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Nursing Schools in Charlotte, NC: Top Online & Campus Programs

Ready to take the next step in your nursing career? Find out about the many nursing schools in Charlotte, NC, figure out which one works for your goals, and learn about resources and financial aid to help you succeed.

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A colorful array of directional signs pointing to various "charlotte" locations, set against a backdrop of a street with modern buildings and lush greenery.

If you’re a registered nurse in Charlotte, NC, you’re already in demand. And that demand is set to grow even more: jobs for registered nurses in North Carolina are projected to increase by an impressive 12% from 2020 to 2030, compared to a 6% growth rate nationally.

Pursuing an on-campus or online nursing program in Charlotte, NC, puts you in a prime position to take advantage of this growth while also earning an excellent salary. You’ll find nursing schools in Charlotte offering degrees at every level, making it easy to either start your nursing career or take your career to the next step. To help you make this all-important decision, this guide highlights top schools for 2024, reviews different types of degrees available, and explains the licensure process. Keep reading to find you Charlotte nursing school match.

Best Nursing Schools in Charlotte, NC for 2024

Charlotte is home to several well-known universities, many of which have high-quality nursing programs. But this wide selection can be a double-edged sword, as it requires a lot of time and effort sifting through your options, whether you’re looking for an RN to BSN bridge program or a PhD in nursing. To help narrow your choices, we’ve spotlighted three standout nursing schools in Charlotte, NC. We identified these programs based on several objective factors that almost all prospective nursing students will deem important: accreditation and state approval status, affordability, access to student services, and flexible learning options. Whether you’re just getting started in nursing or looking to upgrade your credentials, see how these best-in-program options stand out in 2024.

University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Preparing students for careers in diverse settings that include hospitals, community clinics, and home health environments, the University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNCC) offers a deep nursing program catalog. Whether you’re an active RN interested in a bachelor’s degree or an MSN interested in post-graduate certificate programs, UNCC has a reputation for providing rigorous coursework and practical career training.

Offering both a traditional BSN alongside an RN-to-BSN completion program, students at this nursing school in Charlotte, NC, gain thorough knowledge in the liberal arts, sciences, and generalist nursing education. Typical coursework for undergraduate students includes leadership and informatics for nursing practice, international comparative health systems, and complex illness and disease management. Before graduation, you’ll also take on practicum work in topics like population-focused nursing and psychiatric mental health nursing. Before enrolling in the nursing program, students must complete prerequisite coursework with a GPA of at least 3.0. While not required, applicants with relevant medical experience—paid or volunteer—are given special consideration.

Queens University of Charlotte

Queens University of Charlotte’s Presbyterian School of Nursing has more than a century of experience training nursing professionals. The university’s close relationships within the region’s premier healthcare systems offer students the opportunity to gain essential experience and build professional connections through this nursing program in Charlotte, NC.

Queens University is home to both BSN and MSN academic tracks, with online learning available for their RN to BSN and MSN programs. With all programs accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), you can rest easy knowing that this school provides the tools you need for effective nursing practice.

In addition to undergraduate coursework, this nursing program in Charlotte, NC, offers 100% online MSN and RN to MSN programs. The traditional MSN track usually takes two years and offers specialized options in clinical nursing, nursing education, nurse administration, and nursing informatics.

Undergraduate applicants must complete several science-based prerequisite courses with no more than two outstanding course requirements before the application deadline.

Wingate University

Established in 1896, Wingate University’s Levine College of Health Science offers another of the best BSN programs at a nursing school in Charlotte, NC. Preparing students with the skills and knowledge to pass the NCLEX-RN exam, Wingate focuses on providing essential hands-on experience at area hospitals, schools, and community health centers.

Upon admission into the school’s upper-division nursing program, students tackle coursework that includes science-based nursing, pharmacology for nursing, and nursing information management. Before graduation, students at this nursing school in Charlotte, NC, also complete more than 600 hours of in-person clinical work. Wingate requires an NCLEX-RN preparation course, to ensure that you’re prepared to pass the test and begin working in the field.

