Long before COVID-19 changed our daily lives and strained the American medical system like never before, a looming shortage of qualified nursing professionals was an approaching threat across the country and in Illinois. In fact, a study in Illinois found that about 1 in 6 nurses were expected to retire by 2024.
With even further stress placed on the system thanks to the pandemic, it’s reasonable to wonder what the state is of nursing employment in Illinois today. To understand the picture for those who are pursuing or may be interested in pursuing a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree, or DNP, we analyzed federal data across the country and within Illinois for several jobs commonly held by those with DNP degrees.
Average Doctor of Nursing Practice DNP Salaries in Illinois
Our analysis covered data published in 2020 by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics across a selection of DNP jobs — nurse practitioner, registered nurse, nurse anesthetist, nurse administrator, nurse midwife and postsecondary nursing instructor.
The majority of DNP jobs in Illinois offer an average wage that’s at least $100,000, and for one job, nurse anesthetist, the average annual salary is near $200,000. The state ranks ninth out of all states when it comes to average salaries for nurse anesthetists. Nursing professors have the lowest average salary of the six DNP jobs in Illinois, though their expected average wage is still higher than the overall average wage for workers in the state, which is about $55,000.
How Much Does a DNP Make in Illinois?
The average salary ranges from $69,770 to $199,666 in Illinois.
Average annual Illinois salary
|Postsecondary Nursing Instructors||$69,770.00|
A high wage doesn’t mean much if you can’t find a job, and both in Illinois and across the country, the six DNP jobs have very different concentrations of employment. Jobs for registered nurses (RNs) are by far the most plentiful across the country, and that holds true in Illinois as well. Least common in Illinois are jobs for nurse midwives.
Illinois employment per 1,000 jobs
|Postsecondary Nursing Instructors||0.354|
Several cities and metro areas that are entirely or partially in Illinois may be attractive for DNP professionals thanks to high average wages. The Chicago metro area, which includes portions of Indiana and Wisconsin, tops the scales with an average DNP salary of more than $112,000, while both the St. Louis and Cape Girardeau metro areas, which Illinois shares with its neighbor Missouri, are home to high wages as well.
Average salary by city, top 5
Jump to a Career
- Nurse Practitioner
- Registered Nurse
- Nurse Administrator
- Post Secondary Nurse Instructor
- Nurse Anesthetist
- Nurse Midwife
As the degree would seem to indicate, the most obvious job for someone pursuing or possessing a DNP degree is nurse practitioner, or NP. In Illinois, NPs are authorized to perform some of the same functions as a physician, which makes them a crucial part of the entire healthcare environment. In all but one of the 10 cities or metro areas in Illinois, the average NP salary is at least $100,000, and NP salaries in Rockford are the highest in the state, even surpassing the overall state average.
Average annual nurse practitioner wage by city/metro area, top 10
The Champaign-Urbana and Springfield areas are the communities where NPs are most likely to find gainful employment, and most metro areas for which data is available have NP employment rates that are higher than the state’s overall rate.
Nurse practitioner employment per 1,000 jobs by city/metro area, top 10
The majority of RN jobs likely will not require a DNP degree, but many nursing professionals who hold this degree will seek jobs as RNs. These are among the most common jobs, and in Illinois, they have the second-lowest average salary. Wages are highest in the Chicago metro area, which is home to an average salary that’s above the state’s overall average for RNs.
Average annual registered nurse wage by city/metro area, top 10
In Illinois, as the rest of the U.S., RN jobs are by far the most common type of DNP job that we studied. Several cities and metro areas that are entirely or partially within the state of Illinois appear to be epicenters of RN employment with rates that are dramatically higher than the state’s RN employment rate of about 21.4 per 1,000 jobs. In both Cape Girardeau, which is partially in Missouri, and Springfield, RN employment is about 70% more common than in Illinois as a whole.
Registered nurse employment per 1,000 jobs by city/metro area, top 10
Many people who earn DNP degrees will seek jobs where they may spend less time working directly with patients and more time in healthcare administration. Nurse administrators aren’t necessarily required to have DNP degrees, but those who do can expect to earn the highest wage rates. In Cape Girardeau, Chicago and Peoria, average salaries are higher than the state’s average, which is about $125,000 per year. Most Illinois cities for which data is available also offer six-figure wages for nurse administrator jobs.
Average annual nurse administrator wage by city/metro area, top 10
Outside of RN jobs, nurse administrator roles are the most common of the six DNP jobs we studied, and most of the Illinois cities and metro areas for which data is available have higher concentrations of nurse administrator jobs than the state as a whole. These jobs are most common in the Carbondale-Marion metro area, where the rate of employment for nurse administrators is about 60% higher than that of the state overall.
Nurse administrator employment per 1,000 jobs by city/metro area, top 10
Tackling the looming nursing shortage in Illinois means training the next generation of nurses at advanced levels. The need for postsecondary nursing instructors should grow, though in most states, their average wage is one of the lowest of the six DNP jobs we studied. Across the state, though, a couple of cities and metro areas offer above-average wages, led by Peoria, with Chicago not far behind. Data was not available for as many cities as for some other DNP jobs, though.
Average annual postsecondary nursing instructor wage by city/metro area
Among the cities for which data from the BLS was available, nursing instructor employment rates were highest in Peoria, and most communities had higher rates than the state overall. The only exception among the cities for which numbers were published was Chicago.
Postsecondary nursing instructor employment per 1,000 jobs by city/metro area
In Illinois and every other state, nurse anesthetists were the highest-paid professionals across all six of the DNP jobs we studied. All three of the cities we have data for offer wages for the role that are in the high six figures, though none have average salaries that exceed the overall average for the entire state.
Average annual nurse anesthetist wage by city/metro area
Data on employment rates was available for only two metro areas, both of which include portions of other states. The Chicago area’s employment rate for nurse anesthetists was the higher of the two, but neither Chicago nor St. Louis exceeded the overall Illinois rate.
Nurse anesthetist employment per 1,000 jobs by city/metro area
Many of the leading DNP programs across the country offer a specialty area in nurse midwifery, which is the practice of assisting during all phases of pregnancy and after birth. These jobs tend to be well-paying, and all three of the cities for which data was available in Illinois are home to six-figure wages for nurse midwives. The highest average salary was in the Champaign-Urbana metro area, and this area also had a wage that was higher than the average for Illinois overall.
Average annual nurse midwife wage by city/metro area
Nurse midwife jobs are generally among the most difficult to find, and this is true across much of Illinois. Champaign-Urbana has the highest employment rate for nurse midwives, and of the three metro areas for which data is available, it’s the only one where the employment rate is higher than the state’s overall rate.
Nurse midwife employment per 1,000 jobs by city/metro area
For those who are called to the nursing profession, a desire to help improve (and potentially save) the lives of others is no doubt the leading drive. But a high standard of living is a bonus, particularly for those who take on the challenge of a DNP degree, and in the state of Illinois, several cities and metro areas could be ideal for DNP professionals.
Our analysis of BLS data covered six jobs that are commonly available with a DNP degree, though that’s not meant as a complete listing of all possible jobs a person could pursue after earning this degree. We used May 2019 data, which was published in 2020.