Illinois LPN to RN Programs
With the growth and advancing age of our population, the need for well-educated and talented health professionals is at an all-time high. As an LPN you already make a difference in the industry, but with two years, or less, spent in college, you can become a registered nurse and make an even larger impact. With your increased education and skillset you will also find plenty of new job opportunities, chances for advancement and a significantly higher income. It all starts with an education, so taking that first step will put you on a path to a more fulfilling future.
Experience is key in this field and bringing as much as you can with your education to an employer will help you fall higher on the pay scale and earn a higher wage quicker. There are under 124,000 registered nurses working in Illinois and that leaves a great deal of room for those looking to enter the registered nursing field. RNs earn an average income of over $66,000 a year, so make sure you earn as much experience as possible while you are in school to move to, and beyond, that average.
Balancing an education and full time work can be difficult. As an LPN you will likely find positions that will allow you to move up within the company upon graduation. Ensuring that you put your full energy into those types of positions can be difficult when school is brought into the equation. This is why so many students have turned to full or partial online degree programs.
You will find national universities that offer online programs in a number of degree programs with specialties offered. In addition, local universities, trade schools and community colleges will offer online degree programs that can be mixed with campus based study. You will have to decide what type of education you want to pursue as the needs will be as unique as the student. You will not need to be an expert with a computer to be successful in an online degree program. A centralized hub acts as a virtual campus that allows you to access all of your classes with a simple click. Due dates are the only scheduling requirements in an online course and communication is handled through message boards unique to each classroom. Learning aids, lectures and notes can all be downloaded or viewed online and your instructor is always an email or phone call away.
Throughout your education and career you should turn to the Illinois Nurses Association for guidance and networking. You will learn plenty from the nurses that form this association and the resources will be invaluable. As you grow in experience you will become a key player for the INA and ensure that nurses are given the working conditions and rights they deserve. You will also find plenty of entertaining ways to blow off steam with your colleagues through association sponsored outings.
Paying for College
It is rare that the cost of college is not an important consideration for students considering a higher education. Fortunately, you have plenty of resources to help reduce the burden you need to take on yourself. The Illinois Nurses Association will have plenty of advice to help you get started. You will also find that employers offer tuition assistance or reimbursement in many cases and will make it significantly easier to move up within your current employers ranks. Colleges offer unique scholarships, loans and other forms of financial aid to students enrolling in their programs and you should keep that as a key question that you discuss with each college you talk to or visit.
As the need for health care professionals continues to be an issue, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services continues to offer loans, scholarships and loan repayment programs to students pursuing a career in the field. Plenty of information can be found on their site, here. Pay special attention to the loan repayment programs. They are there to encourage new graduates to work in an underserved area through a two year commitment, with a large payment towards their student debt offered upon completion. The experience you gain in this position will also be highly respected by prospective permanent employers.
Finding the Right College
There are plenty of online national colleges listed with this article, but it would be difficult to list each program offered throughout the state of Illinois. There are simply too many high quality colleges that meet the strict accreditation requirements for the state, so instead of simply listing each school by name, explore this site to find the right school for you. Each educational facility is listed and you can find plenty of additional tools that will help you further understand your options. If you are looking to attend college close to home, there is no better resource than this. Don’t forget that many of the national, highly respected online colleges are not listed as they are not based in Illinois and should not be excluded from your search.