10 Best Accredited BSN Programs in North Carolina – 2023

Written By: Editorial Staff @ NursingProcess.org

A BSN degree, or Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree, is designed to prepare aspiring registered nurses for their careers in North Carolina. After completing the program and going to work as a licensed RN, you will earn an average of $65,780 each year. What’s more, employment of RNs with BSN degrees in North Carolina is expected to climb nearly 12% between the years of 2020 and 2030 with the addition of 11,770 new jobs. Below, you will find the top 10 BSN programs out of the 29 we ranked in North Carolina to help you take the first step towards your new career.


Based on our Ranking Methodology, the following are the 10 best BSN programs in North Carolina (Online & Campus).

North Carolina
Annual Salary
BSN ADN Difference
$81,150 $70,710 +$10,440
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)
Per the 2017 Nursing Trends Report released by the North Carolina Board of Nursing, only 28% of all RNs completed BSN programs while 48% completed ADN programs. Many North Carolina schools participate in the RIBN program, which stands for Regionally Increasing Baccalaureate Nurses and dually enrols nursing students in both associate and baccalaureate nursing programs. This is designed to increase the number of RNs across the state with baccalaureate degrees over the course of three years.

The nursing shortage in North Carolina, along with employers’ need to provide outstanding patient outcomes, has led to a much higher demand of BSN-educated RNs across the state. Those who pursue and complete BSN programs in North Carolina will also earn an average of $65,780 annually, which is $5,340 more than those RNs with ADN degrees, who earn an average of $60,440.


Typical North Carolina BSN Program Information

Program Length: On average, a BSN program in North Carolina lasts a period of four years, and this includes general education and core nursing courses. However, as part of the RIBN program, it is possible for nurses to dual-enroll in ADN and BSN programs, then complete the BSN in three years.

Program Cost: Costs for completing a BSN degree in NC vary based on the type of school you attend. If you choose a private school, you will pay anywhere from $55,090 to $219,953, which includes the cost of books and supplies. Public school is not quite as costly; you will pay anywhere from $24,741 to $45,971 for your education, and this also includes the cost of books and supplies.

Item Type of Nursing School
Public Private
Tuition & Fees $20,908 - $36,769$51,257 - $210,751
Books & Supplies $3,833 - $9,202$3,833 - $9,202
Total Cost $24,741 - $45,971$55,090 - $219,953
(Source: In-House Research, May 2018)

Coursework: The courses you will need to take in order to complete a BSN program in this state include a variety of general education and core nursing courses. Depending on your school, you may be able to take these courses concurrently; others require you to complete your general education first before moving on to the nursing courses.

Sample Coursework
General Courses Algebra, English Composition, Etiology of Infectious Diseases with lab, Health & Wellness, Human Anatomy and Physiology, Intro to Communications, Introduction to Psychology, Normal and Therapeutic Nutrition, and Survey of Chemistry
Core Courses Adult Nursing Practicum, Advanced Technology & Pharmacotherapeutics in Nursing, Community/Mental Health Nursing Practicum, Concepts of Adult Nursing, Concepts of Community/Mental Health Nursing, Concepts of Geriatric Nursing, Concepts of Maternal-Child Nursing, Concepts of Nursing Leadership in Management, Evidence Based Nursing Practice, Foundations of Nursing, Foundations of Nursing Practicum, Introduction to Nursing, Maternal-Child Nursing Practicum, Nursing Assessment Across the Lifespan, Nursing Ethics and Health Policy, Nursing Informatics, Pathophysiology for Nursing, Pharmacotherapeutics in Nursing, Synthesis of Nursing Concepts, and Synthesis of Nursing Concepts Practicum

Clinical Training: Clinical training is a requirement to receive an RN license in North Carolina. This hands-on training takes place in healthcare facilities – typically hospitals or nursing homes – under the supervision of licensed medical professionals. On average, RNs who finish four-year BSN programs in this state will complete some 1000 hours of clinical training.

Admission Requirements: Admission requirements will vary from one nursing school in North Carolina to the next. The more competitive the school, the more stringent the requirements. To provide an example, Gardener-Webb University’s Hunt School of Nursing, one of the best BSN courses requires the following:

• A GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale;
• Submission of one of the following:
o SAT scores (within the last five years) of at least 1050 if taken before March 1, 2016 or at least 1130 if taken after March 1, 2016; or
o ACT composite scores of at least 22 within the last five years; or
o TEAS Version V overall scores of a minimum proficient level within 12 months of admission review;
• Transcripts showing completion of Biology, Chemistry, and Algebra (high school or college level) with at least a C grade letter average; and
• A clear criminal background check in all states of residence for a period of 10 years conducted within the past 12 months of admission.

