10 Best RN to BSN Programs in North Carolina (Online & Campus) – 2023 Rankings

Written By: Editorial Staff @ NursingProcess.org

If you’re a licensed registered nurse in North Carolina, RN to BSN degrees can vastly help to improve your job security, increase your salary and even pave the way to new and exciting opportunities in management type roles. These programs build on what you have already learned and experienced, allowing you to further both your education and career. We have analyzed and evaluated 18 schools accredited by the CCNE or ACEN offering RN to BSN programs in North Carolina to provide you with a list of the best.

Online RN to BSN Programs in North Carolina: What You Need to Know?

An online RN to BSN program in North Carolina builds upon your previous ADN or diploma education with more specialized and focused courses. When you take these courses online, you can experience unsurpassed flexibility while earning your baccalaureate degree. You can take courses in your own time – often as quickly or as slowly as necessary – and only visit campuses or medical facilities for labs, simulations, and clinical experiences.

ACEN/CCNE Accredited & Approved by North Carolina Board of Nursing: First and foremost, you should ensure that the school of your choice is approved by the North Carolina Board of Nursing and accredited by either the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). These organizations set high standards in nursing education, and because of this, many employers prefer to hire nurses who graduate from accredited programs.

Coursework: Courses build on your previous education and experience while focusing heavily on the professional side of nursing. Focuses include management and leadership, research evidence-based care, and community health, among others.

Sample Courses
Health Assessment for Registered Nurses, Professional Nursing Practice for the Baccalaureate Nurse, Gerontological Nursing and the End of Life Care, Population and Community Health Nursing, Leadership and Management in Nursing, Health Policy, Research in Nursing, Transcultural Health Care, Pathophysiologic and Pharmacological Evidence Based Nursing Care, and Profession Nursing Capstone

Clinical Training: Clinical training allows you to put your newfound knowledge into practice in a simulated or real-life setting. Depending on the school in North Carolina, you may need to participate in unpaid clinical experiences in a partner facility, but you may be able to get credit for online projects or your current employment, too.

Program Length: Online RN to BSN degrees in NC vary in length depending on the credits you need and your ability to take multiple courses at the same time. If you enroll full-time, you may be able to graduate in about a year, but if you enroll part-time, you may be able to stretch your education over two, three, or more years.

Common Admission Requirements:To qualify for the program, you must have your ADN or nursing diploma, but other requirements can change from one school to the next. For example, at the University of North Carolina, you will need:

• A minimum grade of C in all prerequisite courses;
• A current RN license without any restrictions;
• At least 24 credits that can be transferred including 6 in college-level English and 3 in college-level math;
• A cumulative GPA of at least 2.5 on a 4.0 scale; and
• Proof of eligibility to return to the last college you attended.

What are the 10 Best Accredited RN to BSN Programs in North Carolina for 2023?

(Based on our ranking methodology, the following are the 10 best RN-to-BSN programs in North Carolina (Online & Campus).)

1) East Carolina University, Greenville

Type: Online

Program Overview: East Carolina University is acclaimed for its high-quality nursing education that at the same time is quite affordable. Its RN to BSN is a 100% online program that offers utmost flexibility for the working nurse. You can complete this program in just four semesters by taking two courses per semester. While all the courses are offered online, two courses require your presence in a real-world setting. As a graduate of this program you will demonstrate competence in patient-care, professional communication, nursing leadership, and patient advocacy.

Key Highlights

• Towards the end of the program you will complete a practice experience in community health and nursing. This must be done in consultation with the faculty.
• The small student-to faculty ratio along with engaging instructors brings out the best in each student of this online cohort.
• Being honored the National League for Nursing’s Center of excellence award, goes to say about the quality and effectives of nursing programs offered at ECU.

2) University of North Carolina-Wilmington, Wilmington

Type: Online

Program Overview: University of North Carolina-Wilmington established in 1984 has grown from strength to strength and today its 2,100 strong alumni are striving towards improving health of the people in the state of North Carolina. This RN to BSN program mainly trains you for professional nursing practice, nursing of the elderly, community nursing and leadership and management in nursing. You can earn your BSN in 12 months by completing a minimum of 31 credit hours in core nursing courses. You will be taking classes in two, seven-week formats each semester.

Key Highlights

• If you are working as a nurse in a healthcare setting, you can complete a self-designed clinical right there. This flexibility works well for working nurses as you can easily accommodate this course in your work schedule.
• Each course is systematically divided into learning modules spread across the seven weeks. So, each week you start with a new module of the course you are taking.
• By pursuing this course registered nurses can build a strong foundation for advancing their career in nursing administration, research, leadership and education.

