North Carolina Nursing Programs

Overview of North Carolina

A state rich in culture and history, North Carolina honors its past while making specific strides to ensure a better future. Once one of the largest producers of tobacco, many North Carolina cities have gone on to reinvent themselves in order to attract a vast array of economic resources. Cities such as Asheville and Black Mountain draw tourists and artists. Charlotte has big city amenities and has become a banking and finance mecca. NC’s Research Triangle–consisting of Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill—is a magnet for groundbreaking discoveries in science and technology.

Education and medicine are also both integral components of North Carolina’s economic foundation. In 1795 the University of North Carolina opened its doors as America’s first public University. Medical programs at UNC and other schools such as Duke and Chapel Hill rank as some of the very best in the country. North Carolina offers 75 nursing programs throughout the state, and like the rest of the nation, NC needs nurses.

Job Outlook for North Carolina Nurses

To help draw qualified health personnel, North Carolina does a number of things right. In addition to extensive nursing programs, it also pays some of the best wages in the Southeast–particularly for entry level positions such as LPNs. In addition, the NCIOM task force was created to help address the lack of nurses and nursing educators, and to also pursue the Institute of Medicine’s suggestion to hire and empower more advanced degree nurses.

North Carolina’s unemployment rate is 9.4%. However, this state offers the second highest employment percentage of Nurse Anesthetists in the country–and at $202,660, the region of Hickory/Lenoir/Morganton pays them better than any other place in the US.

The biggest cache of nursing jobs will be in more populous cities such as Charlotte, Raleigh, Greensboro and Durham. Most rural regions throughout the nation are in need of advanced RNs such as Nurse Practitioners who can help offset the shortage of medical doctors. NPs in North Carolina can expect to earn around $43.15 per hour.

A national look at nursing options by the US Department of Labor shows a need for RNs will grow 26% from the year 2010 to 2020. The need for more nurses will also invariably raise the need for qualified Nursing Educators. With 75 nursing programs in NC, a student may be wise to consider health education and/or administration as potential career options.

Average Nursing Salaries in North Carolina

Data from BLS 2011 10th Percentile 25th Percentile 50th Percentile
Registered Nurses $42,290 $49,070 $57,990
Licensed Practical Nurses $31,910 $35,930 $41,450
Nursing Aides $16,810 $19,030 $22,050
Home Health Aides $16,000 $17,100 $18,670

Licensing for Nurses in North Carolina

North Carolina is part of the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC), which allows nurses in other complying states to practice in-state without a North Carolina License. Nearby affiliate states include South Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky and Maryland.

If not licensed in an NLC-compliant state then all nurses must be licensed within the state of North Carolina. To legally practice, LPN graduates must take and pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN). RN graduates must take and pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses. Advanced care nurses may require additional licensure and/or certifications, depending on what state they choose to work in. The best NC licensure resource is the North Carolina Board of Nursing website.

Nursing Programs in North Carolina

Many universities in North Carolina rank as having some of the best medical programs in the nation. US & World News ranks the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill 3rd in the country for Healthcare Management, 4th for nursing, and 11th for Occupational Health. Duke University ranks 7th in the nation, UNC in Greensboro is #79 and East Carolina ranks #99.

With 75 nursing schools to choose from, high school graduates can soon become LPNs or RNS. Mid-career nurses can choose to advance their education, and specialize in fields such as Oncology and Critical Care, or become lab supervisors, educators or administrators. In North Carolina, nursing students can pursue educations that are as extensive and specialized as they choose, thereby improving the odds of successful careers upon graduation.