JB Pritzker, Governor, State of Illinois

Medical Professions

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 Nursing Workforce Center. This website provides information on the nursing profession, educational opportunities, licensing requirements, testing preparation and other valuable information about becoming a nurse.

State of Illinois/ISAC Programs

  • Nursing Education Scholarship Program – Provides scholarships 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. The program, which is administered by ISAC, provides financial aid anywhere from one to four years. If nursing requirements are not fulfilled in Illinois, the award converts to a loan that must be repaid.
  • 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.
  • Podiatric Medicine Scholarship Program – Provides scholarships to Illinois podiatric medicine students to pay tuition, matriculation fees and a living stipend for up to four years. The award must be repaid by practicing as a podiatric physician in an Illinois professional shortage area. The Illinois Department of Public Health administers this program.

Loan Repayment Programs

  • Community Behavioral Health Care Professional Loan Repayment Program – Available through ISAC, this program provides assistance to qualified mental health and substance use professionals to help in the repayment of student loans. The amount repaid is dependent on the applicant's position.
  • Nurse Educator Loan Repayment Program – ISAC will award 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.

Federal Programs

  • 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 Nursing Workforce Center 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.