7 Best Accelerated Nursing Programs in Chicago

Do you have a non-nursing background and are looking to transition quickly into the noble field of nursing in Chicago? Our detailed compilation of the best accelerated nursing programs in Chicago will definitely get you started.

Chicago is beaming with great choices of accelerated nursing programs to choose from. If speed is of the essence, you could decide to go for an accelerated BSN program that could get you into nursing in a record 12 months.

Read: Guide to Accelerated Nursing Programs: What are they?

If you prefer to leadership nursing career, then you could pursue any of the accelerated (Direct Entry) MSN programs in Chicago.

Here’s a list of 3 Accelerated BSN Programs in Chicago:

1. Loyola University Chicago Accelerated BSN

Program Overview

The Loyola University Chicago Accelerated BSN program will get you a BSN degree in a swift 16 months. Spread over 4 semesters, this program is carefully structured to provide rigorous training and education.

Learning Format: Online or On-campus

Loyola’s ABSN program is flexible, offering two unique formats to align with your learning style.

Duration: 16 months

Format: Online or On-campus classes

Location: Downers Grove or Maywood

The first option is the ABSN track at Downers Grove, where your courses are taken online. You’ll still regularly attend the site for hands-on nursing skills labs and nursing simulations, ensuring you receive a well-rounded education.

For those who thrive in a real-time, face-to-face learning environment, the ABSN program track at Maywood Health Sciences Campus will be an ideal fit. Here, all classes, nursing skills labs, and nursing simulations are conducted on campus.

Clinical Rotations

From the 2nd semester, you’ll delve into clinical rotations in various areas of nursing practice such as Adult Health, Community Health, Family Health, Medical/Surgical Nursing, and Mental Health. You’ll work alongside an instructor and 7 peers, honing your skills and gaining invaluable experiences.


You can apply to the ABSN program with some prerequisites in progress, but they must be completed before you start the nursing program.

These prerequisites range from science courses like Organic Chemistry, Anatomy and Physiology, Microbiology, to non-science courses including Introduction to Psychology, Developmental Psychology, English, History, and Statistics.

Tuition and Fees

The Loyola Chicago ABSN program’s tuition and fees amount to $63,680. Check the latest rates here.

2. Lewis University Accelerated BSN

Program Overview

The Lewis University Accelerated BSN program promises to transform you into a competent Registered Nurse in 22 months- which is the longest of all accelerated nursing programs in Chicago on our list.

Duration: 22 months

Format: On-campus

Location: Romeoville, IL (Approx 30 miles southwest of Chicago)

The Lewis Accelerated BSN program includes 64 credits of intensive coursework, primarily conducted on campus. As part of the curriculum, you’ll acquire the essential knowledge and skills required to excel in various nursing roles.

Explore Diverse Career Areas

Alumni from Lewis University’s ABSN program have embarked on successful careers in several areas of nursing, reflecting the program’s versatile education.

These career paths include Medical/Surgical Nursing, Critical Care Nursing, Emergency Room Nursing, Labor and Delivery Nursing, and even Flight Nursing.

Clinical Sites

You’ll have access to more than 20 nursing clinical sites, offering a wide array of practical experiences.

These sites include AMITA Health Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital, Advocate Christ Medical Center, Northwestern Central DuPage Hospital, Loyola Medicine Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, Hines VA, UChicago Medicine Ingalls Memorial Hospital, and Loyola Medical Center.

These clinical partnerships ensure you receive a well-rounded and applied nursing education.


The tuition for the program is $625 per credit. Check the university’s tuition and fees page for the most up-to-date rates.

3. Elmhurst University Online Accelerated BSN

Program Overview

The Elmhurst University Online Accelerated BSN program offers a robust and streamlined approach to help you obtain your BSN in just 16 months.

Duration: 16 months

Format: Online coursework

Location: Elmhurst, IL (Approx 18 miles from Chicago)

This intensive program, spread across 4 semesters, comprises 15 courses and 60 credit hours, and more than 450 clinical hours.

