9 Best Accredited Accelerated Nursing Programs in North Carolina

In today’s competitive nursing job market, it pays to be able to show off your advanced skills.

Many hospitals and other healthcare facilities are looking for nurses who can contribute more than just their clinical knowledge — they want to see evidence that you’ve taken things a step further with an accelerated MSN program or even earned your doctorate degree as well.

If you’re ready to take your career in this direction, here are seven top accredited accelerated nursing programs in North Carolina.


An accelerated nursing program can be defined as a program that allows students to complete their bachelor’s degree in nursing and receive a master’s degree in less time than it would take to complete both undergraduate and graduate degrees separately.

North Carolina offers several accredited accelerated nursing programs, which differ from traditional BSN programs in terms of length, cost, curriculum requirements, and admissions requirements.

These accelerated programs are typically 1-2 years long as opposed to the 4 years required for traditional BSN degrees with an additional 2 years for MSN completion.

Accelerated degree plans allow students who already possess a BS or BA to earn their BSN faster, saving them time and money.

For example, if you were able to get your Bachelor’s Degree in Kinesiology with 5 semesters at UNC Charlotte then you could start taking classes towards your Master’s Degree right away without having wasted any time doing prerequisites or general education courses again.

In addition, North Carolina is a comfortable place for Registered Nurses as they are reported to earn a whopping $71,200 per year on mean average. So, if you are looking to practice your nursing profession in this state, that may be a good idea.

Tuition Information

Tuition costs for accelerated nursing programs in North Carolina vary from school to school, but you can expect to pay around $40,000 on average per year.

Hence, they are pretty expensive in this state (with a few exceptions – like the University of North Carolina).

At the least, you can expect to pay just over $30,000 in annual tuition fees (Gardner-Webb) to study an accelerated nursing program in North Carolina.

You may be able to apply for financial aid if you meet the general eligibility requirements:

  • You must be accepted into an accredited accelerated nursing program in North Carolina.

  • You must be a US citizen or permanent resident.

  • You must have a high school diploma or GED certificate.

Tuition payment plans are available for all students who accept admissions offers at schools on this list.

These plans allow you to make payments on your tuition bill throughout the semester rather than paying it all upfront before beginning classes (which could cause problems if funds are low).

Here are the tuition fee costs of some of the top nursing schools offering accelerated nursing programs in North Carolina:

Nursing SchoolsTuition Fee (Per Year)
Duke University$58,294
Queens University-Charlotte$47,500
Gardner-Webb University$31,220

Length of Program

The length of the program will depend on the program you choose.

Most programs will take approximately 12 – 18 months to complete, but some programs can take longer or shorter, depending on the program.

Admission Requirements

According to the North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University (NCA&T), here’s a typical example of some requirements that you must pass to ensure possible admission to study any accelerated nursing programs in North Carolina:

  • Bachelor’s Degree from an accredited college or university with a minimum graduate cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher (Bachelor’s degrees obtained outside of the UNC System may require additional general education.)

  • Completion of pre-requisite courses with a “C” or better on the first attempt, prior to enrollment.

  • TEAS Test results must meet or exceed the National Mean (students may retake until the benchmark is met at the time of application). For TEAS info, visit www.atitesting.com.

  • CNA I listing with NC Nurse Aide Registry (Course must include at least 30 hours of clinical learning.)

NOTE: Check local community college for course offerings.

  • Writing sample and possible interview for further admission consideration.

What Accelerated Nursing Programs in North Carolina Cover

Accelerated MSN programs offer students the opportunity to complete their master’s degree in as little as one year or less. These accelerated nursing programs typically cover the following topics:

  • Nursing Research,

  • Nursing Education,

  • Nursing Policy, Ethics, and Administration,

  • Nursing Informatics (how technology is used in the field of nursing),

  • Nursing Management,

  • Gerontology,

  • Nursing Leadership,

  • Adult Behavioral

  • Acute Nursing Care,

  • Patient Care,

  • Geriatrics, etc.