Why NCLEX-RN Pass Rate Matters When Selecting a BSN Program?

While there are many factors that go into choosing a Bachelor of Science in Nursing program in North Carolina, one of the most important considerations is the NCLEX-RN pass rates for each school. Over the last few years, the percentage of BSN graduates who pass this exam in NC have continued to climb. In 2021, 87.95% of the 1908 students who took the examination passed. Nationally, 94,305 students took the exam, and 86.05% passed. This means that BSN programs in this state have an above-average NCLEX-RN pass rate when compared to the national figures.

BSN Graduates NCLEX-RN Pass Rates
Year North Carolina National
Taken % Passed Taken % Passed
2013 1,43288.69%65,40285.18%
2014 1,44090.42%68,16684.94%
2015 1,48592.59%70,88987.48%
2016 1,40792.54%72,66887.80%
2017 1,45993.08%75,97790.05%
2018 1,61794.87%79,23391.58%
2019 1,76793.49%84,28291.24%
2020 1,86193.61%88,63590.28%
2021 1,90887.95%94,30586.07%
(Source: NCSBN)

Following are 2023’s 10 Best BSN Programs in North Carolina

1) Western Carolina University, Cullowhee

The BSN pre-licensure program at Western Carolina was designed to prepare students to become successful licensed RNs working in a broad range of healthcare facilities and specialties. The school focuses on providing flexibility in its offerings, allowing many students to take courses that count toward nursing graduate degrees during their undergraduate studies. WCU prides itself on affordability and small class sizes conducive to personalized learning.

WCU’s BSN program is a standard four-year baccalaureate program with semesters in both the fall and spring. Students may enroll only during the fall semesters, and WCU provides a well-thought suggested curriculum plan, complete with electives that will assist students in achieving their education and career goals. Western Carolina University’s Office of Student Services also provides an array of resources, including a list of organizations for nursing students, scholarship opportunities, and access to pre-licensure handbooks for the upcoming academic year.

2) East Carolina University, Greenville

East Carolina University’s College of Nursing is located in Greenville. While its traditional pre-licensure BSN program takes place over four years, it requires one additional summer study session. ECU’s College of Nursing has placed a great deal of focus on today’s societal healthcare needs and for the ways in which nursing roles are continuing to change across the state and the nation.

Students must first apply for the completion of general education courses in the humanities as well as in social, behavioral, and natural sciences; upon completion, they will then apply to the College of Nursing for program completion. Clinical practice takes place concurrently with core nursing courses, and ECU’s College of Nursing partners with more than 50 local agencies – hospitals, home health, schools, clinics, and more – to provide aspiring RNs with a vast array of opportunities.

ECU also participates in the RIBN program, which allows students to dual-enroll at ECU and at one of seven community colleges in the local area. The goal is to provide students who perform well academically with a seamless associate to baccalaureate nursing education. During the program, the first three years take place at the community college of choice with students taking at least one course at ECU. The final year will take place at ECU. Admission to the RIBN program is quite competitive, and only students who excel academically will be chosen.

3) University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill offers a traditional pre-licensure BSN program that students can complete in four to six terms after having fulfilled their general education requirements. Admission is quite competitive, and while the minimum GPA for consideration is 2.8, students who score higher on a 4.0 scale are more likely to receive acceptance letters. Upcoming changes to the BSN curriculum include a “Caring” tenet, which will be offered to students entering the program starting in the fall of 2019.

The School of Nursing’s terms run back-to-back. Students may enter the program during the summer months and must take all core nursing courses for each term to complete the program. Unlike many other schools across North Carolina, clinical rotations start in the very first semester and run concurrently to lectures and classroom-based coursework. Students will also be required to participate in a capstone during their final year of the program.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill places a great deal of focus on research and is recognized as a national leader in terms of innovation, quality, and efficacy. The research conducted here has had a global impact, and the students and staff reveal new discoveries every day. Areas of research expertise include the prevention and management of chronic illness and other health threats, improving healthcare quality and patient outcomes and developing innovative approaches to enhancing science and how it translates into practice, among others.

4) Appalachian State University, Boone

The BSN program offered through the Appalachian State University Department of Nursing was designed to give aspiring registered nurses the best possible general education to help them practice in any healthcare setting they prefer. During the course of this four-year pre-licensure program, students learn to care for people, families, and entire communities through classroom learning and a variety of clinical experiences.

