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For our 2020 rankings, the research team at Nursing Schools Almanac collected data on over 3,000 nursing schools and campuses throughout the United States. We evaluated each school on three dimensions:

  • The institution’s academic prestige and perceived value
  • The breadth and depth of nursing programs offered
  • Student success, particularly on the NCLEX licensure examination

We then combined these assessments into an overall score and ranked the schools accordingly. For a detailed description of our assessment methodology and dimension weights, please see here.

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#1: Duke University | Durham, NC
The National League for Nursing has designated the Duke University School of Nursing (DUSON) a Center of Excellence on five separate occasions. The school consistently ranks among the best in the nation in U.S. News & World Report’s top MSN and DNP programs. Indeed, DUSON was the first school in North Carolina to offer the doctor of nursing practice degree. Duke also graduates 120-150 students each year from its accelerated bachelor of science in nursing program. These students have passed the NCLEX exam at a stellar 98% first-attempt rate over the past decade.


#2: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill | Chapel Hill, NC
The UNC School of Nursing was the first in the state to offer a four-year BSN, an MSN degree, a nurse practitioner program, and a doctor of philosophy in nursing. The school, which also offers RN-to-BSN, DNP, and post-master’s certificate programs, consistently ranks among the top ten in the nation on two separate U.S. News & World Report lists (best MSN programs, best DNP programs). The traditional BSN program graduates a class of approximately 175 students annually, who have passed the NCLEX licensure exam at a stellar 96% first-try rate over the past decade.


#3: East Carolina University | Greenville, NC
East Carolina University has garnered four consecutive Center of Excellence designations from the National League for Nursing. The ECU College of Nursing offers traditional BSN, accelerated BSN, and RN-to-BSN pathways, plus the innovative Eastern North Carolina Regionally Increasing Baccalaureate Nurses program. This initiative dually admits students to ECU and one of six local community colleges that partner with the university. The College of Nursing graduates approximately 250 prelicensure BSN students each year, with a phenomenal 97% first-time NCLEX pass rate over the past seven years. ECU also offers a breadth of graduate nursing options including MSN, DNP, and PhD programs.


#4: University of North Carolina at Greensboro | Greensboro, NC
The UNCG School of Nursing has earned four consecutive NLN Center of Excellence designations for promoting the pedagogical expertise of faculty. The school offers three undergraduate pathways: traditional four-year BSN, RN-to-BSN, and BSN as a second degree. UNCG graduates more than 100 prelicensure BSN students annually, who have averaged a 92% first-time NCLEX pass rate over the past decade. The school’s online MSN program is consistently ranked among the top twenty nationwide by U.S. News & World Report. UNCG also offers a dual MSN / MBA degree and very selective DNP and PhD programs.


#5: University of North Carolina at Wilmington | Wilmington, NC
The UNC Wilmington School of Nursing has 1,000 current students and more than 2,100 alumni in North Carolina alone. Undergraduates can pursue a traditional prelicensure BSN, an online RN-to-BSN program, or a unique Bachelor of Science in Clinical Research degree – one of just four such programs in the United States. UNC Wilmington’s prelicensure BSN students have enjoyed a strong 95% first-time NCLEX pass rate over the past decade. The school’s graduate offerings include an MSN with family nurse practitioner and nurse educator tracks, a Master of Science in Clinical Research & Product Development degree, and a DNP program with post-BSN and post-MSN pathways.


#6: University of North Carolina at Charlotte | Charlotte, NC
The UNC Charlotte School of Nursing has posted a 92% NCLEX pass rate among BSN graduates over the past seven years. Just as impressively, recent MSN cohorts – including the adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioner track – have achieved a 100% pass rate on their certification exams. In addition to traditional BSN, MSN, and DNP degrees, UNC Charlotte leads an interdisciplinary collaborative PhD program in the College of Health and Human Services. The school also offers an online RN-to-BSN completion program, a Regionally Increasing Baccalaureate Nurses (RIBN) option in partnership with local community colleges, and several post-master’s and graduate certificates.