Applicants for this BSN program must have a GPA of at least 3.0 and have successfully completed prerequisites in biology, chemistry, and health. Prospective students must also complete the TEAS exam with a score of 68 or better.

Types of Nursing Programs Available in or Near Charlotte, NC

Finding a nursing program in Charlotte, NC, is easier simply because of the multiple options available in and around the city. These schools support students at every academic level, making it easy for you to find the best program to meet your academic and professional needs. Take a look at some of the more common nursing program options below.

Pre-Licensure Nursing Programs in Charlotte

Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN)

Associate degrees in nursing require two years of full-time study, including general education and foundational nursing topics. After completing the degree, graduates take the NCLEX-RN exam. If they pass, they will be eligible for licensure and begin working as registered nurses.

Examples of Charlotte Nursing Schools with This Program

Central Piedmont Community College
South Piedmont Community College

Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing (Traditional BSN)

Designed for students who want a four-year degree, traditional BSN programs require completion of approximately 120 credits. Schools offer these nursing programs in Charlotte, NC, as both campus-based and hybrid options. Regardless of which path students choose, they will participate in face-to-face clinicals as part of the program requirements.

Examples of Charlotte Nursing Schools with This Program

Queens University of Charlotte
UNC Charlotte

Accelerated BSN Programs

Accelerated BSN programs support students who previously completed a bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing subject who now want to become registered nurses. Most of these programs require 12-18 months of study and include an in-person clinical component. After graduating, students can take the NCLEX-RN exam for RN licensure.

Examples of Charlotte Nursing Schools with This Program

Northeastern University
Gardner-Webb University

Nursing Bridge Programs in Charlotte, NC for Current Nurses

LPN to RN and LPN to BSN Programs

These bridge programs at nursing schools in Charlotte, NC, help licensed practical nurses (LPNs) gain the skills and education required to move into registered nursing roles after passing the NCLEX-RN exam. The LPN to RN leads to an ADN and takes approximately one year to complete. The LPN to BSN leads to a bachelor’s degree and usually takes about two years to finish.

Examples of Charlotte Nursing Schools with This Program

Gaston College

RN to BSN Programs

While ADNs allow graduates to work as RNs, BSN-educated RNs often earn higher salaries and take on more responsibility. The RN to BSN enables you to upgrade your credentials in 12-18 months. Many schools offer these programs entirely online because they don’t require a clinical component.

Examples of Charlotte Nursing Schools with This Program

UNC Charlotte

RN to MSN Programs

If you’re an ADN-educated nurse who wants to take on more responsibility, you can bypass the BSN degree by enrolling in an RN to MSN program. These degrees usually take 30-36 months to complete, with many schools offering online options. After graduating, you can take on roles such as nurse practitioner, nurse educator, or nurse leader.

Examples of Charlotte Nursing Schools with This Program

UNC Charlotte
Queens University of Charlotte

Advanced Nursing Programs in Charlotte

Traditional MSN Programs (Master of Science in Nursing)

Traditional MSN programs support students who already completed their BSN and now feel ready to take the next educational step. Most of these programs take about two years to complete, and many schools make the coursework primarily available via distance learning. Common specializations include adult-gerontology, clinical nurse leader, and nurse-midwife.

Examples of Charlotte Nursing Schools with This Program

UNC Charlotte

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) and PhD Doctoral Programs

If you want to work in the highest echelons of nursing practice, a DNP can help you achieve this goal. These programs focus on clinical and professional skills and typically last three years. The PhD in nursing supports students who want to work in policy, research, and academic circles. Many professors teaching at nursing schools will have a PhD. The majority of doctoral nursing degrees take four to six years to complete.

Examples of Charlotte Nursing Schools with This Program

UNC Charlotte

Post-Graduate Nursing Certificates

Post-graduate nursing certificates allow MSN-educated nurses to specialize. Some of the post-graduate certificates commonly offered include family nurse practitioner, psychiatric mental health, acute and primary care pediatrics, and neonatal care. Most take about two semesters to complete.