Upon entering the program at Appalachian State University, students will first complete two years of general education and prerequisite coursework. Then, during the last two years, students focus on their core nursing classes and clinicals. Students must achieve grades of “C” or higher in each core nursing course and maintain GPAs of at least 2.5 in nursing courses at the end of each semester to progress. The BSN program available through the Boone campus is only available face-to-face and covers various subjects like pediatrics, community health, women’s health, and more.

5) Gardner-Webb University, Boiling Springs

Gardner-Webb University’s Hunt School of Nursing offers one of the most competitive traditional BSN programs in the state. The school focuses on simulation-based training in a laboratory environment and teaches you how to care for large groups of patients. It requires the completion of between 129 and 133 credit hours, and of these, 64 to 70 are General Education requirements while Core Nursing courses total 63 credit hours.

Students may enter the program in the fall of each year. The school’s academic year consists of two standard-length semesters, both 15 weeks in length, and a shorter summer semester consisting of two five-week terms. Students may be able to take some of their courses online or during the evening, and the clinical opportunities take place in local healthcare facilities.

Faculty and staff provide numerous resources for aspiring registered nurses, including licensure information, information and testing schedule for the TEAS (Test of Essential Academic Skills) exam, and information about a variety of scholarships that can help prospective students pay for their education through Gardner-Webb University.

6) University of North Carolina - Wilmington, Wilmington

The School of Nursing at the University of North Carolina Wilmington graduated its first nurse in 1984, and since then, it has graduated over 2100 alumni. It offers a traditional pre-licensure BSN degree that takes a period of four years to complete. The University of North Carolina Wilmington also prides itself on its flexibility, particularly for those who are just getting started in their BSN education.

Students can enter the program twice per year, either in the spring or the fall. Unlike many of the other BSN degrees in NC, students here may enter the nursing program at the start of their sophomore years after having completed their basic general education requirements. Clinical experiences that are required for program completion take place both on campus through high-tech simulations and off-campus at a variety of prestigious healthcare facilities.

The UNCW Career Center is an excellent resource for aspiring RNs who want to learn more about various career paths they may pursue, as well. It provides numerous resources for locating jobs and even internships, and it also gives students access to some of the best career planning resources in the state.

7) University of North Carolina - Charlotte, Charlotte

The University of North Carolina School of Nursing at Charlotte provides a four-year baccalaureate degree program that focuses on backgrounds in not only general nursing education, but also liberal arts (general education) and science (core nursing). Upon completing the program, alumni are prepared to sit for the NCLEX-RN examination. After passing, their education and clinical experience provides the ability to work in various healthcare settings and specialties.

The process for completing the BSN program at UNC Charlotte requires all students to enter as Pre-Nursing students during their freshman year. Then, these students must maintain strict academic requirements to remain in pre-nursing and later graduate to the upper level nursing program during the first semester of their junior years.

The University of North Carolina at Charlotte’s nursing director, Dr. Dena Evans, was selected to participate in a leadership program offered through the AACN. She is one of only 30 academic leaders nationwide who will participate in the 2018 AACN-Wharton Executive Leadership Program, making it quite the honor. The goal is to provide attendees with a variety of tools to help enhance their leadership capacities, especially as it pertains to management, leading change, influencing others, and building relationships in various healthcare environments.

8) Lenoir-Rhyne College, Hickory

Lenoir-Rhyne College offers students the opportunity to pursue a traditional four-year BSN degree, and it also participates in the RIBN program, both through its Lenoir-Rhyne Grace Hospital School of Nursing. The school began in 1960, and the first group of four RNs graduated in 1964; it was the fourth nursing program in all of North Carolina to receive accreditation, and it was the first faith-based university in the state to receive accreditation.

The school’s curriculum is completely grounded in the Christian faith, as well. The faculty believe that a Christian perspective is ideal when it comes to developing nurse leaders of tomorrow. The curriculum itself is built to teach core nursing competencies and all of the activities and teaching methods reflect this. Students who successfully complete this program are not only prepared to take and pass the NCLEX-RN examination, but are also ready to begin lifelong, meaningful careers or continue their education to pursue master’s degrees or doctorate degrees.

The Grace Hospital School of Nursing also encourages qualified students to become members of Mu Alpha, the local chapter of Sigma Theta Tau, which is widely known as the Honor Society of Nursing. This opportunity teaches leadership and scholarship that is designed to help provide better healthcare for all, and above all else, it supports its members’ professional development worldwide.

9) Queens University of Charlotte, Charlotte

The Presbyterian School of Nursing at Queens University of Charlotte provides a traditional-track BSN program in NC that is among the very best. Students here spend the first year and the first semester of the second year completing all their pre-nursing general education requirements, then move on to the upper division nursing program. Some students may be eligible for the Direct Admit option through the Presbyterian School of Nursing; this is a conditional admission into the nursing program based on previous academic performance, and it allows students to bypass the admission process, which is usually quite competitive.

