|Rank||School Name||Score||Tuition||Student/Teacher ratio||Program count||Graduation Rate|
|1||University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill||93.75||$$$$$||13:1||3||90%|
|3||Winston-Salem State University||91.50||$$$$$||14:1||4||46%|
|4||East Carolina University||91.00||$$$$$||18:1||4||59%|
|5||Western Carolina University||90.75||$$$$$||16:1||6||58%|
|6||Queens University of Charlotte||90.50||$$$$$||10:1||9||62%|
|7||University of North Carolina Wilmington||90.25||$$$$$||17:1||9||71%|
|9||University of North Carolina at Greensboro||89.50||$$$$$||17:1||6||56%|
|10||North Carolina Central University||89.25||$$$$$||15:1||14||47%|
|11||Cabarrus College of Health Sciences||89.25||$$$$$||6:1||11||38%|
|12||University of North Carolina at Charlotte||88.75||$$$$$||19:1||6||55%|
|13||Appalachian State University||88.75||$$$$$||16:1||14||70%|
|14||University of North Carolina at Pembroke||88.25||$$$$$||15:1||11||34%|
|17||North Carolina A & T State University||87.00||$$$$$||18:1||14||48%|
|18||University of Mount Olive||86.75||$$$$$||13:1||14||43%|
|19||Fayetteville State University||86.25||$$$$$||18:1||14||35%|
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.
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.
- 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.
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
|Area||Hourly Median Wage||Annual Median Wage|
|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
- North Carolina
Sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014
Sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014 and Projections Central
A number of podcasts are available for continuing education and personal development through the Board of Nursing.
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.
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 is the professional organization for nurses in the state and advocates for nurses and their patients.
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.
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.