January 16, 2022

Overview of Nursing Schools in North Carolina

  • There are 77 nursing schools in North Carolina. The CCNE accredits 18 nursing schools and the ACEN accredits 30 schools in North Carolina.
  • On average, attending an RN program in North Carolina will cost you between $61.00 and $24,751.00 per year.
  • In North Carolina, the average undergraduate student borrows between $4,725.00 and $14,000.00 per year.
  • Typically, an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) will take between 18 to 24 months to complete, and a Bachelor Degree in Nursing (BSN) will take about 4 years to complete.
  • The average, the NCLEX passing rate range for North Carolina ADN students is between 22.50% and 98.75%.
  • On average, the NCLEX passing rate range for North Carolina BSN students is between 52.00% and 98.67%.
  • The average annual salary for a registered nurse in North Carolina is between $52,080 to $111,220 a year.
  • Registered Nurses (RN) throughout the country and in North Carolina can expect a favorable job growth of 15 percent from 2016 to 2026 which much faster than the average for all occupations.

Onling Programs Liked by North Carolina Nurses

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

About Nursing Schools in North Carolina

Nursing schools are making educational advancement opportunities that are readily available for registered nurses within the state. Obtaining an associate degree in nursing or a bachelors degree in nursing is very advantageous to a working nurse. In fact, many hospitals and healthcare settings prefer hiring a nurse who has obtained a bachelors degree. More than have of the registered nurses in North Carolina have a bachelor’s degree or higher, which makes North Carolina the best-educated state in the nation. Now is a better time than ever for nurses to seek out higher education to meet the needs of the constantly evolving profession. Nurses are encouraged to request information from multiple schools to improve chances of getting accepted into one.

In our North Carolina RN program guide, find rankings for both ADN and BSN Degree programs, tuition costs, NCLEX passing rates, and more. Research key North Carolina RN Program information to help you compare program metrics and to apply to best RN program for your career in nursing.

In the State of North Carolina, nurses are helping to change the face of healthcare. To ensure that they have the best education and preparation for future health care challenges, registered nurses need to graduate from a state-approved associate's degree in nursing program or a BSN degree program.

Nurses who graduate from an RN program can obtain certification in over 100 nursing specialties, go on to earn an RN to BSN or RN to MSN degree.

BSN degree holders have options to earn an Advance Practice Register Nursing (APRN) degree and become a Nurse Practitioner (NP), or earn an advanced degree for a career in any number of nursing leadership roles such Nurse Educator or Clinical Nurse Specialist.

North Carolina RN Program Comparisons: ADN vs BSN

Compare RN ProgramsADNBSN
Number of Nursing Programs5820
Average NCLEX Passing Rate86.84%87.39%
NCLEX Passing Rate Range22.50% to 98.75%52.00% to 98.67%
Average Net Price$8,347.28$13,929.65
Average Net Price Range$61.00 to $21,661.00$5,914.00 to $24,751.00
Average Student Loan$7,010.69$18,262.05
Average Student Loan Range$2,000.00 to $20,344.00$6,569.00 to $25,000.00
See Additional DetailADN Rankings for North Carolina StateBSN Rankings for North Carolina State

Best Ranked RN Programs in North Carolina

Best Ranked RN Programs in North Carolina

To help nursing students in their search for a top RN program, the education experts at RNCareers.org publish their annual findings of the best nursing schools for both North Carolina and the country. Schools ranked on our list have proven their ability to educate highly competent nurses.

To create our rankings, we evaluated 54 ADN degree programs and 19 BSN degree programs in North Carolina. We obtained each institution’s first-time NCLEX-RN passing rates, the number of students taking the test, the program nursing accreditation and more. We then compared the results against other nursing programs in North Carolina to provide our state rankings. View our methodology

Best Nursing Schools (BSN) in North Carolina

#1

Gardner-Webb University

  • Main St, Boiling Springs, NC - 28017-0997
  • (704) 406-2361
  • Grade: (A) 98.67%
  • Programs: Family Nurse Practitioner, Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate, Bachelor, MSN, Post Master's NP Certificate
Gardner-Webb University is located in Boiling Springs, North Carolina.  The Hunt School of Nursing has had an ADN program since 1965 and has expanded to include a traditional BSN program, an RN to BSN program, an MSN program, which includes either education, FNP, or administration, and a DNP program.
#2

