10 Best Illinois FNP Programs (Online & Campus) – 2024

Written By: Editorial Staff @ NursingProcess.org

The demand for family nurse practitioners in Illinois is expected to rise nearly 40% in the next decade. That’s just one of the reasons why if you’re a registered nurse in the Land of Lincoln who’s thinking of getting an advanced practice degree, enrolling in one of the FNP programs in Illinois is a wise choice. Along with job security, you’ll also make an average salary of $122,010 a year. As an NP, you’ll have fulfilling work empowering patients to make wise health-related choices. Sound interesting? Then take a look at the 10 best FNP programs in Illinois for 2024 compiled on this page.


(Based on our Ranking Methodology, we have ranked the 10 best campus-based and online FNP programs in Illinois.)

1. Bradley University, Peoria

Programs Offered: RN (ADN) to MSN, BSN to MSN, BSN to DNP and Post-Master's Certificate

Whether you are an ADN prepared registered nurse or an MSN graduate aspiring a career as a family care provider, Bradley University offers one of the best FNP programs in Illinois with several pathways to help students meet their individual academic needs. With a 100% online coursework and the flexibility to complete clinicals in your community, you easily accommodate FNP classes into your busy life schedule.

RN (ADN) to MSN : The RN to MSN degree is open to ADN graduates with or without a non-nursing bachelor’s degree. Additionally, an unencumbered RN license is also required to be eligible for this online FNP program in IL. The program requires completion of 59 credits which will take around 3.3 years. Also, included in the curriculum are 750 clinical hours of practice, which you must complete in direct patient care.

BSN to MSN Program Details: This BSN to MSN prepares you at the master’s level along with specialization in family primary care. The program spans across eight semesters and requires completing 50 credits and 700 clinical hours.

BSN to DNP Program Details: If you are a BSN graduate, keen on earning a DNP, then what better than this BSN to DNP program that takes you straight from a baccalaureate degree to the terminal nursing degree, seamlessly in four years. As a graduate of this program, you will demonstrate leadership and the clinical expertise to impact change in the healthcare system.

Post-Master's Certificate Program Details: This certificate program is typically meant for RNs prepared at the master’s level. The program starts thrice a year in fall, spring, and summer and is offered completely online with no campus visits and capstone requirement, whatsoever. To graduate you must complete 35 credits which take around 1.7 years, after which you can take the FN certification exam.

2. Loyola University of Chicago, Maywood

Programs Offered: MSN, BSN-DNP, and Post-Graduate APRN Certificate

Graduating from Loyola University of Chicago, regarded as one of the best FNP schools in Illinois can open up promising employment avenues in advanced primary care. The college currently offers its FNP education in conjunction with MSN, DNP and a Post-Graduate APRN Certificate which focus on preparing you for independent decision making to promote health and prevent disease.

MSN Program Details: This MSN is a 53-credit curriculum open to BSN graduates holding an active RN license. To earn your MSN-FNP degree you must complete core, advanced specialty, FNP-specific, and clinical courses. The FNP courses you take include reproductive health, common health care problems, childbearing family health, and complex health problems of adults. Furthermore, the curriculum offers optional courses in ECG interpretation, diagnostic imaging or suturing, and acute wound management which you can take depending on your interest.

BSN-DNP Program Details: Enrolling into this DNP-FNP program can advance your nursing career to the highest possible level. This 79-credit curriculum prepares for leadership roles where you can influence change in the healthcare system. You can complete this program either on a full-time or part-time basis in around 4 to 5 years.

Post-Graduate APRN Certificate Program Details: To be eligible for this certificate program you must have completed your masters. The FNP coursework requirements are individualized as they are based on your previous degree.

3. Illinois State University, Normal

Programs Offered: MSN and Post-Master's Certificate

Not many FNP programs in Illinois offer graduate assistantships where while you learn you can earn a stipend and a tuition waiver. At Illinois State University eligible students not only enjoy this financial support but they can also gain invaluable professional insights while working as a graduate assistant. The college also boasts of 100% of its FNP graduates passing the FNP certification exam, indicating a supportive learning environment where student success is a priority.