#7: Western Carolina University | Cullowhee, NC
The School of Nursing at Western Carolina University offers a breadth of nursing pathways. Options include four BSN programs (traditional, accelerated, RN-to-BSN, RIBN), an MSN degree, a DNP in nurse anesthesia, and a post-master’s DNP conducted in partnership with UNC Charlotte. Graduates of the traditional and accelerated BSN programs have achieved a phenomenal 98.5% first-time NCLEX pass rate over the past decade. The RIBN program provides students with a seamless four-year, associate-to-baccalaureate nursing education. Unlike in a traditional BSN program, RIBN students can begin working as an RN during their fourth year of study. The MSN program has specialty tracks in family nurse practitioner, nurse educator, and nursing leadership, with the final two options offered online.


#8: Gardner-Webb University | Boiling Springs, NC
The Hunt School of Nursing at Gardner-Webb University is part of the College of Health Sciences. The school offers several levels of nursing education including an associate’s degree, three pathways to a bachelor’s degree (traditional, accelerated second degree, RN-to-BSN), a master’s degree with several specialty tracks (education, administration, family nurse practitioner), and a doctor of nursing practice. In addition, the Hunt School of Nursing offers a post-baccalaureate certificate in nursing education and post-master’s certificates in all three MSN specialty areas. Undergraduates consistently perform well on their licensure exams. ADN graduates have averaged a 90% pass rate on the NCLEX exam over the past seven years, while their counterparts in the BSN program have scored an exceptional 97% pass rate during that timeframe.


#9: Wake Forest School of Medicine | Winston Salem, NC
Wake Forest School of Medicine has two tracks for aspiring CRNAs: a two-year master of science in nurse anesthesia (MSNA) and a recently launched three-year doctor of nursing practice (DNP) in nurse anesthesia. The nurse anesthesia program was established in 1942 as one of the professional schools of North Carolina Baptist Hospital and the Bowman Gray School of Medicine. Wake Forest Baptist Health serves as the program’s sponsor and the primary facility for the clinical education of students. The new DNP program has been fully accredited by the Council on Accreditation. The curriculum follows one year of fulltime distance learning with two years of onsite education, including frequent clinical instruction.


#10: Cabarrus College of Health Sciences | Concord, NC
Cabarrus College of Health Sciences is home to the Louise Harkey School of Nursing. The school offers a pre-nursing track, an ADN program, and an RN-to-BSN program. The pre-nursing track includes two semesters of general coursework, and admitted students are guaranteed a space in the ADN program. The ADN prepares students to take the NCLEX licensure examination and assume entry-level employment as registered nurses. Cabarrus typically graduates 60-80 ADN students annually, with an excellent 94% first-time NCLEX pass rate over the past seven years. The RN-to-BSN is an online program designed for registered nurses who are seeking to expand their skills or prepare for graduate-level nursing education.


#11: Queens University of Charlotte | Charlotte, NC
The Presbyterian School of Nursing at Queens University of Charlotte offers both BSN and MSN degree programs. The BSN has three pathways: a traditional track, an accelerated second degree option, and an online RN-to-BSN degree completion program. The traditional and accelerated tracks are designed for students without a nursing license. These prelicensure programs graduate 70-90 students in total each year, with a stellar 96% first-time NCLEX pass rate over the past five years. The online RN-to-BSN program just recently launched in the fall of 2018. Queens University’s online MSN program has three specializations: clinical nurse leader, nurse administrator, and nurse educator.


