Masters in Nursing Programs in Illinois

Attending a nursing school in Illinois could be the next step in your education if you're looking for a flexible Master's degree that lends itself to many different career paths. Depending on where your interests lie, you may be able to pursue a graduate degree in nurse management, research, informatics, education, or direct care. Master’s in Nursing programs in Illinois are diverse, and offer several advanced opportunities for nurses in the state.

Illinois does have some restrictions on scope of practice for nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, and nurse anesthetists. However, both the Campaign for Action and Illinois Healthcare Action Coalition aim to give direct care advanced nurses full freedom of practice throughout the state.

Nursing Schools in Illinois

Since there are so many nursing schools in Illinois, you should be able to find a program that fits into your schedule, educational needs, and career goals. Some programs in this area can be completed in two years of full-time study. However, most programs are meant to be completed in three years of full-time study. This permits you to keep working and gaining nursing experience while earning your degree.

Looking at admission requirements for each school is helpful, as it shows you exactly what your current level of education qualifies you for. Traditional programs are likely to require the completion of a Bachelor's in Nursing prior to graduate school. New programs that combine your BSN with an MSN are becoming more and more popular, so you may be able to find an RN to MSN program in Illinois if you only have an ADN or a Bachelor's degree in another field.
When you start your program, you may take core courses like Theoretical Foundations of Nursing, Scientific Inquiry and Research, and Pathophysiologic Bases of Health Deviation. Once you've passed these courses, you can begin specialty-specific classes.

The nursing shortage in Illinois has led many state organizations to create scholarship programs. The Nurse Education Scholarship Program, led by the Illinois Student Assistance Commission, awards scholarships to nursing students at all degree levels. The State of Illinois awards the Nurse Educator Scholarship to students that commit to teaching at an Illinois school after graduation.

Working With Your MSN in Illinois

Illinois offers several RN to MSN programs at accredited universities. Most universities require completion of core requirements prior to taking master’s level classes. You may choose from numerous MSN specialty careers at this point.

Recent nursing legislation in Illinois has created the need for advanced nurses of all specialties. Because of the Nurse Safe Staffing Bill, each department must be staffed by nurses with direct training in that department. Nurses with Master's degrees in leadership and informatics can also help each nursing department run more smoothly.

Primary care is a crucial part of any health care system, and the Illinois Center for Rural Health indicates that many of the rural communities in Illinois have extreme primary care shortages. This may present new career opportunities for graduate-level nurses that wish to go into direct patient care. Compare the MSN programs in Illinois listed on our site to see which route is right for you.

Nursing Informatics is a career where you may design research studies, analyze health-related data or even design healthcare–related software applications.

As a Nurse Informaticist you may have the opportunity to work in hospitals, the software industry or in academia. Chief nursing informatics officers, clinical analysts, informatics nurse specialists and nurse data scientists are all possible job opportunities with this MSN degree. An informatics nurse specialist’s median wages for Illinois were $82,710 (O*net, 2014).

Becoming a Woman’s Health Nurse Practitioner is another excellent career choice. The mean average income for this position in Illinois is $95,350 (O*net, 2014). Specializing in women’s health may give you the opportunity to work in the office of an OB/GYN physician, hospital or a health clinic as an independent practitioner.

The RN-MSN program gives you the opportunity to become an advanced practice nurse in a shorter timeframe. Becoming a graduate nurse may offer you new opportunities with room for advancement and a higher income.

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Nursing Schools in Illinois