What’s unique about this program is its online nature. You will be part of an engaging and interactive online learning community, with direct access to your professors and fellow students.

Even though the coursework is predominantly online, featuring synchronous sessions with live Zoom meetings, you will also engage in 2 residencies at the state-of-the-art Simulation Center on Elmhurst University’s campus.

Seamless Clinical Placement

The Elmhurst University clinical placement team is committed to making your learning experience seamless. They will ensure that you secure quality placement sites within your local community for your clinical rotations, adhering to university and national guidelines.


To enroll in the Elmhurst online ABSN program, you must complete specific prerequisite courses. These include Anatomy and Physiology I & II, Microbiology with Lab, Statistics, General Chemistry with Lab, Lifespan Psychology, and Abnormal Psychology.

Eligibility: Who Can Apply?

You are eligible to apply if you live in, or are willing to relocate to, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Missouri, New Mexico, Vermont, or Wisconsin.


The program’s tuition is set at $50,000. Be sure to check the university’s tuition page for the latest rates.

Related: Pros and Cons of Accelerated Nursing Programs

Here’s a list of 4 Accelerated MSN/Direct Entry Masters Programs in Chicago

1. DePaul’s Master’s Entry to Nursing Practice (MENP)

Program Overview

DePaul’s Master’s Entry to Nursing Practice (MENP) program is a two-year program designed for college graduates aiming to wear the nurse’s scrubs and make a difference in healthcare.

Duration: 2 years

Format: Online or In-person coursework

Location: Lincoln Park Campus or Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science

The DePaul Difference

DePaul offers two options for your course delivery. If you prefer traditional in-person classes, you can join the program at the Lincoln Park Campus.

On the other hand, for those who enjoy a blend of virtual and in-person learning, DePaul offers a new hybrid model at the Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science site in North Chicago.

In this model, classes are held virtually, but labs and clinicals require your physical presence.

Expansive Clinical Opportunities

With a network of over 75 clinical sites across the Chicago metropolitan area, you’ll have the chance to gain hands-on experience in diverse settings. DePaul guarantees a holistic clinical learning experience with access to full intensive-care clinical rotations and a clinical immersion internship.


Before starting the program, you need to have: Human Anatomy & Physiology I & II (each with lab), Inorganic (General Chemistry) with lab, and either Organic Chemistry with lab, Biochemistry with lab, or Microbiology with lab.


The tuition for the MENP program is $780 per credit hour. Visit the university’s tuition page for the latest fees and updates.

2. University of Illinois Chicago MSN for non-RNs

Program Overview

The UIC Direct Entry MSN program is a full-time program that provides an accelerated route to enter the nursing profession armed with advanced-level skills and knowledge.

Duration: 2.5 years

Format: Hybrid

Location: Chicago Campus

Curriculum: Advanced Generalist-Graduate Entry

This full-time, intensive program spans 2.5 years, or 7 consecutive semesters, including summers.

Encompassing 77 credit hours, the program prepares you to sit for the RN licensure exam and also equips you with the skills needed to work as an advanced generalist nurse.

As an advanced generalist nurse, you’ll be playing a pivotal role as a care coordinator for a group of patients, providing direct care in complex cases.

This program admits students in the fall only. Every student follows the same hybrid sequence of courses.

Clinical Practicums

In addition to traditional lectures and lab-based learning, you’ll engage in clinical experiences across a wide range of focus areas and care settings.

A unique aspect of the UIC entry-level masters program is that faculty assign all students to clinical practicum sites; so, you’re not burdened with the task of finding your own clinical placements.


To qualify for this program, you must have completed: Anatomy (or Anatomy & Physiology I) with lab, Physiology (or Anatomy & Physiology II) with lab, Chemistry with lab (General, Inorganic, Organic or Biochemistry accepted), Microbiology, and Statistics.


The total tuition for this transformative program is $69,147. Check the university’s program page for the latest rates and updates.