Examples of Charlotte Nursing Schools with This Program

UNC Charlotte

Inside Look at Online Nursing Programs in Charlotte, NC

Attending an online nursing program in Charlotte, NC, is an excellent option if you need the flexibility to learn at your own pace and have the discipline and focus to complete your degree outside a traditional classroom. It also makes it much easier to continue working while in school. If you’re looking to complete a degree that doesn’t require a practicum, you can likely find a nursing school in Charlotte that offers an online option. If you do need to complete clinical experiences, this part of the degree will need to take place in person. In the case of advanced degrees such as a DNP or PhD, the school may require you to join your peers on campus for some in-person learning intensives. These usually happen on the weekends to accommodate busy schedules.

Best Online Nursing Programs in Charlotte, NC

Carolinas College of Health Sciences

Carolinas College of Health Sciences offers a flexible and affordable online RN to BSN program. Designed for working nurses interested in boosting their career options and earning potential, this online nursing program in Charlotte, NC, is often completed in as few as 12 months. This program is specifically designed so that you can work full-time.

In addition to filling out the remainder of your general education requirements, RN to BSN students take upper-level applied nursing courses that include cultural aspects of health and illness, legal/ethical issues in healthcare, and transformational leadership and management. Before graduation, students also complete a research-based capstone project.

Applicants for this online nursing degree in Charlotte, NC, must have a minimum GPA of 2.25 and hold a current, unencumbered RN license. Offered in partnership with Atrium Health, this program includes a loan forgiveness agreement for graduates willing to work full-time with an eligible Atrium Health facility.

Cabarrus College of Health Sciences

Designed for working RNs seeking to expand their skills and career opportunities, Cabarrus College of Health Sciences offers a 100% online RN to BSN program. This program has five-week nursing courses that can be completed both full-time and part-time. Full-time students often complete this Charlotte, NC, online nursing program in as few as 18 months. This school is also home to ADN, MSN, and certificate programs.

This program prepares students for advanced nursing roles and underscores the importance of community health and public health nursing. In addition to traditional BSN requirements, students work closely with faculty and community partners to develop a community health education program that addresses public health issues unique to the greater Charlotte area.

Cabarrus College also highlights its fast-track application process, with no application fees or mandatory admissions essay. In association with Allied Health, this program offers a robust loan forgiveness program.

Queens University of Charlotte

Queens University of Charlotte offers a 100% online MSN program accredited by the CCNE. Additionally, Queens University provides working RNs with an opportunity to streamline their path toward a master’s degree through an online RN to MSN program. With four specializations and no campus residency requirement, this distance learning option provides a flexible and affordable way to expand your career opportunities.

The four specializations you can choose from include clinical nurse leader, nurse educator, nurse administrator, and nursing informatics. Core courses include topics such as theoretical foundations of nursing, informatics and healthcare, and data interpretations. Students are also required to complete an integrative clinical concepts practicum consisting of 75 hours of hands-on clinical work.

Applicants for this program must have a current and unrestricted nursing license. Prospective students should submit official transcripts from all previous college-level work. Standardized test scores are not required for admission.

FAQs About Online Nursing Programs in Charlotte, NC

Can I earn my nursing degree in Charlotte completely online?

It depends on your degree and chosen specialty. And what degree and concentration you choose determines if you’ll need to complete an in-person practicum. If you’re enrolling in an RN to BSN, as an example, you can probably find an online version of the degree since it only requires coursework. However any degrees with clinical hours will require that portion of the program to be completed in person. But these programs will often allow students to complete the classroom portion of learning fully online.

Will my online Charlotte nursing degree be considered less valuable by employers?

No, it won’t. Your future employer will care most that you hold a nursing license. As long as you earn your nursing degree from a state-approved and properly accredited program, you should have no trouble passing required exams and earning your license.

Are online nursing programs in Charlotte more affordable than campus programs?

