Illinois is a midwestern state that has one of the largest state economies in the country. Once primarily Native American lands, European settlers soon came to Illinois to set up farms and retail establishments. Lake Michigan and waterways leading to the Mississippi River made Illinois an important route for trade, and the population grew quickly throughout the 1800 and 1900s. Chicago is the state’s largest city, with a vibrant, broadly based economy that includes manufacturing, transportation, mining, oil refining, farming, construction, financial services and education. In 2012, the state of Illinois had an unemployment rate of 8.7 percent, above the national average. Nursing schools in Illinois range from private schools and community colleges to private colleges and state universities.
Illinois Nursing Education
There are 89 accredited Illinois nursing schools, with a variety of programs at every level in the field. A number of community colleges throughout the state offer LPN, AND and RN programs. BSNs are offered at several private colleges and universities. Many schools offer transition programs for those interested in advancing their nursing careers from LPN to RN and from RN to BSN designations. Graduation rates vary widely in nursing schools in Illinois. Most dropouts tend to occur early in the programs, though many students re-take classes as needed. The University of Illinois at Chicago is the most popular school in the state and attracts a wide range of students from around the state and around the country.
Career Outlook for Nursing in Illinois
The career outlook for nursing students in Illinois varies according to the level of training. Nurses work in a range of environments in the state, such as hospitals, doctor’s offices, rehabilitation facilities, nursing homes, industrial settings, community health centers and home health care. According to the state of Illinois government web site, demand for RNs in the state will be greater than the supply in the upcoming years, as current RNs retire or go into private practice. However, a surplus of LPNs can also be expected in the future. As technology advances and the population ages, the demand for nurses at higher levels of education is expected to increase.
Illinois nursing schools offer a variety of financial aid programs for those interested in nursing, including the Federal Pell and Stafford grants, military aid, minority programs and a wide range of scholarships from local, civic groups. In addition, the state offers special financial aid programs for those interested in nursing education.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, salaries for LPNs in Illinois range from $22,000 to $72,000. CNA level nurses can expect to earn on average about $24,000. For RNs and ADNs, the average salary is $66,000. BSNs can expect salaries generally around $6,000 higher than RN level nurses.
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