North Carolina RN Requirements and Training Programs

Job cuts are unavoidable in a sluggish economy, but there’s at least one profession that remains unaffected by recession: nursing. Whether you’re just starting out or looking to switch jobs, a degree in nursing provides job security in addition to all the other great benefits. The aging baby boomer generation in need of greater medical care is one of the primary reasons for the  rise in the health care jobs. Hospitals and other health care facilities have to expand their services to accommodate the influx of patients. Current figures from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics show that the health care system will be short of 438,100 by 2026. The workforce demands should provide excellent motivation for enrolling in an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) program.

Becoming a nurse requires that you get the knowledge and clinical skills to provide bedside care. There are several educational routes to enter into practice. The hospital-based nursing program is not as popular as it once was, and this option is not available in North Carolina. The ADN program delivers the basics in just two years of training at community colleges and vocational schools. It is the program of choice for those who want a fast track to nursing as the time and financial commitments are not as extensive as the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). The BSN generally requires four years at a college or university. Both the ADN and the BSN qualifies graduates to take the National Council Licensure Exam for Registered Nurses. However, BSN graduates have greater employment opportunities as well as the option to pursue graduate study for further specialization. ADN graduates can improve their career prospects and compete with BSNs by completing the degree through bridge RN to BSN programs.

If the job outlook is a factor in your choice of profession, then a career in nursing will give you the best chance of success. The best nurses are patient, friendly, and flexible. You must also be compassionate, organized, good at solving problems, and calm in challenging situations to succeed in this demanding but rewarding role. Nurses hold the healthcare team together, sharing information between all the professionals involved in patient care. They are also the connecting link between doctors and patients. A great nurse communicates well and weighs carefully the needs of patients, doctors, and other professionals to ensure effective and efficient delivery of care.

Education Requirements

The Associate Degree Nursing program covers the essential knowledge, skills, and competencies nurses need to provide safe and high-quality care in the dynamic health care environment. They learn how to meet patients’ needs, improve patient outcomes, and influence the quality of life.

The curriculum builds on the domains of healthcare, the science of nursing, and the holistic individual. Faculty will emphasize the professional nurse as a member of the interdisciplinary team, patient safety, personalized care, quality improvement, evidence-based practice, and informatics. Students will participate in clinical experiences that will support the development of key nursing skills and provide opportunities to put the theory into practice.

Graduates will be eligible to apply to the North Carolina Board of Nursing for the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN). Upon licensure, they will have opportunities to provide care in various settings, including acute, extended, chronic, and community health care facilities.

Eligibility Criteria

Your grades in high school or college courses could improve your chances of getting into nursing school at a time with admission is extremely competitive. If your grades are not stellar, there are other factors that you can use to give you the best chance of admission. Volunteer or paid practice in a healthcare facility and completion of healthcare courses will help to demonstrate your commitment to patient care. It will provide some insight into the healthcare system before investing time and money in your education.

Here are some general guidelines for entering a nursing program in North Carolina.

  • A completed application for general admission
  • Attendance at a nursing information session
  • Official high school and college transcripts
  • Application for the nursing program
  • A grade C or better on the prerequisite courses
  • Take and pass the admission evaluation

You’ll also need to complete the requirements of the clinical partner to participate in the clinical experience. These include but are not limited to documentation of immunization, TB clearance, criminal background check, and CPR certification.

Duration and Cost

The average cost of tuition at community colleges in North Carolina is $968 per semester for completing 12 credits. The cost includes tuition and fees for resident students. In addition to tuition, students must budget for textbooks, supplies, and uniform.

North Carolina RN Licensure Requirements

As a member of the Nurse Licensure Compact, North Carolina lets registered nurses licensed in another compact state practice in North Carolina without a state-issued license. Nurses practicing under this provision must adhere to North Carolina’s nursing practice laws and rules. If the nurse establishes residency in North Carolina, he or she must apply for licensure with the Board.

Applicants for licensure must declare their primary state of residence and provide proof in the form of a driver’s license with a home address, voter registration card with a home address, federal income tax return declaring the primary state of residence, military form #2058, or W2 from US Government or any bureau, agency, or division.

You are not eligible for a registered nurse license in North Carolina if your primary state of residence is another Compact State.

