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 CarolinaTo 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


Grade
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99.11 ADNCaldwell Community College and Technical Institute110 Hudson

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 degree.

PublicCampusACENSee School Details
99.00 ADNWestern Piedmont Community College214 Morganton

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.

PublicCampusACENSee School Details
98.74 ADNJohnston Community College319 SmithfieldPublicCampusACENSee School Details
98.67 ADNCollege of the Albemarle421 Elizabeth City

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 admitted to a nursing program.  They also have an RN to BSN Step Center, which helps students who have recently graduated with their ADN assistance in selecting an RN to BSN/RN to MSN program.

PublicCampusACENSee School Details
98.52 ADNCape Fear Community College524 Wilmington

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%.

PublicCampusACENSee School Details
97.46 ADNCarolinas College of Health Sciences654 Charlotte

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 System after graduating.

PublicCampusACENSee School Details
97.25 ADNForsyth Technical Community College758 Winston-Salem

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 RN students gaining entrance during the fall semester only.  The LPN to RN program has classes in a traditional pattern on-campus, with the clinical portion during the evenings and weekends.

PublicCampusSee School Details
97.10 ADNMitchell Community College862 Statesville

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.

PublicCampusACENSee School Details
96.95 ADNSurry Community College968 Dobson

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.

PublicCampusSee School Details
96.89 ADNWake Technical Community College1071 Raleigh

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.”

PublicCampusACENSee School Details
96.04 ADNCentral Piedmont Community College11100 CharlottePublicCampusACENSee School Details
95.58 ADNJames Sprunt Community College12123 Kenansville

James Sprunt Community College is located in Kenansville, North Carolina.  They offer both a practical nursing degree and an associate’s RN degree.  Students are accepted into the ADN program based on a points system; students can earn more points based on having a prior bachelor’s degree or healthcare experience, such as working as an LPN, paramedic, nurses aide, or a surgical tech.

PublicCampusSee School Details
95.13 ADNRichmond Community College13141 HamletPublicCampusSee School Details
94.98 ADNStanly Community College14146 Albemarle

Stanly Community College is located in Albemarle, North Carolina.  They offer Annie Ruth Kelley Associate Degree nursing program.  They also offer a Nursing – Returning LPN program, which is a program that allows an LPN to earn their RN in two semesters.

PublicCampusSee School Details
94.93 ADNGaston College15150 Dallas

Gaston College is located in Dallas, North Carolina.  They offer a variety of nursing options – a practical nursing program, an ADN program, an LPN to ADN program and an RN to BSN program.  The RN to BSN program is a pathway program that is designed in conjunction with various local universities, which makes the program more affordable to the student.

PublicCampusACENSee School Details
94.37 ADNWayne Community College16171 GoldsboroPublicCampusACENSee School Details
94.23 ADNFayetteville Technical Community College17178 FayettevillePublicCampusACENSee School Details
93.66 ADNBrunswick Community College18208 Bolivia

Brunswick Community College is located in Bolivia, North Carolina.  BCC offers a practical nursing program and an ADN program.  Their ADN program requires that its students complete a certified nursing aide (CNA) certification or have their LPN prior to enrollment in the program.

PublicCampusSee School Details
93.40 ADNCabarrus College of Health Sciences19220 Concord

Cabarrus College of Health Sciences is located within Carolinas Healthcare System.  The school educates a variety of healthcare professionals, from nurses to pharmacy technicians to occupational therapists.  The Louise Harkey School of Nursing offers an ADN program and a BSN program; the BSN program is specifically an RN to BSN program, allowing for a seamless transition to a bachelor’s degree for its ADN graduates.

Private Not-For-ProfitCampus, OnlineACEN, CCNESee School Details
92.87 ADNCatawba Valley Community College20242 HickoryPublicCampusACENSee School Details
92.77 ADNFoothills Nursing Consortium (ICC)21249 SpindalePublicCampusSee School Details
92.56 ADNRandolph Community College22259 Asheboro

Randolph Community College is located in Asheboro, North Carolina.  They offer a ADN program.  They also offer an RN to BSN Outreach Option, which is offered in conjunction with Winston-Salem University.  This allows students to be a student of Winston-Salem University, but take their classes (at least a portion of them) at Randolph Community College

PublicCampusSee School Details
92.52 ADNCarteret Community College23261 Morehead City

Carteret Community College is located in Morehead City, North Carolina.  CCC offers a practical nursing program and an RN program.  They use a “points system” in deciding who gets in to their program and students with prior healthcare experience, such as LPNs, respiratory therapists, paramedics, and CNAs get extra points.

PublicCampusACENSee School Details
91.40 ADNRobeson Community College24303 Lumberton

Robeson Community College is located in Lumberton, North Carolina.  RCC offers an 2 ADN options – a general ADN option and a premajor nursing option.  The premajor option allows the student to take university credits in preparation for a BSN degree after graduation from RCC, which will transfer to a variety of North Carolina universities.

