Nursing Education

Applications for Summer 2017 are CLOSED. Applications for Summer 2018 are accepted Sept. 1 through Dec. 1, 2017.

Nursing Education

Students must apply and be formally accepted into the Nursing Education program prior to enrolling in any NE courses. 

Entrance into the Nursing program is highly competitive

Requirements to apply:

Career Overview

Job Description

Southwestern Illinois College's Nursing Education (NE) program provides students the basic skills necessary to become a registered nurse (RN).

Registered Nurses:

  • Provide for the physical, mental and emotional needs of their patients
  • Must have good knowledge of the principles and practices of nursing
  • Have good interpersonal skills and oral and written communication skills
  • Have the ability to relate to different cultural and economic backgrounds
  • Organize, set priorities and manage a caseload

Nursing includes a variety of specialties:

  • Case manager
  • Emergency/trauma
  • Home health/hospice
  • Infection control
  • Labor & delivery
  • Medical/surgical
  • Neonatal
  • Pediatric
  • Psychiatric
  • Telemetry
  • Transplant

Career Resources

The National League for Nursing web site provides nursing resources for students.

The U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Outlook Handbook provides additional information.

Career Opportunities

Nurses work in a variety of settings, including:

  • Hospitals
  • Public/community health settings
  • Ambulatory care settings
  • Nursing homes/extended care facilities

Career Outlook

According to U.S. Department of Labor 2014-24 Occupational Outlook Handbook, employment of registered nurses is expected to grow by 16 percent, much faster than the average for all occupations.


Average Starting Salary

The average full-time starting salary for a registered nurse is $25.98 per hour or $54,000 per year.


Application Requirements

Materials Needed to Apply

Students must apply and be formally accepted into the Nursing Education program before beginning program courses.

Applicants must submit the following to the Enrollment Services Office:

1. Nursing Education application

  • Applications are available between Sept. 1 and Dec. 1 each year for summer start.
  • Supporting documentation (transcripts, test scores, etc.) must be on file by identified deadlines.
  • Proof of completion of prerequisite courses:  biology, algebra and chemistry.

2. Official Transcripts

  • Official high school transcripts or proof of GED 
  • Official transcripts from all colleges, universities or accredited schools of Nursing Education attended
  • SWIC transcript evaluation form, a requirement for the transfer of credits from another institution

3. Test Scores

  • Nursing Entrance Exam - Taken after application is submitted
  • SWIC placement testing - The placement test identifies skill levels in math, reading and writing. Students must score high enough to be eligible to enroll in ENG 101 and MATH 97. If placement test results are too low, students must complete required developmental courses prior to enrolling in ENG 101, BIOL 157/158 or MATH 94.


For an individual review of your application, contact the Health Sciences Coordinators' Assistant.

Prepare to Apply

Complete Prerequisite Courses

Prerequisite courses in biology, algebra and chemistry must be completed in order to apply for the Nursing Education program.

Fill out the Planning Guide

Entrance into the NE program is highly competitive. The NE Planning Guide and the NE Advanced Standing Planning Guide (for current LPNs only) explain application requirements and offer suggestions on how to maximize points in each section and increase chances of being accepted to the program.

Understand the Application Point System

Applications are rated by a point system, with points based on:

Meet with an Academic Advisor

Call or visit the SWIC Academic Advising/Counseling Center for more information about entrance requirements for the NE program.


For an individual review of your planning guide, contact the Health Sciences coordinators' assistant.

Advanced Standing

LPN Articulation Application Process

An articulation process exists for Illinois licensed LPNs. The articulation program will escrow up to 15 credits, which will include the three credits for NE 100-Clinical Calculations. Admission criteria will remain as listed for the generic RN program. LPNs must complete the prerequisite courses and first-year general education courses prior to admission into the articulation program, unless waivers have been secured from the NE director. Escrowed credits will be awarded pending successful completion of the first NE courses attempted in the summer. If not successfully completed on the first attempt, no articulation provisions will apply and the generic nursing program must be completed. Any LPN may opt not to enter the articulation program, but may instead enter the generic RN program. LPNs should see the Nursing director concerning other stipulations before beginning the articulation process and submitting an application-the "Advanced Standing Nursing Application for LPNs Only." To review the criteria on that application, see the NE Advanced Standing Planning Guide (for current LPNs only).

Nurse Assistant Articulation Application Process

An articulation process exists for Illinois certified nurse assistants. The articulation process will escrow two NE credits for Illinois certified nurse assistants. Admission criteria, prerequisite courses and general education courses will remain as listed for the generic RN program. NE 100 must be completed successfully in the summer before entry into fall classes. The two credits will be awarded for NE 102 pending successful completion of NE 103 on the first attempt. If NE 103 is not completed successfully, no articulation provisions will apply. Any certified nurse assistant may opt not to enter the articulation program, but may instead enter the generic RN program. CNAs should see the Nursing director concerning other stipulations.

