Becoming an LPN in North Carolina

North Carolina takes great pride in staying on top of cutting-edge nursing policy, education, and practice. To meet a growing demand for nurses, individuals can apply for a licensed practical nurse (LPN) license in the state by completing coursework and taking an exam or by endorsement. North Carolina is also part of the Nurse Licensure Compact which allows nurses from other NLC states to practice nursing in the state without additional licensure. By 2024, The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that LPN jobs will increase by 18% per year in North Carolina.

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2018 Best LPN Programs in North Carolina

Are you looking to become a licensed practical nurse in North Carolina? The school you choose is important when it comes to getting your license. Approved programs in North Carolina are offered at community colleges, technical centers, and private career schools - we list 37 schools across the state. After careful review of NCLEX-PN exam first-time pass rates over the past several years, we have ranked the top 10 programs. For more information on our LPN program rankings, see our Methodology page.

To see all the top ranked LPN programs in North Carolina click here.

North Carolina LPN Licensing Requirements

North Carolina, the applicant wishing to become an LPN must attend a board-approved nursing education program. After graduation, a copy of the official transcript needs to be sent directly to the North Carolina Board of Nursing and the graduate must register to take the NCLEX-PN. A criminal background check is also required.

Other requirements to become an LPN may include physical strength requirements, including the ability to lift patients, pulling and pushing machinery, and extended periods of standing, squatting, walking, and running.

North Carolina is one of 26 states that make up the Nurse Licensure Compact that allows nurses living in those states to practice in other NLC states without additional licensure.

LPN's licensed outside of compact area states can apply for a North Carolina license by endorsement, but can obtain a temporary license to cover them for 6 months while seeking state licensure. In order to receive a license via endorsement the applicant must submit proof of the following:

  • Completion of a state-approved education program comparable to North Carolina’s.
  • Passing the NCLEX or SBTPE.
  • Mentally and physically healthy and able to perform LPN tasks.
  • Previous State Licensure.
  • Criminal background check.

For those educated outside of the US, applicants can qualify to take the NCLEX by submitting educational documents and passing an English proficiency exam. They must also obtain a valid social security card and submit to a criminal background check.

LPN License by Examination:
https://www.ncbon.com/licensure-listing-apply-licensure-by-examination-licensure-by-examination

LPN licenses are only valid for 2 years and expire the last day of the individual’s birth-month. To renew the North Carolina LPN license the applicant must fulfill one of the following requirements within the 2 years prior to expiration:

  • 640 LPN hours plus 15 hours continued education
  • 30 hours continued education
  • National certification or recertification
  • Board-approved refresher course
  • 2+ semester hours of post-licensure nursing academics
  • 15 hours continued education AND completion of a nursing project as the principal or co-investigator
  • 15 hours continued education AND co-authoring a nursing-related published paper
  • 15 hours continued education AND 5 hours developing or teaching a nursing presentation.

Learn more about North Carolina LPN Jobs & Employment Outlook.

LPN Salary in North Carolina By Area

The table below lists career information organized by the Bureau of Labor Statistics for licensed practical nurses in North Carolina. The table is sorted by total employment, with the largest metropolitan areas listed first.

AreaTotal EmploymentAverage Hourly WageAverage Annual Salary
Charlotte, Concord, Gastonia3,790$20.03$41,660
Raleigh1,460$20.84$43,340
Winston, Salem1,250$20.32$42,270
Greensboro, High Point1,240$20.16$41,920
Asheville1,180$20.49$42,610
Fayetteville1,130$19.87$41,330
Durham, Chapel Hill800$21.94$45,640
Wilmington610$19.07$39,670
Hickory, Lenoir, Morganton540$20.32$42,270
Greenville260$19.82$41,220
Rocky Mount230$19.68$40,940
New Bern200$19.05$39,620
Burlington160$21.08$43,840
Goldsboro160$18.12$37,690
Jacksonville90$17.86$37,150

For those interested in advancing their nursing career, see our North Carolina LPN to RN/BSN programs page.

Top Ranked North Carolina LPN Programs

1

Cape Fear Community College

411 N. Front Street, Wilmington, NC 28401 - (910) 362-7000 - Visit Homepage

Cape Fear Community College (CFCC) is an open-door, comprehensive community college located in Castle Hayne, North Carolina, with additional campuses located in Wilmington and Burgaw. CFCC focuses on vocational, technical, associate degrees, and continuing education programs, as well as workforce development.