PublicCampusSee School Details
90.84 ADNAsheville-Buncombe Technical Community College25324 AshevillePublicCampusSee School Details
90.81 ADNRoanoke-Chowan Community College26326 AhoskiePublicCampusSee School Details
90.81 ADNRowan-Cabarrus Community College26326 Salisbury

Rowan-Cabarrus Community College is located in Salisbury, North Carolina.  RCCC offers a practical nursing program and an ADN program.  ADN program participants are required to earn their certified nursing assistant (CNA) certification prior to enrollment in the program.

PublicCampusACENSee School Details
90.65 ADNSandhills Community College27329 Pinehurst

Sandhills Community College is located in Pinehurst, North Carolina.  They offer an ADN program.  They have very specific requirements for their nursing program and everything must be completed according to their stages.  In addition, they require that their students obtain their certified nurses aide (CNA) certification prior to enrollment in the program.

PublicCampusSee School Details
90.04 ADNCoastal Carolina Community College28353 Jacksonville

Coastal Carolina Community College is located in Jacksonville, North Carolina.  CCCC offers a practical nursing program and an ADN program.  They also offer an ADN transition option, which allows LPNs to have advanced placement into the second semester of the program.

PublicCampusSee School Details
90.00 ADNPitt Community College29354 WintervillePublicCampusACENSee School Details
89.76 ADNGardner-Webb University30364 Boiling Springs

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.

Private Not-For-ProfitCampus, Hybrid, OnlineACEN, ACME, CCNE, COASee School Details
89.69 ADNAlamance Community College31367 GrahamPublicCampusSee School Details
89.54 ADNSouth Piedmont Community College32374 PolktonPublicCampusSee School Details
89.54 ADNMayland Community College32374 Spruce PinePublicCampusSee School Details
89.37 ADNRockingham Community College33381 WentworthPublicCampusSee School Details
89.17 ADNDavidson County Community College34388 ThomasvillePublicCampusACENSee School Details
88.07 ADNHalifax Community College35426 WeldonPublicCampusSee School Details
87.70 ADNSampson Community College36442 Clinton

Sampson Community College is located in Clinton, North Carolina.  SCC offers several options for its nursing students; they offer a traditional ADN program.  They also offer an advanced placement option for LPNs into their ADN program.  Unique to their program is the LPN to RN program that is offered online.

PublicCampusACENSee School Details
86.70 ADNBladen Community College37474 DublinPublicCampusSee School Details
86.63 ADNWilson Community College38475 WilsonPublicCampusSee School Details
86.07 ADNNash Community College39491 Rocky MountPublicCampusSee School Details
85.83 ADNLenoir Community College40496 Kinston

Lenoir Community College is located in Kinston, North Carolina.  LCC offers a practical nursing program, an ADN program and they also offer an advanced placement option for LPNs.  They offer a traditional program and also an evening program, making it easier for the working nurse to further their education.

PublicCampusSee School Details
85.76 ADNBlue Ridge Community College41500 Flat RockPublicCampusSee School Details
84.84 ADNVance-Granville Community College42518 HendersonPublicCampusSee School Details
83.96 ADNEdgecombe Community College43542 Tarboro

Edgecombe Community College is located in Tarboro, North Carolina.  They offer a practical nursing program, an ADN program and an advanced placement option for LPNs.  ECC serves over 13,000 students on its 2 campuses; they received a national award in 2013 for preparing their students to be successful in the workplace.

PublicCampusACENSee School Details
83.01 ADNPiedmont Community College44563 RoxboroPublicCampusSee School Details
81.81 ADNCraven Community College45585 New Bern

Craven Community College is located in New Bern, North Carolina.  Their nursing department offers an LPN program, an ADN program and a transition option, which allows LPNs to enter the ADN program with advanced standing.  CCC is a military friendly institution, meaning that their programs are designed to be flexible for those with a military career and their dependents.

PublicCampusSee School Details
81.27 ADNWilkes Community College46595 Wilkesboro

Wilkes Community College is located in Wilkesboro, North Carolina.  They offer an ADN program.  Unique to their program is that students must complete their certified nursing assistant (CNA) certification prior to enrollment in the program.  They also offer a dual enrollment option with Lenoir-Rhyne University, through the Hickory Collaborative RIBN, which allows students to simultaneously earn their ADN and BSN degrees.

PublicCampusSee School Details
79.99 ADNGuilford Technical Community College47611 JamestownPublicCampusSee School Details
79.44 ADNSoutheastern Community College48616 WhitevillePublicCampusSee School Details
78.98 ADNBeaufort County Community College49622 Washington

Beaufort County Community College is located in Washington, North Carolina.  They offer an associate’s degree program.  They also offer an advanced placement option for LPNs.  Students who enter the program under the advanced placement option must have been employed as an LPN within the past 12 months.  They also offer an ADN to PN option; this is available for students who are not successful with their studies in the ADN program.