Applicant Selection

Application Point System

Applications for the NE program will be rated on a point system, with points based on:

Notification of Acceptance:

Applicants will be notified of their status regarding admission as quickly as possible, typically in April depending on the number of applications received.

More Candidates than Seats Available:

In the event that there are more qualified applicants than spaces available in this program, applicants residing outside the SWIC district or in a district that does not have a joint agreement with SWIC for this program will not be eligible for consideration or admission. Resident status is determined by address on file with the Enrollment Services Office by April 1.

For a list of colleges that have joint agreements with SWIC, view the college catalog and search for Interdistrict Cooperative Agreements.

The admission procedures for the Nursing Education program are in accordance with Illinois law. The law requires that programs with insufficient space and resources to accommodate all applicants will accept the best qualified applicants, using rank, ability and achievement test scores as guides, with preference given to students residing in the district. Out-of-district students will be considered as in-district status for this application process if their community college has an Inter-district Cooperative/Career agreement with SWIC. Search the college catalog for Interdistrict Cooperative/Career Agreements to see if your college is listed.  To qualify for the application process, the student must submit paperwork from their home district to SWIC Enrollment Services by the application deadline. Contact the secretary of the Board of Trustees at your home district school to get the required paperwork.     


Fewer Candidates than Seats Available:

In the event that there are fewer qualified candidates than there are spaces available, applications will continue to be accepted until the program's maximum capacity has been reached or through the first week of classes during the fall semester.

The college reserves the right to fill the program when there are fewer applicants than spaces available by whatever means it deems necessary to assure both academic integrity and fairness in the selection process.

Other Requirements

The following criteria are required of accepted applicants and all information will be explained in detail at program orientation meetings.

Orientation & Performance:

Applicants accepted to this program must attend all required orientation sessions (typically held in April and July) and be able to perform the essential functions of the job as listed in the student course handbook, with reasonable accommodation if needed. Applicants or enrolled students are encouraged to contact the Disability & Access Center to discuss potential issues associated with meeting these requirements.

Health Insurance:

Health insurance is required during clinical education courses. Students are responsible for any costs incurred for injuries occurring during clinical experience.

Graduation Requirements:

Applicants admitted to the program must follow the requirements for graduation at the time they are admitted and must meet all course, program, degree and sequencing requirements as specified. Posted changes in course prerequisites are applicable to all newly admitted students. Second-year students will continue to work from prerequisites listed when admitted. Students are responsible for program policies as listed in each year's Nursing Student Handbook. Students who fail to meet program specific requirements will be dropped from the program and may be required to reapply and compete for admission in a succeeding year.

Time Frame:

The Nursing Education program must be completed within five years of beginning nursing courses for first-time students and five semesters for LPN articulation students. Students must repeat a failed course the following year-students cannot "sit out" the following year.

Minimum Grades:

An average grade of C in all theory tests (except the final examination), a grade of C on the final examination and a satisfactory in lab/clinical evaluation are the minimum requirements for passing nursing courses. Students must pass at least one of the major nursing course content tests, any standardized testing and course assignments for the course to be completed. A grade of C is the minimum grade acceptable for ALL courses in the nursing curriculum.

Medical Requirements:

These requirements do not have to be fulfilled until they are explained at the orientation meeting. NE students will be required to possess current CPR certification at the Health Care Provider level, show proof of immunizations, TB test and physical examination, and verify health insurance coverage before beginning any clinical experience.

Background Checks and Drug Testing:

Background checks and drug testing are required.

  • A list of disqualifying convictions is available from the Illinois Department of Public Health website. Students with convictions must possess a waiver from the IDPH to participate in the program.
  • Drug testing will identify illegal and prescription drugs. If results are positive, the student must provide proof of prescription in his or her own name in order to pass the drug test. Medical marijuana, which is not FDA approved, is also considered a positive drug testing result.


Students enrolling in Nursing Education should be aware that fingerprint criminal background checks will be required within 60 days of NCLEX applications, and receipts for the check must be attached to the NCLEX applications. Convictions of certain crimes may preclude ability to obtain RN licensure in Illinois. Information will be provided concerning this stipulation. For information, contact the Nursing Education coordinator at 618-235-2700, ext. 5268.

Program Overview

Course Sequence

Acceptance to the program is required before an applicant will be permitted to register for nursing courses.

Nursing Education Degree

Nursing Education Associate in Applied Science Degree (0025) Course Sequence

This is a 70-credit-hour, two-year accredited degree consisting of:

  • 31 credit hours of general education courses
  • 39 credit hours of Nursing Education courses

The curriculum includes basic sciences, general education and professional courses with clinical education performed at affiliate hospitals.

