Navigating the Nursing Profession in North Carolina

Updated: Oct 6



Let us help you land on your dream job here in North Carolina! Read on this article to know more about the licensing process in North Carolina, and more!


 

Through this article, you will be able to know the following:

  • Fees for the licensing

  • Licensing renewal process (step-by-step)

  • Requirements for Continuing Education in Nursing

  • Licensing and certification

  • Job and Salary Expectations of Nurses in North Carolina

  • Popular hospitals in North Carolina

  • Nursing associations in North Carolina

  • Contact details



 

Fees for the Licensing

The table below shows the required payments for the licensing, whether you are a first-time nurse, applying by endorsement, or renewing your license. For more information, visit the North Carolina licensing page.


North Carolina allows nurses to hold multi-state licenses because it is one of the nursing compact states in the country. As a nursing compact state, North Carolina lets nurses hold multi state licenses.

*Fees may change without any notice.


 

Licensing Renewal Process

  1. Check when your license expires by visiting the North Carolina Board of Nursing website. North Carolina has a Verification page for you to verify your license.

  2. Complete all your continuing education requirements BEFORE your license expires.

  3. Apply for your renewal process by going to the North Carolina Board of Nursing. You may check on the Renewal Information page for more specific information. Be reminded that if your Primary State of Residency is not North Carolina, you can not apply for a licensure in North Carolina because it is a compact state. You must declare that North Carolina is your Primary State of Residency to be able to do so.



 

Requirements for Continuing Education in Nursing

The following are the Continuing Education Requirements for nurses in North Carolina.

  • For RNs, LPNs, APRN-CNSs, APRN-CNRAs, you must complete one of the requirements listed below every 3 years.

  • Continuing education activities - 30 contact hrs; or

  • National certification or recertification by a national credentialing body recognized by the Board (*APRNs must maintain national certification); or

  • Completed a Board approved refresher course; or

  • Completed at least two semester hours of post-licensure academic education related to nursing practice; or

  • Fifteen (15) contact hours of continuing education activity and completion of a nursing project as principal or co-principal investigator to include a statement of the problem, project objectives, methods, and summary of findings; or

  • Fifteen (15) contact hours of continuing education activities and authoring or co-authoring a published nursing-related article, paper, book, or book chapter; or

  • Fifteen (15) contact hours of continuing education activities and developing and conducting a nursing education presentation or presentations totaling at least five contact hours for nurses or other health professionals to include a copy of program brochure or course syllabi, objectives, content, and teaching methods, and date and location of presentation; or

  • Fifteen (15) contact hours of continuing education activities and 640 hours of active practice within the previous two (2) years.


  • For APRN-NPs, you must maintain national certification, that includes meeting continuing education requirements of 50 contact hours annually.

  • You are required to have 1 hour in controlled substances prescribing practices, signs of abuse or misuse of controlled substances, and controlled substances prescribing for chronic pain management if you are authorized to prescribe controlled substances.

The North Carolina Board of Nursing accepts courses that are ANCC accredited. ____________________________________________________________

Licensing and Certification


Step 1: Education

To earn an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN), you must attend an accredited institution that offers ADN for 18-24 months. You can also take a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) Degree in an accredited institution. These programs typically take 4 to 5 years to complete. If you have an ADN but you wanna pursue your bachelor’s, there are certain programs that let you earn your BSN in 12 to 18 months. There is also an RN to BSN program that will take one year for you to earn the degree. Said programs let you save on time and money as you work towards advancing your career.


Step 2: Licensing

Six weeks before your graduation, you can start the process of your application for the NCLEX-RN exam. This exam is composed of 75-265 items and you will be given a limit of 5 hours to finish all of it. Failing the exam does not necessarily mean that you do not have the chance anymore. After your first try, you just have to wait for 45 days and you can apply again.

The scope of NCLEX includes questions about: (1) health promotion and maintenance; (2) safe and effective care environment; (3) physiology and integrity; and (4) psychology and integrity.


Step 3: Experience

This time, you must learn how to take the opportunities in gaining first-hand experiences in dealing with patients, with colleagues and superiors, and with the different situations that you might face. These invaluable experiences will make you more attractive to bigger employers in the future.

Step 4: Certification

Your last step is to obtain certifications for your chosen career. There are different requirements for earning a certification, depending on your preferences so it is important to check with the governing provider for information. You can attend several trainings, seminars or workshops in varied institutions for this purpose.