Overall Score: 100.00
2

Sampson Community College

1801 Sunset Ave, Clinton, NC 28329 - (910) 592-8081 - Visit Homepage

Sampson Community College is located in Clinton, North Carolina. Their top-notch practical nursing program prepares students to care for children and adults. Students are instilled with the knowledge and skills necessary to assess, plan, implement, and evaluate nursing care. Upon completion of the program, students are ready to take the NCLEX-PN.

Overall Score: 100.00 - Request Info on Sampson Community College
3

Brunswick Community College

50 College Road, Bolivia, NC 28422 - (910) 755-7300 - Visit Homepage

Brunswick Community College is located in Bolivia, North Carolina, with additional locations in Leland and Carolina Shores. Brunswick Community College provides opportunities for success through accessible, quality programs and services, preparing students for professional technical careers or transfer programs, utilizing traditional and distance learning, as well as providing quality programs for workplace advancement.

Overall Score: 100.00 - Request Info on Brunswick Community College
4

Wilson Community College

902 Herring Avenue, Wilson, NC 27893 - (252) 291-1195 - Visit Homepage

The Practical Nursing curriculum at Wilson Community College prepares individuals with the knowledge and skills to provide nursing care to children and adults. Students will participate in assessment, planning, implementing, and evaluating nursing care. Graduates are eligible to apply to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN) which is required for practice as a Licensed Practical Nurse.

Overall Score: 100.00 - Request Info on Wilson Community College
5

Surry Community College

630 South Main St, Dobson, NC 27017 - (336) 386-8121 - Visit Homepage

The Practical Nursing program at Surry Community College prepares nursing students to enter the field with the knowledge and skills needed to provide nursing care to children and adults. Upon completion, students are prepared to sit for the NCLEX-PN. Once licensure is obtained, graduates can find employment in hospitals, rehabilitation/long term care/home health facilities, clinics, and physicians’ offices.

Overall Score: 100.00 - Request Info on Surry Community College
6

Edgecombe Community College

225 Tarboro St., Rocky Mount, NC 27801 - (252) 823-5166 - Visit Homepage

Edgecombe Community College’s Rocky Mount campus offers a practical nursing program designed to give students the skills and knowledge needed to provide safe, quality nursing care to patients across the lifespan. The curriculum includes coursework centered on healthcare, nursing practice, and the holistic individual.

Overall Score: 100.00
7

Rowan-Cabarrus Community College

1333 Jake Alexander Blvd. South, Salisbury, NC 28146 - (704) 216-7222 - Visit Homepage

Located in Salisbury, Rowan-Cabarrus Community College provides a practical nursing program to prepare students for the NCLEX-PN examination so that they can enjoy rewarding careers as LPNs. This ACEN-accredited program boasts a curriculum that emphasizes evidence-based practice and participation in interdisciplinary healthcare teams.

Overall Score: 100.00 - Request Info on Rowan-Cabarrus Community College
8

Lenoir Community College

231 Hwy 58 South, Kinston, NC 28502 - (252) 527-6223 - Visit Homepage

Lenoir Community College is a comprehensive, two-year institution located in Kinston, North Carolina, with additional locations in Snow Hill, Trenton, and LaGrange. Lenoir offers associate degrees, diplomas, certifications, transfer programs, continuing education, and workforce development programs accessible through traditional coursework as well as distance learning options.

Overall Score: 100.00 - Request Info on Lenoir Community College
9

Gaston College

201 Highway 321 South, Dallas, NC 28034 - (704) 922-6200 - Visit Homepage

Gaston College (GC) is a premier postsecondary educational resource located in Dallas, North Carolina, with additional campuses located in Lincolnton and Belmont. GC is an open-door community college that promotes student success and lifelong learning through comprehensive educational programs and services.

Overall Score: 99.38 - Request Info on Gaston College
10

James Sprunt Community College

133 James Sprunt Drive, Kenansville, NC 28349 - (910) 296-1429 - Visit Homepage

James Sprunt Community College, located in Kenansville, offers a practical nursing program to prepare students for employment in hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare facilities. Enrolled students take a mix of courses in which they are encouraged to participate in assessment, planning, implementing, and evaluating nursing care for children and adults. Upon completion they will be eligible to take the NCLEX-PN exam.