3) Western Carolina University, Cullowhee

Type: Online

Program Overview: A dedicated faculty that delivers a 100% NCLEX pass rate, state of art facilities and affordable quality education is what you sign up for when you enroll with Western Carolina University. This online RN to BSN course in North Carolina is designed to broaden your knowledge and skills as a registered nurse by honing critical thinking, decision making, communication and leadership skills. To graduate, you must complete at least 24 credit hours of core nursing courses through WCU, a clinical practice experience in community health and nursing leadership and six credit hours in electives. You must note that an associate or diploma does not waive off the elective requirement.

Key Highlights

• You begin the program with an online orientation course. This will give you better understanding on taking online courses.
• The college offers an RN to MSN program. This can serve well for those who want to earn a BSN and an MSN with a specialty track either as Nurse Educator or Nurse Leader. What’s more you can pursue this program while working full-time.

4) Winston-Salem State University, Winston-Salem

Type: Online

Program Overview: Winston Salem State University serves a diverse student population to be culturally relevant and compassionate care givers. You can expand career avenues and your knowledge base by completing this 100% online RN to BSN program. You can complete this program in three semesters of full-time study by taking three courses each semester. Part-timers can set a pace as per their convenience and complete the program taking one or two courses each semester. Out of the total 128 credits required for graduation, at least 35 credits must be completed in the BSN coursework. Upon graduation you will be trained to communicate effectively, practice evidence-based nursing, promote health and provide nursing care to a diverse population.

Key Highlights

• The program entails completing two clinical practice experiences, one in adult health nursing and other in community health nursing. This can be done in your own community.
• You can put your past degree to good use and transfer at least 33 credits towards the BSN. This will help you save considerable time and tuition costs.

5) University of North Carolina-Charlotte, Charlotte

Type: Online

Program Overview: University of North Carolina-Charlotte is a Center of Excellence in Nursing Education, meaning its nursing programs are acclaimed for providing a robust foundation in nursing concepts and fundamentals. If you are a registered nurse, have a GPA of at least 2.0 in all college courses and a minimum of ‘C’ grade in all nursing pre-requisite courses then you must consider RN to BSN education in North Carolina to better your job prospects. This 100% online program will build up on your past knowledge, so you only complete a minimum of 31 credits in core nursing courses and earn a BSN in just 12 months. Besides, you earn 39 credits automatically for your past education. With three start dates in fall, spring and summer, the programs offers considerable flexibility for busy individuals.

Key Highlights

• You will complete six credits of clinical training each in the areas of community health nursing and in designing and coordinating care of individuals, families and community.
• You must earn at least a grade of ‘C’ in all BSN courses in order to successfully graduate.

6) University of North Carolina-Greensboro, Greensboro

Type: Online

Program Overview: With a history dating back to 1970 when they graduated their first BSN students, UNC Greensboro School of Nursing has been running with a mission to make a difference in the lives of people and community by educating one nurse at a time. This RN to BSN is a fully online program offered in a part-time format for the working nurse. You can complete this program in as few as twelve months. All coursework is offered online through Canvas, an e-learning management system. Your coursework includes concepts of professional nursing, health assessment of individuals, community health concepts, care of the older adult, nursing leadership, nursing research, in addition to one nursing elective with the choices of global perspective on the health of women, health care informatics, and culture and healthcare.

Key Highlights

• Students complete 31 hours through UNCG, with 25 of those credits in the Nursing Program. Graduates of a North Carolina Community College would fall under certain articulation agreements, depending on when they graduated.
• Out of a total of 120 credits required for graduation you can transfer in a maximum of 64 credits from a community college, in addition to receiving 30 credits after completing your first two nursing courses, thus cutting short the program completion time.
• The college also offers the opportunity for students who already hold a 4-year non-nursing degree to pursue this RN to BSN program if they also have a nursing degree or nursing diploma. Bachelor's degree holders will need to complete 31 hours at UNCG to earn the RN to BSN.

7) Appalachian State University, Boone

Type: Online

Program Overview: To meet the growing requirement for BSN educated nurses, Appalachian State University is offering a part-time RN to BSN program in the Tar Heel state, which is 100% online and can be completed within one year (Fall, Spring and Summer). This program which begins in Fall of each year will require 120 credit hours to graduate out of which 30 must be from Appalachian. The core coursework lays a strong emphasis on health assessment, care for seniors, care of communities and nursing leadership and management. General education and pre-requisite courses can be transferred upon evaluation by the distance education authorities.