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Job and Salary Expectations of Nurses in North Carolina

Shortage of healthcare professionals, specifically nurses, has been a perennial issue in the country. This makes nurses highly in demand during this period of time. This profession will increase by about 9% from 2020 to 2030. The average annual salary is currently $71,200.

Let us help you check out average wages of nurses to help determine if North Carolina is the right place for you.


 

Popular Hospitals in North Carolina

Still not decided on whether to work as a nurse in North Carolina or not? This list of the best hospitals in the state will surely help you make that decision to go in the right direction. U.S. News and World Report made a list of the best and popular hospitals in North Carolina. Here are some of them:

  • Duke University Hospital – (Durham, NC):

  • Regionally ranked #1 in North Carolina, and in Raleigh-Durham

  • Nationally ranked in 11 adult specialties and 9 pediatric specialties

  • Rated high performing in 2 adult specialties and 17 procedures and conditions

  • General medical and surgical facility and a teaching hospital

  • Part of the Magnet Recognition Program®

  • Specialties include Ophthalmology (#6 in the nation), Orthopedics (#22 in the nation), and Neurology & Neurosurgery (#31 in the nation)

  • University of North Carolina Hospitals – (Chapel Hill, NC):

  • Regionally ranked #2 in North Carolina, and in Raleigh-Durham

  • Nationally ranked 4 adult specialties and 7 pediatric specialties

  • Rated high performing in 2 adult specialties and 12 procedures and conditions

  • General medical and surgical facility and a teaching hospital

  • Part of the Magnet Recognition Program®

  • Specialties include Pediatric Diabetes & Endocrinology (#16 in the nation), Pediatric Pulmonology & Lung Surgery (#24 in the nation), and Gynecology (#34 in the nation)

  • Atrium Health-Carolinas Medical Center – (Charlotte, NC):

  • Regionally ranked #3 in North Carolina, and #1 in Charlotte

  • Nationally ranked in 8 pediatric specialties

  • Rated high performing in 4 adult specialties and 14 procedures and conditions

  • General medical and surgical facility and a teaching hospital

  • Part of the Magnet Recognition Program®

  • Specialties include Cancer, Pediatric Gastroenterology & GI Surgery (#23 in the nation), Pediatric Nephrology (#24 in the nation), and Orthopedics.

  • UNC Rex Hospital – (Raleigh, NC):

  • Regionally ranked #3 in North Carolina, and in Raleigh-Durham

  • Rated high performing in 1 adult specialty and 18 procedures and conditions

  • General medical and surgical facility

  • Specialties include Cancer, Cardiology & Heart surgery, Diabetes, Gastroenterology & GI Surgery, Gynecology, Nephrology, Neurology & Neurosurgery, Orthopedics, and Pulmonology & Lung Surgery.

  • FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital – (Pinehurst, NC):

  • Regionally ranked #5 in North Carolina

  • Rated high performing in 16 adult procedures and conditions

  • General medical and surgical facility

  • Specialties include Cancer, Cardiology & Heart surgery, Diabetes, Gastroenterology & GI Surgery, Gynecology, Nephrology, Neurology & Neurosurgery, Orthopedics, and Pulmonology & Lung Surgery.

*The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) awards Magnet Status to Hospitals that apply and meet certain criteria. This award is also considered as the “gold standard” for excellence in nursing practice and care.


 

Nursing Associations in North Carolina

Becoming a member of a nursing association opens a lot of opportunities to your career growth. It gives you the advantages of varied job offers and networking, and a bunch of information and experiences shared between you and your fellow nurses. Through these organizations, learning and professional growth never stop. Listed below are just a few of the nursing organizations that you can find and join once you are in North Carolina.

North Carolina Emergency Nurses Associations “The purpose of this association is to elevate patient safety and excellent emergency nursing practice.”

School Nurse Association of North Carolina “ This group is dedicated to providing assistance to professional school nurses for optimal health of learners.”

North Carolina Nurses Association “This organization excels in professional development and experiences. Members are well-informed and are leaders for the health and well being of the people of North Carolina.”

For more information about the nursing associations, you may visit the comprehensive list of national organizations as well.



 

Contact Details

North Carolina Board of Nursing

Phone: (919) 782-3211

Fax: (919) 781-9461

Website: https://www.ncbon.com/

Mailing address:

PO Box 2129

Raleigh, NC 27602-2129

Physical address:

4516 Lake Boone Trail

Raleigh, NC 27607





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