The employment rate for RNs in Illinois has been rising steadily and is expected to reach almost 134,000 by 2018, representing a 20% increase over a decade, according to the state’s Department of Employment Security.
Despite that growth, the state faces an estimated annual shortage of more than 1,200 RNs through 2018, the Illinois Center for Nursing reported in 2011.
Nationwide, the employment rate for RNs is expected to increase 26% between 2010 and 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-2013 Edition.
Nationally, the median annual wage of registered nurses was $64,690 in 2010.
The national job growth is expected to be faster in traditional hospital settings, as well as in settings such as physicians’ offices, home healthcare services and outpatient care centers. RNs with at least a Bachelor of Science in Nursing will generally have better job prospects than nurses without a degree, the Bureau of Labor Statistics noted.
In conjunction with seeking to bolster the ranks of registered nurses, healthcare leaders in Illinois also have been exploring ways to boost the educational level of the RN workforce.
A 2011 report by the Institute of Medicine called for the percentage of nurses with bachelor’s degrees to rise to 80% nationally by 2020. The report cited the growing demands placed on nurses by evolving technology and more complicated patient needs as among the reasons to raise education levels.
The institute listed online learning and RN to BSN degree programs among the options for reaching the 80% goal.
About 39% of RNs in Illinois had a bachelor’s in nursing in 2007, a state agency report found.
Hundreds of nursing officials in Illinois gathered at summits in 2010 and 2011 to consider recommendations for improving the educational level of the state’s nursing workforce. Among the benefits of such efforts, they projected there would be 6,000 fewer surgical deaths statewide annually when 60% of nurses have a BSN degree.
Illinois Nursing License Requirements
To be eligible for an RN license in Illinois, applicants must graduate from an approved nursing education program and pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN).
RNs licensed in another state can apply for an Illinois license by endorsement. They must have graduated from an approved nursing program and have passed the NCLEX-RN or the State Board Test Pool Examination (SBTPE).
RNs must renew their license every two years, during which time they must complete 20 hours of approved Continuing Education (CE).
Illinois Center for Nursing
It’s important to note that nursing licensure requirements and fees can change. For the most up-to-date information contact the Illinois Center for Nursing at:
Mailing address:James R. Thompson Center, 100 West Randolph Street, Suite 9-300, Chicago, IL 60601