Key Highlights

• A total of 150 students are admitted into this cohort program.
• All general education and pre-requisite courses must be completed prior to seeking admission.
• This program follows a non-traditional method of clinical training which will involve course relevant classroom projects and research.
• Post-completion of this program you can continue growing as an RN or take up graduate studies in nursing.

8) Queens University of Charlotte, Charlotte

Type: Online

Program Overview: At the Queens University of Charlotte, you can fulfill your aspiration of becoming a leader in the field of nursing by completing the online RN to BSN program in as little as 2.5 semesters in five, 8-week sessions with no on-campus commitments. You will be required to take two core BSN courses in each 8-week session. Coursework will cover areas such as Gerontological Nursing, Health Informatics and Public Health and Community Health Nursing. Although, the program was designed keeping in mind registered nurses with an associate degree level education from the North Carolina community college system, aspirants from elsewhere can also apply. You must have a minimum 2.0 GPA in your associate degree, complete all pre-requisites with minimum C and hold an RN license in the state where you will be completing the practice requirements associated with this program.

Key Highlights

● You could not have asked for a better location in NC, as Queens University is located at the heart of the highly rated health care systems in the state.
● Courses are taught by well qualified faculty with several years of practice experience.
● 98% of all nursing graduates have a job offer by the time they graduate and 100% are employed within 6 months.
• The college offers this program only when there is a qualified pool of applicants, so before you make your plans please ensure to contact the college to find out if they are offering the program.

9) Fayetteville State University, Fayetteville

Type: Online

Program Overview: If you are a nurse who is seeking a better pay and position, then the 100% RN to BSN at Fayetteville State University is something you should look at. This program emphasizes on science as a foundation for learning coupled with strong nursing skills development. Like most RN to BSN programs, this program offers you both the full-time and part-time options. If you have time on your side and want to graduate faster, then you can do so within a short span of 2.5 semesters, but if you want to continue working and pursue this course part-time then you can graduate in 5 semesters. To apply for this 120- credit hour program you need to hold an active RN license and must have a hospital diploma or an associate degree from an accredited institution.

Key Highlights

• This program is offered twice a year - Fall and Spring.
• The college has a Student Nursing Association, whose main purpose is to help nursing student’s network, participate in community services and also guide them to excel in the nursing field.
• Fayetteville State offers you the option to take all non-nursing courses at an accredited college of your choice.

10) University of North Carolina-Pembroke, Pembroke

Type: Online

Program Overview: The RN to BSN offering at the University of North Carolina-Pembroke builds up on your past nursing education (Hospital Diploma or Associate Degree) and experience and enhances your career opportunities as a registered nurse. UNC- Pembroke believes in the philosophy of service paired with kindness. This 100% online program admits students throughout the year, so depending on your convenience, you can choose a date to start. You also will have the option of studying either full-time or part-time with full-time being accelerated and taking as short as 12 months, while the part-time students take usually around 2 years-time to graduate. You need to possess a North Carolina RN license or an RN license from a participating Nurse Licensure Compact state.

Key Highlights

• This program was Ranked 5th best in the Southern region by Best Value Schools.
• The college also offers an RN to MSN program for those interested in directly earning their masters.
• You’ll learn from expert faculty, who have years of valuable experience in both the field of nursing and in education.



Latest on North Carolina’s Push for 80 Percent BSN

In response to the Institute of Medicine’s push to have 80% of the RNs in the country educated at the BSN level or higher by 2020, numerous options have been proposed by various educators and boards across the state to help North Carolina reach that goal. Originally, the State Board of Community Colleges was urged to pursue four-year degree programs in an effort to bring more options to RNs. Ultimately, it was determined that community colleges should not compete with four-year universities, so the proposal did not come to fruition.

Between the years of 2000 and 2010, the number of BSN-educated nurses rose from 50% to 55% across the state, but as of 2016, this number held steady at just over half. As of October 2018, per information available through the North Carolina Board of Nursing, more RNs across the state have ADN degrees than BSN degrees. It is hoped that RNs will see the value of obtaining higher education and pursue their BSN degrees through one of several high-quality programs in North Carolina.

Options to Fund Your RN to BSN in North Carolina

Though RN to BSN education in the Tar Heel state is inherently less expensive than a traditional four-year BSN, it can still be a financial burden for many. Fortunately, there are grants, loans, scholarships and more designed to help you cover those costs.

Grants: At the federal level, the Pell Grant is one of the most commonly-awarded grants, and it is available to students who demonstrate financial need. At the state level, the North Carolina State Education Assistance Authority offers the North Carolina Student Incentive Grant. To apply for either (or both), fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Loans: Federal student loans can help cover any remaining expenses not covered by scholarships, grants, or employer assistance programs. Options include the famed Stafford Loan, which is still widely available. At the state level, you can consider the NC Student Assist Loan, as well. Again, you can find out if you are eligible by completing the FAFSA form.