Duke University

  • 103 Allen Bldg, Durham, NC - 27708
  • (919) 684-8111
  • Grade: (A) 98.48%
  • Programs: Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, Neonatal Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Registered Nursing, Women's Health Nurse Practitioner
  • Award Levels: Accelerated BSN, Bachelor, BSN to DNP, BSN to PhD, MSN, MSN to DNP, Post Master's NP Certificate
Duke University is located in Durham, North Carolina. The Duke University School of Nursing (DUSON) is unique in that their only BSN program is an accelerated BSN (ABSN) - it is designed for adult learners with a prior bachelors degree.  DUSON's primary focus is on educating nurses to advanced degrees;
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#3

Western Carolina University

  • Highway 107, Cullowhee, NC - 28723-9646
  • (828) 227-7100
  • Grade: (A) 97.73%
  • Programs: Family Nurse Practitioner, Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Accelerated BSN, APRN Certificate, Bachelor, BSN to DNP, MSN, MSN to DNP, Post Master's NP Certificate
Western Carolina University is located in Cullowhee, North Carolina.  Their nursing department offers a pre-licensure BSN program, an accelerated BSN program (allowing a student with a prior bachelor's degree to obtain a BSN degree) and an RN to BSN program, which is an online program.  Their programs are also offered
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#4

East Carolina University

  • East 5th Street, Greenville, NC - 27858-4353
  • (252) 328-6131
  • Grade: (A) 97.60%
  • Programs: Adult Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Adult Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, Neonatal Nurse Practitioner, Registered Nursing, Women's Health Nurse Practitioner
  • Award Levels: APRN Certificate, Bachelor, BSN to DNP, BSN to PhD, MSN, MSN to DNP, Post Master's NP Certificate
East Carolina University is located in Greenville, North Carolina.  They offer several BSN degree options - a traditional BSN degree, an accelerated BSN degree (for second degree students), an an RN to BSN degree.  East Carolina University has been in existence since 1908, when it broke ground as a teachers
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#5

Appalachian State University

  • Dougherty Administration Building, Boone, NC - 28608
  • (828) 262-2000
  • Grade: (A) 96.74%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Bachelor
#6

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

  • 103 South Bldg Cb 9100, Chapel Hill, NC - 27599
  • (919) 962-2211
  • Grade: (A) 95.17%
  • Programs: Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, CNL, Family Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Accelerated BSN, APRN Certificate, Bachelor, BSN to DNP, BSN to PhD, MSN, MSN to DNP, Post Master's NP Certificate, RN to MSN
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is located in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.  UNC offers a bachelor's degree.  Unique to their program is the RN to MSN option that they offer, in addition to various other graduate and doctoral options. UNC's BSN program originated in 1950, and was the
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#7

University of North Carolina Wilmington

  • 601 South College Road, Wilmington, NC - 28403-5963
  • (910) 962-3000
  • Grade: (A) 94.87%
  • Programs: Family Nurse Practitioner, Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Bachelor, MSN, Post Master's NP Certificate
University of North Carolina Wilmington is located in Wilmington, North Carolina.  They offer a prelicensure BSN program and an RN to BSN program.  The RN to BSN program is offered online.  The RN to BSN program has six start-times throughout the year, making it a desirable option for the working
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#8

Fayetteville State University

  • 1200 Murchison Rd, Fayetteville, NC - 28301-4298
  • (910) 672-1111
  • Grade: (A) 94.68%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Bachelor
Fayetteville State University is located in Fayetteville, North Carolina.  Fayetteville State University offers a BSN program and an RN to BSN program.  The RN to BSN program has two options - a full-time option that is 2.5 semesters and a part-time option that is 5 semesters.  The traditional program requires
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#9

Lenoir-Rhyne University

  • 625 7th Avenue NE, Hickory, NC - 28601
  • (828) 328-1741
  • Grade: (A) 93.93%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Bachelor, MSN
#10

Queens University of Charlotte

  • 1900 Selwyn Ave, Charlotte, NC - 28274-0001
  • (704) 337-2200
  • Grade: (A) 93.74%
  • Programs: CNL, Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Accelerated BSN, Bachelor, MSN, RN to MSN
Queens University of Charlotte offers two pre-licensure tracks for students to earn their BSN-- the traditional track and the accelerated ABSN. Their baccalaureate degree program in nursing and the master's degree program are both accredited by The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Traditional BSN - The traditional BSN path
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#11