Course Information

General Education Courses

General education courses can be completed prior to admission. These courses can be taken at the Belleville, Sam Wolf Granite City or Red Bud campuses or online. If general education courses are not completed prior to admission, they must be completed during the semesters indicated above.

Nursing Education Courses

The Nursing Education program courses begin each summer semester for the generic and advanced standing applicants accepted in the program. These courses are offered only at the Belleville Campus during the day. View the course sequence.

Applicants selected for admission take NE 100-Clinical Calculations in the summer following admission to the Nursing Education program. This course must be successfully completed before fall classes begin. Students may be allowed to take an NE 100 proficiency test after acceptance into the NE program and waive the requirement to take the NE 100 course. Information concerning this course, as well as the proficiency test, will be presented at the orientation session held for entering students.

Accepted applicants must also complete Medical Terminology (either HRO 100, one credit hour, or HRO 160, three credits) before the fall semester of admission. This class can be waived after acceptance into the nursing program for those having health care experience, following successful testing. Contact the program director at 618-235-2700, ext. 5268 to schedule testing. Information will be presented during the first orientation session held for entering students.

Clinical Education Experiences

Clinical experiences are completed off campus in various practice settings. Students may be required to travel outside the college district for clinical experiences and are required to complete background checks and drug testing prior to beginning clinicals. Clinical experience begins in the fall semester of the first year, except the LPN bridge program, in which clinical experience starts in the summer semester. Specific clinical placement cannot be guaranteed.

Program Capacity

Belleville Campus Capacity

The NE program generally accepts 80-90 students each summer semester at the Belleville Campus.

Program Location

The Nursing Education program consists of general education courses, NE pre-fix courses and assigned clinical experiences. Specific locations depend on the course type.

General Education Courses

The required general education courses can be taken at the Belleville, Sam Wolf Granite City, Red Bud campuses or online.

Nursing Education Courses

The NE program courses are only offered at the Belleville Campus during the day.

Clinical Education Experiences

Clinical experiences are completed at hospitals/clinical facilities throughout the district and in the St. Louis region. Students begin clinical experience in the fall semester of the first year and every semester throughout the remainder of the program. Background checks and drug testing are required prior to clinical experiences. Specific clinical placement cannot be guaranteed.

Program Cost

Nursing Education Degree program

For details, see the NE cost sheet.

Nursing Education Advanced Standing Degree program

For details, see the NE Adv. Standing cost sheet.

Financial assistance is available!

SWIC Financial Aid Office

Financial aid is available subject to financial need and satisfactory academic progress requirements set by the college.

The student work program does not require financial aid eligibility.

SWIC Foundation

The SWIC Foundation offers over 200 scholarships based on residency, enrollment and GPA criteria.

Time Commitment

Program Information

Nursing Education courses are offered during the day, and clinical hours are scheduled in the day, evenings and weekends. The program can be completed in five semesters including one summer. It is recommended that if employed, students complete non-NE pre-fix courses prior to entrance into the program.

Clinical Information

Student schedules are determined by courses and clinical site placement. Students within the same course may have different schedules due to clinical placement. To complete the program, students must be willing to adapt their schedules as needed.

Transportation & Attendance

Students are responsible for their own transportation and attendance to all classes and clinicals assigned by the program. Specific clinical placement cannot be guaranteed, although the program attempts to take into account students' residency to reduce excessive travel.

More Details

Program Accreditation

IDFPR Approval

The SWIC Nursing Education program is a member of the National League for Nursing Council of Associate Degree Nursing Programs and is approved by:

The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation
100 Randolph, Suite 9-300
Chicago, IL 60601

ACEN Accreditation

The SWIC Nursing Education program is accredited by:

The Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing
3343 Peachtree Road NE Suite 850
Atlanta, GA 30326

Verification of program accreditation can be viewed on the ACEN website.

Licensure Requirements


After successful completion of the Nursing Education program, students are eligible to apply for the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). Upon successful completion of the NCLEX-RN examination, graduates apply for licensure as a registered professional nurse.


After written documentation confirming successful completion of NCLEX-RN has been received by the graduate, the graduate can be employed in a license-pending category and work under the supervision of an RN, until the Illinois license has been received. Graduates seeking licensure in a state other than Illinois are required to follow the regulations of that state.

Further Education

Graduates who successfully pass the NCLEX may also opt to continue their education at institutions that offer RN-BSN and RN-MSN programs.

Graduate Outcome Measures

Completion Rates, Licensure Pass Rates, and Employment

View the Nursing Education program's Graduate Outcome Measures.

To compare SWIC graduate licensure pass rates to other Illinois colleges, go to the Illinois Center for Nursing: Illinois Approved Nursing Education Program Pass Rates – Last 5 Years



For more information about this program, please contact:

Coordinators' Assistant Candice Rodgers

618-235-2700, ext. 5355

Academic Advising/Counseling Center

618-235-2700, ext. 5206