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Top Online Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) Programs in NC

If you’re a prospective nurse in North Carolina, an online associate program is a great option to get your foot in the door in a fast, affordable, and convenient way. Take your first step with this guide.

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Becoming a nurse gives you the opportunity to make a tangible difference in people’s lives every day. Whether you already know this is your calling, or are simply curious about the possibilities, an online associate degree in nursing online in North Carolina may be just what you’re looking for.

Instead of spending four years commuting to and from school, spending countless hours in a campus classroom, you can become a nurse on your own schedule (and budget) from the comfort of your own home. Online ADN programs in NC are designed to educate and equip you for your future role as a nurse in hospitals, nursing homes, schools, doctors’ offices, and more.

In the guide below, we profile two top online ADN programs, dive into what you should look for when searching for a quality ADN program, and outline North Carolina’s licensure requirements. Finally, we share some resources to help you navigate the road to your nursing career. Keep reading to get started.

Spotlight Schools: Inside Online ADN Programs in NC

To help you start your search for top online ADN programs in North Carolina, we’ve highlighted a couple schools below that offer programs designed to fit your needs while providing a quality education. Each consists of online classroom instruction and hands-on clinical experience that will prepare you to launch your career.

Davidson-Davie Community College

Davidson-Davie Community College offers an online/hybrid ADN program specifically designed for LPNs who want to become RNs. This hybrid program takes one year to complete, during which time students must attend weekly clinical rotations at specified locations. Applicants must have an active LPN license with no restrictions in North Carolina. They must also have already worked 3,328 hours as an LPN and completed seven prerequisite courses to be considered for a spot in the class.

The curriculum prepares students to take on greater leadership responsibility while providing quality patient care and interacting with other members of the healthcare team. The college also offers a two-year, traditional, on-campus ADN program that consists of 66 credit hours.

This associate degree in nursing online program is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) and has a 78% pass rate for the NCLEX exam. Davidson-Davie Community College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

Sampson Community College

Sampson Community College offers an online LPN-to-RN bridge program that allows licensed practical nurses to become registered nurses in just two semesters. Online classes take students deeper into psychology, anatomy and physiology, and other core subjects. Students then complete 144 hours of unpaid clinical practice. To accommodate students, clinicals may be completed at approved facilities anywhere in North Carolina.

To be eligible for this program, applicants must already have an active LPN license; 2,000 hours of work as an LPN; a “C” or better in eight prerequisite courses; and a passing score on the entrance exam with a 94% probability of passing the NCLEX. All students must also provide proof of vaccinations, a negative TB test, a physical exam, and CPR certification. To enter clinical sites, students are required to submit to a drug screen and background check.

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What to Look for in North Carolina ADN Programs Online

Ready to find the perfect online ADN program for you? There are some important factors to consider when determining which one is the right fit. We break them down one by one, explaining why each is important and how it can affect your education and future career as a nurse in North Carolina.


Accreditation shows that a program’s curriculum meets quality standards set by organizations like the ACEN and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing’s Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Earning your degree through an accredited program allows you to apply for your nursing license and gives employers confidence in the validity of your degree and the depth of your understanding.

Clinical Placement Opportunities

Clinical experience is a critical part of online ADN programs in North Carolina. Many schools allow students to complete these at local facilities, including at their place of employment. This allows students to get the required experience without significant hardship or disruption to their daily lives.

Graduation & Job Placement Rates

Checking out the graduation and job placement rates of different schools can give you a feel for how effective the programs are at launching students into their careers. Those with rates in the 90th percentile have proven that students who complete their program are well prepared for their jobs.

Licensure Approval

All online associate degree in nursing programs in North Carolina must have licensure approval, meaning they are approved for the prelicensure education of nursing students and meet all licensure requirements. Course content for RNs must include core nursing components such as collecting and interpreting data, as well as planning and implementing nurse activities.

NCLEX Pass Rates

The NCLEX pass rate refers to the percentage of graduates who successfully pass the NCLEX-RN after completing an online ADN program in North Carolina. A higher percentage pass rate indicates that the courses cover all the necessary information in a way that enables most students to earn their license on the first try.

Certification & Licensure Requirements in NC

Completing an online associate degree in nursing program in North Carolina is one of several requirements of earning your nursing license. Others include submitting a background check, taking and passing the NCLEX-RN exam, registering with the state board of nursing, and completing continuing education every year. We explain each one in greater detail below.

Criminal Background Check

Per the North Carolina Nursing Practice Act, prospective nurses applying for licensure must undergo a criminal background check before they are eligible to enter clinical locations. Applicants with misdemeanors within the last five years or any felonies must provide court documents and an explanation of events and resulting penalties and/or treatments. Violent or sexual crimes, as well as those directly pertaining to a nurse’s duties may result in applicants being denied.

