North Carolina Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) Programs

State Nursing Board: North Carolina Board of Nursing

State Nurses Association: North Carolina Nurses Association

State Hospital Association: North Carolina Hospital Association

According to the North Carolina Institute of Medicine (NCIOM, 2012), about 60 percent of RNs in the state have ADNs. While that isn't a problem with regard to day-to-day nursing practice, it can be a problem for those who want to enter an MSN specialty such as advanced practice, leadership, or education.

The News & Record is a Greensboro newspaper that has reported on the nursing shortage and some of the associated problems in NC. For instance, Greensboro Cone Health employees approximately 3000 nurses within their five hospitals, and they prefer their nurses have a bachelor's degree. Therefore, they hire associate degree nurses that agree to complete a bachelor's degree program within four years. One reason for the shortage is a lack of nurse educators, which means North Carolina needs more nurses with their MSN.

There are several North Carolina nursing schools where you may attend classes on campus or take courses online for a graduate degree in nursing. To find the MSN programs in NC that may work for you, review those listed below. You can then request information about each MSN degree you'd like to know more about.

Healthcare reform measures are creating an increased demand for advanced practice nurses, particularly those who can provide primary care services. Nurse practitioners are currently the largest advanced practice specialty in the state, and more are needed, especially in rural areas. About half of the counties in North Carolina have a persistent shortage of health professionals (HRSA, 2012). This lack is likely to be felt especially with regard to obstetrics, as the number of physicians performing deliveries appears to be declining. Certified nurse midwives (CNMs) can help fill this void, and currently over half of the women using CNM services live in rural areas, according to NCIOM.

Masters in Nursing Degrees in North Carolina

Many MSN programs in the state such as UNC Chapel Hill are putting into place fast-track or accelerated programs to help get ADN-prepared nurses into the workforce as advanced practice nurses, administrators, and educators.For more information, check out the North Carolina Board of Nursing, North Carolina Nurses Association, and the Metrolina Coalition of Nurse Practitioners.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has the following programs; Administration, Adult Nurse Practitioner (including ANP/Oncology option), Clinical Nurse Leader, Clinical Nurse Leader/Nurse Educator, Education, Family Nurse Practitioner, Informatics, Outcome Management, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner primary care and Psychiatric/Mental Health NP-Family.

The length of the program for full-time students is 1.5 to two years and requires 35 to 46 credits depending on the specialty. There is also an RN-MSN program and part-time enrollment is also available.

The entrance criteria includes:

  • And unencumbered North Carolina RN license
  • A minimum of one year of recent clinical work experience as an RN
  • Completion of a statistics course with a GPA of C or better
  • Official transcripts of undergraduate or any graduate education
  • Three letters of recommendation from individuals familiar with your intellectual ability, academics, achievements or practice expertise; the third letter must be submitted by your immediate supervisor of your current or most recent nursing position
  • A Professional Statement is considered critical in admissions decisions as it is a first-hand example of your writing skills in your ability to present ideas in a clear, logical and coherent manner
  • Current Curriculum Vitae or Resume
  • A completed, signed application checklist with the $85 fee

The healthcare system of today requires new skills for its leaders, and the master's level of education includes such practice areas as leadership, informatics, financial management, quality improvement, outcomes management and education. Depending on your degree choice, a nursing master's degree will prepare you with new skills in management or learning to prepare students with advanced knowledge and skills in teaching nursing education.

Typical courses for a master's degree with 36 credits in Administration, Informatics and Outcomes Management include:

  • Health Care Policy
  • Scientific Writing
  • Interpreting Research Reports
  • Informatics
  • Leadership in HC
  • Human Resource Management
  • Financing Value–based Care
  • Improving Outcomes
  • Special Topics
  • Masters Paper/Thesis

The University of North Carolina at Charlotte offers a Family Nurse Practitioner, Nurse Anesthesia, Nurse Educator and Systems/Population Nursing master's degree. They do require the GRE or the MAT test for admission. The Nursing Education Program requires 39 semester hours and 180 hours in a clinical specialty and 15 hours of supervised classroom teaching experience. Programs consist of 36 semester hours and 360 clinical hours. Students in either of these programs must maintain a 3.0 GPA and may not accumulate more than two 2.0 grades.

