Are you thinking about becoming a medical professional such as a nurse, nurse practitioner, nurse educator, certified nurse midwife, physician, or a physician assistant ? Want to make sure it's right for you? There are probably a lot of things you're wondering about, like what you'll need to do to become licensed, what the salaries are, and how you can pay for college and other medical professional programs. Use the information below to find the answers to your questions. The academic advisor at the college you're planning to attend can also counsel you about which classes to take to prepare you for your career as a medical professional.
Nursing License Preparation and Certification
Before you decide to enter the nursing profession, review the information offered by the Illinois Center for Nursing. This Web site provides information on the nursing profession, educational opportunities, licensing requirements, testing preparation and other valuable information about becoming a nurse. Use the Handbook of Illinois Postsecondary Institutions to locate Illinois colleges that offer degrees in nursing.
State of Illinois/ISAC Nursing Programs
There are several programs designed specifically for students studying to become nurses, to help pay for college, including:
- Nursing Education Scholarship Program - Provides scholarship to individuals pursuing a certificate in practical nursing, an associate degree in nursing, a hospital-based nursing diploma, a baccalaureate degree in nursing or a graduate degree in nursing. This program is offered by the Illinois Department of Public Health's Center for Rural Health.
- Nurse Educator Fellowship Program - Provides $10,000 fellowships to outstanding nursing faculty teaching at Illinois institutions of higher learning that award degrees in nursing. The Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE) administers this grant program. Nurse Educators must be nominated by the institution at which they teach.
Loan Repayment Programs
- Nurse Educator Loan Repayment Program - ISAC will award grants of up to $5,000 per year to nurse educators in order to help them repay their educational loans. Serves as an incentive to keep nurse educators teaching within the State of Illinois.
- Veterans' Home Medical Providers' Loan Repayment Program - ISAC offers a loan repayment assistance program for medical providers working in state veterans' homes. Grants of up to $5,000 per year will be awarded to medical providers who have worked or expect to work in state veterans' homes in Illinois for twelve consecutive months.
- Illinois National Health Service Corps State Loan Repayment Program - The Illinois Department of Public Health provides funds to repay educational loans for physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, dentists and psychiatrists who agree to serve in federally designated health professional shortage areas.
- Military Programs for Nursing - The U.S. Military offers several college help initiatives to assist servicemen and women seeking financial assistance for nursing and other career programs.
- The National Health Service Corps (NHSC) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services provides scholarships and loan repayment programs to help Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSA's) in the United States get the medical, dental and mental health providers they need.
- Scholarships paying tuition, required fees and some other education costs for up to 4 years are available for students pursuing an eligible degree in an accredited program if recipients commit to serve one year for each year of support (minimum of two years service) in a high-need HPSA.
- Loan repayment of up to $60,000 is available for members who practice full time for at least two years (or part time for four years) at an NHSC-approved site. An award of $30,000 is available for two years of half-time service.
- The Health Resources and Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services administers the NURSE Corps Scholarship Program to help alleviate the critical shortage of registered nurses experienced by certain types of health care facilities. In exchange for at least 2 years of service by the recipient at a health care facility with a nurse shortage, the scholarship pays tuition, eligible fees, other costs and a monthly stipend.
Other Financial Aid for Nursing
There are listings of civic and private organizations that provide funding for nursing students as well as for minority nursing students on the Illinois Center for Nursing website.
- Rural Nurse Practitioner Scholarship Program - The Illinois Farm Bureau awards $4,000 scholarships to Registered Nurses studying to become Nurse Practitioners. In return, the nurses commit to serve two years in a rural community.