#12: Appalachian State University | Boone, NC
The Department of Nursing at Appalachian State University offers traditional BSN, RN-to-BSN, and MSN programs. The traditional BSN is a prelicensure program that prepares students to practice as nurse generalists in a variety of healthcare settings. Appalachian State University’s traditional BSN students have scored a 92% first-time NCLEX pass rate over the past seven years, including a perfect 100% pass rate in both 2018 and 2019. The RN-to-BSN pathway is designed for registered nurses who possess an ADN or diploma and wish to earn a BSN degree. The MSN curriculum has a nurse educator concentration that prepares students for leadership roles in nursing education. MSN students engage in primarily online learning environments.


#13: Carolinas College of Health Sciences | Charlotte, NC
In just over a quarter of a century, Carolinas College of Health Sciences has become one of the most highly regarded vocational nursing schools in the country. The college offers both a traditional ADN program and an LPN-to-ADN matriculation option. Students enjoy a small-school academic environment, with access to world-class clinical experiences at Atrium Health’s Carolinas Medical Center and its multidisciplinary Carolinas Simulation Center. Every nursing faculty member has at least a master’s degree in the field, and many hold specialty certifications. Not surprisingly, the college’s ADN graduates have passed the NCLEX licensure exam at a 95% rate over the past seven years, one of the strongest pass rates in the state. Approximately 80% of CCHS nursing students take a position with Atrium Health upon graduation.


#14: Chamberlain University | Charlotte, NC
Chamberlain University’s Charlotte campus is one of the newest additions to the Chamberlain family. The school’s first campus in North Carolina offers a three-year prelicensure BSN program that consists of 129 credit hours, including 69 credit hours in nursing and 60 credit hours in the liberal arts and sciences. Students will obtain hands-on experience in both the Chamberlain SIMCARE Center and on-site clinical settings. These experiences allow students to work side-by-side with faculty, mentors, peers, and experienced professional nurses as they refine their skills in nursing and direct patient care. Since the BSN program’s recent launch in Charlotte, graduates have achieved a 92% first-time pass rate on the NCLEX licensure examination.


#15: Northeastern University | Charlotte, NC
Northeastern University’s Charlotte campus offers a range of executive-level degree programs, including an education doctorate and master’s degrees in several business and technology fields. One of the campus’s newest offerings is an accelerated BSN program. Offered by Northeastern’s Bouvé College of Health Sciences, the accelerated BSN is a fulltime 67-credit program that provides three convenient start dates per year. The program blends online courses, hands-on learning at the school’s state-of-the-art nursing center in uptown Charlotte, and clinical practice at premier healthcare facilities in the metropolitan area. Coursework covers topics like cultural diversity, nursing informatics, and evidence-based practice that are critical to success in today’s healthcare environment. Since the BSN program’s recent launch in Charlotte, graduates have achieved an 86% first-time pass rate on the NCLEX-RN licensure exam.


#16: Campbell University | Buies Creek, NC
The Catherine W. Wood School of Nursing at Campbell University offers a traditional BSN program that prepares students for initial licensure as a registered nurse. The first two years of the program provide a broad science and liberal arts foundation, enabling students to develop clinical judgments, challenge assumptions, visualize a systems approach, and appreciate diversity and professionalism. In the final two years, clinical experiences greatly enhance the classroom didactic content. The school’s curriculum covers a breadth of nursing topics including adult health, gerontology, human anatomy, informatics, mental health, pharmacology, population health, and women’s health. Since the program’s recent launch, graduates have achieved a 96% first-time pass rate on the NCLEX licensure examination.


#17: Watts College of Nursing | Durham, NC
Tracing its roots back to 1895, Watts College of Nursing is the oldest continuously running nursing program in North Carolina. The school has historically offered a unique curriculum that enabled students to earn both an RN diploma from Watts and an associate of science degree in health science from the University of Mount Olive. This diploma program will graduate its final class in December 2021. In its stead, Watts recently launched a new BSN degree program that admits two cohorts annually, one in January and one in August. The BSN program is a candidate for initial accreditation by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing. Over the past seven years, Watts graduates have averaged a stellar 94% first-time pass rate on the NCLEX-RN licensure examination.


