Become a Registered Nurse (RN) In Under 2 Years

Illinois is expected to be short nearly 15,000 registered nurses by 2025*. Help fill the growing need in your community by enrolling in one of Elmhurst University’s online accelerated nursing programs. We offer two full-time second-degree nursing programs for those with bachelor's degrees in non-nursing fields:

  • Online Accelerated BSN (ABSN)
  • Online Master’s Entry in Nursing Practice (MENP)

Through these accelerated programs, you can fast-track your transition to a second career in nursing, gaining valuable hands-on clinical experience in your local community along the way.

Academically Strong
Accredited by the CCNE*
and ranked by U.S. News & World Report as a leading Midwest university

Woman on her headset

Integrated Support
Dedicated student advisors will be by your side from application to graduation

Accelerated Nursing Programs in Illinois - How the Program Works

All our coursework is completed online except for your clinicals and residency hours. Our Clinical Placement Team will help you explore options close to home for your clinical hours, and you will attend our campus in Elmhurst (west of Chicago) for your residency hours.

Our programs are designed for those who reside outside of the Chicagoland area or are willing to drive outside the Chicagoland area for their clinical experiences. For students who wish to do their clinical hours at sites located in Cook, DuPage, Will or Lake county, please explore our on-campus MENP program.



Source: 2023 ABSN Infographic

What’s the Demand for Nurses in Illinois? 

The state has an aging nurse workforce that will soon lead to a nursing shortage. Over half of the state's nurses are over 55, and nearly a quarter plan to retire within the next five years.

At the same time, nurse employment is expected to rise nationwide. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates an increase of 6% between 2021 and 2031 and lists the average RN salary as $78,260.

These conditions have created a remarkable opportunity for aspiring nurses in Illinois. By exploring how to become a nurse now, you’re preparing for a gratifying and in-demand career.


Accelerated BSN or MSN in Illinois - Which one suits you?

Both of our online nursing programs offer a fast path to a new and meaningful nursing career. If you’re undecided about which program to choose, this comparison chart may help you select the path that’s right for you. It is important to note that the MENP program awards a master of science in nursing, and the ABSN culminates in a bachelor of science in nursing.

GPA for admission 3.2 3.2
Program length 60 credits/16 months

71 credits/20 months

Clinical hours 450+ 850+
Program cost












Credentials** RN


RN, Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL)


Ideal student Students who want to enter nursing to follow their passion for caring for others Students who want to enter nursing and advance to leadership roles to improve patient safety and quality outcomes

*The baccalaureate degree program in nursing and the master’s degree program in nursing at Elmhurst University are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, 655 K Street, NW, Suite 750, Washington, DC 20001, 202-887-6791

**Upon successful completion of the relevant licensure examinations


Kickstart Your Second Career in Nursing

The online Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program will help you solidify your skills and knowledge for a career in nursing while teaching you the required competencies in just 16 months. Work alongside registered nurses through a variety of hands-on experiences in Elmhurst’s state-of-the-art Simulation Lab, and examine the factors that influence the well-being of diverse communities. Earning an accelerated BSN is the perfect opportunity for those looking for a second career as a BSN-prepared RN.

The online Master’s Entry in Nursing Practice (MENP) program prepares you with the foundations, skills and clinical experience to begin your career as a clinical nurse leader. Enroll with a bachelor’s degree in any field and graduate with an MSN degree. You’ll also have the ability to advance your education after graduation by bridging to a nurse practitioner through post-graduate certification programs or a doctor of nursing practice program.