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Travel Nursing in Illinois

Illinois has great rivers as well as great lakes. It has its share of big cities: Chicago, Peoria, Springfield, the suburbs of St. Louis, and half of the quad cities. You’ll find plenty to do and see on your adventure to The Land of Lincoln. Take a trip down the birthplace of Route 66. Explore Abe Lincoln’s legacy. Discover the natural beauty of Illinois’s southern region with its state parks and wine trails. Find yourself in a state that’s comfortable with both urban and rural living, and hay, there’s plenty of work and good a nurse can do for the United States’ hub.

Never Leave Home without a License

Unfortunately, Illinois is not a nursing licensure compact (NLC) state but they do have legislature in place and may be included in the NLC in the coming months and/or years. Illinois is also slow in terms of paperwork, so make sure you have your license in hand – or at least in the works – before you apply.

Here’s what you’ll need.

  • Application Fee $91
  • Examination Fee (if applicable): $200
  • If you hold a nursing license in another state, you may apply for licensure through endorsement but this is subject to approval and you have an application fee of $50

Pay Rates in Illinois

Illinois pays above the national average for their nurses, so finding a position that pays well is easy in The Land of Lincoln. Joliet facilities pay as much as the ones in Chicago but the cost of living is slightly lower, but the Illinois city that pays the least for their nurses is Peoria and they have an average cost of living that’s near the national average. But how do Illinois’ other cities compare?

Cost of Living

As you can imagine, living in Chicago costs a pretty penny, but you’re in Chicago so that evens things out a bit. But you can find plenty of work in other places in Illinois. According to a study by the Bureau of Labor conducted in 2011, East St. Louis, Peoria, Rockford, and Springfield had the highest quotient for nursing jobs. They even beat out the greater Chicago area—but of course, Chicago still had plenty of work to go around. Here’s how Illinois’ cities stacked up, according to cost of living:

Chicago: 116.9

Joliet and Will County: 102.2

Champaign-Urbana: 96.9

Peoria: 96.3

Quincy: 95.5

Galesburg: 93.0

Rockford: 92.4

Decatur: 91.4

Springfield: 85.8


Springfield has the lowest COL by far. They also have a large number of nursing jobs available and they pay their nurses a fair wage. Illinois’ state capital might be worth some consideration.

How’s the weather and what to do in Illinois

Illinois isn’t very wide but it’s very long, so the climate varies from the north to the south. Most people know that Chicago’s the Windy City and since it’s on a great lake, it gets a lot of snowfall but Chicago’s located in the north. The southern half of Illinois has a humid, subtropical climate with moderate winters. In short, if feels like you’re in the south. And that makes sense, since Illinois’ shares a southern border with Missouri and Kentucky.

Similar to its climate, Illinois has varied tourist attractions. Sure you have Chicago’s Magnificent Mile, the Navy Pier, and the Art Institute, but south of Chicago you’ll find the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, Starved Rock State Park, the Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site (one of the largest prehistoric Indian settlements north of Mexico), and Illinois’ long and winding wine trail.

No matter what you’re looking for, you’ll find your passion in the Land of Lincoln.


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