PublicCampusSee School Details
78.03 ADNDurham Technical Community College50632 DurhamPublicCampusACENSee School Details
75.56 ADNCentral Carolina Community College51648 Sanford

Central Carolina Community College (CCCC) has multiple locations in various counties in North Carolina – Chatham County, Harnett County and Lee County.  The Louise L. Tuller School of Nursing offers a practical nursing program and an RN program.  CCCC also has an articulation agreement with the University of North Carolina, which allows students an affordable way to earn their BSN after graduation.

PublicCampusSee School Details
73.80 ADNSouthwestern Community College52659 SylvaPublicCampusSee School Details
98.67 BSNGardner-Webb University119 Boiling Springs

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.

Private Not-For-ProfitCampus, Hybrid, OnlineACEN, ACME, CCNE, COASee School Details
98.48 BSNDuke University223 Durham

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; in fact, aside from the ABSN degree students, they graduated their last BSN students in 1983.

Private Not-For-ProfitCampus, HybridACEN, ACME, CCNE, COASee School Details
97.73 BSNWestern Carolina University345 Cullowhee

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 at Biltmore Park Towne Square in Asheville, North Carolina; this location offers only a selection of majors, nursing being one of the few.

PublicCampus, Hybrid, OnlineACEN, ACME, CCNE, COASee School Details
97.60 BSNEast Carolina University450 Greenville

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 training institution.

PublicCampus, Hybrid, OnlineACEN, ACME, CCNE, COASee School Details
96.74 BSNAppalachian State University578 BoonePublicCampus, OnlineCCNESee School Details
95.17 BSNUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel Hill6135 Chapel Hill

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 first baccalaureate nursing program in North Carolina.  They were also the first to offer an MSN program in North Carolina, in 1955.

PublicCampus, Hybrid, OnlineACEN, ACME, CCNE, COASee School Details
94.87 BSNUniversity of North Carolina Wilmington7150 Wilmington

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 nurse.

PublicCampus, Hybrid, OnlineACEN, ACME, CCNE, COASee School Details
94.68 BSNFayetteville State University8156 Fayetteville

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 students to attend on a full-time basis.

PublicCampus, OnlineCCNESee School Details
93.93 BSNLenoir-Rhyne University9191 HickoryPrivate Not-For-ProfitCampusCCNESee School Details
93.74 BSNQueens University of Charlotte10202 CharlottePrivate Not-For-ProfitCampusCCNESee School Details
93.73 BSNUniversity of North Carolina at Greensboro11203 Greensboro

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 in North Carolina.”

PublicCampus, HybridACEN, CCNESee School Details
92.52 BSNUniversity of North Carolina at Charlotte12249 CharlottePublicCampus, Hybrid, OnlineACEN, ACME, CCNE, COASee School Details
92.21 BSNUniversity of North Carolina at Pembroke13259 Pembroke

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 partner with local community colleges in the RIBN program.

PublicCampusCCNESee School Details
89.40 BSNBarton College14339 WilsonPrivate Not-For-ProfitCampusCCNESee School Details
87.60 BSNWinston-Salem State University15385 Winston-SalemPublicCampus, OnlineACEN, ACME, CCNE, COASee School Details
85.73 BSNNorth Carolina A & T State University16420 GreensboroPublicCampusACME, COASee School Details
82.78 BSNPfeiffer University17458 MisenheimerPrivate Not-For-ProfitCampus, OnlineCCNESee School Details
79.48 BSNNorth Carolina Central University18487 DurhamPublicCampus, OnlineACME, COASee School Details
56.64 BSNLees-McRae College19523 Banner ElkPrivate Not-For-ProfitCampus, OnlineCCNESee School Details

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.

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.
Area nameEmploymentHourly mean wageAnnual median wage
Asheville, NC5,640$29.82$61,170
Charlotte-Gastonia-Rock Hill, NC-SC18,110$28.49$58,370
Durham-Chapel Hill, NC8,610$32.29$66,140
Fayetteville, NC3,110$29.96$61,030
Goldsboro, NC1,050$26.66$55,080
Greensboro-High Point, NC6,050$29.50$60,410
Greenville, NC3,070$30.35$62,490
Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton, NC2,800$26.86$55,050
Jacksonville, NC710$27.05$54,870
Raleigh-Cary, NC9,030$28.98$59,600
Rocky Mount, NC1,250$27.32$55,740
Wilmington, NC3,360$27.14$55,910
Winston-Salem, NC8,110$29.33$60,290
Northeastern North Carolina nonmetropolitan area3,460$26.93$55,520
Other North Carolina nonmetropolitan area6,560$27.43$56,660
Western Central North Carolina nonmetropolitan area5,030$28.03$56,950
Western North Carolina nonmetropolitan area3,160$26.70$54,630
Source: http://www.dol.gov/, 2014 Data