Currently, the nursing profession in the United States is experiencing another of its periodic growth spurts. North Carolina is in lock-step with the national nursing trends.

Most Affordable Nursing Schools in North Carolina

One factor increasing the demand for RNs with a BSN degree is an initiative to double the number in the U.S. who hold a minimum BSN. The initiative was launched by the Institute of Medicine (IOM), with a start level of 40% and a goal of 80% by 2020.

If you’re an aspiring nurse living in North Carolina, you’ll likely already see the efforts of this initiative at work! All that to say, now is the perfect time to earn your nursing degree in North Carolina. 

What kind of Nursing Degree in North Carolina should you earn?

Many nursing schools are updating their programs and technologies as part of the IOM’s recommendation and goal. Here at College Choice, we like to strip everything away to core elements. For example, the biggest thing on most people’s mind when they’re going back to school is . . . you guessed it: How much money will this cost me?

Lucky for you, we’ve only selected the nursing programs in North Carolina that offer the most affordable education in the state. Beyond affordability, you’ll choose from prestigious HBCUs, state schools, and more. In addition there are many affordable online options that are worth considering.

How much money can you earn with a Nursing Degree in North Carolina?

In the state of North Carolina alone, there are about 99,050 active RNs. Currently, the average RN earns an hourly mean wage of $29.49. That roughly translates into $61,330 per year. Not too bad, right?

Perhaps even better than a lucrative paycheck, working as a nurse in North Carolina can guarantee you job security, too. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates a 16% increase in jobs for registered nurses (RNs) alone, for the period of 2014 to 2024. This means you’ll not only save money attending school, but graduate with a job and a paycheck close at hand!

What are the Most Affordable Nursing Degrees in North Carolina?

To assist those who are either interested in becoming an nurse or updating their education to a BSN, College Choice presents this list of the 10 most affordable BSN programs in the state, based on in-state tuition.

The list is compiled from the NCES (National Center for Education Statistics) database, which indicated that 22 nursing schools in North Carolina were offering a BSN program as of the last academic year. Filtering for inactive or now-defunct programs or schools, we produced the list below. The programs listed in this article have been verified as still active at time of publication.

Additional data and information comes from college and university websites, the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard, and U.S. News and World Report. North Carolina is ready for you! Are you ready to take the plunge? 

2018 Ranking

See our rankings methodology page.

1

Fayetteville State University

Average Tuition: $4,885

Program Website

Overview

Fayetteville State University (FSU) is a public HBCU (Historically Black College/ University) that is part of the University of North Carolina System. The Department of Nursing (DON-FSU) in the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) offers undergraduate nursing programs. FSU has earned a number of topic-specific ranking awards on college review lists published by U.S. News & World Report and others.

Features

FSU offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) with two entry/ completion paths. The tracks cater to both pre-licensure (freshmen) and post-licensure students. The latter will have current licensing as a Registered Nurse and an associate’s degree in nursing. The FSU BSN degree requires either 120 credits (RN track) or 127 credits (PL track) for graduation. Students can choose full-time (two classes for every 8-week session) or part-time (one class per session). Sample courses include:

  • Health Assessment
  • Concepts Basic to Nursing
  • Pharmacological Concepts
  • Pathophysiology
  • Adult Health

Notables

The DON recently moved to the Southeastern North Carolina Nursing Education and Research Center, which contains the school’s Clinical Simulation Center. The simulation lab offers a range of male, female and child mannequins for developing practice skills. Students also participate in clinical experiences, with RN track (online) students using healthcare facilities local to them.

2

University of North Carolina at Pembroke

Average Tuition: $5,564

Program Website

Overview

University of North Carolina at Pembroke (UNCP) is a member of the public University of North Carolina System. UNCP’s College of Arts and Sciences hosts the Department of Nursing (DON), which offers undergraduate nursing programs that are additionally accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Amongst the ranking awards UNCP has earned are several “military-friendly” listings, including from Military Times, G.I. Jobs and U.S. News & World Report.

Features

UNCP offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) with three entry/ completion paths. Two tracks cater to students new to nursing, with one being a traditional program and the other being a dual enrollment option that results in both an ADN (associate’s degree in nursing) and BSN. The third track is post-licensure, for Registered Nurses holding an associate’s degree or diploma in nursing. UNCP’s BSN degree requires 124 credits for graduation, depending on track selected. Sample courses include:

  • Transcultural Nursing
  • Health Assessment
  • Pathophysiology
  • Gerontology Nursing

Notables

UNCP’s DON can be proud of a Clinical Learning Center (CLC) that has over 14,000 square feet in space containing simulation technology for all levels of student nurses. Within the CLC are Basic and Advanced Care labs, Maternal/ Child Lab, a Home Care Simulation Apartment and several more labs. Students in pre-licensure tracks are prepared for the NCLEX-RN licensing exam that they can take upon graduation. UNCP’s 3-year average first-time NCLEX-RN exam pass rate is 99%.

