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The Hickory, North Carolina, metropolitan area – locally dubbed the “Unifour” – is home to more than 7,000 nursing professionals. Some of the most common roles are registered nurse (RN), licensed practical nurse (LPN), and certified nursing assistant (CNA). Most nurses in Hickory earned their degree or diploma at a local college or university. The region is flush with top nursing schools, including Lenoir-Rhyne University, Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute, Catawba Valley Community College, and Western Piedmont Community College. Collectively, these schools offer nursing programs at all levels.

There are three pathways to becoming an RN in North Carolina: hospital diploma, associate’s degree in nursing (ADN), and bachelor of science in nursing (BSN). Many nurses also pursue advanced post-licensure degrees like master of science in nursing (MSN), doctor of nursing practice (DNP), and doctor of philosophy (PhD) in nursing. In addition to a degree from an accredited school, RNs must pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) in order to obtain a license.

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The minimum education requirement for LPNs is a diploma from an approved education program. All LPNs must also pass the NCLEX-PN national licensure exam before practicing. Aspiring CNAs must complete a state-approved education program and pass the state competency exam. After passing the exam, CNAs are placed on the state registry. In some states, CNAs can earn additional credentials such as certified medication assistant (CMA).

Newly licensed nurses are prepared to seek positions at major area hospitals and healthcare centers. The Hickory metropolitan area has numerous nursing employers such as Frye Regional Medical Center, Carolinas HealthCare System, Carolinas Medical Center, and Lake Norman Regional Medical Center. Local RNs earn competitive salaries, ranging from $55,420 on average to $74,000 annually for top performers. The average local salary is $42,270 for LPNs and $24,220 for CNAs.

Let us help you launch your nursing career in Hickory, North Carolina, and the Unifour area. We’ve compiled below a list of top local nursing schools to help you get started.

Hickory nursing schools by NCLEX score

Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute
2855 Hickory Boulevard | Hudson, North Carolina 28638
  • Diploma in Practical Nursing: 100.0% NCLEX pass rate (2019 through 2019)
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 95.7% NCLEX pass rate (2013 through 2019)
Western Piedmont Community College
1001 Burkemont Avenue | Morganton, North Carolina 28655
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 92.3% NCLEX pass rate (2013 through 2019)
Lenoir-Rhyne University
625 Seventh Avenue NE | Hickory, North Carolina 28601
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 89.0% NCLEX pass rate (2013 through 2019)
  • Master of Science in Nursing
  • RN-to-BSN Degree Completion
  • RN-to-MSN Degree Completion
Catawba Valley Community College
2550 US Highway 70 SE | Hickory, North Carolina 28602
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 86.9% NCLEX pass rate (2013 through 2019)
School Program NCLEX score Time period
Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute Diploma in Practical Nursing 100.0% 2019 to 2019
Associate's Degree in Nursing 95.7% 2013 to 2019
Western Piedmont Community College Associate's Degree in Nursing 92.3% 2013 to 2019
Lenoir-Rhyne University Bachelor of Science in Nursing 89.0% 2013 to 2019
Master of Science in Nursing
RN-to-BSN Degree Completion
RN-to-MSN Degree Completion
Catawba Valley Community College Associate's Degree in Nursing 86.9% 2013 to 2019