Practice in the state requires a temporary license, a current permanent license, or a multistate license. Since orientation is considered the practice of nursing, you must possess a temporary, permanent, or compact multistate license before beginning orientation. A temporary license gives nurses the authority to practice in the state. It is valid for 6 months and not renewable.

Criminal Background Check Guidelines

For out-of-state candidates:

If you reside outside of North Carolina, you will receive fingerprint cards and instructions by main within one week of submitting an application for licensure. Contact your local Sheriff or Police office to perform the fingerprinting.

Complete the Criminal Background Check Packet and with the fee ($38) to the NCBON. Payment may be made via credit or debit card, certified check, cashier’s check, or money order.

For North Carolina residents:

  • North Carolina residents must use LiveScan to transmit their digital fingerprints electronically to the State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
  • Pay the non-refundable background check fee of $38 using a credit or debit card only
  • Submit the signed and dated Electronic Fingerprint Submission Release of Information form to the Board of Nursing. Mail, email, or fax the form to the Board after the Sheriff office transmits the fingerprints directly to the SBI.

Licensure By Examination

You must register for the NCLEX at pearsonvue.com. The non-refundable registration fee is $200. If you do not pass the exam on your first attempt, you may retake the exam – once every forty-five days. If you do not pass the exam within one year, you must provide evidence of remediation to the Board before reapplying to take the exam. If you do not pass the exam within three years of graduation, you must enroll in an approved nursing program to re-qualify. Your remediation plan must be submitted to the Board’s office for approval prior to initiation. Repeating the exam also requires that you submit another application.

In accordance with the North Carolina Code of Laws, candidates applying for a professional license must provide a social security or alien identification number to establish, enforce, and collect child support obligations and to report to certain databanks established by law. Failure to provide your social security number will lead to denial of licensure.

Submit the application 4 to 5 weeks before you complete the nursing program. Include the following with your online application for the licensure exam:

  • A copy of your social security card, permanent resident card or a resident alien identification card.
  • Any legal documents that authorize a name change – if applicable.
  • Proof of residence – driver’s license, voter registration card, or state-issued identification card.
  • The North Carolina Board of Nursing Identification Documentation. Print, complete and mail the identification Document immediately following the submission of your Examination application. It can take up to 10 business days to process the Document.
  • School Verification or Official Transcript Copies. If you graduated from a nursing program in North Carolina, the Program Director will submit confirmation of your graduation directly to the Board’s office. If you graduated from an out-of-state program, you must request the final official transcript of your education to be sent directly to the NCBON Exam Department. The transcript must include your legal name, degree awarded, and date of completion.
  • The application fee of $75. You can pay online using a debit or credit card: Visa or MasterCard online or echeck. If submitting payment from a third party, submit a check or money order made out to the North Carolina Board of Nursing along with the confirmation page to reduce the processing time of your application.
  • Fingerprints and fee to facilitate a criminal background check.

Visit the Nurse Gateway at https://portal.ncbon.com/ to check the status of your application online. Allow at least 10 business days before contacting the Board of a status update. The application will remain valid for one year. If you do not complete the application within the allotted time, you’ll need to submit another application and fee.

Repeat Applicants

If repeating the NCLEX, you’ll need to submit the repeater’s application along with a copy of all Diagnostic Profiles (if the test was taken in another state) from all previous exams and the application fee.

Licensure By Endorsement

Apply for licensure by endorsement if you want to practice nursing in North Carolina based on previous licensure in another state or jurisdiction and passage of the NCLEX or similar exam. You may submit the application online or download the paper application and mail to the NC Board of Nursing. You must provide a valid social security number and verification of licensure to qualify for licensure by endorsement.

