to its students because it is one of the best private nursing schools in Illinois.
20. University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago
The University of Illinois at Chicago is an excellent option for students looking to complete their Master’s nursing degree in an accelerated format.
The program requires only one year of full-time study, which makes it easy to fit into your busy schedule and finish sooner than anticipated.
The curriculum includes core courses as well as electives, allowing you to focus on specific fields of study such as pediatrics or family medicine if that’s what interests you most.
The school offers a unique dual emphasis track within its accelerated nursing program—one that combines leadership and management skills with the knowledge required by future nurses.
This way you can choose what type of position suits your career goals best: nurse manager or nurse executive?
Either way, this program will give you the skills needed to succeed in whichever path appeals most strongly to you.
With the right program, accelerated nursing can be the perfect study option for you if you are considering a nursing career.
The ability to graduate under two years or less is attractive to many students who want to enter the workforce quickly and start earning money while they complete their education.
If you have an interest in becoming a nurse, it may be time for you to consider this option as well.
If you’re ready for a career in healthcare, then accelerated nursing programs in Illinois are worth looking into.
These types of programs provide students with all of the necessary knowledge required by RNs so that they can begin their careers sooner than most people normally would with traditional BSN degrees—and even faster than some other accelerated degree options like those offered by community colleges.
Wrapping It Up
Overall, the Illinois nursing industry is booming. With more than 20 nursing schools in the state and many accelerated programs available, there are plenty of opportunities to get your degree in a short amount of time.
If you’re interested in pursuing an accelerated nursing program, we encourage you to do some research on these schools and their programs before applying.