MSN Program Details: The MSN-FNP program is a blended coursework that requires completing of 44 credits. Out of the total program credits, 12 are to be completed in core, 9 in support courses, and 28 in FNP-specific courses. Upon graduation, you will be eligible to take the FNP certification exam offered through ANCC and AANP.

Post-Master's Certificate Program Details: This post-master’s certificate is ideal if you are an MSN graduate keen on specializing in family health. Graduation requires completion of 26 credits in diagnostic reasoning for advanced practice nurses and FNP courses.

4. University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), Chicago

Programs Offered: Post-Master’s DNP and Post-DNP Certificate

As an FNP in Illinois, if you are keen on making a difference to the underserved populations, then you may want to know about University of Illinois’s highly praised FNP education that offers a community-based curriculum. As an advanced practice student here, you need not worry about arranging for your clinical site or preceptor as the college’s committed faculty organizes it for you so that you can keep your focus centered on studying. UIC currently offers two FNP programs in Illinois - a Post-Master’s DNP and a Post-DNP Certificate.

Post-Master’s DNP Program Details: This is one of the top-ranking FNP programs in the nation, recognized as the 11th best by the U.S. News and World Report. This post-master’s DNP is open to MSN graduates who have already earned their FNP certification and are keen on advancing their knowledge in primary care with a doctoral degree. The program is offered in a hybrid format with full time and part-time schedule options. Graduation requirements are based on the coursework previously completed by you.

Post-DNP Certificate Program Details: Are you a doctorally prepared APRN looking at expanding your role as a clinical leader? If so, with this post-DNP certificate you can complete 25 credits and gain the eligibility to take the FNP certification exam.

5. Rush University, Chicago

Programs Offered: DNP

If you are a resident of Chicago, looking to enroll in one of the reputable FNP programs in Illinois, then your search may end with Rush University that produces doctorally prepared FNPs through its practitioner-teacher model. This means you will be taught by practicing faculty who bring their vast experiences to the classroom. While most of the didactic courses are delivered online, clinical sites are arranged throughout the Chicago area for which living in the city will be a requisite.

The DNP curriculum focuses on population health and the social factors that influence health and well-being. You can choose to enroll in part-time or full-time classes and complete the program anywhere from 2.5 to 3.5 years. You will graduate as a clinical leader who can lead healthcare improvement projects for various sections of the population. To qualify for this program, you must have completed either your BSN or MSN. While to graduate after a BSN you require completing 71 credits, program requirements for MSN graduates are planned after a gap analysis of their previous coursework. Regardless of the path, you must complete 1008 hours of clinical practice at various sites which include pediatrics, women’s health, specialty clinics, schools, and emergency departments.

6. Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, Edwardsville

Programs Offered: DNP

Do you find your calling in providing primary care to patients coming from varied backgrounds? If your answer is yes, then Southern Illinois University’s FNP program, commonly considered as one of the best FNP programs in Illinois can be a rather suitable choice. Not only will you train as an advanced primary care provider, but you can also even gain extensive hands-on experience by participating in the college’s WE CARE clinic which offers primary care to patients across the lifespan.

The DNP program is a 66-credit program that requires you to have completed either a BSN or an MSN. As a graduate of this program, you will acquire advanced knowledge of evidence-based practice, nursing leadership, health policy, and healthcare informatics. The program is offered as part-time and full-time options and delivered through a combination of online and face-to-face classes. Upon graduation, you will be eligible to take The FNP certification exam and work as a certified FNP in Illinois at various healthcare settings, including health departments, universities, hospitals, community healthcare centers, and the military.

7. Lewis University, Romeoville

Programs Offered: MSN and Post-Master’s Certificate

Lewis University trains you to become an agent of change in the complex healthcare system. The college focuses on advanced nursing care with a holistic approach to care for a patient as a whole, treating illness along with caring for the mind and soul. Lewis is known for its competitive tuition costs that are further made affordable by various scholarship and cost reduction opportunities. It currently offers the following two FNP programs in Illinois.

