16 Best RN to BSN Programs in North Carolina | 2024

North Carolina has nearly 20 accredited Online RN to BSN programs. To help you understand your options for continuing your nursing education, we'll break down our picks for the best of the best. Programs

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Becoming a registered nurse (RN) in North Carolina involves exploring several educational pathways. Among them, the Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is one of the fastest and most popular options.

However, ADN-prepared RNs often return to school to achieve their Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) in bridge programs called RN to BSNs, allowing them to take on more responsibilities and earn higher salaries.

Considering this, we've provided everything you need to know to apply for an RN to BSN in North Carolina, along with salary expectations after graduation and recommendations for the best programs in the state.

Best RN to BSN Programs in North Carolina

The following schools have been selected based on allnurses' methodology of surveying our readers to understand what they value most in their RN to BSN program, including affordability, duration, flexibility, and more. We'll start with a deep dive into the top five.

1. University of North Carolina, Pembroke

The University of North Carolina, Pembroke, leads among North Carolina programs, offering affordability with in-state tuition of approximately $4,247. Remarkably flexible, it accepts credits irrespective of course age, which is rare in RN to BSN programs. You can choose from a 12-month accelerated program or self-paced 1.5 to 3-year track. 

UNC Pembroke RN to BSN program requires 31 credits to graduate and costs $137 per credit for residents of NC and $303 for credits for out-of-state students. For admission, a 2.5 GPA minimum is required. You can start working towards your BSN in the Fall, Spring, or Summer with application deadlines on May 1st, June 1st, or December 1st.

2. University of North Carolina, Greensboro

UNC Greensboro's RN to BSN program is ranked second in North Carolina, offering a quick and affordable path to a BSN degree.

Estimated tuition expenses stand at approximately $15,000 for residents and $30,000 for non-residents. The UNCG RN to BSN program mandates 31 credits, priced at $184.25 per credit for residents and $890.87 for non-residents, with additional fees of $9,584.20.

UNCG caters to working ADN-RNs through a fully online format, compressing the program into 12 months. This entails enrolling in at least 2 courses per semester across three consecutive semesters, necessitating 12-16 hours of commitment each week per course. To qualify, a minimum GPA of 2.0 and an active unrestricted RN license are prerequisites.

UNCG offers entry points in the fall and Spring semesters, with application deadlines of June 1st and November 1st, respectively. To sum up, UNCG delivers a focused and efficient pathway for aspiring RNs to advance their nursing education.

3. University of North Carolina, Charlotte

Third on our North Carolina RN to BSN program list is the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, which offers an affordable and quick path to a BSN degree for working professionals. The program features a 100% online structure that accommodates schedules and requires an active RN license.

The estimated cost is $5,843 for in-state residents and $10,767 for non-residents within the state, increasing to $23,196 for out-of-state non-residents. The program mandates 31 credits, with credit costs set at $188.48 for in-state residents and $347.32 for non-residents.

Designed for efficiency, the program accepts a minimum GPA of 2.0 for admission and provides entry points in both fall and Spring semesters. Application deadlines are set for July 1st (fall) and November 1st (Spring).

4. Catawba College

Catawba College's RN to BSN program in Salisbury ranks fourth on our NC RN to BSN program list, embodying affordability and flexibility. The estimated cost for this 12-month CCNE-accredited program is $5,970, with a cost per credit hour of $199, resulting in a total estimated program cost of $4,950, plus an additional $1,000 for books.

Catawba's RN to BSN program is delivered fully online with 8-week block-structured courses, catering to both full-time and part-time students. The 12-month program spans five 8-week terms, each with two courses. 

Admission requires a minimum GPA of 2.5 and an active, unrestricted RN license. Program intakes are available in Fall, Winter, and Spring with an early application deadline on November 15th and a regular application deadline on February 15th, followed by rolling admission.

5. University of North Carolina, Wilmington

Securing the fifth spot on our list is the University of North Carolina, Wilmington (UNCW), known for its cost-effective RN to BSN program designed for completion within a year.

For NC residents, the cost is $185.13 per credit hour, while for non-NC residents, it's $771.17. Additional fees of $24.84 per credit hour contribute to an estimated program cost of $6,089.13 for NC residents and $23,084.29 for non-NC residents. The program at UNCW encompasses 30 credits, with 29 of them being core nursing program credits, all to be fulfilled exclusively at the university.

Admission requirements encompass a minimum GPA of 3.0 and a minimum of 24 transferrable credits. This online program offers six different start dates and application deadlines throughout the year, making it convenient for aspiring nurses seeking career advancement.

Online RN to BSN Programs

Here is our complete list of rankings for the top 16 RN to BSN programs in North Carolina, for the 2023-2024 school year.