3

Winston-Salem State University

Average Tuition: $5,707

Program Website

Overview

Winston-Salem State University (WSSU) is an HBCU (Historically Black College/ University) in the public University of North Carolina System. Undergraduate nursing programs are offered through the Division of Nursing (DON; School of Health Sciences) and are additionally accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).Winston-Salem State University was listed as the #1 HBCU in North Carolina and #8 in the U.S. by the Wall Street Journal.

Features

WSSU offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) with four completion paths. The Traditional track is for first-time freshman nursing students. Students with a prior non-nursing bachelor’s degree may be interested in the Accelerated track. Students with some nursing/ health-related experience have three possible options. If you have current licensure as a Registered Nurse, there is the RN completion track. For paramedics with EMT-P (Emergency Medical Technician-Paramedic) certification, a fourth track gives them an opportunity to earn a BSN, and receive credit for some nursing courses through a “challenge examination.” Sample courses include:

  • Adult Health Nursing
  • Clinical Reasoning
  • Nursing Research
  • Health Assessment

Notables

This BSN program prepares students for career nursing roles as generalists serving both individuals and groups, particularly underserved communities. Prelicensure track students will be ready to write the NCLEX-RN professional licensing exam once they graduate. Towards the goal of graduation, students can practice their skills on high fidelity, full-sized mannequins in the school’s virtual hospital. A second virtual hospital environment is located in the Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, with which WSSU’s DON is partnered.

4

North Carolina Central University

Average Tuition: $5,755

Program Website

Overview

North Carolina Central University (NCCU) is an HBCU (Historically Black College/ University) that is part of the public University of North Carolina System. The Department of Nursing offers its undergraduate nursing programs through the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences, which are additionally accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). NurseJournal.org ranked the DON at #13 (of 1,189) in their 2015 list of top nursing schools for NCCU’s collection of nursing programs, including the BSN.

Features

NCCU offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) with four entry/ completion paths. Pre-licensure freshman can apply to the Traditional BSN track, as can transfer students and those with LPN (Licensed Practical Nurse) licensure. The Accelerated (ABSN) track is for students who already hold a non-nursing bachelor’s degree. Currently licensed Registered Nurses with an associate’s degree in nursing have the RN completion track. As well, there is a special track designed for military veterans with health experience or training. Sample courses include:

  • Concepts of Professional Practice
  • Health Assessment
  • Pathophysiology
  • Applied Nursing Principles

Notables

Space in the BSN program is limited. (Students should check admission dates and apply on a timely basis.) The program prepares pre-licensure students for the NCLEX-RN professional licensing exam, graduate nursing studies, and professional nursing roles including leadership. A minimum of 124 credits must be earned to graduate from NCCU’s BSN degree.

5

North Carolina A & T State University

Average Tuition: $5,972

Program Website

Overview

North Carolina A & T State University (NCAT) is the largest public HBCU (Historically Black College/ University) in the United States, and a member of the University of North Carolina System. Undergraduate nursing programs are additionally accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) and are offered by the School of Nursing (SON). MONEY Magazine listed NCAT as the #1 Best Value Colleges in North Carolina in 2016.

Features

NCAT offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) with three completion paths. This includes two pre-licensure tracks—one intended for new undergraduate students, and the other for those who have earned a non-nursing bachelor’s degree. The third track is a completion program for Registered Nurses having an associate’s degree in nursing. NCAT’s BSN degree requires 124-125 credits for graduation. Sample courses include:

  • Adult Health
  • Pathophysiology
  • Applied Ethics
  • Evidence-Based Practice

Notables

In addition to classroom learning, BSN students have access to a virtual learning and simulation center, as well as NCAT’s NCLEX RN Center for Success, which helps prelicensure students prepare for this professional licensing exam post-graduation. Clinicals in community healthcare settings round out the overall learning experience. Graduates of the BSN achieved first-time NCLEX-RN exam pass rates of 95% in 2016. Job placement for graduates from some BSN tracks was 100%.

6

University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Average Tuition: $6,532

Program Website

Overview

University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNCC) is a member of the public University of North Carolina System. UNCC’s College of Health and Human Services (CHHS) houses the School of Nursing (SON), which offers undergraduate nursing programs additionally accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). The SON was designated in 2016 as a Center of Excellence in Nursing Education by the National League of Nurses (NLN).

Features

UNCC offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) with three entry/ completion paths. Two tracks are pre-licensure, although one follows a traditional four-year path to a BSN, while the other is a dual enrollment track that results in both an associate’s and bachelor’s degree in nursing. The third track is for students who have already earned an associate’s degree or diploma in nursing and are currently licensed as a Registered Nurse. The UNCC BSN degree requires 122 credits for graduation. Sample courses include:

  • Introduction to Nursing Science
  • Concepts of Professional Nursing
  • Pathophysiology
  • Health Assessment

Notables

Upon graduation from BSN prelicensure tracks, students are eligible to write the NCLEX-RN licensing exam to gain certification as a Registered Nurse. Graduates from this BSN had a first-time pass rate of 93% in 2015. This is a competitive academic program, for which the university recommends you apply early to increase chances of admission.