#18: Lenoir-Rhyne University | Hickory, NC
The School of Nursing at Lenoir-Rhyne University offers three undergraduate pathways, as well as an MSN program that can be completed entirely online. The three undergraduate pathways are a traditional prelicensure BSN, the Regionally Increasing Baccalaureate Nurses (RIBN) program, and an RN-to-BSN bridge. The traditional prelicensure program graduates 25-40 students annually. These students have averaged an impressive 94% pass rate on the NCLEX-RN licensure exam over the past six years. The RIBN program provides a four-year nursing option that concurrently enrolls students in a community college (where they obtain their ADN) and a university (where they later complete their BSN). The RIBN program started in 2010, and it has since expanded to include several regional partnerships across the state.


#19: Wingate University | Wingate, NC
Wingate University offers a prelicensure BSN that features small class sizes, close relationships with area hospitals, and the opportunity to gain real-world experience in a clinical setting. Students in the program can add a minor, such as sociology, which prepares them for success as a public health nurse. Alternatively, students who hone their science skills and have an interest in the law could pursue a career as a forensics nurse. The curriculum also prepares students for potential graduate study in an advanced degree program. BSN graduates from Wingate University have achieved an impressive 98% first-time pass rate on the NCLEX-RN licensure exam over the past four years.


#20: Winston-Salem State University | Winston-Salem, NC
Winston-Salem State University’s Division of Nursing has a BSN program with five pathways: traditional, accelerated, paramedic-to-BSN, LPN-to-BSN, and RN-to-BSN. The accelerated pathway is designed to give individuals with a bachelor’s degree in another discipline an opportunity to complete the BSN in just 13 months. The paramedic-to-BSN pathway provides advanced standing to licensed EMTs who possess at least one year of paramedic experience, and the LPN-to-BSN pathway provides similar advanced standing for licensed practical nurses. Over the past seven years, BSN graduates have achieved a solid 89% first-time pass rate on the NCLEX-RN licensure exam. WSSU also offers an MSN degree for aspiring family nurse practitioners and nurse educators, as well as a DNP program that prepares students for the certification exams administered by the American Nurses Credentialing Center and the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners.


#21: University of North Carolina at Pembroke | Pembroke, NC
The UNC Pembroke Department of Nursing has three undergraduate pathways: a traditional prelicensure BSN degree, an RN-to-BSN bridge program, and the dual-enrollment Regionally Increasing Baccalaureate Nurses option. The traditional BSN consists of 62 semester credit hours of lower-division work, including liberal arts and nursing prerequisites, and 62 semester credit hours of upper-division work in the nursing major. Graduates of the traditional BSN program have averaged a 91% first-time pass rate on the NCLEX-RN licensure exam over the past seven years. At the graduate level, UNC Pembroke offers an MSN degree with concentrations for aspiring clinical nurse leaders, nurse educators, and rural case managers.


#22: University of Mount Olive | Mount Olive, NC
The University of Mount Olive offers an RN-to-BSN program that may be completed 100% online. The curriculum is designed for licensed and practicing RNs, and it consists of three sections: general education, core requirements, and community nursing experience. This accelerated program – most courses are only five weeks in length – can be completed on either a fulltime or parttime schedule. The university also offers an MSN degree. This program is delivered in an asynchronous online format and offers a dual concentration in nursing education and nursing administration. Students can complete the program in as little as four consecutive semesters.


#23: Barton College | Wilson, NC
The School of Nursing at Barton College houses the Judy Howard Hill Nursing Program. Students can earn a traditional BSN, RN-to-BSN, or MSN degree. The BSN pathways feature partnership and cooperative agreements with more than twenty facilities and agencies, many of which offer tuition remuneration or pay competitive salaries during the externship experience. Between twenty and forty students graduate annually from the prelicensure BSN program. These students have posted an 80% first-time pass rate on the NCLEX-RN licensure exam over the past seven years. The MSN degree prepares students for roles in either nursing administration or post-secondary nursing education. It is designed to be completed in just two years of fulltime study.