Students who attend Queens University of Charlotte participate in a variety of clinical courses to complement their classroom studies. These include areas such as basic and advanced medical-surgical nursing, pediatrics, community health, and even maternity, to name a few. The school boasts 20 full-time expert nurse educators who are dedicated to students’ success, and through their partnerships with various clinical agencies throughout the region, they can provide various learning opportunities that serve students well throughout their careers.

All of the clinical experiences take place within 40 miles of the campus, and for the 2018-2019 academic year, facilities include Gaston Hospice, Novant Health, and Carolinas HealthCare System, among others. Students are also encouraged to join the QUCANS, or Queens University of Charlotte Association of Nursing Students to pursue additional opportunities for future development.

10) Fayetteville State University, Fayetteville

Fayetteville State University offers a four-year generic pre-licensure BSN track through its School of Nursing. The SON-FSU was established in 1992 with the goal of providing baccalaureate nursing education. The nursing program here is comprised of two individual components, including the pre-nursing and upper division nursing components. Pre-nursing courses must be completed first; these prepare students for the more intensive coursework, simulations, and clinicals that take place during upper division nursing. The program requires students to complete a total of 127 credit hours over the course of four years.

Fayetteville State University is also home of the Collaborative Institute for Interprofessional Education and Practice, or CI-PEP. Its mission is to provide evidence-based prevention and early intervention services as well as the promotion of wellness to military families at nearby Fort Bragg Veteran’s Center. CI-PEP offers a number of services and opportunities for nursing students to interact with the public, including holistic approaches like massage and acupressure to a variety of community outreach services.


How to Get My RN License in North Carolina?

After graduating from one of the best BSN programs, each of which is approved by the North Carolina Board of Nursing, your next step is to apply for licensure in North Carolina. Then, you will need to register for the NCLEX-RN examination and pass it.

What Can I Do with a BSN in NC?

After you have passed your NCLEX-RN examination and officially earned your licensure in North Carolina, you can practice anywhere in the state as a registered nurse. The biggest employers of RNs in the state are Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, Duke University Hospital in Durham, and Novant Health Forsyth Medical Center, which is located in Winston-Salem. Most RNs work in general healthcare in hospitals, clinics, and doctors’ offices. Others work in specialties like pediatrics, obstetrics, or even trauma. A BSN is also a phenomenal foundation for further education, whether you decide to continue on to an MSN and become a nurse practitioner or even pursue a doctorate degree.

BSN Salary in North Carolina

Across the state, RNs who have earned BSN degrees earn a salary that ranges between $59,580 and $100,430 each year based on factors like experience and your employer. The average salary for all RNs with BSNs in NC is $65,780, which is $11,590 less than the average salary of all RNs with BSNs in the country, representing a 13.02% difference. Because North Carolina’s population is small compared to many other areas, and because costs of living are much lower than in other states, pay is also somewhat lower. However, by gaining experience and working in more lucrative fields (including plastic surgery or trauma), RNs can earn well above this average.

TypeSalary RangeAverage Salary
Hourly$28.64 - $48.28$31.63
Monthly$4,970 - $8,370$5,480
Annual$59,580 - $100,430$65,780
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

North Carolina Earnings Vs National Earnings

North Carolina BSNNational BSN Difference% Difference
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Demand for BSN Graduates

The Institute of Medicine’s drive to have at least 80% of all RNs in the country educated at the BSN level by 2020 has pushed many states forward, but North Carolina still lags behind somewhat. Despite the increased pay associated with a BSN in NC, many students need to graduate their programs as quickly as possible to get them into the workforce and earning salaries. Since the introduction of the RIBN program, which makes it easier (and faster) for students who meet academic requirements to pursue a BSN, numbers have started to increase. Demand is also increasing along with the need to promote positive patient outcomes. Between 2020 and 2030, employment of RNs with BSN degrees in North Carolina is expected to climb some 11.52% as 11,770 new jobs become available.

(BSN Degree Holders)
10 Year New Job Growth
Projection (2020-2030)
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Projected Annual Job Openings for BSN Graduates in NC (2023-2027)

Year New Jobs Replacement
Annual Job Openings
(New + Replacement)
2023 1,1775,6036,780
2024 1,2435,6696,912
2025 1,4505,8767,326
2026 1,6306,0567,686
2027 1,8006,2268,026
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

BSN Programs in Other States
Best ADN Programs State Wise
  • California
  • Florida
  • Pennsylvania