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 in the state can apply for a licensed practical nurse (LPN) license in the state by completing coursework and taking an exam. By 2026, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that LPN jobs will increase by 12%, making this an excellent time to invest in an education toward a rewarding, growing career field. North Carolina LPNs earn around an hourly wage of $20.16 or annual salary of $41,940, which is roughly $2,090 less per year than national average.
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.
Details on North Carolina LPN Schools & Classes
North Carolina boasts a great variety of schools offering accredited practical nursing programs. These programs are most commonly found at community colleges and vocational schools in the state. With part-time and full-time options typically available, students can expect the program to take 1-2 years to complete. Some schools offer select class components online as well.
Practical nursing programs deliver content via core nursing courses, labs, and supervised clinical experiences. Common course titles include:
- Intro to Health Concepts
- Anatomy & Physiology
- Developmental Psychology
- Family Health Concepts
- Holistic Health Concepts
Choosing an accredited LPN program is of great importance. These programs are thoroughly vetted and carry a level of prestige that can’t be matched. The most common accrediting bodies for nursing programs are the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Students will also want to check that their program of choice is approved by the North Carolina Board of Nursing.
North Carolina schools offering LPN programs will have varying levels of admission requirements, so students should research schools to find out more about individual requirements. These typically include:
- Satisfactory score on the ATI TEAS exam
- Submit official transcripts from all high schools and colleges attended (or GED scores)
- Completion of all prerequisite courses
- Submit application and pay all required fees
- Personal essay or statement of goals
Tuition and Costs
Practical nursing program expenses are undoubtedly on the mind of any potential LPN student. Due to the program being offered primarily at community colleges, fees can be quite reasonable, though this can vary between schools. Students must cover the costs of tuition, required fees, and course materials (books and other supplies). Financial aid is typically available to well-qualified applicants.
As an example, tuition for the LPN program at Fayetteville Technical Community College runs roughly $2,280. This does not include additional fees and supplies.
North Carolina LPN Licensing Requirements
In 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.
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
NCLEX Exam Information
Upon graduating from a practical nursing program, all students must sit for and pass the NCLEX-PN exam for licensure. This exam covers a variety of nursing related topics and is intended to test the student’s aptitude. For a comprehensive overview of the NCLEX-PN exam, click here. Students are also encouraged to take the NCLEX-PN practice test at their leisure.
LPN Reciprocity and eNLC
North Carolina is one of the states that make up the Enhanced Nursing Licensure Compact (eNLC), which allows nurses living in participating states to practice in other eNLC states without additional licensure.
LPNs 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.
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.
|Area||Total Employment||Average Hourly Wage||Average Annual Salary|
|Charlotte, Concord, Gastonia||3,790||$20.03||$41,660|
|Greensboro, High Point||1,240||$20.16||$41,920|
|Durham, Chapel Hill||800||$21.94||$45,640|
|Hickory, Lenoir, Morganton||540||$20.32||$42,270|
For those interested in advancing their nursing career, see our North Carolina LPN to RN/BSN programs page.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Continued List of All Programs in North Carolina
3000 Wayne Memorial Drive, Goldsboro, NC 27534
137 South Post Rd, Shelby, NC 28152
5160 Fayetteville Rd, Lumberton, NC 28360
1637 Lawson Street, Durham, NC 27703
4564 Chadbourn Highway, Whiteville, NC 28472
1208 N. Road St, Elizabeth City, NC 27909
305 Cunningham Blvd, Havelock, NC 28532
2100 Silas Creek Parkway, Winston-Salem, NC 27103
54 College Dr., Marion, NC 28752
297 DCCC Road, Thomasville, NC 27360
3509 Old Charlotte Highway, Monroe, NC 28110
1042 West Hamlet Avenue, Hamlet, NC 28345
7418 NC Hwy 41W, Dublin, NC 28332
215 Wrenn Memorial Road, Wentworth, NC 27375
444 Western Boulevard, Jacksonville, NC 28546
2201 Hull Rd., Fayetteville, NC 28303
1011 Page Street, Troy, NC 27371
4800 Airport Center Parkway, Charlotte, NC 28208
5337 HWY 264 East, Washington, NC 27889
601 High Point Road, Jamestown, NC 27282
200 Community College Road, Henderson, NC 27536
1105 Kelly Dr, Sanford, NC 27330
134 Maple Street, Rutherfordton, NC 28139
522 N. Old Carriage Road, Rocky Mount, NC 27804
200 College Drive, Weldon, NC 27890
Programs Not Included In Rankings
7802 Airport Center Drive, Greensboro, NC 27409
4101 Doie Cope Road, Raleigh, NC 27613
Additional NC Nursing Resources
- North Carolina Board of Nursing
3724 National Drive, Suite 201
Raleigh, NC 27602
Phone: (919) 782-3211
- North Carolina Nurses Association
103 Enterprise Street
Raleigh, NC 27607
Phone: (800) 626-2153
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