Data from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing shows there were more than 175,000 RNs in Illinois in 2014. There were also more than 7,800 APRNs working in the state as nurse practitioners, nurse anesthetists, clinical nurse specialists, and nurse midwives. Yet a 2015 report published by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation states that one-third of nurses around the state will retire within the next five years. It estimates that the biggest losses will come from the school, psychiatric, community health, and home health nursing sectors. To learn more about how you can be part of a new generation of nurses, read on for salary info, degree program details, and licensure specifics.
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How to Get an Illinois Nursing License
The Illinois Board of Nursing grants all types of nursing licenses. The board, part of the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, enforces state nursing standards and regulates nursing education programs.
The Illinois licensure process is not the most straightforward, so it would behoove students, especially those with irregular circumstances, to contact the Board of Nursing as they begin the licensure process. The state offers phone assistance to applicants trying to fill out forms.
Who Is Eligible for an IL Nursing License?
Anyone graduating from a nursing program approved by the state can apply for a license by examination by downloading a form from the Illinois Board of Nursing website. Once they have earned their associate, bachelor's or master's degree, they should:
- Apply to take the NCLEX-RN via the Continental Testing website and pay a $98 application fee
- Register for the NCLEX-RN with Pearson VUE and pay a $200 fee
- Have a nursing school official certify graduation from an approved nursing program
- Get their fingerprints taken within two months of submitting an application
- Submit a CT-NUR Form and proof of completed nursing education (out-of-state and international applicants only)
- Pay for and provide a credential evaluation report of any foreign degree (international applicants only)
Applicants have 90 days from receipt of their authorization to test (ATT) to take the NCLEX-RN. If they fail to do this, or if they do not pass, they will have to reapply both with the state and with Pearson VUE and pay fresh application fees.
When to Renew a License in IL
Nursing licenses must be renewed every two years and expire on May 31 of even-numbered years. During this time period, RNs must take 20 hours of continuing education credits, and advanced practice nurses must fulfill 50 hours. Applicants who are renewing an RN license for the first time are exempt from this requirement. The renewal fee is $60.
How to Gain Advanced Practice Licensure in IL
Nurse midwives, nurse practitioners, registered nurse anesthetists, and clinical nurse specialists who are certified are all considered advanced practice nurses (APNs) in the state. APNs can get a license in Illinois by submitting the following:
- An application form
- A check or money order for $125
- A current copy of national certification from a designated certifying body in their specialty
- Official transcripts from a graduate program in their specialty
- A $5 fee and separate application for the ability to write prescriptions
Get more information on APNs and the licensure process in Illinois at the Illinois Department of Financial & Professional Regulation.
Earnings for Illinois' Nurses
Most of the state's nurses make between $55,000 and $65,000, but a 2014 report by Illinois Center for Nursing found significant earnings differences based on type of degree. According to this report, BSN holders made seven percent more than RNs with an associate degree. Advanced practice nurses had even higher earning potential. Take a closer look at how nurses' pay stacks up in Illinois:
Top-Paying Areas for RNs in Illinois
|Area||Hourly Median Wage||Annual Median Wage|
|Chicago-Joliet-Naperville IL Metropolitan Division||$34.67||$72,100|
|Lake County-Kenosha County IL-WI Metropolitan Division||$32.81||$68,250|
Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014
Illinois vs. National Numbers
Registered NurseCertified Nurse MidwifeNurse AnesthetistNurse Practitioner$0$50,000$100,000$150,000$200,000
|Year||Annual salary(25th percentile)||Annual salary(median)||Annual salary(75th percentile)||Annual salary(25th percentile)||Annual salary(median)||Annual salary(75th percentile)|
|Certified Nurse Midwife||$78,760||$89,740||$102,780||$0||$82,580||$96,970||$114,090|
- Annual Salary (25th percentile)
- Annual Salary (median)
- Annual Salary (75th percentile)
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014 Employment Total Employment (2014) 050,000100,000Registered NurseCertified Nurse MidwifeNurse AnesthetistNurse Practitioner1507803,6005,11036,590
|Certified Nurse Midwife||150||5,110|
2022 occupational outlook 050,000100,0004201,6705,1307,70043,900
|Certified Nurse Midwife||420||7,700|
Avg. annual openings (2012 – 2022) 050,000100,0003,38010501802901,5605,850
|Certified Nurse Midwife||10||290|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014 and Projections Central
Nursing Resources & Associations in Illinois
The Illinois Board of Nursing grants nursing licenses. It is the main resource for finding up-to-date regulations and licensure requirements.
The Illinois Hispanic Nurses Association is the state chapter of the National Association of Hispanic Nurses. It works to support nurses of Hispanic descent by providing scholarships, updating members on industry news and facilitating networking opportunities.
The Illinois Nurses Association, or INA, is the state's nursing union. The organization is dedicated to advocating on behalf of Illinois nurses and empowering nursing professionals to provide quality care.
INF is focused on giving scholarships to nursing students. It also provides courses that can be applied toward continuing education credits.
The Illinois Organization of Nurse Leaders is part of the American Organization of Nurse Executives. It works to foster leadership abilities among professional nurses.
ISAPN is primarily an advocacy organization. It also hosts regular member dinners and publishes an active job board on its website.