They could be, but it depends on the school. Some provide a discounted rate for online learning, while others charge the same rate. Even if the latter is the case, you can still save time and money by not going to and from campus multiple times a week or buying a parking pass. Online programs also make it easier to work while taking courses. Having this income can make the nursing degree far more affordable.

Financial Aid Opportunities for Nursing Students in Charlotte, NC

With so many nursing scholarships available locally and nationally, finding financial aid to help pay for your degree doesn’t have to be complicated. In terms of North Carolina-specific awards, the North Carolina Foundation for Nursing is one possible source of nursing scholarships that focuses on North Carolina nursing students.

Other places to check include local and state government agencies, professional associations, nonprofit foundations, individual colleges and universities, and hospitals. Filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid can also help you qualify for federal grants, work-study, and loans.

How to Become an RN in Charlotte, NC: Licensing Requirements

The North Carolina Board of Nursing awards all registered nurse licenses in the state and sets specific requirements. To take the exam, you must supply an application and official school transcripts demonstrating you attended an approved program before paying Pearson VUE to sit for the exam. You must also pass a criminal background check. Learn more about licensure requirements and additional educational options by checking out our guide to nursing schools in North Carolina.

Job Demand for RNs in Charlotte, NC

With over 24,000 RNs working in the Charlotte area, these professionals make up about 20% of North Carolina’s RN workforce. North Carolina is projected to add over 11,000 nursing jobs during the next decade. Considering the large number of nurses working in Charlotte, jobs are likely to show strong growth in that area. As demand for RNs grows, earning a bachelor’s or advanced degree increases your competitiveness and boosts your salary when looking for a new job.

When on the job hunt, make sure to consider some of the larger medical providers in the greater Charlotte area. Atrium Health Medical Group and Novant Health Medical Group are the two largest employers for the medical field.

How Much You Could Make as an RN in Charlotte, NC

While the annual average salary for RNs in Charlotte is about $10,000 less than the national average, Charlotte-based RNs make slightly more than the state average. And even though these wages don’t compete with larger metropolitan areas like New York or Los Angeles, cost of living is also a crucial factor. Housing expenses in Charlotte are 11% lower than the national average, and gas and grocery prices also fall slightly below the national mean. Overall, the cost of living in Charlotte is about 2% lower than the national average.

If you’re looking to increase your earning potential, consider enrolling in an academic program that boosts your credentials while offering you the opportunity to hone specialized nursing skills. In-demand specialties include nurse anesthetist, long-term care, home healthcare, and outpatient care.

Earnings for Registered Nurses in Charlotte, NC

Median Hourly Wage Mean Hourly Wage Annual Mean Wage
Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia $32.99 $33.86 $70,420
North Carolina $32.13 $33.15 $68,950
United States $36.22 $38.47 $80,010

Source:Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2020

Additional Charlotte, NC Nursing Resources

North Carolina Board of Nursing

Because Charlotte adheres to the licensing rules set forth by the NC Board of Nursing, bookmarking this page is a good idea if you’ll need to find information about your initial license or renewing an existing license.

Oncology Nursing Society – Greater Charlotte Area Chapter

If you work or plan to work in oncology nursing, joining this local chapter provides you access to online discussions, in-person and virtual events, resources, and opportunities to participate and grow your nursing skills.

American Association of Critical Care Nurses (AACN) Piedmont Carolinas Chapter

This chapter of AACN provides events and continuing education, a career center filled with local jobs, and news/announcements about nursing in the Charlotte area.

National Black Nurses Association (NBNA)Piedmont Chapter

The NBNA Charlotte-area chapter provides a space where black nurses, regardless of job title, come together for networking, mutual learning, and career support. The chapter offers annual and lifetime memberships.

Metrolina Coalition of Nurse Practitioners (NPs)

This nonprofit group brings together NPs in the greater Charlotte area to take advantage of mentorship opportunities, service, leadership development, and networking. The group also provides a scholarship.