Updated: November 25, 2021

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.
  • 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 NCLEX passing rate range for ADN students in North Carolina is between 22.50% and 98.75%.
  • The average NCLEX passing rate range for BSN students in North Carolina is between 52.00% and 98.67%.
  • The average annual salary for registered nurses 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.

Online Nursing Programs Liked by North Carolina Nurses

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

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 Programs ADN BSN
Number of Nursing Programs 58 20
Average NCLEX Passing Rate 86.84% 87.39%
NCLEX Passing Rate Range 22.50% to 98.75% 52.00% to 98.67%

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

Western Carolina University

  • Highway 107, Cullowhee, NC - 28723-9646
  • (828) 227-7100
  • Grade: (A) 99.33%
  • 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
Located in Cullowhee, Western Carolina University (WCU) is a four-year public university which aims to incorporate research, service, engagement, and teaching in its learning opportunities. The school offers nationally ranked, accredited, affordable undergraduate and graduate programs at WCU’s main campus in Cullowhee, NC, at Asheville instructional site, and online. Students have
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#2

East Carolina University

  • East 5th Street, Greenville, NC - 27858-4353
  • (252) 328-6131
  • Grade: (A) 97.00%
  • 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 (ECU) has been in existence since 1908, when it broke ground as a teachers training institution. ECU is a SACSCOC-accredited university in Greenville. Its College of Nursing prepares students for informed treatment option articulation and direct expert care provision. In partnership with several colleges, an RIBN program
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#3

Appalachian State University

  • 287 Rivers St, Boone, NC - 28608
  • (828) 262-2000
  • Grade: (A) 95.33%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Bachelor, MSN
Located in Boone, Appalachian State University is a premier public educational institution in the state. This undergraduate university values inclusion and holistic growth. It was founded in 1899, and currently holds an accreditation from the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Its Department of Nursing
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#3

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

  • 103 South Bldg Cb 9100, Chapel Hill, NC - 27599
  • (919) 962-2211
  • Grade: (A) 95.33%
  • Programs: Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, CNL, Family Nurse Practitioner, Nursing Administration, Nursing Leadership, 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. The school is the nation’s first public university. Its School of Nursing which was established in 1950, offers a variety of programs to cater to students of various nursing career stages. It houses the Education Innovation
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#3

Duke University

  • 103 Allen Bldg, Durham, NC - 27708
  • (919) 684-8111
  • Grade: (A) 95.33%
  • 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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#4

Gardner-Webb University

  • Main St, Boiling Springs, NC - 28017-0997
  • (704) 406-2361
  • Grade: (A) 94.00%
  • Programs: Family Nurse Practitioner, Leadership, Nurse Educator, Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Accelerated BSN, 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 ASN program since 1965 and has expanded to include a traditional BSN program, an accelerated BSN program, an RN to BSN program, an MSN program, with concentrations in education and administration, and a
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#5

University of North Carolina Wilmington

  • 601 South College Road, Wilmington, NC - 28403-5963
  • (910) 962-3000
  • Grade: (A) 93.67%
  • Programs: Family Nurse Practitioner, Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Bachelor, MSN, Post Master's NP Certificate
Named after its location, University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW) is a SACSCOC-accredited four-year public educational institution. 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
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#6

University of North Carolina at Charlotte

  • 9201 University City Blvd, Charlotte, NC - 28223-0001
  • (704) 687-2000
  • Grade: (A) 93.33%
  • Programs: Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: APRN Certificate, Bachelor, MSN, MSN to DNP, Post Master's NP Certificate, RN to MSN
University of North Carolina (UNC) at Charlotte is a four-year public urban research university. Its School of Nursing under the College of Health and Human Services produces graduates who are equipped to practice in various health care settings. Bachelor of Science in Nursing- Upper Division Nursing Major - Designed to
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#7

Barton College

  • 200 E. ACC Drive, Wilson, NC - 27893-7000
  • (252) 399-6300
  • Grade: (A) 93.00%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Bachelor, MSN
#8

Pfeiffer University

  • 48380 US Hwy 52N, Misenheimer, NC - 28109-0960
  • (704) 463-1360
  • Grade: (A) 92.67%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Bachelor
#9