#24: Sandhills Community College | Pinehurst, NC
The nursing program at Sandhills Community College features a 5,000-square-foot Center of Learning and Simulation, colloquially known as CoLaS. This facility actually consists of three distinct centers: the Primary Simulation Center, the Family Life Center, and the Pediatric Center. Nursing students at Sandhills Community College can pursue either a traditional ADN program or an LPN-to-ADN bridge option. Approximately sixty students graduate annually across the two pathways. Over the past seven years, these students have averaged an outstanding 93% first-time pass rate on the NCLEX-RN licensure exam. Sandhills Community College also partners with the University of North Carolina at Pembroke to provide students a four-year pathway to the BSN degree, known as the Regionally Increasing Baccalaureate Nurses program.


#25: Pfeiffer University | Misenheimer, NC
The Division of Applied Health Sciences at Pfeiffer University offers two pathways for nursing students: a prelicensure BSN program and an online RN-to-BSN bridge. The prelicensure BSN is a traditional four-year program that includes both classroom instruction and clinical experience. The curriculum covers a breadth of nursing topics including community health, adult care, and pharmacology. Over the past five years, prelicensure BSN students have scored an 86% first-time pass rate on the NCLEX-RN examination. The RN-to-BSN pathway is a 120-semester-hour program designed for working nurses who seek flexibility and convenience. Coursework covers the topics of health assessment, health promotion, and nursing leadership.


#26: Gaston College | Dallas, NC
Gaston College’s Health and Human Services Department offers an LPN diploma, a traditional ADN pathway, and an LPN-to-RN bridge program. The LPN diploma and LPN-to-RN bridge program each take three semesters to complete, while the traditional ADN program requires five semesters of continuous study. Student outcomes are strong across all nursing programs. Associate’s degree candidates have averaged a 95% NCLEX-RN pass rate over the past seven years, while LPN students have earned a stellar 99% NCLEX-PN pass rate during that timeframe. Gaston College also partners with Lenoir-Rhyne University to offer the Regionally Increasing Baccalaureate Nurses program. This four-year cooperative allows students to receive an associate’s degree from Gaston College in year three and a bachelor’s degree from Lenoir-Rhyne University in year four.


#27: Catawba College | Salisbury, NC
The Department of Nursing at Catawba College offers two options: a daytime prelicensure BSN program and an evening RN-to-BSN program. The prelicensure BSN is designed for individuals with no prior nursing education or experience. Applicants must be high school graduates and complete prerequisite courses like anatomy, physiology, microbiology, and chemistry before gaining admission to the program. The RN-to-BSN is designed for registered nurses looking to broaden their career options or prepare for graduate study. Students complete coursework on a broad range of baccalaureate topics including nursing practice, holistic health assessment, nursing leadership, and nursing management.


#28: Fayetteville State University | Fayetteville, NC
Fayetteville State University’s nursing program traces its roots back to 1992, when the university first launched a joint partnership with UNC Pembroke. Today, the FSU School of Nursing offers both a prelicensure BSN and an RN-to-BSN bridge program. The curriculum covers a breadth of topics including community nursing, nursing research, pediatrics, nursing theory, health assessment, and nursing ethics. Students also receive extensive hands-on training, both in laboratories with state-of-the-art simulators and in guided clinical settings. Prelicensure BSN students have achieved an impressive 96% first-time pass rate on the NCLEX exam since the program’s inception. They also boast a 100% job placement rate after graduation.


#29: Methodist University | Fayetteville, NC
Methodist University’s Department of Nursing has a BSN program that prepares students to provide patient-centered care, work with interdisciplinary teams, and address critical issues in today’s ever-changing healthcare industry. Coursework covers a breadth of critical topics including nursing care fundamentals, nutrition for health and healing, and pharmacotherapeutics. The clinical component of the program begins in the student’s junior year and ends after the spring semester of senior year. Upon completion of the program, graduates are prepared to take the NCLEX licensure examination. Since the launch of Methodist University’s prelicensure program, BSN students have averaged an 80% first-time NCLEX pass rate, including an impressive 96.6% pass rate in 2018.


