How To Become A Nurse In North Carolina

Nursing jobs are sought after in North Carolina, but there are often waiting lists just to get on the waiting list at some nursing programs in the state. There are about 90,000 registered nurses in the state which has a population of roughly 9 million people and while there is no current crisis in health care, the state anticipates a serious shortfall in the future.

An existing shortage is due to a combination of an aging population and older nurses facing retirement, so18,000 more nurses will be needed by 2020, according to a study by the Task Force on the North Carolina Nursing Workforce. However, due to state budget cuts, many state schools in North Carolina have been reducing the sizes of classes in their nursing education programs.

North Carolina registered nurses make a mean annual salary of $60,260. Salaries are higher in Durham, with one of the nation’s sixth highest concentrations of employed registered nurses in a metropolitan area. Durham’s more than 9,000 RNs make about $62,000 a year.

Nursing Students Need to be Selective

While nursing is a rewarding and lucrative career, North Carolina officials caution students to choose their educational programs with care. The state has more nursing programs than Texas, but some are small and the 58 community college programs vary in quality. Some of their graduates have a 50 percent failure rate on the National Council Licensure Exam (NCLEX) required to get a nursing license in the state.

The North Carolina Board of Nursing approves all applications to take the NCLEX. Anyone who already is a RN or licensed practical nurse (LPN) is eligible to apply for an endorsement if they hold a license from a participating state. Endorsement means that North Carolina will accept a valid license from another state. The states that do not offer endorsement are Alabama, California, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Kansas, Michigan, Nevada, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico and Wyoming.

Those interested in nursing may choose one of several professional nursing programs The associate degree and bachelor’s degree RN programs take two and four years respectively. There is a one-year LPN diploma, but while LPN licensure is the shortest program it also leads to lower wages.

Nation’s Top Nursing Schools are in North Carolina

None of the state’s LPN nursing programs are nationally accredited and only 12 of the 45 Advanced Nursing Degree programs in North Carolina have national accreditation. However, at the same time, two of the nation’s leading nursing schools are located in North Carolina.

One of the country’s most well-known nursing programs is at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. It is listed as the fourth best in the United States by US News. Duke University is ranked No. 7 and the University of North Carolina programs in Charlotte and Greensboro are also top choices.

Community colleges also offer popular nursing programs, such as Wake Technical Community College in Raleigh which has 1,000 on its waiting list. The college has enrolled these students in a “pre-nursing” program, a new requirement for staying on the waiting list.

Nursing Schools in North Carolina

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Nursing School Locations

Barton College
700 Vance Street NE
Wilson, NC 27893
(800) 345-4973

Duke University
450 Research Drive
Durham. NC 27719
(919) 684-8111

East Carolina University
1000 East 5th Street
Greenville, NC 27858
(2520 328-6131

University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
209 South Road
Chapel Hill, NC 27599
(919) 962-2211

Wake Technical Community College
9101 Fayetteville Road
Raleigh, NC 27603
(919) 866-5000

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