Score School City Program Estimated Costs1
98.69 University of North Carolina,
Pembroke RN to BSN $4,247 12 months CCNE
97.92 University of North Carolina,
Greensboro RN to BSN $5,344 12 months CCNE
97.57 University of North Carolina,
Charlotte RN to BSN
$5,843 12 months CCNE
97.48 Catawba College Salisbury RN to BSN $5,970 12 months CCNE
97.40 University of North Carolina,
Wilmington RN to BS $6,089 12 months CCNE
97.37 Appalachian State University Boone RN to BSN $6,129 12 months CCNE
94.31 Barton College Wilson RN to BSN $10,496 12 months CCNE
94.30 North Carolina Central University Durham RN to BSN $10,500 12 months CCNE
93.59 East Carolina University Greenville RN to BSN $6,758 16 months CCNE
92.21 Methodist University Fayetteville RN to BSN $13,485 12 months CCNE
91.85 Chamberlain University,
Charlotte RN to BSN $14,000 12 months CCNE
89.75 Western Carolina University Cullowhee RN to BSN $2,729 24 months CCNE
89.75 Winston-Salem State University Winston-Salem RN to BSN -- 12 months CCNE
87.69 Pfeiffer University Misenheimer RN to BSN $5,670 -- CCNE
84.75 Cabarrus College of
Health Sciences
Concord RN to BSN $17,000 18 months CCNE
81.89 Campbell University Buies Creek RN to BSN $13,950 -- CCNE

*Please contact us if you'd like to update your program's information.

1Costs are based on the minimum required RN to BSN credits and are not inclusive of core credits, nor all fees. Actual costs will vary from student to student and are based on multiple factors, including transfer credits and scholarships. For the most accurate costs breakdown, please reach out to a school representative.

2Program lengths included are typically the shortest possible program length, requiring the maximum amount of transfer credits prior to admission. Outstanding general curriculum requirements will likely increase program length.

What Is an RN to BSN?

An RN to BSN Program is an RN returning to school to obtain a BSN degree. This involves experienced RNs and new graduates with a diploma or an ADN. A BSN degree program provides a more comprehensive education in social and physical sciences, nursing management, research, informatics, and public health. It enhances knowledge and understanding of community health, healthcare management, leadership, and policy for a broader scope of practice.

Related: 10 Best RN to BSN Programs in 2023

RN to BSN Coursework

Typical RN to BSN Coursework includes:

  • Professional Nursing Practice
  • Family-Centered Health Promotion
  • Community and Public Health Nursing
  • Statistics for Health Professions
  • Introduction to Nursing Research
  • Ethical Nursing Practice
  • Nursing Leadership and Management
  • Trends and Issues in Today's Health Care
  • Professional Capstone and Practicum

Can RN to BSNs Be Taken Entirely Online?

RN to BSN programs can be taken entirely online. These programs are designed for working RNs who have already completed an ADN or nursing diploma program and obtained licensure, meaning they've gained significant hands-on experience in their initial programs and through work. However, it's important to note that some online RN to BSN programs may have in-person requirements such as exams or capstone projects, so students should check the specific requirements of a program to ensure it fits their needs.

Where Do BSN-Prepared Nurses Work?

Nurses with a BSN have many career options and opportunities and can practice in most care settings, including:

  • Hospitals
  • Nursing Homes
  • Home Care Agencies
  • Physician Office
  • Educational Services
  • Government Agencies
  • Schools
  • Community Centers
  • Hospices
  • Dialysis Centers
  • Telephonic and Virtual Care Settings

RN to BSN Prerequisites and Requirements

There are several prerequisites to enter an RN to BSN program, including:

  • Current, unrestricted RN license
  • An ADN or Diploma in Nursing
  • Minimum GPA (varying per program)
  • Official transcripts

RN to BSN Salary Expectations in North Carolina

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), RNs in North Carolina in 2022 earned:

  • Mean Hourly Wage: $37.22
  • Annual Mean Wage: $77,420

Unfortunately, the BLS does not specify whether this is an ADN-prepared RN or BSN-prepared RN; however, given that a BSN is likely to increase earning potential, this is likely to be representative of slightly lower than the average BSN-RN salary.

RN salary in North Carolina is 13% lower than the national estimates for 2022, as the BLS reports RNs across the U.S. earning:

  • Mean Hourly Wage: $42.80
  • Annual Mean Wage: $89,010

With the highest-paying states being:

  1. California: $133,340
  2. Hawaii: $113,220
  3. Oregon: $106,610
  4. Massachusetts: $104,150
  5. Alaska: $103,310

The BLS collected the North Carolina RN wage data from over 104,300 nurses.

Compare several specializations by state with our comprehensive nursing salary guide, or learn more about nursing salaries in North Carolina.

Are RN to BSN Programs Worth It in North Carolina?

Deciding whether an RN to BSN program in North Carolina involves considering various pros and cons.