If you are a low income student go to the Financial Aid Office of your University and complete a FAFSA application as this is a federal grant program. Your assets will be assessed to see if you qualify for assistance.

Other possible methods to pay tuition include a program by the Health Resources and Services Administration. Nurse Corps has a repayment program that requires nurses to work for two years in one of their facilities for payment of 60 percent of their unpaid nursing student loan.

There are also scholarships available to help you pay for school. For instance, Duke Financial Aid offers scholarships funded by several companies. We also offer a nursing scholarship, and we welcome applicants quarterly.

Working as an Advanced Practice Nurse in NC

While there are several routes for practice once you have your Master's in Nursing, nurse practitioners are one of the most important APRNs in the profession, providing essential services across the lifespan. Family nurse practitioners in North Carolina earn an annual income of $94,910 as of May 2013. The salary for nurse anesthetist is $158,840, and nurse midwives earn a mean annual income of $85,460. Due to the nursing shortage, jobs are plentiful in North Carolina, and choosing to get an advanced degree may substantially increase your income and job opportunity.

When you have completed your graduate program you can choose to test for certification in your field of expertise. If you are a member of the American Nurses Association the fee is $270, but non-members pay $395. This certification program is nationally renowned as a true gauge of a nurse's ability in providing quality care, and it is respected by colleagues and employers.

Nurse Practitioners (NP) have prescriptive authority for legend drugs and Controlled Substance Schedules II-V, which is consistent with their scope of practice determined by their educational preparation and national certification. An NP is required to have one primary supervising physician.

For more information about MSN programs, financing your education, and professional networking opportunities, check out the North Carolina Board of Nursing, North Carolina Nurses Association, and the Metrolina Coalition of Nurse Practitioners.

Programs to consider:

Duke University (Durham, NC). Duke offers several advanced practice specialties, and among the non-clinical programs is a concentration in informatics.

Winston-Salem State University (Winston-Salem, NC). WSSU offers both full-time and part-time programs in advanced practice specialties and education.

Programs from North Carolina Schools

Listed below are all of the nationally accredited MSN programs with campus locations in North Carolina.

Online programs may not be available in all areas

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North Carolina

Duke University (Durham, NC)
Program Name: Adult Cardiovascular Care Nurse Practitioner, Adult Critical Care (NP or CNS), Adult Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Gerontology (NP or CNS), Neonatal Clinical Nurse Specialist, Neonatal Nurse Practitioner, Nurse Anesthesia, Nursing and Health Care Leadership, Nursing Education, Pediatric Clinical Nurse Specialist
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
East Carolina University (Greenville, NC)
Program Name: Adult Nurse Practitioner (online), Clinical Nurse Specialist (online), Family Nurse Practitioner (online), Neonatal Nurse Practitioner (online), Nurse Anesthesia, Nurse Midwifery (online), Nursing Education (online), Nursing Leadership (online)
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
Gardner-Webb University (Boiling Springs, NC)
Program Name: Nursing Administration, Nursing Education
Accreditation: ACEN accredited
Queens University of Charlotte (Charlotte, NC)
Program Name: Health Systems Management, Nurse Educator
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Chapel Hill, NC)
Program Name: Administration, Adult Nurse Practitioner (including ANP/Oncology option), Clinical Nurse Leader, Clinical Nurse Leader/Nurse Educator, Education, Family Nurse Practitioner, Informatics, Outcome Management, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner primary care, Psychiatric/Mental Health NP - Family
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
The University of North Carolina at Charlotte (Charlotte, NC)
Program Name: Family Nurse Practitioner (with School Nurse Option), Nurse Anesthesia, Nurse Educator, Systems/Population Nursing (online)
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (Greensboro, NC)
Program Name: Adult CNS, Adult/Gerontological NP, MSN/MBA, Nurse Anesthesia, Nursing Administration, Nursing Case Management, Nursing Education, Nursing Gerontology
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
Western Carolina University (Cullowhee, NC)
Program Name: Family Nurse Practitioner, Nurse Administrator (online), Nurse Anesthesia, Nurse Educator (online)
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
Winston-Salem State University (Winston-Salem, NC)
Program Name: Advanced Nurse Educator Track, Family Nurse Practitioner Track
Accreditation: CCNE accredited