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.


2017 Best LPN Programs in North Carolina

Are you interested in becoming a Licensed Practical Nurse in the state of North Carolina? If so, you should put some thought into deciding which approved nursing school you're going to attend. The state of North Caroling offers almost 35 LPN programs from private nursing schools, community colleges, and vocational learning centers. We've done some digging and reviewed several years of pass-results from the NCLEX-PN first time test takers and put together a list of North Carolina of the top 10 offerings. For more information on school 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:

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
Winston, Salem1,250$20.32$42,270
Greensboro, High Point1,240$20.16$41,920
Durham, Chapel Hill800$21.94$45,640
Hickory, Lenoir, Morganton540$20.32$42,270
Rocky Mount230$19.68$40,940
New Bern200$19.05$39,620

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

Top Ranked North Carolina LPN Programs


Cape Fear Community College

4500 Blue Clay Road, Castle Hayne, NC 28429 - (888) 720-0575 - 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

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

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

College of The Albemarle

1208 N. Road St, Elizabeth City, NC 27909 - (252) 335-0821 - Visit Homepage

At College of The Albemarle, practical nursing students are provided with the knowledge and skills to integrate safety and quality into nursing care to meet the needs of the holistic individual which impact health, quality of life, and achievement potential.

Overall Score: 100.00 - Request Info on College of The Albemarle

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

Cleveland Community College

137 South Post Rd, Shelby, NC 28152 - (704) 669-6000 - Visit Homepage

Cleveland Community College (CCC) is a comprehensive, community college located in Shelby, North Carolina, providing diverse and accessible learning opportunities to meet the community's educational and training needs. CCC provides a variety of career certifications, associate degrees, transfer education programs, and workforce development, ensuring student success in the workplace.

Overall Score: 100.00 - Request Info on Cleveland Community College

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

Wayne Community College

3000 Wayne Memorial Drive, Goldsboro, NC 27534 - (919) 735-5151 - Visit Homepage

At Wayne Community College, graduates of the practical nursing program are prepared to find employment in hospitals, rehabilitation and long-term care, home health facilities, clinics, and physicians’ offices. Preparation includes classroom, laboratory, and clinical practice. Once students complete the program, they are prepared to sit for the NCLEX-PN.

Overall Score: 100.00 - Request Info on Wayne Community College

South Piedmont Community College

3509 Old Charlotte Highway, Monroe, NC 28110 - (704) 290-5100 - Visit Homepage

The highly revered Practical Nursing Diploma curriculum at South Piedmont Community College prepares nursing students with the knowledge and skills necessary to provide exceptional and ethical nursing care to children and adults. Graduates are eligible and prepared 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

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

Continued List of All Programs in North Carolina

#11 Edgecombe Community College
225 Tarboro St., Rocky Mount, NC 27801
(252) 823-5166 Visit Homepage
100.00Request Information
#12 Rowan-Cabarrus Community College
1333 Jake Alexander Blvd. South, Salisbury, NC 28146
(704) 216-7222 Visit Homepage
100.00Request Information
#13 Gaston College
201 Highway 321 South, Dallas, NC 28034
(704) 922-6200 Visit Homepage
98.60Request Information
#14 Forsyth Technical Community College
2100 Silas Creek Parkway, Winston-Salem, NC 27103
(336) 723-0371 Visit Homepage
97.95Request Information
#15 Coastal Carolina Community College
444 Western Boulevard, Jacksonville, NC 28546
(910) 455-1221 Visit Homepage
97.30Request Information
#16 James Sprunt Community College
133 James Sprunt Drive, Kenansville, NC 28349
(910) 296-1429 Visit Homepage
96.15Request Information
#17 Durham Technical Community College
1637 Lawson Street, Durham, NC 27703
(919) 536-7200 Visit Homepage
95.90Request Information
#18 ECPI University - Charlotte
4800 Airport Center Parkway, Charlotte, NC 28208
(704) 399-1010 Visit Homepage
95.65Request Information
#19 McDowell Technical Community College
54 College Dr., Marion, NC 28752
(828) 652-6021 Visit Homepage
95.60Request Information
#20 Montgomery Community College
1011 Page Street, Troy, NC 27371
(910) 576-6222 Visit Homepage
95.50Request Information
#21 Carteret Community College
3505 Arendell Street, Morehead City, NC 28557
(252) 222-6000 Visit Homepage
95.00Request Information
#22 Vance-Granville Community College
200 Community College Road, Henderson, NC 27536
(252) 492-2061 Visit Homepage
94.90Request Information
#23 Halifax Community College
200 College Drive, Weldon, NC 27890
(252) 536-2551 Visit Homepage
94.80Request Information
#24 Bladen Community College
7418 NC Hwy 41W, Dublin, NC 28332
(910) 879-5500 Visit Homepage
94.25Request Information
#25 Craven Community College
305 Cunningham Blvd, Havelock, NC 28532
(252) 444-6005 Visit Homepage
93.30Request Information
#26 Southeastern Community College
4564 Chadbourn Highway, Whiteville, NC 28472
(910) 642-7141 Visit Homepage
93.20Request Information
#27 The College of Davidson and Davie Counties
297 DCCC Road, Thomasville, NC 27360
(336) 249-8186 Visit Homepage
92.45Request Information
#28 Robeson Community College
5160 Fayetteville Rd, Lumberton, NC 28360
(910) 272-3700 Visit Homepage
92.20Request Information
#29 Fayetteville Technical Community College
2201 Hull Rd., Fayetteville, NC 28303
(910) 678-8400 Visit Homepage
89.95Request Information
#30 Beaufort County Community College
5337 HWY 264 East, Washington, NC 27889
(252) 946-6194 Visit Homepage
89.10Request Information
#31 Isothermal Community College
134 Maple Street, Rutherfordton, NC 28139
(828) 286-2218 Visit Homepage
87.85Request Information
#32 Central Carolina Community College
1105 Kelly Dr, Sanford, NC 27330
(919) 775-5401 Visit Homepage
87.60Request Information
#33 Guilford Technical Community College
601 High Point Road, Jamestown, NC 27282
(336) 334-4822 Visit Homepage
86.45Request Information
#34 Nash Community College
522 N. Old Carriage Road, Rocky Mount, NC 27804
(252) 443-4011 Visit Homepage
85.25Request Information
#35 ECPI University - Greensboro
7802 Airport Center Drive, Greensboro, NC 27409
(336) 665-1400 Visit Homepage
82.45Request Information
#36 Rockingham Community College
215 Wrenn Memorial Road, Wentworth, NC 27375
(336) 342-4261 Visit Homepage
81.85Request Information
#37 ECPI University - Raleigh
4101 Doie Cope Road, Raleigh, NC 27613
(919) 571-0057 Visit Homepage
76.90Request Information
#38 Richmond Community College
1042 West Hamlet Avenue, Hamlet, NC 28345
(910) 410-1700 Visit Homepage
74.05Request Information

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