Best LPN Programs 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 2029, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that LPN jobs will increase by 9%, making this an excellent time to invest in an education toward a rewarding, growing career field. LPNs in North Carolina earn approximately $21.45 per hour, which equates to an average annual salary of $44,610. This is roughly $2,440 per year less than the 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 39 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 such as books, uniforms, and shoes.
For those interested in advancing their nursing career, see our North Carolina LPN to RN/BSN programs page.
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 NLC
North Carolina is one of the states that make up the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC), which allows nurses living in participating states to practice in other NLC 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.
Gaston College (GC) is a premier postsecondary educational resource located in Dallas, North Carolina, with additional campuses located throughout the state. GC is an open-door community college that promotes student success through a high-quality practical nursing diploma program that prepares future nurses for licensure and beyond.
Richmond Community College
Richmond Community College of Hamlet provides a practical nursing program to prepare LPNs for the care of pediatric and adult patients. Both day and evening courses are available to accommodate busy schedules. The comprehensive curriculum includes courses such as Anatomy & Physiology and consists of 44 total credit hours.
Edgecombe Community College
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.
Surry Community College
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.
Lenoir Community College
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 a 45-credit practical nursing diploma program which can be completed in just 3 semesters. The curriculum emphasizes safe, effective, and holistic nursing care.
Mayland Community College
Mayland Community College, located in Spruce Pine, offers students a practical nursing program that can be completed in one year (three semesters). This limited enrollment program gives students the skills they need to find success as entry-level nursing professionals. Upon graduation, students are well-prepared to work in a variety of care facilities.
Caldwell Community College & Technical Institute
Caldwell Community College & Technical Institute is home to a practical nursing diploma program that gives students the ability to provide individualized patient care. This 44 credit hour program weaves together classwork and labs to give students both theoretical knowledge and hands-on skills.
College of The Albemarle
At College of The Albemarle (COA), practical nursing students are provided with the knowledge and skills to integrate safety and quality into nursing care. These skills help them to meet the needs of the holistic individual, which impact health, quality of life, and achievement potential.
Durham Technical Community College
Durham Technical Community College (Durham Tech) offers students a well-rounded practical nursing diploma program that emphasizes evidence-based practice. Students enrolled in the 44 credit hour program are given the skills to provide safe, individualized nursing care in a variety of medical settings.
Cape Fear Community College
Cape Fear Community College (CFCC) is a comprehensive community college with multiple locations in North Carolina. CFCC's selective admission practical nursing program can be completed in 12 months of full-time study. Graduates are prepared for the NCLEX exam and for entry-level nursing practice.
Continued List of All Programs in North Carolina
The College of Davidson and Davie Counties
297 DCCC Road, Thomasville, NC 27360
Rowan-Cabarrus Community College
1333 Jake Alexander Blvd. South, Salisbury, NC 28146
Brunswick Community College
50 College Road, Bolivia, NC 28422
Sampson Community College
1801 Sunset Ave, Clinton, NC 28329
Robeson Community College
5160 Fayetteville Rd, Lumberton, NC 28360
Wilson Community College
902 Herring Avenue, Wilson, NC 27893
Craven Community College
305 Cunningham Blvd, Havelock, NC 28532
South Piedmont Community College
3509 Old Charlotte Highway, Monroe, NC 28110
Isothermal Community College
134 Maple Street, Rutherfordton, NC 28139
Montgomery Community College
1011 Page Street, Troy, NC 27371
Beaufort County Community College
5337 HWY 264 East, Washington, NC 27889
James Sprunt Community College
133 James Sprunt Drive, Kenansville, NC 28349
ECPI University - Charlotte
4800 Airport Center Parkway, Charlotte, NC 28208
Southeastern Community College
4564 Chadbourn Highway, Whiteville, NC 28472
Forsyth Technical Community College
2100 Silas Creek Parkway, Winston-Salem, NC 27103
Guilford Technical Community College
601 High Point Road, Jamestown, NC 27282
Coastal Carolina Community College
444 Western Boulevard, Jacksonville, NC 28546
Wayne Community College
3000 Wayne Memorial Drive, Goldsboro, NC 27534
McDowell Technical Community College
54 College Dr., Marion, NC 28752
Central Carolina Community College
1105 Kelly Dr, Sanford, NC 27330
ECPI University - Raleigh
4101 Doie Cope Road, Raleigh, NC 27613
Bladen Community College
7418 NC Hwy 41W, Dublin, NC 28332
Cleveland Community College
137 South Post Rd, Shelby, NC 28152
Halifax Community College
200 College Drive, Weldon, NC 27890
Fayetteville Technical Community College
2201 Hull Rd., Fayetteville, NC 28303
Vance-Granville Community College
200 Community College Road, Henderson, NC 27536
ECPI University - Greensboro
7802 Airport Center Drive, Greensboro, NC 27409
Rockingham Community College
215 Wrenn Memorial Road, Wentworth, NC 27375
Nash Community College
522 N. Old Carriage Road, Rocky Mount, NC 27804
Are we missing your school's program or need to make changes to the information listed? Please contact us.
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
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||3,580||$21.60||$44,930|
|Greensboro, High Point||1,520||$20.52||$42,670|
|Durham, Chapel Hill||950||$22.86||$47,540|
|Hickory, Lenoir, Morganton||610||$22.05||$45,860|