Include the following with your online application for endorsement:

  • A copy of your social security card, permanent resident card or a resident alien identification card.
  • Any legal documents that authorize a name change – if applicable.
  • Proof of residence – driver’s license, voter registration card, or state-issued identification card.
  • The application fee of $150. You can pay online using a debit or credit card: Visa or MasterCard or echeck online.
  • Verification of nursing license from your original state of licensure or territory or dependency of the United States. You must submit a Verification Form to the original state Board of licensure if the state is not a participating member of Nursys.
  • Fingerprints to facilitate criminal background check.
  • Proof of eligibility to endorse your nursing license to North Carolina. Provide evidence of:
  1. Completion of a nursing education program that is approved by the licensing agency
  2. Successful completion of NCLEX or SBTPE
  3. Self-certification of mental and physical health needed for competent nursing practice
  4. An active license in another state. If you license is inactive or lapsed for more than 5 years, you must complete a board approved refresher course
  5. An unencumbered license in all jurisdictions where you held a nursing license
  6. Completion of all court conditions if you were ever convicted of a misdemeanor or felony
  7. A written explanation and all related documents if you have been disciplined in any state or listed as a Nurse Aide with findings.

Visit the Nurse Gateway at https://portal.ncbon.com/ to check the status of your application online. Allow at least 10 business days before contacting the Board of a status update. The application will remain valid for one year. If you do not complete the application within the allotted time, you’ll need to submit another application and fee.

You may be eligible for a non-renewable Temporary License to practice while your application is being processed. The license will be valid for 6 months or until the permanent license is issued. A temporary license is not renewable and cannot be issued before you submit the fingerprint cards or the LiveScan application is submitted to the criminal background check.

Foreign Educated Applicants for Licensure

If you hold a license in a non-US state or jurisdiction you may apply for a license to practice in North Carolina.

Include the following with your application for a license:

  • A copy of your social security card, permanent resident card or a resident alien identification card.
  • Any legal documents that authorize a name change – if applicable.
  • Proof of residence – driver’s license, voter registration card, or state issued identification card.
  • The North Carolina Board of Nursing Identification Documentation. Print, complete and mail the identification Document immediately following the submission of your Examination application. It can take up to 10 business days to process the Document.
  • The application fee of $75. You can pay online using a debit or credit card: Visa or MasterCard online or echeck. If submitting payment from a third party, submit a check or money order made out to the North Carolina Board of Nursing along with the confirmation page to reduce the processing time of your application.
  • Fingerprints and fee to facilitate a criminal background check.
  • A Credential Evaluation Service report from CFFNS. Request a Credential Evaluation Service Professional Report description of your nursing program sent directly to the NC Board of Nursing.
  • Results of the TOEFL exam. Foreign applicants must take and pass the TOEFL exam even if the program was taught in English. There are no exceptions to this rule.

RN Renewal Requirements North Carolina

Your registered nursing license will expire on the last day of your birth month. If you do not renew by this date, your license will go into expired status at midnight, and you must not practice as a Registered Nurse. Before resuming practice, you’ll need to reapply for a license and complete a Reinstatement application.

The Board of Nursing will verify if you have met the conditions for renewal before renewing the license. This will include verification of the continuing competency.

Licenses are valid for two years. The renewal fee is $100.

Continuing Education Requirements for North Carolina RNs

During each period, registered nurses must complete one of the following:

  • 15 contact hours of continued education and at least 640 hours of nursing practice within the 2-year licensure period
  • 30 contact hours of continued education
  • Completion of a board-approved refresher course
  • 15 contact hours of continued education and completion of a nursing project as a Principal Investigator
  • 15 contact hours of continued education and authoring or co-authoring a nursing related article, paper, book, or chapter of a book
  • Completion of a minimum of two semester hours of post-licensure nursing related education
  • 15 contact hours of continued education and developing and conducting a nursing continuing education presentation or presentations totaling a minimum of 5 contact hours.

North Carolina Salary and Job Outlook

The registered nurse shortage is approaching critical limits in North Carolina and other regions across the United States. In late 2017, there was an estimated 2000 vacancies for registered nurses across the state – the highest the state has seen in the past decade. While patients are most directly affected by the shortage of nurses, nursing programs are also directly affected. Workforce shortages reduce the availability of clinical sites for nursing students to log the 1000+ hours required for completing the program. A faculty shortage, due to unavailability of nurses prepared at the DNP level, also impacts the ability to produce more nurses to meet consumer demands.

Another factor that affects the workforce is the retirement of experienced nurses. During the recession, which commenced in 2007, nurses delayed their retirement to maintain a reliable source of income for their households. Now that the economy has somewhat bounced back, nurses are retiring or exploring other aspects of nursing that does not involve bedside duties. These are other factors create opportunities for new nurse graduates.

