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North Carolina’s nurses typically fall into one of three major nursing roles. Each role requires a different education pathway to achieve qualification, and each role carries unique duties. In addition, compensation varies greatly by nursing role.

Certified nursing assistant
A certified nursing assistant (CNA) experiences a rapid path to employment. After completing a community college course that lasts just a few weeks, a student is eligible to begin practice as a CNA. Approximately 3,000 CNAs work in Asheville, earning almost $24,000 per year, which is significantly higher than the state average.

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Licensed practical nurse
A licensed practical nurse (LPN) must complete a longer certificate program, typically requiring 12-18 months of study. Aspiring LPNs must also successfully pass the NCLEX-PN national licensure examination before practicing in the state of North Carolina. Just under 1,000 LPNs are employed in the Asheville metropolitan area, with a median annual salary of $43,000.

Registered nurse
Registered nurses (RNs) are very well compensated in Asheville, earning a median annual salary of over $60,000. In fact, a quarter of the city’s 5,500 RNs earn more than $70,000 per annum. North Carolina’s healthcare providers increasingly prefer to hire RNs with a bachelor’s or master’s degree. However, a significant number of practicing RNs still hold a nursing diploma or associate’s degree.

To learn how you could land a job with a major Asheville employer like Tenet Health, please see our list below of the city’s accredited nursing schools and programs.

Asheville nursing schools by NCLEX score

Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College
340 Victoria Road | Asheville, North Carolina 28801
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 88.7% NCLEX pass rate (2013 through 2019)
Blue Ridge Community College
805 Sixth Avenue West, Third Floor | Hendersonville, North Carolina 28739
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 86.6% NCLEX pass rate (2013 through 2019)
Region A Nursing Consortium
185 Freedlander Drive | Clyde, North Carolina 28721
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 74.4% NCLEX pass rate (2013 through 2019)
Mars Hill University
100 Athletic Street | Mars Hill, North Carolina 28754
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 72.2% NCLEX pass rate (2018 through 2019)
  • RN-to-BSN Degree Completion
South College - Asheville
140 Sweeten Creek Road | Asheville, North Carolina 28803
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 71.4% NCLEX pass rate (2019 through 2019)
Haywood Community College
185 Freedlander Drive | Clyde, North Carolina 28721
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing
Western Carolina University at Biltmore Park
28 Schenck Parkway | Asheville, North Carolina 28803
  • Accelerated Second Degree BSN
  • DNP: Nurse Anesthesia
  • MSN: Nurse Anesthesia
  • Post-Master's Certificate: Family Nurse Practitioner
School Program NCLEX score Time period
Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College Associate's Degree in Nursing 88.7% 2013 to 2019
Blue Ridge Community College Associate's Degree in Nursing 86.6% 2013 to 2019
Region A Nursing Consortium Associate's Degree in Nursing 74.4% 2013 to 2019
Mars Hill University Bachelor of Science in Nursing 72.2% 2018 to 2019
RN-to-BSN Degree Completion
South College - Asheville Bachelor of Science in Nursing 71.4% 2019 to 2019
Haywood Community College Associate's Degree in Nursing
Western Carolina University at Biltmore Park Accelerated Second Degree BSN
DNP: Nurse Anesthesia
MSN: Nurse Anesthesia
Post-Master's Certificate: Family Nurse Practitioner