Scholarships: Scholarships are abundant in North Carolina. Some are provided by schools themselves, some are provided by employers, and others are provided by companies interested in making a difference in the nursing field now and in the future. Some of the best scholarships in the state can be found through the North Carolina Nurses Association website.

Employer Assistance Programs: Employer assistance programs also exist, so check with your employer to learn more. You may be eligible to have part or all of your tuition costs paid by your employer in exchange for working in a specific area for a predetermined period of time. You may also qualify for a tuition reimbursement program that is offered by some employers as a benefit. To learn more, check with your human resources department.

6 Advantages of Pursuing an RN to BSN in North Carolina

Aside from a sense of personal accomplishment and pride, finishing your RN to BSN degree in NC can provide you with several other benefits that will serve you will throughout the rest of your career.

1. Expand Your Knowledge, Skills & Abilities: Starting from day one, you will gain knowledge, skills, and abilities that allow you to provide better patient care. This is a tremendous benefit to you, your employer, and your patients. By taking on new responsibilities or even assuming leadership roles, you will have a positive impact on the lives of everyone around you and play your part in improving healthcare in NC as a whole.

2. Salary Bump: Your new responsibilities will likely come with a salary increase, as well. Right now, with your ADN or diploma, you are likely earning an average of $70,710 a year. However, once you complete the program, your salary could increase by an average of $10,440 annually, bringing it to $81,150. Whether you work in a hospital, clinic, or even in home health, employers statewide are willing to pay more for BSN-educated nurses.

North Carolina
Before RN To BSN After RN to BSN How Much More Will I Earn
(Source: Compiled using data from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

3. More Job Openings: ADN-educated nurses across NC can choose from 1,990 new jobs each year. However, due to the increased demand for RNs with higher education, once you earn your BSN degree, you will have access to 3,590 job openings across the state. Though many of these openings are in hospitals, some are in private doctors’ offices and clinics and offer more predictable daytime hours with weekends and holidays off. Earning your BSN gives you better odds of securing one of these positions.

North Carolina Annual Job Openings (New + Replacement)
Annual Openings for BSN Graduates 3,590
Annual Openings for ADN Graduates 1,990
(Source: Compiled using data from careeronestop.org)

4. The Outlook is Brighter for a BSN Graduate: Though nurses are in high demand in North Carolina and few truly worry about job security, your overall career outlook will improve a great deal after your RN to BSN education. Employment growth among RNs who have ADN degrees is expected to climb 9.66% between 2020 and 2030. However, once you have your BSN degree, that growth rises to 12.57% and represents a better sense of security.

10 Year (2020-2030) Job Outlook
Employment New Job Growth
2020 2030 Number %
BSN 53,53060,2606,73012.57%
ADN 30,54033,4902,9509.66%
(Source: Compiled using data from careeronestop.org)

5. Career Advancement: Higher education opens doors to new career opportunities, as well. Many RNs in North Carolina go on to become charge nurses, nurse managers, and nurse supervisors after they complete the program. Still others choose to go into different types of research, and some even go to work in community and technical colleges as nurse educators – all of which are in high demand in NC.

Advancement Opportunities
Charge Nurse Director of Nursing
Chief Nursing Officer Nurse Educator
Clinical Nurse Specialist Nurse Manager
Clinical Research Nurse Nurse Supervisor

6. Post-RN to BSN Study Options: Finishing your baccalaureate nursing degree provides you with a solid foundation for an MSN, PhD, or DNP degree, as well. These careers, just like registered nursing, are expected to continue to flourish in North Carolina and the country as a whole. If you want to become a certified nurse midwife or nurse practitioner for example, you can earn your MSN in about two years and earn a salary of up to $126,100 each year. You could also go on to become a senior policy analyst, a health system executive, or college professor with your PhD or DNP degree. This will take an additional four to six years, and once you complete it, you can earn a salary of up to $147,220 each year.

Type of Degree Length Roles and Responsibilities Salary
Master’s Degree (MSN/MS)Up to 2 yearsServe as educators, clinical leaders, administrators or APRNs certified as a Nurse Practitioner (NP), Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS), Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM), or Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA).$87,180 - $126,100
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) or Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Degree4 to 6 yearsServe as health system executives, educators, deans, clinical experts/ Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs), researchers, and senior policy analysts.$87,180 - $147,220

RN to BSN Programs in Nearby States
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