How Can I Become a Nurse Practitioner in North Carolina?
As a rural state, North Carolina has healthcare needs that significantly exceed national averages. Many rural communities go without the preventive and emergent care that they need, due to the cost of hiring doctors and other care practitioners at small clinics.
If you are currently licensed as a registered nurse and you feel confident in your healthcare abilities, why not explore advanced nursing career paths? You may become a nurse practitioner with a Master’s degree or a doctoral degree in nursing practice.
Are you ready to expand your critical and clinical thinking skills?
Get more information on training opportunities by contacting the best nurse practitioner programs in North Carolina below.
Average Master’s Degree Requirements
- Credit hours required: 40 credit hours
- Average cost: $920 per credit hour
- Clinical hours required: No fewer than 500 hours
- Timeframe: Two to three years
Average Doctoral Degree Requirements
- Credit hours required: 85 credit hours
- Clinical hours required: No fewer than 1,000 hours
- Timeframe: Six years
What Types of Nurse Practitioner Programs Are Available in North Carolina?
When it comes to nurse practitioner schools, NC institutions have very strict requirements and high standards. These expectations are necessary, since nurse practitioners take on a much wider scope of practice and must be accountable for the work they do with patients.
Some schools offer RN-to-MSN programs for Associate’s degree graduates, but the majority of graduate programs are intended for students who already have a Bachelor’s degree in nursing. You may need at least one year of full-time nursing experience, although some schools do accept graduates right out of an undergraduate program.
The first part of your education is spent on general advanced nursing courses that are required for all graduate students. Commonly required classes can be found below.
Nurse Practitioner Programs: NC Course Options
- Evidence-Based Practice in Nursing
- Population Health
- Advanced Physiology Across the Lifespan
- Physical Assessment
- Diagnostic Reasoning
- Clinical Pharmacology for Advanced Practice Nursing
- Primary Care Essentials
From there, you can start taking classes that are relevant to the area of study you have selected. North Carolina is home to many well-known nursing schools, so there are many specialty areas available to you. Some options include adult cardiovascular health, primary care, pediatric acute care, pediatric primary care, family care, and neonatal care.
If you plan on working full-time as a registered nurse while earning a Master’s degree, consider looking into FNP programs online. These programs allow you to complete your theory coursework on a more flexible schedule. You are required to meet the same clinical requirements as in-person students, but you can work with your school to find an appropriate clinical setting near you.
How Can I Pay for Nurse Practitioner School in North Carolina?
- NHSC Loan Repayment Program: Applicants selected for this program have up to $50,000 of loans repaid when they spend two years working at an NHSC-approved site.
- NURSE Corps Scholarship Program: Similar to the NHSC program, this scholarship requires a two-year commitment in a Health Professional Shortage Area. Those who do not complete this commitment may be required to repay the scholarship.
- BestNursingDegree.com Scholarship: Four times per year, the BestNursingDegree.com team awards $2,500 scholarships to nursing students all over the country.
- North Carolina State Education Assistance Authority: This state agency runs the Nurse Education Scholarship-Loan Program, which provides financial assistance to nursing students who demonstrate financial need.
Licensing and Practice Requirements for NPs in North Carolina
When you graduate, you should still have a valid registered nursing license through the North Carolina Board of Nursing. They require proof of national certification in advanced practice nursing. Currently, North Carolina nurse practitioners have restricted practice rights (AANP, 2016).
Nurse Practitioner Careers in North Carolina
The healthcare shortage has hit rural areas the hardest, which is clear when you look at the job outlook for North Carolina nursing professionals. Between 2014 and 2024, demand for nurse practitioners may increase 39% in this state (O*Net, 2016).
The average salary for a North Carolina nurse practitioner is $104,310 per year (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2016). These statistics fluctuate between geographic areas, as well as specialty areas, work settings, and experience levels.
Why not take the next step in your education today?
Request more information on earning a nurse practitioner degree from North Carolina schools below and find a school that fits you.
North Carolina nurses who want to advance their education and become nurse practitioners can attend an online school, or one of these in-state schools:
- Duke University. Duke's school of nursing is ranked among the top 15 national nursing schools by U.S. News and World Report. The master's-level adult nurse practitioner, family nurse practitioner, and geriatric nurse practitioner programs are offered primarily online. Students can also select the neonatal nurse practitioner, oncology nurse practitioner and pediatric (primary or acute) nurse practitioner tracks.
- University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Chapel Hill was the first university in North Carolina to offer a nurse practitioner program. U.S. News and World Report ranked UNC-Chapel Hill's pediatric nurse practitioner program 10th in the nation; their family nurse practitioner program ranked 11th. The school also offers an innovative combined clinical nurse specialist/nurse practitioner program in psych/mental health.
- East Carolina University. Located in Greenville, East Carolina offers master's-level NP tracks such as: adult nurse practitioner, family nurse practitioner and neonatal nurse practitioner. Most coursework is offered online; clinical practice sites are arranged close to students' homes.