Browse salaries by State:

Your Guide to RN Salary in Illinois [2024]

One of the first considerations people have when they choose their careers, move to other cities or states, apply for jobs, etc., is “How much money can I make?” This resource guide for registered nurses covers the average RN salary in Illinois, pay variations, the cost of living in this state, and more.

Discover the mean hourly and annual wages for RNs throughout Illinois in the table below. 

Area RN Hourly Mean Wage RN Annual Mean Wage
Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI $40.99 $85,260
Kankakee, IL $38.94 $80,980
Champaign-Urbana, IL $38.13 $79,310
Springfield, IL $37.80 $78,630
Danville, IL $37.69 $78,390
Decatur, IL $37.48 $77,960
Rockford, IL $37.11 $77,190
St. Louis, MO-IL $36.14 $75,170
Northwest Illinois nonmetropolitan area $35.97 $74,810
Bloomington, IL $35.86 $74,600
Carbondale-Marion, IL $35.86 $74,590
Peoria, IL $34.93 $72,650
East Central Illinois nonmetropolitan area $34.31 $71,360
West Central Illinois nonmetropolitan area $34.16 $71,050
South Illinois nonmetropolitan area $34.03 $70,780
Davenport-Moline-Rock Island, IA-IL $32.77 $68,160
Cape Girardeau, MO-IL $31.37 $65,250

This resource provides publicly available information from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the MIT Living Wage Calculator about average RN salaries, employment, location quotient, and living wage in Illinois (most recent information as of March 2024). While Nursa currently offers independent contractor RNs in Illinois the opportunity to access per diem jobs that pay on an hourly basis rather than access to salaried or wage-based employment opportunities, this information may be a helpful frame of reference for you as you assess the market landscape both in regard to per diem jobs and employment opportunities. 

How Much Do Nurses Make in Illinois?

patient on crutches shaking hands with a medical professional
Take advantage of the many RN jobs Illinois has to offer with Nursa.

The table above shows the average hourly and annual wages for employed registered nurses in each metropolitan and nonmetropolitan area in Illinois. We can see that even the highest-paying metro area, including the city of Chicago, pays RNs below the national average wage of $89,010 annually for registered nurses. However, after adjusting for the cost of living, Illinois’s average registered nurse salary is one of the best in the country.

What’s the Average RN Salary in Illinois? 

The average annual wage for RNs in Illinois is $82,220. However, numerous factors can impact RN income, including location, work setting, and specialization. On that note, the following percentiles indicate the typical range of RN compensation in Illinois: 

  • 10th percentile: $62,180
  • 25th percentile: $70,240
  • 50th percentile: $78,980
  • 75th percentile: $95,720
  • 90th percentile: $102,080

These percentiles indicate that 10 percent of RNs earn less than $62,180 per year, and 90 percent make more; 90 percent of RNs make up to $102,080, and 10 percent make more, and so on.

How Much Do RNs Make per Hour in Illinois? 

The average hourly wage for RNs in Illinois is $39.53, more than $3 below the national average of $42.80. However, as mentioned previously, RNs in Illinois should not feel discouraged. Although Illinois is not one of the highest-paying states for RNs, cost of living considerations bump up Illinois to one of the best states for registered nurses.

What Is the Cost of Living in Illinois?

Knowing how much you can earn in Illinois may help you choose the best option when considering independent contractor work or applying for salaried or wage-based employment. However, understanding the cost of living in Illinois is just as important. 

Now, each household is different. A new grad RN sharing living expenses with a roommate does not need to make nearly as much as a single parent of three. On that note, the following table shows the approximate living wage in Illinois based on different family characteristics. The living wage is the average amount an individual must earn per hour working full-time to cover basic living expenses.

Number Of Children No Children One Child Two Children Three Children
Single Adult $22.86 $39.63 $50.71 $64.15
Two Adults (One Working) $31.28 $36.49 $41.16 $43.99
Two Working Adults (Living Wage per Adult) $15.64 $22.12 $27.88 $31.69

How does your income compare to the living wage necessary to cover basic living expenses? If you don’t have children to support or if you share financial responsibility with a partner, you should be able to live comfortably on the average registered nurse salary in Illinois. However, if you have a family that depends solely on your income, you will probably have to find ways to supplement your income. The good news is that there is no shortage of RN jobs in Illinois.

A boat in the river and the bank filled with trees and grass
RNs are sure to enjoy the many high-paying job opportunities in Illinois while being able to explore a state with unique allure.