University of North Carolina at Greensboro

  • 1400 Spring Garden St, Greensboro, NC - 27402-6170
  • (336) 334-5000
  • Grade: (A) 93.73%
  • Programs: Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Bachelor, BSN to DNP, MSN, MSN to DNP, Post Master's NP Certificate
University of North Carolina at Greensboro is located in Greensboro, North Carolina.  They have a traditional BSN option, BSN for second-degree students and an RN to BSN option.  Their nursing program "is recognized by the National League for Nursing as a Center for Excellence in Nursing Education—one of just three
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#12

University of North Carolina at Charlotte

  • 9201 University City Blvd, Charlotte, NC - 28223-0001
  • (704) 687-2000
  • Grade: (A) 92.52%
  • Programs: Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Bachelor, MSN, MSN to DNP, Post Master's NP Certificate, RN to MSN
#13

University of North Carolina at Pembroke

  • One University Drive, Pembroke, NC - 28372-1510
  • (910) 521-6000
  • Grade: (A) 92.21%
  • Programs: CNL, Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Bachelor, MSN
University of North Carolina at Pembroke is located in Pembroke, North Carolina.  UNC Pembroke was founded in 1887 as the Croatan Normal School and educated American Indian teachers.  Today, 62% of the student population is a minority.  They offer a BSN program and an RN to BSN program; they also
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Best Nursing Schools (ADN) in North Carolina

#1

Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute

  • 2855 Hickory Blvd., Hudson, NC - 28638
  • (828) 726-2200
  • Grade: (A) 99.11%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate
Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute has two campuses - Hudson and Boone, North Carolina.  They offer an associate's degree program.  They also offer the Hickory RIBN Program, which is basically a collaborative program between CCC & TI and Lenoir-Rhyne University that allows a simultaneous transition for students to earn their BSN
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#2

Western Piedmont Community College

  • 1001 Burkemont Ave, Morganton, NC - 28655-4511
  • (828) 438-3500
  • Grade: (A) 99.00%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate
Western Piedmont Community College is located in Morganton, North Carolina.  WPCC offers an associate's degree in nursing.  They are proud to note that in 2008, they were one of seven North Carolina community colleges to be designated an "exceptional" community college.
#3

Johnston Community College

  • 245 College Road, Smithfield, NC - 27577-2350
  • (919) 934-3051
  • Grade: (A) 98.74%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate
#4

College of the Albemarle

  • 1208 N Road St, Elizabeth City, NC - 27906-2327
  • (252) 335-0821
  • Grade: (A) 98.67%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate
College of the Albemarle is located in Elizabeth City, North Carolina.  They offer an LPN program an LPN to ADN program and an ADN program.  They also offer a pre-BSN nursing pathway, which is for students who would like to obtain their general education credits but have not yet been
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#5

Cape Fear Community College

  • 411 North Front Street, Wilmington, NC - 28401-3910
  • (910) 362-7000
  • Grade: (A) 98.52%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate
Cape Fear Community College is located in Wilmington, North Carolina.  CFCC offers a practical nursing program, an RN program and a nursing transition option, which is an LPN to RN option.  They are proud to announce that their 2015 NCLEX-RN pass rate was 100%.
#6

Carolinas College of Health Sciences

  • 1200 Blythe Blvd, Charlotte, NC - 28203-2861
  • (704) 355-5043
  • Grade: (A) 97.46%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate
Carolinas College of Health Sciences is located within the Carolinas HealthCare System. Their college is devoted entirely to educating healthcare professionals.  They offer an associate's degree program and an LPN to ADN program.  They like to brag that 80% of their graduates choose to take a position with Carolinas HealthCare
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#7

Forsyth Technical Community College

  • 2100 Silas Creek Pky, Winston-Salem, NC - 27103-5197
  • (336) 723-0371
  • Grade: (A) 97.25%
  • Programs: Nursing Administration, Nursing Research and Clinical Nursingg, Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate
Forsyth Technical Community College is located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.  They offer a practical nursing an associate's degree program.  They also offer an LPN to RN transition option.  Annually, they offer 144 students admission into their ADN programs.  Students are accepted in the fall and spring semesters, with LPN to
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#8

Mitchell Community College

  • 500 W Broad Street, Statesville, NC - 28677-5293
  • (704) 878-3200
  • Grade: (A) 97.10%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate
Mitchell Community College is located in Statesville, North Carolina.  They offer an associate's degree RN.  MCC has a collaboration with Lenoir-Rhyne University called the Regionally Increasing Baccalaureate Nurses (RIBN), which allows a seamless transition for students after graduation in competing their BSN degree.
#9

