Last Updated/Verified: January 12, 2022
The state of North Carolina offers a wide range of employment opportunities in the nursing field, from nursing aides to registered nurses.
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A straightforward way to enter the nursing industry is by becoming a Licensed Practical Nurse, or LPN.
Since there is no four-year educational requirement to become an LPN, it’s a faster and less expensive way to receive a nursing license and break into the nursing field. LPN students even have the option to attend classes on a part-time basis while receiving clinical experience at the same time. North Carolina is home to several LPN programs, so how do you know which one to choose?
The cities with the most opportunities for those with an LPN license include Charlotte, Raleigh, and Greensboro.
North Carolina LPN Programs Quick Facts
- On average, LPN school takes between nine and 12 months to complete.
- LPNs in North Carolina earn an average of $26.47/hr and an annual income of $47,508
- LPN job outlook in the state is expected to grow at a rate of 11%—much faster than average.
- LPNs make up about 16% of North Carolina’s nursing population.
- LPNs in North Carolina must renew their licensure every two years.
Overview of LPN Schools in North Carolina
There are many nursing schools in North Carolina that offer accredited practical nursing programs. With such a wide range of options and educational program offerings, it’s important that LPN students find a program that fits their unique needs and career goals. All programs have similar curricula and core values, and cover the following areas:
- Nursing skills
- Nursing ethics
- Patient care
- Infection control
- Clinical experience
While searching for LPN programs in North Carolina, it’s vital that you find an accredited institution. There are several agencies that offer accreditation, including on the national level, like the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) and at the state level, like the North Carolina Board of Nursing.
LPN Admissions Requirements
Admission requirements for LPN programs in North Carolina vary from program to program. But, most programs require at least:
- A high school diploma or GED
- Prerequisite course completion with a GPA of 2.75+ (C+)
- A proficient score on the ATI TEAS exam
- Clean drug and criminal background checks
LPN Tuition & Costs
Tuition for LPN programs varies from program to program in North Carolina. For example, tuition and fees for the LPN program at Cape Fear Community College in Wilmington are around $3,000. But, at Surry Community College, they are closer to $5,000. It’s important to find a school that aligns with your financial needs. Most programs offer financial assistance to help offset the costs of the LPN program, books, and other required course materials.
LPN Licensing Requirements in North Carolina
The practical nursing program is the quickest path to becoming a nurse in North Carolina. If you pursue your LPN degree full-time, it takes one year to complete. Once you complete the degree, you can apply for North Carolina state licensure.
Checklist to become an LPN in North Carolina:
- Complete all required coursework and clinical experience to earn your LPN degree.
- Apply for licensure with the North Carolina Board of Nursing.
- Obtain your CPR card and pass the NCLEX-PN exam.
- Start looking for LPN jobs in North Carolina.
LPNs in North Carolina are required to renew their licensure every two years. To renew your North Carolina LPN license, you must fulfill at least one of the following requirements:
- 640 LPN hours
- 30 hours of continuing education
- Board-approved refresher course
- 2+ semester hours of post-licensure nursing academics
- 15 hours of continuing education in combination with a nursing project in which the applicant is the principal or co-investigator
- 15 hours of continuing education in combination with co-authoring a nursing-related published paper
- 15 hours of continuing education in combination with five hours of development or teaching a nursing presentation
In order to become a licensed LPN in North Carolina, you must pass the NCLEX-PN exam. The National Council Licensure Examination administers this exam and its content covers a number of nursing-related topics, including patient care and health promotion and maintenance. All new nurses must pass the NCLEX-PN exam.
North Carolina is one of 34 states that comprise the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC), which allows nurses to have a single license that grants them the right to practice in multiple states without the need to seek additional licensure.
LPN Salaries in North Carolina
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, LPNs in North Carolina earn $19.09/hr on average and an annual income of $39,710. Although those figures are below the national average of around $48,820 per year, LPNs who work in metropolitan areas tend to earn higher wages than more rural parts of the state.