Overall Score: 99.23 - Request Info on James Sprunt Community College

Continued List of All Programs in North Carolina

RankedProgramScoreDetails
#11 Wayne Community College
3000 Wayne Memorial Drive, Goldsboro, NC 27534
(919) 735-5151 Visit Homepage
98.81Request Information
#12 Cleveland Community College
137 South Post Rd, Shelby, NC 28152
(704) 669-6000 Visit Homepage
98.81Request Information
#13 Robeson Community College
5160 Fayetteville Rd, Lumberton, NC 28360
(910) 272-3700 Visit Homepage
98.56Request Information
#14 Durham Technical Community College
1637 Lawson Street, Durham, NC 27703
(919) 536-7200 Visit Homepage
97.89Request Information
#15 Southeastern Community College
4564 Chadbourn Highway, Whiteville, NC 28472
(910) 642-7141 Visit Homepage
97.47Request Information
#16 College of The Albemarle
1208 N. Road St, Elizabeth City, NC 27909
(252) 335-0821 Visit Homepage
96.35Request Information
#17 Craven Community College
305 Cunningham Blvd, Havelock, NC 28532
(252) 444-6005 Visit Homepage
96.17Request Information
#18 Forsyth Technical Community College
2100 Silas Creek Parkway, Winston-Salem, NC 27103
(336) 723-0371 Visit Homepage
94.61Request Information
#19 McDowell Technical Community College
54 College Dr., Marion, NC 28752
(828) 652-6021 Visit Homepage
94.50Request Information
#20 The College of Davidson and Davie Counties
297 DCCC Road, Thomasville, NC 27360
(336) 249-8186 Visit Homepage
93.79Request Information
#21 South Piedmont Community College
3509 Old Charlotte Highway, Monroe, NC 28110
(704) 290-5100 Visit Homepage
93.35Request Information
#22 Richmond Community College
1042 West Hamlet Avenue, Hamlet, NC 28345
(910) 410-1700 Visit Homepage
92.90Request Information
#23 Bladen Community College
7418 NC Hwy 41W, Dublin, NC 28332
(910) 879-5500 Visit Homepage
92.48Request Information
#24 Rockingham Community College
215 Wrenn Memorial Road, Wentworth, NC 27375
(336) 342-4261 Visit Homepage
91.81Request Information
#25 Coastal Carolina Community College
444 Western Boulevard, Jacksonville, NC 28546
(910) 455-1221 Visit Homepage
91.35Request Information
#26 Fayetteville Technical Community College
2201 Hull Rd., Fayetteville, NC 28303
(910) 678-8400 Visit Homepage
90.94Request Information
#27 Montgomery Community College
1011 Page Street, Troy, NC 27371
(910) 576-6222 Visit Homepage
90.09Request Information
#28 ECPI University - Charlotte
4800 Airport Center Parkway, Charlotte, NC 28208
(704) 399-1010 Visit Homepage
88.67Request Information
#29 Beaufort County Community College
5337 HWY 264 East, Washington, NC 27889
(252) 946-6194 Visit Homepage
88.54Request Information
#30 Guilford Technical Community College
601 High Point Road, Jamestown, NC 27282
(336) 334-4822 Visit Homepage
88.53Request Information
#31 Vance-Granville Community College
200 Community College Road, Henderson, NC 27536
(252) 492-2061 Visit Homepage
87.33Request Information
#32 Central Carolina Community College
1105 Kelly Dr, Sanford, NC 27330
(919) 775-5401 Visit Homepage
84.41Request Information
#33 Isothermal Community College
134 Maple Street, Rutherfordton, NC 28139
(828) 286-2218 Visit Homepage
83.77Request Information
#34 Nash Community College
522 N. Old Carriage Road, Rocky Mount, NC 27804
(252) 443-4011 Visit Homepage
79.19Request Information
#35 Halifax Community College
200 College Drive, Weldon, NC 27890
(252) 536-2551 Visit Homepage
77.01Request Information

Programs Not Included In Rankings

ProgramDetails
ECPI University - Greensboro
7802 Airport Center Drive, Greensboro, NC 27409
(336) 665-1400 Visit Homepage
Request Information
ECPI University - Raleigh
4101 Doie Cope Road, Raleigh, NC 27613
(919) 571-0057 Visit Homepage
Request Information

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