Lenoir-Rhyne University

  • 625 7th Avenue NE, Hickory, NC - 28601
  • (828) 328-1741
  • Grade: (A) 91.67%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Bachelor, MSN
With its main campus located in Hickory, Lenoir-Rhyne University is a co-educational, liberal arts university. This private educational institution has a student to faculty ratio of 13:1. Its School of Nursing, which started in 1910, is the state’s oldest nursing program. Its nursing programs are grounded on the liberal arts
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#10

University of North Carolina at Pembroke

  • One University Drive, Pembroke, NC - 28372-1510
  • (910) 521-6000
  • Grade: (A) 91.33%
  • 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. Presently, UNCP caters to a diverse student body. The university’s curriculum is founded in the liberal arts. UNCP’s McKenzie-Elliott School of Nursing
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Best Nursing Schools (ADN) in North Carolina

#1

Alamance Community College

  • 1247 Jimmie Kerr Road, Graham, NC - 27253-8000
  • (336) 578-2002
  • Grade: (A) 98.30%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate
#2

Central Piedmont Community College

  • 1201 Elizabeth Avenue, Charlotte, NC - 28204
  • (704) 330-2722
  • Grade: (A) 98.00%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate
Founded in 1963, Central Piedmont Community College (CPCC) is a two-year public college in Charlotte. The college now has multiple campuses and even received an accreditation from SACSCOC to award diplomas, associate degrees, and certificates. The college’s nursing program holds the record of being the oldest nursing program in the
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#3

Cape Fear Community College

  • 411 North Front Street, Wilmington, NC - 28401-3910
  • (910) 362-7000
  • Grade: (A) 97.30%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate
Located in Wilmington, Cape Fear Community College (CFCC) is a comprehensive community college offering technical/vocational curricula, college transfer/university parallel studies, and continuing education programs. It is one the 58 members of the North Carolina Community College System. CFCC received an accreditation from SACSCOC to award associate degrees. Its Health and
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#3

Carolinas College of Health Sciences

  • 2110 Water Ridge Parkway, Charlotte, NC - 28217
  • (704) 355-5043
  • Grade: (A) 97.30%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate
Carolinas College of Health Science is a SACSCOC-accredited public college located in Charlotte. It is owned by Atrium Health, and most of its graduates find employment in the said institution. This non-profit educational institution provides one-on-one faculty attention with modern education for the evolving healthcare environment. It also fosters diversity
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#4

Beaufort County Community College

  • 5337 US Highway 264 East, Washington, NC - 27889
  • (252) 946-6194
  • Grade: (A) 97.00%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate
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
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#5

Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute

  • 2855 Hickory Boulevard, Hudson, NC - 28638
  • (828) 726-2200
  • Grade: (A) 96.70%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate
With Campuses in Hudson and Boone, Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute (CCCTI) is a higher education institution accredited by SACSCOC. Its ADN program in the Watauga Campus is ACEN-accredited with initial accreditation as the most recent decision. Its nursing curriculum equips students with safe, quality evidence-based, and individualized nursing
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#5

Wake Technical Community College

  • 9101 Fayetteville Road, Raleigh, NC - 27603-5696
  • (919) 866-5000
  • Grade: (A) 96.70%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate
Wake Technical Community College in Raleigh is the state’s largest community college. This two-year public college has six campuses and multiple community sites, among others. It is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award diplomas, certificates, and associate degrees. Its Martha
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#6

College of the Albemarle

  • 1208 N Road St, Elizabeth City, NC - 27906-2327
  • (252) 335-0821
  • Grade: (A) 96.30%
  • Programs: Practical Nursing, Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate
College of the Albemarle (COA), located in Elizabeth City, is the state’s first community college. With more than 60 years of academic service, this college now has four campuses across seven counties. COA received an accreditation from SACSCOC to award associate degrees. In terms of accreditation, its ADN and LPN
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#6

Randolph Community College

  • 629 Industrial Park Ave, Asheboro, NC - 27205
  • (336) 633-0200
  • Grade: (A) 96.30%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate
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
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#6

Wayne Community College

  • 3000 Wayne Memorial Dr, Goldsboro, NC - 27534-8002
  • (919) 735-5151
  • Grade: (A) 96.30%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate
#7

Stanly Community College

  • 141 College Drive, Albemarle, NC - 28001
  • (704) 982-0121
  • Grade: (A) 96.00%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate
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.

Additional Listings of North Carolina Nursing Programs

Grade
University
North Carolina Rank
Degree

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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