#30: ECPI University | Charlotte, Greensboro, & Raleigh, NC
ECPI University’s College of Nursing offers year-round programs that allow students to complete their LPN diploma or RN associate’s degree in just 15 or 18 months, respectively. ECPI offers the LPN diploma at all three of its North Carolina campuses. Collectively, LPN students have averaged an 87% first-time pass rate on the NCLEX-PN licensure examination over the past seven years. ECPI also offers the associate’s degree at its Charlotte and Raleigh campuses. The ADN curriculum prepares students for entry-level registered nurse positions at hospitals, primary care clinics, and private practices. Comprehensive coursework includes topics like acute care, medical-surgical nursing, pharmacology, and a breadth of other subjects. ADN graduates have scored a strong 90% NCLEX-RN pass rate since the program’s inception.


#31: Surry Community College | Dobson, NC
Surry Community College offers several prelicensure pathways into the nursing profession, including a practical nursing diploma and two entry points for the associate’s degree (traditional and LPN-to-ADN bridge). The college graduates 30-60 ADN students annually. Over the past decade, these students have scored a solid 93% first-time pass rate on the NCLEX-RN licensure exam. LPN graduates have an even more impressive track record: nine consecutive cohorts have scored a perfect 100% first-time pass rate on the NCLEX-PN licensure exam. In addition to its standalone offerings, Surry Community College partners with Lees-McRae College to provide students an affordable and accessible pathway to the BSN degree. This collaborative, known as the Regionally Increasing Baccalaureate Nurses program, offers both traditional and LPN-to-BSN tracks.


#32: North Carolina Central University | Durham, NC
North Carolina Central University’s Department of Nursing offers several pathways to a BSN degree including a traditional four-year program, an accelerated second degree, an RN-to-BSN completion option, and a unique veteran-to-BSN pathway. Students may also choose a nursing concentration from more than a dozen options. Popular concentrations include community health, nursing leadership and management, and psychiatric-mental health nursing. The university’s nursing skills and simulation laboratories include a clinical learning resource center known as Eagle General Hospital. Approximately sixty prelicensure students graduate from the BSN program annually. These students have averaged an 80% first-time pass rate on the NCLEX licensure exam over the past decade.


#33: North Carolina A&T State University | Greensboro, NC
North Carolina A&T State University’s School of Nursing sits within the College of Health and Human Sciences. Students can earn a BSN degree through three entry options: traditional, accelerated, and completion. The traditional BSN is designed for new freshmen and transfer students, while the accelerated program is for students who already possess a non-nursing bachelor’s degree. Both pathways prepare students for initial RN licensure. The school’s BSN graduates have achieved an 84% first-time pass rate on the NCLEX licensure examination over the past seven years, including a stellar 97% pass rate last year. A&T’s BSN completion pathway is for RNs with an associate’s degree who wish to complete their baccalaureate education.


#34: Wake Technical Community College | Raleigh, NC
The Wake Technical Community College Department of Nursing offers a prelicensure ADN program with multiple entry points. The curriculum provides simulated learning in a state-of-the-art laboratory, as well as clinical experiences at a number of healthcare sites throughout Wake County. Students with no nursing experience can pursue a traditional two-year course of study, while licensed practical nurses may apply for advanced placement. The program graduates 100-150 new nurses annually, and these students perform extremely well on their licensure examinations. WTCC nursing students have averaged a phenomenal 96% first-time pass rate on the NCLEX-RN exam over the past seven years.


