Chicago is an urban island in the midst of a state composed vastly of cornfields, cattle, and tractors. Whether one desires a career as an ambulance nurse in the major metropolis, as a caregiver in a nursing home in a Springfield suburb, or as a nursing assistant at a rural clinic in a small agricultural town, Illinois has plenty of job opportunities for a wide variety of healthcare professionals, but especially critical care and geriatric nurses.
The state has found itself wallowing in the depths of a severe RN scarcity like much of the nation, and they are wisely using the resources they have and as many appealing incentives as possible to rectify the circumstances in the next few years. Those who choose to make Illinois their medical career home will be rewarded with a mass of job options, high salary and benefits, and the perks of life near the midwest’s capitol.
Prospective Nursing Opportunities in Illinois
Nurses need not be scared off by the unemployment rate of the state of Illinois, which at 8% is markedly higher than the national average of 7%. While other professions may have reached their employee quota and be struggling, the state remains in the midst of a lingering nursing shortage that has been the case for a number of years. Optimistically, the Illinois Center for Nursing hopes to catch up with the nurse deficit by adding 21,000 nurses to the workforce by the year 2020.
This target alone makes nursing a promising career option within the state of Illinois. Other incentives you will want to take advantage of are the many scholarships, grants and loan repayment programs for working nurses offered by the Center. Additionally, keep in mind that the average salary of a RN in Illinois is $65,000, one of the highest in the midwest states. These factors make the future for nurses who are trying to get their foot in the door of a Chicago hospital or a small town nursing home undoubtedly bright.
Jobs and Licensing for Illinois’ Nurses
Major healthcare providers like Advocate and the Swedish American Health Systems are some of the most important employers for up-and-coming nurses in the state of Illinois. There are an abundance of 95 schools offering well-respected training programs throughout the state that will make their graduate very appealing to these prospective employers.
With Illinois expecting to boost its number of nurses with BSN degrees by more than double before 2020, now is an ideal time to receive your nursing Bachelor’s at a school like Loyola University. Or if you want to add your name to the list of the state’s 115,000 RNs or 23,000 LPNs, you could check out a reputable school like Chicago State University. The University of Illinois also offers DNP and PhD programs at the most advanced level for motivated and dedicated nursing students.
The Illinois Department of Professional Regulation manages licensing issues for the state. They distribute official licenses to registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, advanced practice nurses and those nurses who work closely with controlled substances. Nurses new to the field may also want to delve into the resources of the Illinois Hospital Association and the Illinois Nurses Association, two leading advocacy organizations that provide job listings, relevant news, and support for the population working to keep the state safe and healthy.
Average Salaries for Nurses in Illinois
|Data from BLS 2012||10th Percentile||50th Percentile||90th Percentile|
|Licensed Practical Nurses||$29,190.00||$42,490.00||$57,230.00|
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook, Occupational Employment Statistics, and Employment Projections http://www.bls.gov/
The American Health Care Association http://www.ahcancal.org/research_data/
Kaiser Family Foundation http://statehealthfacts.org/
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation http://rwjf.org/
Illinois Center for Nursing http://nursing.illinois.gov/