Pros of RN to BSN Programs in North Carolina

  1. Enhanced Career Opportunities: In North Carolina's growing healthcare sector, a BSN can open doors to advanced nursing roles, including management and specialized clinical positions, which might not be accessible to ADN-prepared nurses.
  2. Higher Earning Potential: BSN-prepared nurses in North Carolina often command higher salaries compared to their ADN counterparts, reflecting the advanced level of education and qualifications.
  3. Preparation for Advanced Education: A BSN is a stepping stone for further education, such as Nurse Practitioner or Nurse Anesthetist programs, which are prevalent and highly regarded in North Carolina.
  4. Meeting Employer Expectations: Many hospitals and healthcare facilities in North Carolina, especially those seeking or maintaining Magnet status, prefer or require nurses to have a BSN.
  5. Improved Patient Outcomes: Studies have shown that BSN-prepared nurses contribute to better patient outcomes. In North Carolina, where healthcare quality is a priority, this is a significant advantage.

Cons of RN to BSN Programs in North Carolina

  1. Cost and Financial Investment: The cost of pursuing a BSN in North Carolina can be substantial, including tuition, books, and other fees, which might be a financial strain for some nurses.
  2. Time Commitment: Balancing work, life, and education can be challenging, particularly for working nurses who might have to juggle job responsibilities with academic commitments.
  3. Variable ROI Based on Location: The return on investment for a BSN degree can vary across different regions in North Carolina, with urban areas typically offering higher salary benefits than rural areas.
  4. Online vs. Traditional Learning: While online RN to BSN programs offer flexibility, they may not suit everyone's learning style. Some nurses in North Carolina may prefer traditional, in-person learning environments.
  5. Experience vs. Education: In some nursing roles and facilities within North Carolina, extensive nursing experience can be as valued as higher education, which might limit the perceived immediate benefit of a BSN for seasoned RNs.

Ultimately, deciding whether an RN to BSN program in North Carolina is worth it depends on your circumstances and career goals.

How to Choose a Nursing School

Reasons for choosing a nursing school will vary per student and their specific needs. Some students value the cost of education, while others may place greater emphasis on NCLEX pass rates, academic reputation, or other factors.

Although it will vary by individual, a survey by allnurses revealed the top 11 reasons nursing students chose their programs:

  1. Cost
  2. High NCLEX Pass Rate
  3. Location
  4. Academic Reputation
  5. Availability of Financial Aid and Scholarships
  6. Length of Time to Obtain Degree
  7. Flexibility of Schedule
  8. Curriculum
  9. Campus and Surroundings
  10. Nursing Clinicals Location
  11. Availability of Online Courses

Ultimately, prospective students should assess their needs and pick schools that are the best fit for them.

Importance of Attending an Accredited RN to BSN Program in North Carolina

Attending an accredited RN to BSN program in North Carolina is important for several reasons:

  • Alignment with State Licensure Requirements: Accreditation ensures that the nursing program meets or exceeds the educational standards required for licensure in North Carolina, which is crucial for maintaining professional credentials.
  • Relevance to North Carolina's Healthcare Needs: Accredited programs are designed to address the specific healthcare challenges and needs of North Carolina, preparing nurses to effectively serve in the state's diverse medical landscape.
  • Employer Preference: Many healthcare facilities in North Carolina, especially top-tier hospitals, prefer hiring nurses who have graduated from accredited programs, as this assures them of the quality and comprehensiveness of the nurse's education.
  • Foundation for Advanced Practice: In North Carolina, where advanced practice roles are in high demand, a BSN from an accredited program is often a prerequisite for pursuing graduate education in nursing specialties.
  • Eligibility for State and Federal Financial Aid: Accreditation is a key factor in determining eligibility for many types of financial aid, including state-specific scholarships and grants available to North Carolina residents.

Accrediting bodies include the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and the Accreditation for Education in Nursing (ACEN).

FAQ and Additional Readings

Q: How do I transfer my nursing license to North Carolina?

North Carolina is part of the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC), allowing nurses to practice in other NLC states without additional steps. You do not have to transfer your license if moving from an NLC state.

Q: Are there specialization programs for nurses in North Carolina?

Many schools in North Carolina offer advanced nursing degrees, allowing RNs to specialize in pediatric, geriatric, family nurse practitioner, acute care, and more.

Q: Is it better to have an ADN or a BSN?

While obtaining an RN license after completing an ADN is possible, the opportunities after graduation and beyond are more significant with a BSN degree. BSNs focus more on research, leadership skills, and evidence-based practice, whereas an ADN primarily focuses on clinical skills.

Additionally, many healthcare institutions now require BSN-prepared RNs to fulfill various accreditation and Joint Commission requirements and to achieve the prestige of Magnet status.

AD DISCLOSURE: This page may contain affiliate links. These links are designed for allnurses to generate revenue at no cost to you. The websites you visit are operated by third parties and have no influence in our recommendations, which are grounded in research.

Editorial Team / Admin

Erin Lee has 12 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Critical Care, Procedural, Care Coordination, LNC.

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