Nursing Schools in North Carolina – NC
North Carolina is projected to have the second-largest shortage of registered nurses in the country, with nearly 13,000 nurses likely to be needed by 2025. The demand is so high that healthcare systems in the state often compete for newly trained nurses by offering sign-on bonuses, relocation packages and residency programs. The need for qualified nurses is especially acute in the state's rural counties, many of which are classified as "medical deserts" because residents don't have access to primary care.
To counter the shortage, the state's largest health insurance company, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina, has even invested heavily in creating and enhancing nursing degree programs in North Carolina, specifically at four of the state's historically black universities: Fayetteville State University, North Carolina A & T State University, Winston-Salem State University and North Carolina Central University.
Read on to learn more about preparing for one of the North Carolina nursing careers. For more general information on nursing, visit Nursing Education, Schools and Career Overview.
Which nursing schools in North Carolina offer degree programs?
More than 80 public and private institutions in North Carolina offer nursing-related education programs, ranging from pre-nursing studies to those at the doctoral level. Of special interest may be the Regionally Increasing Baccalaureate Nurses (RIBN) degree programs in North Carolina, which were created to encourage more nurses to earn a bachelor's degree in nursing (BSN). Currently, only 40 percent of the nurses in North Carolina have a BSN -- far short of the national goal which is 80 percent.
Here are highlights about some of the North Carolina nursing schools. Take a look at what they have to offer.
- The University of North Carolina — The college offers a BSN on-campus and a 4-semester accelerated program for those who have an undergraduate degree in a non-nursing field. Online options are available for a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP), and a Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing (Ph.D.).
- East Carolina University — Students at the College of Nursing have a choice of six BSN programs including a traditional program, an accelerated BSN for non-nursing students who have completed a bachelor's degree in another field, and the RBIN program, a dual program that admits students in a partner community college and the ECN at the same time. Graduate programs include online options for MSN (eight tracks offered), doctorates (four tracks offered).
- Cabarrus College of Health Sciences — The campus is situated on the Atrium Health Cabarrus premises offering an immersive learning experience. Its pre-nursing track is for students who want to complete general coursework before they enroll in their Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) program. Students can earn a BSN through the traditional program or the online RN-to-BSN bridge program. It also offers MSN programs with two tracks — leadership and clinical research; both are online except for the practicums.
- The Duke University School of Nursing — offers an accelerated BSN with clinical immersion experiences that are global or local in culturally rich and diverse populations. Online options are offered for their MSN, DNP, and Ph.D. programs which may be fully funded for the first two years.
- North Carolina Central University — nursing students have multiple options in bachelor's programs. In addition to the traditional BSN program, an accelerated program, and the RN to BSN bridge program (that may be taken online), there's a BSN specially designed for veterans.
What financial aid can I get for nursing programs in North Carolina?
Nursing students may receive funding to help pay for their education through grants and nursing scholarships in North Carolina. These may be in the form of federal grants, such as the Pell, state-funded programs, or institutional scholarships. Here are just a few funding options to help get you started:
- Forgivable Education Loans for Service — This may be available to nursing students who qualify through academic merit. A graduate can earn loan forgiveness by serving in North Carolina areas where there is a critical shortage of nurses.
- The Graduate Nurse Scholarship Program for Faculty Production — This scholarship loan is offered to those who pursue a master's or doctoral degree in nursing. The aim is to produce more graduate nurses to fill positions of nurse instructors at North Carolina public and private colleges.
Students seeing financial aid are encouraged to inquire with healthcare facilities as well as nursing schools in North Carolina that can offer institutional and private scholarships.
What do I need to know about nursing certification in North Carolina?
The term Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) is an umbrella term that covers the following nursing professions in North Carolina:
- Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNA)
- Certified Nurse-Midwives (CNM)
- Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNS)
- Nurse Practitioners (NP)
To practice any of the above professions, RNs must prove competency through certification exams offered by national credentialing bodies recognized by the state regulatory body, North Carolina Board of Nursing (NCBON). Examples of North Carolina nursing certification include:
- American Midwifery Certification Board
- National Board of Certification
- American Nurses Credentialing Center
- American Academy of Nurse Practitioners
- American Association of Critical-Care Nurses Certification Corporation
- Pediatric Nursing Certification Board
Do I need a nursing license in North Carolina? How do I apply for it?
Nursing students in North Carolina need to be licensed before they can practice their profession by completing the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) prepared by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) and offered through NCBON.
Renewal of license and continuing education
License renewal can involve proving continued competency by taking continuing education courses offered through North Carolina nursing schools. Renewal efforts may include any one of several options such as 30 contact hours of continued education, national certification or re-certification, or completing at least two semester hours of post-licensure academic education related to nursing practice.
Nurses can specialize in a single specialty or diversify to earn multiple specialties through certifications to advance in their careers. RNS or APRNs must have a valid license and maintain their certification to practice in that profession.
The NCBON maintains information for license verification of RNs, LPNs, nurse aides II, APRNs, and RN instructors in the state of North Carolina through its website.
What can I do with a degree in nursing in North Carolina?
While nursing salaries in North Carolina can be average when compared to the rest of the country, this state is among the top ten for employing the highest number of registered nurses, and nurse anesthetists. It is among the top 15 when it comes to employing nurse practitioners. According to North Carolina Health News, about 40 percent of the people (roughly 4 million) in the state live in rural areas, where the need for nurses is more critical.
The tables below taken from the Bureau of Labor Statistics offer interesting data for those interested in nursing careers in North Carolina.
|Career||Total Employment||Statewide Projected Job Growth Rate|
|Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses||16,910||5%|
|Career||Annual Mean Wage||Bottom 10% Annual Wage||Top 10% Annual Wage|
|Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses||$45,880||$35,630||$58,000|
- Addressing NC's Nursing Shortage to Improve Healthcare, April 2018, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina, https://blog.bcbsnc.com/2018/04/addressing-ncs-nursing-shortage-improve-health-care/
- Advanced Practice Registered Nurses, North Carolina Board of Nursing, https://www.ncbon.com/licensure-listing-advanced-practice-registered-nurse-aprn-advanced-practice-registered-nurse-aprn-requirements, accessed January 2020
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- N.C. Rural Health by the Numbers, January 2018, North Carolina Health News, https://www.northcarolinahealthnews.org/2018/01/22/n-c-rural-health-numbers/
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- Rules Governing The Nurse Educators of Tomorrow Program, December 2017, North Carolina State Education Assistance Authority, http://www.ncseaa.edu/pdf/Rules_NurseEducatorsOfTomorrowProgram.pdf
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- Top 25 Types of Nurses Employers Are Looking to Hire, March 2018, Rasmussen College, https://www.rasmussen.edu/degrees/nursing/blog/types-of-nurses-employers-are-looking-to-hire/
- Wake Forest Baptist Health, Sign-On Bonus Program, https://www.wakehealth.edu/Specialty/n/Nursing/Sign-On-Bonus-Program, accessed January 2020