MSN Program Details: This FNP program in Illinois is open to BSN graduates holding an active RN license in the state. To graduate you must earn 18 credits in core MSN courses, 13 in NP core, and finally, 17 credits in FNP-specific courses. Some of the courses you take include healthcare informatics, health policy, scholarly inquiry, epidemiology, pharmacotherapeutics, health assessment, and healthcare management of individuals & families across the lifespan.

Post-Master’s Certificate Program Details: This certificate of advanced study is ideal if you have completed your masters and wish to add the FNP specialization to your nursing practice. The 30-credit curriculum requires you to complete courses in pharmacotherapeutics, health assessment, and pathophysiology along with FNP courses.

8. University of Saint Francis, Joliet

Programs Offered: MSN (MSN & R.N.-B.S.-MSN) and Post Master’s Certificate

If you desire higher education in nursing without going to school, then enrolling in one of the best online FNP programs in Illinois will be your best bet. University of Saint Francis’s FNP programs are offered completely online, allowing you to take courses from the comfort of your home. However, to be eligible for FNP education here, you must be a resident of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, New Mexico, or Wisconsin.

MSN Program Details: Whether you are an ADN prepared RN or a BSN graduate, if you are thinking of advancing your role as an advanced primary care provider then this program has got you covered as you can earn the MSN-FNP degree, either through the RN to MSN or BSN to MSN pathways. To graduate, you must complete a total of 47 to 56 credits, the exact number depending on the path you enter.

Post Master’s Certificate Program Details: This certificate requires completion of 29 to 38 credits in courses comprising advanced pathophysiology, pharmacology, health assessment, and the theoretical principles and clinical management of families across the lifespan. Additionally, the curriculum offers optional support courses of 12 credits in nursing education, completing which may be a good idea if you are contemplating getting into teaching.

9. Depaul University, Chicago

Programs Offered: RN to MSN, DNP and Post-Master’s Certificate

As an FNP graduate of Depaul University you will be part of a large family of 2000 nursing alumni who are serving in eminent healthcare centers across Chicago and beyond. If you desire the convenience of online classes and the provision of completing clinical rotations in your community, then Depaul's FNP programs in Illinois must be high on your list.

RN to MSN Program Details: You can enter this program with a BSN, or an ADN with a non-nursing bachelor’s degree. Also, students with an ADN without bachelors are eligible to apply. Graduation requirements for this program depend on your previous degree, regardless of which 600 clinical hours must be completed.

DNP Program Details: By completing this DNP program you will graduate as a clinical leader with enhanced critical thinking skills. If you enter this program after a BSN you must complete 66 credits, whereas post an MSN you require completing 54 credits.

Post-Master’s Certificate Program Details: This certificate program is meant for MSN graduates who are keen on earning the FNP credential. You can complete the 46 credits of this program either online or by taking face to face classes.

10. Northern Illinois University, Dekalb

Programs Offered: MSN, BSN-DNP, MSN-DNP, and Post Master’s Certificate

If you are shortlisting FNP programs in Illinois without the GRE requirement, then you must check out Northern Illinois University’s FNP programs that do not require you to present the GRE score for admission. Depending on your educational background, you can enroll in either the MSN, BSN to DNP, MSN to DNP, or post-masters certificate program. Regardless of the path you enter, you will graduate as a nurse leader who can independently offer care to a diverse patient population.

MSN Program Details: This MSN program is a 50-credit curriculum comprising core courses, advanced practice nursing courses, and FNP courses. The curriculum also includes three elective courses in educational statistics, biostatistics in public health, and biostatistical analysis out of which you must take one.

BSN-DNP Program Details: If you are interested in taking your BSN straight to the doctoral level, then this program is right for you. The 76-practice focused curriculum includes three FNP internships, ranging from pediatrics, women’s health to adult care, and three DNP practicums. Also, depending on your interest you can choose skill-based courses in either diagnostic reasoning, orthopedic skills, or women’s health.

MSN-DNP Program Details: After completing your MSN you can complete this DNP program by earning 50 credits. The program can be completed on a full-time or part-time basis, by taking courses either online or on-campus.

Post-Master's Certificate Program Details: This post-masters certificate requires completion of 22 credits after which you will be eligible to take the FNP certification exam.


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