#35: Lees-McRae College | Banner Elk, NC
The May School of Nursing and Health Sciences at Lees-McRae College offers a prelicensure BSN program and an online RN-to-BSN pathway. Students engage in lab experiences at the LMC Hart Simulation Center, which has 3G wireless human simulators and a simulated inpatient hospital unit complete with a replicated efficiency apartment, exam tables, and hospital beds. Students complete 25% of their clinical time in the center, which has been designated a Gaumard premier site – one of only 33 such sites in the United States.


#36: St. Andrews University | Laurinburg, NC
St. Andrews University traces its roots back more than a century to the 1896 founding of Flora Macdonald College. The university features seven undergraduate departments and divisions, as well as two graduate programs. In the Fall 2020 semester, St. Andrews launched its first nursing degree program, a bachelor of science in nursing. The BSN program offers both a traditional pathway that prepares students for initial licensure and an RN-to-BSN pathway that enables nurses with a diploma or associate’s degree to complete their baccalaureate education. SAU’s BSN curriculum is grounded in Nola J. Pender’s Health Promotion Model and interweaves the metaparadigm nursing concepts of health, person, environment, and learning.


#37: Coastal Carolina Community College | Jacksonville, NC
Launched in 1965 as the Onslow Industrial Education Center, Coastal Carolina Community College has grown to serve approximately 1,800 fulltime and almost 2,000 parttime undergraduate students today. The college offers several nursing pathways including a practical nursing diploma, a traditional associate of applied science (AAS) degree in registered nursing, and an AAS transition program that awards advanced standing to licensed practical nurses. Both the LPN diploma and AAS degree are limited-enrollment programs, and both are candidates for initial ACEN accreditation. Both programs also boast excellent student outcomes. Coastal’s AAS degree program graduates approximately thirty students annually, with a 90% NCLEX-RN pass rate over the past seven years. The college’s LPN diploma program graduates approximately twenty students annually, with a stellar 94% NCLEX-PN pass rate over the past seven years.


#38: Cleveland Community College | Shelby, NC
The nursing program at Cleveland Community College has two options for aspiring nurses: a practical nursing diploma and a professional nursing associate’s degree. The LPN diploma emphasizes individualized nursing care, participation in an interdisciplinary team, evidence-based practice, and quality improvement. The program graduates approximately a dozen students per year, and virtually all of these individuals pass the NCLEX-PN licensure exam on their first try. The ADN program is a member of the Foothills Nursing Consortium along with Isothermal Community College and McDowell Technical Community College. The ADN curriculum builds upon the domains of healthcare, nursing practice, and the holistic individual with coursework that spans family health, illness, and nursing transitions.


#39: Brunswick Community College | Bolivia, NC
Brunswick Community College’s Nursing and Allied Health Department offers both LPN and ADN programs. The one-year LPN curriculum focuses on the assessment, planning, implementation, and evaluation of nursing care. Graduates can land entry-level positions in clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, and physicians’ offices. LPN students have scored a perfect 100% first-time pass rate on the NCLEX-PN licensure exam for an incredible eleven consecutive years. The two-year ADN curriculum emphasizes interdisciplinary care, evidence-based practice, quality improvement, and informatics. Graduates can pursue a range of employment settings including acute, chronic, extended, industrial, and community healthcare. ADN students have averaged a stellar 94% first-time pass rate on the NCLEX-RN licensure exam over the past decade.


#40: South University | High Point, NC
Established in 1899, South University offers nine distinct fields of study across its ten campus locations and a robust online platform. The university’s High Point Off-Campus Instructional Site conducts both a prelicensure BSN program and an MSN degree with a family nurse practitioner emphasis. Both offerings are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. The MSN curriculum integrates advanced health sciences knowledge and skills, equipping students to deliver community-based primary healthcare to individuals and families across the lifespan. The BSN program prepares graduates to sit for the National Council Licensure Examination in order to pursue initial licensure as a registered nurse. Since the program’s inception, BSN students have scored a solid 86% first-time NCLEX pass rate.