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Best 10 RN to MSN Programs in North Carolina in 2021

March 23, 2021 | Staff Writers

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Great registered nurses are in demand professionals and are in an industry that is expected to grow. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the need for registered nurses is expected to grow by seven percent between the years 2019 and 2029. Although a bachelor’s degree is typically the only degree needed for this profession, a master’s degree could help RNs earn a more leadership role in hospitals, healthcare facilities, long-term care centers, and more. RN to MSN programs in NC is the perfect solution for RNs who want to quickly earn an MSN without having to quit their jobs to complete the degree. 

The schools listed below offer rn to msn programs in NC, as well as RN to BSN programs. Hopefully, this list will help you find the institution that will fit your schedule and educational needs. 

Best 10 RN to MSN Programs in North Carolina

1. Western Carolina University (25 Points)

Consistently ranked as one of the Top 10 Public Regional Institutions in the South, Western Carolina University is the chosen college for at least 12,000 students. The School of Nursing offers nationally ranked, accredited undergraduate and graduate programs at both the main campus in Cullowhee, NC, and at the Asheville instructional site, as well as online. Some programs available include RN to BSN, MSN Nurse Educator, and MSN Nurse Leadership. The RN to BSN allows registered nurses to further their basic nursing education in four semesters. Students can be admitted into the program twice a year and can begin their educational journey in either January or August. 

  • Annual in-state tuition: $4,277
  • Graduation rate: 62%
  • Student-to-faculty ratio: 17 to 1

2. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (24 Points)

The RN to MSN program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill focuses on Healthcare Leadership and Administration and is available to students who have completed an Associate’s degree or diploma in Nursing. Along with traditional courses in health care policy and advocacy, leadership development, and organization theory, on-campus immersion experiences may be required. These sessions will give students face-to-face interactions with health care leaders, faculty, and peers to obtain a more thorough nursing education. A total of 51 credits are required to graduate and can be completed in three years. 

  • Annual in-state tuition: $8,980
  • Graduation rate: 62%
  • Student-to-faculty ratio: 13 to 1

3. Appalachian State University (23 Points)

Accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, the Department of Nursing at Appalachian State University offers BSN, RN to BSN, and MSN programs. The RN to BSN program caters to those registered nurses who want to complete their bachelor’s degree in nursing, while the MSN program is a master’s program that will prepare nurses for careers as nurse educators in academic, clinical, and/or staff development environments. Both programs can be completed entirely online, but the RN to BSN program takes about three semesters and the MSN program can be completed in 24 months of part-time study. 

  • Annual in-state tuition: $7,409
  • Graduation rate: 73%
  • Student-to-faculty ratio: 16 to 1

4. East Carolina University (22 Points)

The CCNE-accredited, part-time online RN to BSN program at East Carolina University can be completed in 16 months, or four semesters. Once the BSN has been earned, students can go directly into the MSN program, where they will prepare for advanced roles in nursing, including nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, and nurse educators. The many MSN programs available generally require a minimum of 37 semester hours. 

  • Annual in-state tuition: $7,238
  • Graduation rate: 66%
  • Student-to-faculty ratio: 18 to 1

5. University of North Carolina- Charlotte (21 Points)

As the third-largest university in North Carolina, the University of North Carolina at Charlotte features seven academic colleges that offer 171 undergraduate majors. The RN to MSN program is designed for students who have an Associate Degree in Nursing but have not yet completed a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing. Those who are interested in this program must apply for the RN to BSN and MSN degrees at the same time. Students are expected to complete 36 to 46 graduate credit hours and require a Synthesis project or Thesis. 

  • Annual in-state tuition: $6,905
  • Graduation rate: 64%
  • Student-to-faculty ratio: 19 to 1

6. Winston-Salem State University (18 Points)

Rated as one of the nation’s Top Universities for Annual Return on Investment and the Best Bang for the Buck in the Southeast, Winston-Salem State University is an affordable institution that has historically been recognized as a top African American college. The online RN-to-BSN program is the #1 RN-to-BSN program in the U.S. and has a flexible schedule that is designed for working registered nurses who want to further their education. It requires 33 credits and can be completed at either a full-time or part-time level. Students can then apply for the MSN program for those interested in becoming nurse practitioners or nurse educators. 

  • Annual in-state tuition: $5,941
  • Graduation rate: 51%
  • Student-to-faculty ratio: 15 to 1

7. University of North Carolina- Pembroke (17 Points)

The Department of Nursing at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke is a member of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing and offers degrees in RN-BSN and MSN. Currently ranked the 5th in the entire southern region, the RN-BSN program allows students to complete their degrees online in eight-week sessions, taking a total of 12 months to complete. Six credits of the RN-BSN can be transferred to the RN-MSN pathway, which requires a total of 157 semester hours and is available to students who are in the last semester of the RN-BSN program. 

  • Annual in-state tuition: $3,490
  • Graduation rate: 41%
  • Student-to-faculty ratio: 18 to 1

8. North Carolina A&T State University (16 Points)

The 100% online RN-BSN degree at North Carolina A&T State University requires 120 semester hours to graduate, many of which can be taken as prerequisites while completing the Associate degree in nursing. State-of-the-art technology is used by the faculty to provide an in-depth nursing education that includes research and evidence-based practices, as well as current theories in the industry. 

  • Annual in-state tuition: $6,657
  • Graduation rate: 51%
  • Student-to-faculty ratio: 18 to 1

9. North Carolina Central University (15 Points)

North Carolina Central University is a top-ranked institution that offers degree programs both on its Durham, North Carolina campus and online. The RN to BSN program was ranked #17 out of 30 colleges and can be completed in two semesters as a full-time student or two years as a part-time student. It can be completed entirely online with the exception of an on-site practicum and/or preceptorship. This 30-credit program has three application deadlines: May 1st, July 15th, and November 15th. 

  • Annual in-state tuition: $6,534
  • Graduation rate: 49%
  • Student-to-faculty ratio: 16 to 1

10. Fayetteville State University (14 Points)

The School of Nursing at Fayetteville State University began in 1992 and has educated thousands of registered nurses and nurse leaders in the Fayetteville area. The RN to BSN program consists of science-based learning and nursing skills courses, all in one year. This institution has a Student Nursing Association that provides mentorship, support, network opportunities, and community involvement to current students. The MSN degree can be completed entirely online and requires a total of 36 credit hours in four semesters. 

  • Annual in-state tuition: $5,274
  • Graduation rate: 34%
  • Student-to-faculty ratio: 18 to 1

How the Schools were Ranked

To determine which schools should be listed first, a point system was used. To begin, we researched many of the institutions located in North Carolina and determined which ones offered rn to msn programs in nc. Once we had this list, we obtained their annual in-state tuition and graduation rate information. We gave 15 points to the college with the lowest tuition rate, one point to the college with the highest tuition, and two to 14 points to all of the colleges in between. The same formula was used for the graduation rate, except 15 points were given to the highest graduation rate and 1 point was given to the lowest graduation rate. These points were then added together and placed in order of the highest points to the lowest. 

Hopefully, this list helps you determine what rn to msn programs in nc are right for you. If your institution was not listed, but you would like it to be, please let us know. Also, contact us if you feel any of the information listed is incorrect. 

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