Nursing Schools and Licensing Requirements in North Carolina

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Many different people are drawn to the nursing field. Whether attracted to the lucrative salaries, the reward of helping others, or the challenge of working in a dynamic healthcare setting, nursing schools in North Carolina can help aspiring RNs achieve their career goals. Find out more about where you can get proper education and training, as well as what is required to become licensed in North Carolina.

Top Nursing Schools in North Carolina

#1 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chapel Hill, NC
#2 Duke University Durham, NC
#3 Winston-Salem State University Winston-Salem, NC
#4 East Carolina University Greenville, NC
#5 Western Carolina University Cullowhee, NC
#6 Queens University of Charlotte Charlotte, NC
#7 University of North Carolina Wilmington Wilmington, NC
#8 Gardner-Webb University Boiling Springs, NC
#9 University of North Carolina at Greensboro Greensboro, NC
#10 North Carolina Central University Durham, NC

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Top Nursing Schools in North Carolina

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Methodology +

BEST 4-YEAR NURSING SCHOOLS

The top nursing programs listed in this state's ranking were determined by comparison of three primary, equally-weighted criteria including

  • Student-to-faculty ration
  • In-state tuition
  • Graduation rate

Additional details for each school were included:

  • Count of programs available
  • Public and not-for-profit schools
  • Normalized on a 100 percent curve

The methodology used for tie-break is as follows...

  • Ties are broken based on lowest average net price for full-time, first-time undergraduates paying in-state tuition (average cost of tuition and expenses after grants and scholarships).
  • If necessary, the lowest in-state tuition rate is used as a second tie-break

2-Year Schools

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill View School Profile Chapel Hill, NC 90%
Duke University View School Profile Durham, NC 95%
Winston-Salem State University View School Profile Winston-Salem, NC 46%
East Carolina University View School Profile Greenville, NC 59%
Western Carolina University View School Profile Cullowhee, NC 58%
Queens University of Charlotte View School Profile Charlotte, NC 62%
University of North Carolina Wilmington View School Profile Wilmington, NC 71%
Gardner-Webb University View School Profile Boiling Springs, NC 54%
University of North Carolina at Greensboro View School Profile Greensboro, NC 56%
North Carolina Central University View School Profile Durham, NC 47%
Cabarrus College of Health Sciences View School Profile Concord, NC 38%
University of North Carolina at Charlotte View School Profile Charlotte, NC 55%
Appalachian State University View School Profile Boone, NC 70%
University of North Carolina at Pembroke View School Profile Pembroke, NC 34%
Barton College View School Profile Wilson, NC 44%
Lenoir-Rhyne University View School Profile Hickory, NC 54%
North Carolina A&T State University View School Profile Greensboro, NC 48%
University of Mount Olive View School Profile Mount Olive, NC 43%
Fayetteville State University View School Profile Fayetteville, NC 35%
Pfeiffer University View School Profile Misenheimer, NC 35%
Wingate University View School Profile Wingate, NC 51%
Lees-McRae College View School Profile Banner Elk, NC 38%
Methodist University View School Profile Fayetteville, NC 34%

4-Year Schools

McDowell Technical Community College View School Profile Marion, NC
Rockingham Community College View School Profile Wentworth, NC
Haywood Community College View School Profile Clyde, NC
Vance-Granville Community College View School Profile Henderson, NC
Blue Ridge Community College View School Profile Flat Rock, NC
Wayne Community College View School Profile Goldsboro, NC
College of the Albemarle View School Profile Elizabeth City, NC
Coastal Carolina Community College View School Profile Jacksonville, NC
Bladen Community College View School Profile Dublin, NC
Cleveland Community College View School Profile Shelby, NC
Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College View School Profile Asheville, NC
Western Piedmont Community College View School Profile Morganton, NC
Craven Community College View School Profile New Bern, NC
Randolph Community College View School Profile Asheboro, NC
Sampson Community College View School Profile Clinton, NC
Forsyth Technical Community College View School Profile Winston-Salem, NC
James Sprunt Community College View School Profile Kenansville, NC
Piedmont Community College View School Profile Roxboro, NC
Johnston Community College View School Profile Smithfield, NC
Central Carolina Community College View School Profile Sanford, NC
Lenoir Community College View School Profile Kinston, NC
Mayland Community College View School Profile Spruce Pine, NC
Carteret Community College View School Profile Morehead City, NC
Wilkes Community College View School Profile Wilkesboro, NC
Cape Fear Community College View School Profile Wilmington, NC
Isothermal Community College View School Profile Spindale, NC
Catawba Valley Community College View School Profile Hickory, NC
Pitt Community College View School Profile Winterville, NC
Rowan-Cabarrus Community College View School Profile Salisbury, NC
Roanoke-Chowan Community College View School Profile Ahoskie, NC
Alamance Community College View School Profile Graham, NC
Surry Community College View School Profile Dobson, NC
Beaufort County Community College View School Profile Washington, NC
Durham Technical Community College View School Profile Durham, NC
South Piedmont Community College View School Profile Monroe, NC
Brunswick Community College View School Profile Bolivia, NC
Tri-County Community College View School Profile Murphy, NC
Wilson Community College View School Profile Wilson, NC
Halifax Community College View School Profile Weldon, NC
Davidson County Community College View School Profile Thomasville, NC
Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute View School Profile Hudson, NC
Stanly Community College View School Profile Albemarle, NC
Sandhills Community College View School Profile Pinehurst, NC
Richmond Community College View School Profile Hamlet, NC
Mitchell Community College View School Profile Statesville, NC
Gaston College View School Profile Dallas, NC
Mercy School of Nursing View School Profile Charlotte, NC
Carolinas College of Health Sciences View School Profile Charlotte, NC

North Carolina Schools for Nursing

With a projected shortfall in qualified nurses, nursing schools in North Carolina are stepping up to provide additional programs and more flexible opportunities for students. Entry-level, pre-licensure programs fall under the jurisdiction of the North Carolina Board of Nursing (NCBON) and are offered as both two-year and four-year programs. Registered nurses may earn an associate degree or a bachelor of science in nursing to meet the requirements for state licensure. The search tool below can help you narrow your school choices to those that meet your personal and professional needs.