7

East Carolina University

Average Tuition: $6,580

Program Website

Overview

East Carolina University (ECU) is part of the public University of North Carolina System. Undergraduate nursing programs are administered through ECU’s College of Nursing (CON) and are additionally accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). The NLN (National League for Nursing) has designated the CON as a Center of Excellence three times. The university has awards that include ranking spots in general and topical college review lists. For instance, U.S. News & World Report listed it the #23 Best Online Master’s in Nursing in 2016.

Features

ECU offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) with four entry/ completion paths. Three tracks cover pre-licensure students, including a traditional track BSN, an accelerated second-degree BSN (for those with a non-nursing bachelor’s degree) and a dual-enrollment track that earns both an associate’s and bachelor’s degree. The fourth option is a completion track for students with current licensure as a Registered Nurse and an associate’s degree in nursing. Sample courses include:

  • Health Assessment
  • Nurse as Care Provider
  • Clinical Nursing Foundations
  • Concepts of Pathophysiology for Nursing

Notables

This BSN program produces nurses who can practice as generalists in different healthcare environments, providing care to individuals and their families, as well as groups. The CON is partnered with over 50 healthcare providers, including clinics, home health agencies, hospitals schools and more, giving nursing students varied opportunities for clinical experiences. The college also has eight nursing simulation labs in the Health Sciences Building, where students develop practical skills, to supplement classroom learning.

8

Western Carolina University

Average Tuition: $6,623

Program Website

Overview

Western Carolina University (WCU) is a member of the public University of North Carolina System, with its institutional accreditation provided by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. The School of Nursing (SON) offers undergraduate nursing programs that are additionally accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).

Features

WCU offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) with four entry/ completion paths. There are three pre-licensure tracks – one for a traditional BSN, another for a dual degree option that earns students both an associate’s and bachelor’s degree in nursing, and an accelerated track for students who have earned a non-nursing bachelor’s degree. The fourth track is post-licensure, designed for current Registered Nurses wanting to upgrade their associate’s degree in nursing. Sample courses include:

  • Foundations of Nursing
  • Nursing Assessment Across the Lifespan
  • Pharmacotherapeutics
  • Nursing Informatics

Notables

The SON received a $1M grant from an agency of the U.S. Deptartment of Health and Human Services in late 2016 to develop its clinical experiences in community-based and primary care. Classroom learning is supplemented with lab and clinical experiences through partnerships with healthcare providers. Students in pre-licensure tracks can write their NCLEX-RN professional licensing exam upon graduation. Recent graduates of this BSN program achieved a 100% first-time test pass rate.

9

University of North Carolina Wilmington

Average Tuition: $6,691

Program Website

Overview

University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW) is a member of the public University of North Carolina System. Undergraduate nursing programs are offered by the School of Nursing (SON) within UNCW’s College of Health and Human Services (CHHS). The SON received a grant in late 2016 for the purpose of increasing or creating opportunities in online nursing education for students in underserved and rural areas. The university has achieved regular rankings on college review list published by organizations such as U.S. News & World Report, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, Princeton Review, Military Times, and more.

Features

UNCW offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) with two entry/ completion paths. One is a traditional track is for pre-licensure students, the other for post-licensure Registered Nurses who hold an associate’s degree in nursing. The BSN degree requires 125 credits for graduation. This program focuses on producing students with the skills and knowledge to practice family-centered nursing in different healthcare environments. Sample courses include:

  • Health Assessment
  • Clinical Application of Therapeutic Nutrition
  • Adult Health
  • Research in Nursing
  • Gerontology

Notables

Prelicensure students are prepared towards writing the NCLEX-RN licensing exam, post-graduation. The SON’s average first-time test pass rate is 96% for 2014-2016, compared to a national average of 86% in the same period. For students interested in broadening their caregiving perspective, opportunities may exist for study abroad sessions in foreign countries.

10

University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Average Tuition: $6,745

Program Website

Overview

University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG) receives its institutional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. UNCG’s School of Nursing, which celebrated its 50th year in 2016, offers undergraduate nursing programs, which are additionally accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

Features

UNCG offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) with four completion paths. This includes a pre-licensure track for freshman nursing students, a second-degree track for students with a non-nursing bachelor’s, an accelerated veteran’s track, and an RN completion track for licensed Registered Nurses with an associate’s degree in nursing. For the veteran’s track, students must have some form of military health experience or training, including LPN/ PNs, medics, nursing assistants, RNs, etc. Sample courses include:

  • Concepts of Professional Nursing
  • Nursing Health Assessment
  • Community Health Nursing Concepts and Care
  • Nursing Care of the Older Adult

Notables

This BSN is a very competitive program, which means that students have to meet certain academic requirements just to be admitted into the pre-nursing major, and then again for the nursing major. The overall curriculum teaches students to follow an evidence based nursing care approach. Nursing students have access to SCENE, the SON’s state-of-the-art Simulation Center for Experiential Nursing Education with four simulation areas, including for adult, pediatric, labor and community/home health.