The abundance of opportunities for new nurses is not expected to slow down in the next decade. Graduates of the ADN program will help to replace retiring nurses and help meet the escalating demands for healthcare services. In an effort to recruit the best talent, healthcare employers may offer sign-on bonuses, paid tuition, and other incentives. While nurses who have obtained the Bachelor of Science in Nursing have the best opportunities, there’s still room for nurses prepared at the level of the ADN. The online RN-BSN program facilitates the seamless transition to the BSN degree, which will help associate degree graduates to improve their job prospects.

In North Carolina, registered nurses earn an average yearly salary of $62.560.

Contact the Board of Nursing

North Carolina Board of Nursing
4516 Lake Boone Trail
Raleigh, NC 27607
Post Office Box 2129
Raleigh, NC 27602-2129

(919) 782-3211
(919) 781-9461

North Carolina Registered Nursing Programs and NCLEX-RN Pass Rates:

ADN Programs North Carolina

Albermarle, NC ADN programs:
Stanly Community College
141 College Drive, Albemarle, NC 28001
704-982-0121
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 96.00%

Ahoskie, NC ADN programs:
Roanoke-Chowan Community College
109 Community College Road, Ahoskie, NC 27910
252-862-1200
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 100.00%

Asheboro, NC ADN programs:
Randolph Community College
629 Industrial Park Avenue, Asheboro, NC 27205
336-633-0200
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 90.91%

Asheville, NC ADN programs:
Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College
340 Victoria Road, Asheville, NC 28801
828-398-7900
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 92.86%

Boiling Springs, NC ADN programs:
Gardner-Webb University
110 South Main Street, Boiling Springs, NC 28017
704-406-4000
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 84.21%

Bolivia, NC ADN programs:
Brunswick Community College
50 College Road, Bolivia, NC 28422
800-754-1050
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 95.65%

Charlotte, NC ADN programs:
Central Piedmont Community College
P.O. Box 35009, Charlotte, NC 28235-5009
704-330-6145
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 95.65%

Clinton, NC ADN programs:
Sampson Community College
1801 Sunset Avenue, Highway 24 West, Clinton, NC 28328
910-592-8081
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 88.37%

Concord, NC ADN programs:
Cabarrus College
401 Medical Park Drive, Concord, NC 28025
704-403-1555
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 98.61%

Dallas, NC ADN programs:
Gaston College
201 Highway 321 South, Dallas, NC 28034
704-922-6200
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 93.24%

Dobson, NC ADN programs:
Surry Community College
630 S Main St, Dobson, NC 27017
(336) 386-8121
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 100.00%

Dublin, NC ADN programs:
Bladen Community College
7418 NC Highway 41 West, Dublin, NC 28332
910-879-5500
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 95.83%

Durham, NC ADN programs:
Durham Technical Community College
1637 East Lawson Street, Durham, NC 27703
919-536-7200
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 80.56%

Elizabeth City, NC ADN programs:
College of Albemarle
1208 North Road Street, Elizabeth City, NC 27909
252-335-0821
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 96.30%

Fayetteville, NC ADN programs:
Fayetteville Technical Community College
2201 Hull Road, Fayetteville, NC 28303
910-678-8433
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 88.89%

Goldsboro, NC ADN programs:
Wayne Community College
3000 Wayne Memorial Drive, Goldsboro, NC 27534
919-735-5151
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 91.67%

Graham, NC ADN programs:
Alamance Community College
1247 Jimmie Kerr Rd, Graham, NC 27253
(336) 578-2002
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 95.83%

Greenville, NC ADN programs:
Pitt Community College
PO Drawer 7007, Greenville, NC 27835-7007
252-493-7200
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 85.14%

Hamlet, NC ADN programs:
Richmond Community College
1042 West Hamlet Avenue, Hamlet, NC 28345
910-410-1700
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 94.44%

Henderson, NC ADN programs:
Vance-Granville Community College
200 Community College Road, Henderson, NC 27536
252-738-3210
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 91.43%

Hendersonville, NC ADN programs:
Blue Ridge Community College
805 6th Avenue West, Hendersonville, NC 28739
(828) 694-1700
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 72.41%