Getting a North Carolina Nursing License

Nurses must undergo rigorous training and hold a valid license in order to practice in North Carolina. And those who want to treat patients in a specialized area as a nurse practitioner or other advanced practice nurse must fulfill additional requirements. The North Carolina Board of Nursing oversees the licensure process an effort to standardize care at the highest level across the state.

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Requirements

  • Applicants whose state of residence is a Compact State other than North Carolina should apply for licensure in their home state. That license is good in all Compact States. If your home state is not a Compact State, apply for a single-state license in North Carolina.
  • Complete a Board-approved RN education program
  • Complete Nurse Gateway registration, which gives registrants access to license applications and other tools
  • Apply to take the NCLEX-RN exam and submit the non-refundable $75 fee
  • Submit the NCBON identification document
  • Register to take the NCLEX-RN exam and pay the $200 fee
  • Provide proof of completion of an approved education program. Graduates of an out-of-state school will need to have their institution submit official transcripts directly to the NCBON. International graduates are required to complete a Credentials Evaluation Service (CES Professional Report) or submit a CGFNS Certificate or VisaScreen. In most cases, international applicants will also need to pass an English proficiency exam.
  • Take and pass the NCLEX-RN

Renewing Your North Carolina Nursing License

Nursing licenses expire on the last day of the nurse’s birth month every two years and the Board of Nursing mails reminders three months prior to the expiration date. License renewals must be completed online no more than three months prior to expiration. Continuing Competence requirements must also be fulfilled on time. These include:

  • 15 contact hours of continuing education and 640 hours of practice in the last two years
  • National certification or re-certification
  • 30 contact hours of continued education (CE)
  • Completion of a refresher course that is Board approved
  • Completion of at least two semester hours of post-licensure academic nursing education
  • 15 contact hours of CE and completion of a nursing project as principal investigator or co-investigator
  • 15 contact hours of CE and completion of CE education presentations that total at least five contact hours
  • 15 contact hours of CE and publication of an article, paper, book or book chapter as the author or co-author

All nurses must meet one of the above requirements and submit a $100 fee to renew their licenses.

Becoming an Advanced Practice Nurse in NC

Advanced practice nurses are able to work in a specialized area of health care and often with minimal supervision. They are essentially registered nurses who have completed formal, advanced training to become certified nurse midwives, nurse anesthetists, clinical nurse specialists, and nurse practitioners. Licensure requirements for these nurses are similar to the above, but also include a few additional steps:

  • Complete a master’s or higher degree program in a nursing specialty
  • Hold national certification in the specialty
  • Submit an application for licensure in the field

The North Carolina Board of Nursing website has more information about advanced practice licensing and renewal.

Nursing by the Numbers in NC

It’s clear that nurses are in high demand, and that demand will only continue to grow. As baby boomers age and practicing nurses are lost to attrition, the state will need to add to its pool of qualified health care professionals. Get a better idea of what the nursing field looks like in North Carolina by reviewing the salary and employment data below:

Top-Paying Areas for RNs in North Carolina

AreaHourly Median WageAnnual Median Wage
Durham-Chapel Hill$31.80$66,140
Greenville$30.04$62,490
Asheville$29.41$61,170
Fayetteville$29.34$61,030
Greensboro-High Point$29.04$60,410
Winston-Salem$28.98$60,290
Raleigh-Cary$28.66$59,600
Charlotte-Gastonia-Rock Hill NC-SC$28.06$58,370
Western Central North Carolina nonmetropolitan area$27.38$56,950
Other North Carolina nonmetropolitan area$27.24$56,660

Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014

North Carolina vs. National Numbers

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Resources for NC Nurses

Continuing Education

A number of podcasts are available for continuing education and personal development through the Board of Nursing.

North Carolina Association of Occupational Health Nurses

The North Carolina Association of Occupational Health Nurses is a group of about 300 occupational nurses in the state that works with the American Association of Occupational Health Nurses to advance the field.

North Carolina Board of Nursing

The North Carolina Board of Nursing regulates the practice of nursing and is the government agency that issues licenses and approves educational facilities.

North Carolina Nurses Association

North Carolina Nurses Association is the professional organization for nurses in the state and advocates for nurses and their patients.

North Carolina Organization for Nurse Leaders

North Carolina Organization for Nurse Leaders helps promote nursing leadership and boost public policy to strengthen the field. It partners with several other organizations in the state to also help improve patient care.

School Nurses Association of North Carolina

The School Nurses Association of North Carolina was established in 1992 to provide networking opportunities, professional resources and advocacy for school nurses in the state.

Popular Resources

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AccreditedSchoolsOnline.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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