Surry Community College

  • 630 S. Main St., Dobson, NC - 27017-8432
  • (336) 386-8121
  • Grade: (A) 96.95%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate
Surry Community College is located in Dobson, North Carolina.  They offer a practical nursing program, an ADN program, and a separate LPN to ADN program.  The programs uses a points system to determine entrance in the program.
#10

Wake Technical Community College

  • 9101 Fayetteville Road, Raleigh, NC - 27603-5696
  • (919) 866-5000
  • Grade: (A) 96.89%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate
Wake Technical Community College is located in Raleigh, North Carolina.  They offer an ADN degree and an advanced placement option for LPNs.  The WTCC Department of Nursing is "proud of our reputation in the community for preparing excellent, well-qualified nurses."
#11

Central Piedmont Community College

  • 1201 Elizabeth Avenue, Charlotte, NC - 28204
  • (704) 330-2722
  • Grade: (A) 96.04%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate

Additional Listings of North Carolina Nursing Programs

Become an Advance Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) in North Carolina

RNs who wish to become advanced practice registered nurses will want to pursue any number of avenues to earn Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree. Earning a Master of Science in Nursing consists of graduate-level coursework and clinical practice for those nurses who wish to direct patient roles such as a nurse practitioner. You can also pursue indirect patient roles such as teaching or leadership roles, or become involved in policy, state-wide health initiatives or community engagement. There are many clinical and non-clinical avenues that an RN with MSN can pursue.

Become a Nurse Practitioner (NP) in North Carolina

Learn how to become a Nurse Practitioner (NP) and research schools in North Carolina offering the following high paying nurse practitioner specialties:

Learn about Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Degree.

Online NP Programs Liked by North Carolina Nurses

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

North Carolina  RN Licensing Requirements

North Carolina State Board of Nursing
4516 Lake Boone Trail
Raleigh, NC 27607
(919) 782-3211
Fees:
Initial licensing fee, RN: $75
License renewal (every two years), RN: $92

Continuing Education Requirements:
All nurses: 30 contact hours every renewal period

Before licensure can be obtained, a registered nurse must complete an approved nursing program in North Carolina or a professional nursing program that has been approved by the board in one of the other states. Coursework completed online will be accepted as long as the program is accredited.

RN Licensure by Exams

Candidates who are applying for licensure by examination will need to pass a background check and NCLEX exam. In-state candidates will be required to have prints done through Live Scan. The application for licensure will cost $75. After this step, the candidate will apply for the licensing exam through Pearson VUE and pay the $200 testing fee. When authorization to test has been received, the candidate can schedule the computer-adapted exam. Candidates will be fully licensed when the credential has been verified online.

RN Licensure by Endorsement

Nurses who obtained licensure in one of the other 50 states can obtain licensure in North Carolina by endorsement. The fee for license by endorsement is $150. Candidates will be allowed to work under a temporary license while paperwork is being processed. A notarized copy of the license and official verification will also be required.

RN License for Nurses Educated Abroad

Candidates who completed their education in a foreign country are required to have their education evaluated by either the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools or Josef Silny & Associates. International candidates will be required to take an English proficiency exam unless they completed their education in one of the following nations/ territories: Australia, Canada (with the exception of Quebec), Guam, Ireland, the Mariana Islands, New Zealand, Samoa, The United Kingdom, or the Virgin Islands. The accepted exams are the IELTS and the TOEFL. This requirement must be met before the candidate can be authorized to take the NCLEX. They must also submit a criminal background check and submit a social security number before licensure can be issued.

RN Salaries in North Carolina

There are approximately 86,150 registered nurses working in the state of North Carolina. It has been predicted that nursing is the fastest growing industry and will continue to grow through the year 2020. There is a great need for nurses who obtained a bachelor's degree. The mean annual salary for registered nurses in North Carolina is $59,290 and this tends to fluctuate with experience and education level. There are management and other executive positions available to a baccalaureate-prepared nurse who wishes to get away from bedside nursing.

North Carolina Registered Nursing Salaries

The Charlotte metropolitan area has the largest amount of registered nurses across the state. Registered nurses in the Durham metropolitan area make a higher hourly mean wage and annual median wage than nurses in any other party of North Carolina.

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