Hickory, NC ADN programs:
Catawba Valley Community College
2550 US Highway 70 Southeast, Hickory, NC 28602
828-327-7000
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 96.55%

Hudson, NC ADN programs:
Caldwell Community College
2855 Hickory Boulevard, Hudson, NC 28638
828-726-2200
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 100.00%

Jacksonville, NC ADN programs:
Coastal Carolina Community College
444 Western Boulevard, Jacksonville, NC 28546
910-455-1221
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 93.33%

Jamestown, NC ADN programs:
Guilford Technical Community College
601 East, Main Street, Jamestown, NC27282
336-334-4822
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 70.11%

Kenansville, NC ADN programs:
James Sprunt Community College
133 James Sprunt Drive, Kenansville, NC28349
910-296-2400
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 100%

Kinston, NC ADN programs:
Lenoir Community College
231 North Carolina Hwy 58, Kinston, NC 28504
(252) 527-6223
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 92.00%

Lumberton, NC ADN programs:
Robeson Community College
5160 Fayetteville Rd, Lumberton, NC 28360
910-272-3700
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 100%

Morehead City, NC ADN programs:
Carteret Community College
3505 Arendell Street, Morehead City, NC 28557
252-222-6000
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 92.86%

Pinhurst, NC ADN programs:
Sandhills Community College
3395 Airport Rd, Pinehurst, NC 28374
(910) 692-6185
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 92.31%

Pittsboro, NC ADN programs:
Central Carolina Community College
764 West Street, Pittsboro, NC 27312-8822
919-542-6495
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 83.78%

Raleigh, NC ADN programs:
Wake Technical Community College
9101 Fayetteville Road, Raleigh, NC 27603
919-866-5000
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 98.35%

Rocky Mount, NC ADN programs:
Nash Community College
522 N Old Carriage Rd, Rocky Mount, NC 27804
(252) 443-4011
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 85.37%

Roxboro, NC ADN programs:
Piedmont Community College
P.O. Box 1197, Roxboro, NC 27573
336-599-1181
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 86.36%

Salisbury, NC ADN programs:
Rowan-Cabarrus Community College
1333 Jake Alexander Boulevard South, Salisbury, NC 28146
704-216-7222
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 93.94%

Shelby, NC ADN programs:
Foothills Nursing Consortium
137 South Post Road., Shelby, NC 28150
704-669-4073
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 97.96%

Smithfield, NC ADN programs:
Johnston Community College
245 College Road, Smithfield, NC 27577
919-934-3051
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 98.00%

Spruce Pine, NC ADN programs:
Mayland Community College
P.O. Box 547, Spruce Pine, NC 28777
828-766-1200
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 76.47%

Statesville, NC ADN programs:
Mitchell Community College
500 West Broad Street, Statesville, NC 28677
704-878-3200
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 94.12%

Sylva, NC ADN programs:
Southwestern Community College
447 College Drive, Sylva, NC 28779
828-339-4000
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 78.79%

Tarboro, NC ADN programs:
Edgecombe Community College
2009 W Wilson St, Tarboro, NC 27886
(252) 823-5166
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 84.85%

Thomasville, NC ADN programs:
Davidson County Community College
297 DCC Road, Thomasville, NC27360
336-249-8186
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 93.62%

Washington, NC ADN programs:
Beaufort County Community College
5337 Highway 264 East, Washington, NC 27889
252-946-6194
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 77.78%

Weldon, NC ADN programs:
Halifax Community College
100 College Dr, Weldon, NC 27890
(252) 536-2551
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 83.33%

Wentworth, NC ADN programs:
Rockingham Community College
215 Wrenn Memorial Road, Highway 65, Wentworth, NC 27375
336-342-4261
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 92.31%

Winston-Salem, NC ADN programs:
Forsyth Technical Community College
2100 Silas Creek Parkway, Winston-Salem, NC 27103
336-723-0371
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 97.44%

Morganton, NC ADN programs:
Western Piedmont Community College
1001 Burkemont Avenue, Morganton, NC 28655
828-438-6000
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 96.77%

Wilkeboro, NC ADN programs:
Wilkes Community College
1328 South Collegiate Drive, Wilkesboro, NC 28697
336-838-6100
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 100.00%

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