Find PRN RN Shifts throughout Illinois

One of the best ways to increase your hourly pay as an RN is to pick up PRN nursing shifts. PRN stands for “pro re nata,” which means as needed. In other words, PRN jobs are single-shift contracts through which hospitals and other healthcare facilities can cover gaps in coverage and maintain safe RN-to-patient ratios. For RNs, these jobs mean higher hourly pay and greater flexibility since they can choose when and where to work.

Discover flexible PRN nursing shifts with above-average pay in cities, towns, and villages throughout Illinois by clicking on the links below. 

The Chicago-Naperville-Joliet, IL Metropolitan Division—the highest-paying in Illinois—encompasses the following counties: Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Kendall, McHenry, and Will. Click on the links below to find RN jobs near you:

Cook County

DuPage County

Will County

Grundy County

Kane County

The Champaign-Urbana Metropolitan Area—the third highest-paying in Illinois—includes the following counties: Champaign, Piatt, and Ford. Find PRN nursing shifts in this area below:

Champaign County

The Decatur Statistical Area encompasses Macon County. Find RN jobs in the city of Decatur

The Rockford Statistical Area in northern Illinois includes Winnebago and Boone counties. Find jobs in these counties below:

Winnebago County

Greater St. Louis is a metropolitan statistical area that covers parts of Missouri and Illinois. It includes the Illinois counties of Bond, Calhoun, Clinton, Jersey, Macoupin, Madison, Monroe, and St. Clair, collectively called the Metro East. Here are cities with PRN nursing shifts in these counties:

Macoupin County

Madison County

St. Claire County

The Lake County-Kenosha County, IL-WI Metropolitan Division includes the Illinois county of Lake. Find cities in Lake County with PRN shifts for RNs:

Lake County

The Davenport-Moline-Rock Island, IA-IL Metropolitan Statistical Area encompasses the Illinois counties of Henry, Mercer, and Rock Island. Find RN shifts in these counties:

Rock Island County

Mercer County

Find PRN nursing shifts in the Peoria Metropolitan Area:

Tazewell County

Peoria County

Also, find high-paying RN shifts in the following micropolitan areas:

RNs in West Central Illinois can find jobs in Rushville, Schuyler County.

How to Become an RN in Illinois 

The first step to obtaining an RN license in Illinois is to complete a nursing program approved by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) and the Illinois State Board of Nursing (ISBN). There are numerous approved RN programs throughout Illinois. 

  • Aspiring RNs can complete an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN), also called an Associate of Applied Science (AAS). Some RN schools in Illinois also offer a ladder option. This option allows RN degree students who complete the minimum requirements to opt out of the programs but still qualify to become licensed practical nurses (LPNs).
  • The educational option that most employers prefer is an RN Baccalaureate Degree Program, also called a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). Some nursing schools in Illinois also offer Accelerated RN Baccalaureate Programs for candidates with baccalaureates or higher degrees in other disciplines.
  • Another alternative is a Master’s Entry-Level Degree Program, which leads to the initials RN and MSN.

After completing their chosen RN programs, candidates must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) and apply for licensure. However, the exact steps to obtain RN licensure in Illinois vary depending on whether candidates apply through the NCLEX examination or endorsement—for candidates who hold RN licenses from other states. Requirements also vary for international applicants. Review an application checklist for registered nurses here

Do you already hold an RN license? Use the IDFPR license lookup portal for Illinois RN license verification. 

RN Employment Facts for Illinois

The following are some interesting facts regarding RN employment in Illinois:

  • There are 129,390 employed RNs in Illinois, both in full-time and part-time positions. 
  • For every 1,000 jobs, there are 21.99 RN positions.
  • The location quotient for RNs in Illinois is 1.06, meaning there is a higher concentration of RNs in this state than the national average.

Although these numbers are relatively high, there is still a great need for registered nurses in the state.

Per Diem Independent Contractor RN Jobs in Illinois

Now that you know what salary you can expect as an RN in Illinois, you are probably thinking about the means to obtaining that income: RN jobs. Registered nursing jobs are abundant in Illinois. Although most RNs are employed full-time, a growing number of nursing professionals, including RNs, LPNs, and certified nursing assistants (CNAs), choose to work per diem or PRN nursing jobs as independent contractors. Picking up shifts when and where they want allows clinicians to maintain flexible schedules and control over their income. Pick up per diem RN shifts in Illinois with Nursa. 


Briefcase purple icon

Pick Up a Job Today

Find per diem PRN job opportunities in your area. High paying CNA, LPN and RN and many more are now available now.

Join Nursa
Building Purple Icon

Post Your Jobs Today

Facilities who use Nursa fill 3 times as many open per diem shifts, on average, compared to trying to fill the shifts themselves.

Post Jobs
Nursa is no 1 mobile app for clinicians

Download the App Now

App store Button
Google Play button