NCLEX-RN Examination

After completing your online ADN program in North Carolina, you will be eligible to take the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). This standardized exam uses computerized adaptive testing (CAT) to test students’ thought processes and determine their nursing ability. It must be completed within six hours. All prospective nurses, whether LPN or RN, must take and pass the NCLEX to be licensed.

Registration with the North Carolina Board of Nursing

All students who complete an associate degree in nursing online program in North Carolina and pass the NCLEX must register with the North Carolina Board of Nursing to receive their license. The board oversees all nurses in the state. North Carolina, like its neighboring states, is part of the nurse licensure compact, meaning registered nurses can practice under a multistate license from their home state. Licenses must be renewed every two years.

Continuing Education

Completing continuing education hours allows you to stay abreast of new techniques and technology, so you can continue to perform your duties effectively. It is also one of the requirements of renewing your nursing license in North Carolina. The state requires you to complete 30 contact hours of continuing education every two years through the North Carolina Board of Nursing website or at on-site workshops, among other options. Continuing education offerings can be on new topics or areas of specialization or can be refreshers on important topics like safety, documentation, and scope of practice.

FAQs About Online Associate Nursing Programs in North Carolina

Still have questions about online associate degree in nursing programs in North Carolina? Chances are we have the answers below. We’ll address your concerns about tuition costs, job opportunities, program length, and financial aid. These answers should help you decide if an online associate nursing degree is the right choice for you.

How long do NC ADN programs take to complete?

Typical online ADN programs in North Carolina take two years to complete. They average 66 credit hours completed over five to six semesters. Shorter options include LPN-to-RN bridge programs, which can take as few as two semesters, and accelerated programs which take anywhere from 12 to 18 months to complete. The latter option allows students to enter the nursing field more quickly, but can be challenging given the rate at which students must absorb new and complex information.

How much do online associate nursing programs cost in NC?

An online associate degree in nursing program in North Carolina can cost anywhere from $4,000 to over $20,000 depending on whether you are a North Carolina resident. Bridge and accelerated programs tend to cost less, so that may be an important consideration for students on a budget. Taking advantage of different forms of financial aid can significantly lower this cost and open doors to top universities.

Is financial aid available to help me fund my ADN program in North Carolina?

Fortunately, nursing students have multiple financial aid options in North Carolina through the government, their school or university, and non-profit organizations. The state government offers both loan plans and a merit-based scholarship, and the North Carolina Foundation for Nursing (NCFN) (a non-profit group) awards five different scholarships to qualifying students.

What does the job market look like for graduates of North Carolina associate in nursing programs?

With a projected shortage of over 12,400 RNs in North Carolina by 2033, the job prospects are extremely good for graduates of online ADN programs. Hospitals will have the biggest need, followed by long term care facilities and assisted living homes — particularly those in cities and more populated areas. The average salary for RNs in North Carolina is $76,430, making this career both personally and financially rewarding.

Resources & Support for NC ADN Students

Navigating the educational and legal requirements of a new job can be intimidating, especially on top of the challenge of finding that job. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of resources designed to equip students, nurses, and those still researching the profession with pertinent information.

  • National Student Nurses Association – This nationwide organization is a go-to resource for its 50,000 members. Every year, they offer scholarships to undergraduate nursing students and host two meetings to educate members on the latest legislative and healthcare issues. Some of the benefits of membership include career planning, discounts on study tools, and professional portfolios.
  • North Carolina Association of Nursing Students – As a student branch of the North Carolina Nurses Association, this organization is designed to support nursing students in their transition from the academic world to the professional. Mentors, board members, and affiliated programs promote diversity and offer guidance and professional opportunities, as well as education on current topics in allied healthcare.
  • NorthCarolina Board of Nursing – This resource list wouldn’t be complete without the state board of nursing website, which provides students and seasoned nurses alike need-to-know information concerning licensure, compliance, continuing education, and license verification. Through the Nurse Gateway portal, students can apply for new licenses, and nurses can manage and renew theirs.
  • North Carolina Nurses Association (NCNA) – Whether you’re already a nursing student or just considering a nursing career, this association’s website has a wealth of resources that include scholarship information, a list of quality nursing schools, information on licensing, and facts about the profession. Students can sign up for a free e-subscription to NCNA.
  • School Nurse Association of North Carolina – For nurses who want to work with kids outside of traditional facilities, this organization provides networking and continuing education opportunities, as well as resources that help nurses provide high-quality health services in school settings. It also offers school nurse tools and gives away two grants and a scholarship each year to deserving students.