Illinois RN to BSN Programs

You can enter the medical field as a RN with very little education. With an associate’s or even a diploma you qualify to take the NCLEX-RN exam which will designate you as a RN, so then, why would you pursue a BSN degree? First, to be clear, earning a BSN will not allow you to work as a RN until you pass the previously mentioned exam, but what it will do may be worth the investment required to attend school for a longer period of time. If you are currently working as a RN, you may only need to take two years of college to earn your BSN, so keep that in mind as you look at the numbers and understand more about the reasons you should consider the BSN.

Once you earn a BSN you will be looked at more favorably by employers. This will give you more options for employment and in many cases you will get to choose your employer because the demand will be so high. In addition, you can expect to earn significantly more income over your career. Studies show that college graduates can earn more than a million more over their lifetime than those without a college education. The exact figures for the difference a BSN will make for someone already working as a RN aren’t clear, but expect a higher starting salary and more opportunities to move up in the field.

Illinois saw a total of 1,085 medical school graduates in 2011. An undefined number of those students moved on to become RNs, and chances are, it was a fairly large portion relatively. Those numbers also lead to more information about the competitiveness of the job market in Illinois for RNs. While the national average number of RNs working per 100,000 people comes in at 874, Illinois sees that number of RNs at 962. While you should not have much difficulty finding work as an RN, you will want every edge you can get to ensure that you find the position you want, as opposed to having to take the first one that comes along. A BSN will give you that ability and should be one of the primary considerations and you think more on this step.

Illinois has an average cost of living and RNs should expect to earn just under $70,000 a year on average. A BSN will likely put you higher in the average, and if you are already working as a RN, the extra experience will just increase the amount that you earn. If you are willing to relocate for better job opportunities, you should know that the highest number of RNs relative to population are found in Peoria, Springfield and Danville, while the lowest percentage on that scale can be found in Bloomington, Chicago and Champaign. You will also find the highest average wages in Chicago, Champaign and Danville, so keep this information in mind as you start to consider where you may wish to work.

Employment is abundant for registered nurses in Illinois with the Johnston R. Bowman Health Center in Chicago, the Loyola University Hospital in Maywood and the Evanston Hospital in Evanston ranking in the top 15 employers in the state amongst all industries. Look at these employers as potential places to work if you don’t find other employers that meet your goals more specifically. Each employs a large part of the workforce in the state and you should frequently be on the lookout for new talent.

Finances

The larger an employer is, the more likely they are to help you with your school tuition in many cases. Keep this in mind as you research companies that you may want to work for as they will often invest in their employees to ensure that they have the most talented team possible. In addition, colleges will offer unique scholarships, grants and loans to their students and should be on the top of your list of things to look at as you explore the learning institutes in your area. Finally, because you are entering the medical field, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will do what it can to ensure that you can earn your degree and fill the growing gap in employment. With grants, scholarships and loan repayment and forgiveness options on the table, the HRSA is a great place to visit for additional assistance towards the cost of your education.

Colleges

Mennonite College of Nursing – Illinois State University

MCN is a school that will help you make the most of your future. The most important thing to understand is that the school had a 98% pass rate on the NCLEX-RN for graduates from their programs on the first try in 2012. That number exceeds the national and state averages by 8 and 7 points respectively. You can earn a Traditional or Accelerated BSN or even earn your BSN online. You will also find many private scholarships and awards as a nursing student at the school. They also offer a Transcultural Nursing Experience which allows students the chance to examine nursing care locations in England, Russia, Kenya, Kentucky, Texas and Chicago.

UIC College of Nursing

The University of Illinois at Chicago College of Nursing focuses on providing students the ability to transform health care policy, create and test novel practice models, generate new knowledge and acquire knowledge and academic credentials. The mission is to educate highly competent nurse leaders for clinical practice, health care administration and academic scholarship. You’ll study a model that promotes diversity, trust and respect and focus on compassion, caring and sensitivity.