The Following Are Nursing Schools in North Carolina Offering Accelerated MSN Programs

Duke University, Durham

By far one of the best nursing schools in the US, Duke University School of Nursing offers accelerated BSN programs that have an excellent reputation for their innovative research on evidence-based practice and clinical education.

The School’s Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) programs are designed to be completed in four semesters or less, making it a convenient option for nurses who want to advance their careers without sacrificing their time away from home or family responsibilities.

There are a variety of degree options available at Duke University School of Nursing, including:

  • Accelerated BSN/MSN Combo Program – Accelerated BSN/MSN Combo Program (for current RNs).

  • Family Nurse Practitioner Track – Family Nurse Practitioner Track.

East Carolina University, Greenville

Are you ready to take the next step in your nursing career?

ECU Accelerated Nursing Program offers a great way to get there. With ECU’s accelerated nursing program, you’ll be able to complete an accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree in just 12 months.

The program allows you to earn your Bachelor’s degree while still working towards your RN license so that you can start making an impact right away.

The BSN program at East Carolina University offers:

  • A flexible schedule that allows students to complete their degree while working full-time or part-time.

  • All classes are on campus with online components available for flexibility.

  • A career support network of faculty and staff who are dedicated to helping graduates find employment after graduation.

Gardner-Webb University, Boiling Springs

When you enroll in the accelerated nursing program at Gardner-Webb University, you’ll get the chance to earn your bachelor’s degree and your nursing degree in just a few months.

That means that when it comes time to apply for a job, you’ll be able to do so with the confidence that comes from having a university-level education.

But that’s not all:

  • You’ll also get hands-on experience working with real patients, right away. GWU’s accelerated nursing program is designed specifically for students who want to go into clinical practice as soon as possible after graduation.

  • You’ll graduate with a post-baccalaureate certificate in nursing science—the first step toward becoming certified as an RN.

    That means when your time at Gardner-Webb is up, you won’t need anything more than an exam and some clinical hours under your belt before heading out into the world as a nurse.

North Carolina A & T State University, Greensboro

Located in Greensboro, North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University offers an online accelerated MSN program that is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).

This program was designed to meet the needs of working professionals who want to return to school without quitting their jobs.

The curriculum is delivered entirely online and allows students to complete the academic portion of their degree at a pace that works best for them.

Students will be able to choose from four different tracks:

  • Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL) – focuses on leadership development and advanced competencies in clinical practice with an emphasis on health informatics;

  • Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) – provides students with additional knowledge and skills required by family nurse practitioners;

  • Pediatric Nursing Practitioner (PNP) – teaches students how to address specific care needs related to adult-geriatric populations; and
  • Advanced Practice Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (APPMHNP).

North Carolina Central University, Durham

With a strong nursing program and an accelerated nursing program that ranks as one of the best in the country, North Carolina Central University is a great option for any prospective student.

Located in Durham, this public university offers Bachelor’s degrees for undergraduate students at both the main campus and its satellite campuses throughout the state.

NCCU Accelerated Nursing Program has once been ranked number two in North Carolina (second only to Duke University at the time) by U.S News & World Report, placing it among some of America’s top universities offering accelerated BSN degrees.

Queens University of Charlotte, Charlotte

Queens University of Charlotte is one of the most accredited accelerated nursing programs in North Carolina.

The program offers an intensive, fast-paced, one-year cohort model with clinical experiences to prepare students for entry into clinical practice.

The admission requirements are as follows:

  • 30 transferable credit hours (60 semester hours) at a regionally accredited college or university

  • The minimum GPA on the last 30 semester hours earned is 3.0 overall.

Tuition fees for this program are $39,030 per academic year and do not include books, supplies, and other educational expenses such as uniforms, immunizations, and graduation fee (if applicable).

The University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill

The University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill is one of four campuses in the North Carolina university system and one of the oldest public universities in the United States.

It was chartered by the North Carolina General Assembly in 1789, making it a school with a rich history.