Take a look at the average salaries of licensed practical nurses in North Carolina’s biggest metropolitan areas:
- Charlotte: $44,930
- Raleigh: $45,120
- Greensboro-High Point: $42,670
- Winston-Salem: $44,650
- Fayetteville: $45,430
- Durham-Chapel Hill: $47,540
- Asheville: $44,000
Job Outlook for LPNs in North Carolina
As the U.S. nursing shortage continues to grow, there is a rising demand for nurses nationwide — creating a very strong job outlook for LPNs in North Carolina and across the country. Because of the nursing shortage, North Carolina nursing homes, hospitals, and home health care companies are offering flexible schedules, higher pay, continued education, and other benefits to attract and recruit new licensed practical nurses.
Overall, the future for North Carolina LPNs is bright, and more LPN jobs become available every day — making LPN programs the perfect place to get a start in health care. Whether you decide to continue your nursing education after receiving your LPN or not, an LPN career in North Carolina can provide many opportunities for professional advancement and long-term job security.
Top LPN Schools in North Carolina
Cape Fear Community College
411 North Front Street, Wilmington, North Carolina 28401
Cape Fear Community College is considered one of the top nursing schools in the state. The LPN curriculum at the Wilmington-based school provides nursing students with the knowledge and skills to integrate safety and quality into nursing care to meet the whole patient’s needs while keeping their quality of life top of mind.
McDowell Tech Community College
54 College Dr, Marion, North Carolina 28752
Students interested in LPN certification at McDowell take part in the PINE program — a three-semester diploma program that prepares students to take the NCLEX-PN.
Craven Community College
800 College Court, New Bern, North Carolina 28562
Craven Community College’s LPN program students participate in assessment, planning, implementing, and evaluating nursing care. Craven Community College is a military-friendly institution, which means its programs are designed to be flexible for students with a military career and their dependents.
Montgomery Community College
1011 Page St, Troy, North Carolina 27371
Montgomery Community College offers a hybrid LPN program that allows nursing students to fit their coursework into their busy schedules. The hybrid LPN program allows students to take most of their classes online with the added luxury of choosing from day, evening, or weekend classes.
Sampson Community College
1801 Sunset Ave., Clinton, North Carolina 28329
Clinton-based Sampson Community College also offers an advanced placement option for LPNs looking to enter the school’s ADN program. A unique offering at Sampson Community College is the school’s LPN to RN (Registered Nurse) program, which is offered online.
Maryland Community College
200 Maryland Drive, Spruce Pine, North Carolina 28777
Maryland Community College’s limited-enrollment practical nursing program provides nursing students with the skills they need to find success as entry-level nursing professionals and prepares them to work in a variety of care facilities post-graduation.
Brunswick Community College
50 College Road, Bolivia, North Carolina 28422
At Brunswick Community College, nursing students can enter the practical nursing program or the associate degree nursing program — both of which are designed to provide students with all necessary knowledge, skills, and strategies to be successful nursing professionals. In fact, BCC’s practical nursing program has the distinction of being ranked in the top ten LPN programs in the state.
Wayne Community College
3000 Wayne Memorial Dr., Goldsboro, North Carolina 27534
Located in Goldsboro, Wayne Community College’s Practical Nursing program prepares students to work in hospitals, home health facilities, long-term care facilities, clinics, rehab centers, and other health care facilities after graduating.
Lenoir Community College
231 North Carolina Hwy 58, Kinston, North Carolina 28504
The Practical Nursing diploma at Lenoir Community College provides an overview of the scientific study of human behavior to students seeking their LPN license while preparing them to pass all required licensure exams, fulfill coursework requirements, and start a successful career as an LPN in North Carolina.
If you’re interested in learning more about LPN programs in North Carolina, we recommend the following resources:
The North Carolina Board of Nursing: The NCBON is the authority for licensing and certifications across all nursing professions in the state of North Carolina.
4516 Lake Boone Trail, Raleigh, North Carolina 27607
North Carolina Nurses Association: As North Carolina’s leading professional organization for nurses, the NCNA equips nurses at all stages of their coursework and careers with the tools they need to thrive in the ever-changing health care and nursing practice landscape.
4350 Lassiter at North Hills Ave #250, Raleigh, North Carolina 27609
National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN): The NCSBN handles the development of the NCLEX and other licensing exams. The organization is an independent, non-profit organization in which nursing regulatory bodies act and counsel together on issues impacting public health, safety, and welfare, including developing nursing licensure examinations.