Related: 16 Best Accelerated Nursing Programs in Illinois Today (ABSN & MSN)

3. Elmhurst Online Direct-Entry MSN

Program Overview

Elmhurst’s Direct-Entry MSN program is specially designed for non-nurses. This unique program allows you to earn your MSN degree swiftly – in just 20 months – while preparing you to sit for both the NCLEX-RN and the Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL) certification exam.

With its coursework entirely online, it’s one of the few accelerated MSN programs to offer an online format.

Duration: 20 months

Format: Online coursework

Location: Elmhurst, IL

The program comprises 5 semesters, 71 credit hours, and over 850 clinical hours. The only exceptions to online learning are your clinical experiences and a 2-week residency held on the Elmhurst University campus, just west of Chicago.

Program Intakes: Fall and Spring

Elmhurst Direct Entry MSN program offers two intake periods each year – one in August for the Fall term and the other in January for the Spring term.

Advancing Your Career: From MSN to Nurse Practitioner

The benefits of this program extend beyond your MSN degree. With this program under your belt, you’re eligible to bridge to a Nurse Practitioner role through post-graduate certification programs or a Doctor of Nursing Practice(DNP) program.


Before you dive into the program, complete prereqs: Including Anatomy and Physiology I and II, General Chemistry with Lab, Microbiology with Lab, an Intro to Psychology or Sociology, and Statistics.


The total tuition of the Elmhurst Direct Entry MSN program is approx $60,000. Check the university’s page for the most recent tuition rates.

4. Rush University Direct Entry MSN

Program Overview

If you already hold a bachelor’s degree in another domain, Rush University’s Direct Entry MSN program could be your pathway to an enriching career in nursing.

This full-time program, spanning two years, has been curated specifically for individuals like you, ready to jump into the nursing profession.

Duration: 2 years

Format: Hybrid

Location: Chicago, IL

The program offers a unique blend of online and in-person learning. With more than half of the courses available online or having an online option, you can enjoy a great deal of flexibility.

Become a Clinical Leader: Preparing for Certification

The focus of Rush University’s Direct Entry MSN program is clinical leadership. On completing the program, you’ll be fully prepared to successfully take the NCLEX RN and the Clinical Nurse Leader certification exam. This double certification opportunity could set you apart in the job market.

Clinical Rotations

Practical learning is a critical component of nursing education. To ensure you get a wholesome learning experience, the program provides clinical rotations at a variety of sites across the Chicago metro area.

Bridge to DNP and PhD Programs

The program doesn’t limit your growth to an MSN degree. You can simultaneously apply for one of the 5 DNP programs or the PhD in Nursing Science program through the Direct Entry pathway.

The 5 DNP options include Adult Health and Gerontology Primary Care NP, Advanced Public Health, Family NP, Primary Care Pediatric NP, and Psychiatric-Mental Health NP programs.


Before applying to the program, you’ll need to have completed prerequisite courses, including General Chemistry I, Human Anatomy, Human Physiology, and Microbiology.

It’s recommended, but not required, that you complete a lab component for each of these courses.


The tuition is $1087 per credit hour. Check the university’s website for the most recent tuition rates.

With the American Nurses Association-Illinois reporting that Illinois will face a 15,000 shortage of RNs, it is more reason to consider transitioning into this underserved yet noble nursing field.

The situation is so dire that at some point, the University of Illinois at Chicago and City Colleges of Chicago partnered on a dual enrollment program for nursing students- for the students to obtain BSN degrees quicker and join the workforce.

Besides, Bureau of Labor Statistics data indicate that RNs in the Chicago metropolitan area should expect to earn about $85,260 annually- quite an attractive wage.

With any of the accelerated nursing programs in Chicago, you should transition quickly into a fulfilling career as a qualified RN in the City of the Big Shoulders.


  • Information on these programs may change without notice. So, we cannot guarantee their authenticity and accuracy. You’d have to check with the school and do further research. Our review list is simply for guidance and cannot be relied upon exclusively without research on your part.
  • Before enrollment, check with your state regarding licensing rules or whether your desired program meets your home state’s certification requirements and licensure.


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