The accelerated baccalaureate nursing program at UNC-Chapel Hill has accreditation from both the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education (ACME) – two of the top accreditation bodies in the nursing hemisphere.

 The program requires its students to complete at least 75 credits worth of coursework.

This includes general education requirements such as English composition, social sciences and mathematics courses as well as clinicals that are required for RN licensure.

Students also complete three clinical experiences during their practicum year called clinical rotation where they gain hands-on experience working with patients under supervision by faculty members while completing their master’s project or thesis research paper or presentation project.

  • Cost: $17,998 per year (tuition); $2,445 (books and supplies); and $4,595 (insurance and safety). Thus, making UNC’s Accelerated Nursing Program by far the cheapest and most affordable accelerated nursing program in North Carolina.

Western Carolina University, Cullowhee

Western Carolina University’s accelerated nursing program is a great way to get your career started. With this program, you’ll be able to earn your Bachelor’s degree in Nursing in just four semesters (two years) instead of the usual four.

The program offers a wide range of benefits for students and graduates alike, including:

  • Small class sizes allow individualized attention from professors and staff.

  • Emphasis on experiential learning opportunities as part of a student’s curriculum.

  • Career placement assistance after graduation.

Winston-Salem State University, Winston-Salem

Winston-Salem State University’s School of Nursing offers a wide variety of degree programs.

The school was founded in 1892 and is a historically black university. It has over 200 faculty members, many of whom are researchers at the forefront of their fields.

The WSSU Accelerated Nursing Program is designed for students who already have an associate’s degree in another field and want to become nurses.

Students can complete this program within two years by taking 12 credit hours per semester (24 credit hours each year).

This program allows students to take advantage of clinical experiences while they are still enrolled in classes.

The accelerated BSN program can be completed in just over one year (13 months) if students attend full-time, or two years if they attend part-time; however, it is also possible to complete the program over two years by completing one course every 16 weeks instead of every eight weeks (the standard pace).

In addition, it’s possible that some courses may only be offered on alternating semesters so students will not always be able to enroll in them immediately without waiting until they’re offered again.

However, there are several ways around this: students may take summer courses or winter/fall options during which these courses are offered.

Additionally, some programs allow students who did not complete them successfully on their first attempt during a specific semester an opportunity to re-take those specific courses as needed until successful completion has been obtained.

What to Consider Before Applying for These Programs

If you’re interested in pursuing a nursing career, it’s important that you understand what to consider before applying for these programs.

  • Career Goals: The first thing to do is take a step back and determine your career goals.

    Are you interested in becoming an oncology nurse, or are you more focused on becoming an ICU nurse? Will this program help me achieve my goals?

  • Previous Education: Make sure that the program is appropriate for your level of experience.

    If possible, check out the prerequisites for each program and see if they match up with what courses you’ve already taken or plan to take in order to ensure that this accelerated nursing program will be beneficial for your future career goals.

  • Financial Considerations: A big part of any decision like this should be financial considerations—like, how much debt might I incur by choosing this particular course (or courses)?

    What kind of salary will I make after graduating from my chosen course(s), compared with other available options?

If cost plays a big role in your consideration of any one of these accelerated nursing programs in North Carolina, then we advise you to look closely at the University of North Carolina (UNC) as it is one of the least inexpensive accelerated nursing programs in the state.

Final Thoughts

The best thing to do is to research the options available to you and find one that suits your needs.

The most important thing is to make sure that the program has a variety of options for you, as well as something you’re interested in doing.

If you’re looking for a nurse practitioner or an accelerated BSN program, there are programs out there for everyone.

Just make sure that it’s accredited by a recognizable accreditation body before applying for it, so that it’ll be recognized by employers nationwide if/when you graduate.

Wrapping It Up

We hope this article has helped you understand the accredited accelerated BSN program options available in North Carolina.

These are some of the best nursing schools in the state, so if you’re interested in pursuing a career as a nurse or becoming an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN), we encourage you to consider applying for one of these programs.

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