North Carolina Board of Nursing

Nursing Education

FAQ - Nursing Education

  1. What nursing education programs are approved by the Board?

  2. Does the Board approve pre-licensure (Registered Nurse and Licensed Practical Nurse) out-of-state programs/online programs/correspondence courses?

  3. What specific courses are required to be eligible to take the NCLEX-PN or NCLEX-RN Exam?

  4. Can I take the NCLEX-PN Exam if I have been a paramedic, Navy Corpsman or Air Force Medic?

  5. Will the Board help me with a problem in my school of nursing?

  6. Does a nursing student “work under the faculty or preceptor’s license”?

  7. Does the NCBON approve nursing graduate-level (masters and doctoral) out-of-state programs/online programs/correspondence courses?

  8. Is the NCBON imposing restrictions on out-of-state nursing education programs? I am being told by an out-of-state program that the NCBON is preventing them from admitting NC residents as students.

  9. Will my employer accept a graduate out-of-state program?

  10. Does the NCBON require a facility to accept additional clinical experience requests from new or existing programs?

  11. Does the NCBON promote other contact hour programs/continuing education courses in their materials or on the NCBON web site?

  12. What constitutes a clinical experience?

  1. What nursing education programs are approved by the Board?

    North Carolina Board of Nursing (NCBON) approves only those leading to initial RN or LPN licensure. The NCBON maintains a list of currently approved nursing education programs by law.  This list is currently available on our web site under Programs in North Carolina.

    Applicants can link to the education institutions from our web site to obtain both contact information and requirements for the programs.

  2. Does the Board approve pre-licensure (Registered Nurse and Licensed Practical Nurse) out-of-state programs/online programs/correspondence courses?

    The NCBON approves and regulates pre-licensure nursing education programs in the State of NC. At this time, the Board does not approve nursing education programs which are outside of NC jurisdiction, including out-of-state online programs/correspondence courses.

    The NCBON does recognize graduates from pre-licensure nursing education programs that are approved/accredited by other State Boards of Nursing as eligible to apply to take the NCLEX examination(s) and apply for licensure in NC.

    For example, Excelsior College is approved by the New York State Board of Nursing and graduates from that program may apply to take the NCLEX-RN Examination in NC and apply for licensure as a registered nurse in NC. The NCBON encourages you contact out-of-state pre-licensure nursing education programs directly for information and specific questions about the program and the program's approval/accreditation status in their state. It is recommended that individuals research the approval/accreditation status and credibility of any nursing education program before enrolling in individual courses or the entire program of study. In addition, offers to prepare students to more easily pass specific programs should be discussed directly with the nursing program before enrollment.

  3. What specific courses are required to be eligible to take the NCLEX-PN or NCLEX-RN Exam?

    To be eligible to take the NCLEX-PN® examination, the student must have completed an approved program for educating practical nurses. The approved nursing program curriculum shall include biological, physical, social and behavioral sciences (21 NCAC 36 .0321 CURRICULUM). In addition, correlated theory and clinical practice shall have been completed in the following areas: nursing care of children; maternity nursing; nursing care of the aged; nursing care of adults; and nursing care of individuals with mental health problems.

    To be eligible to take the NCLEX-RN® examination, the student must have completed a Board approved professional nursing education program (associate degree program, baccalaureate degree program, or diploma program).

  4. Can I take the NCLEX-PN Exam if I have been a paramedic, Navy Corpsman or Air Force Medic?

    North Carolina has no provision to allow challenge of the licensure examination based on alternate education and/or experience. The requirement is that one be a graduate of an approved practical nursing program to apply for licensure. If you have taken college courses or have health occupation experience, you could inquire at a local practical nursing education program to learn about transfer credit or advanced placement. The nursing education program may give credit for previous courses, but that is the decision of each nursing program.

    Military: The NCBON supports military personnel and veterans experiencing career transitions. Currently, the graduates of two military practical nursing programs meet North Carolina educational requirements for endorsement as LPN.

    • Army Practical Nursing (68WM6)
    • Army MOS 68C Practical Nursing
    • Air Force Practical Nursing Technology Associate Degree (7GAL)

    These two programs are the only military nursing education programs that currently meet both the academic and practicum criteria required by the North Carolina Nursing Practice Act and LPN education standards.

    Graduates of all other US Military Programs who have been licensed by examination in another jurisdiction should contact endorsement at endorsement@ncbon.com for specific requirements.

    Graduates of all other US Military Programs that have not passed NCLEX may be eligible to list as a Nurse Aide II.

  5. Will the Board help me with a problem in my school of nursing?

    The NCBON is interested in ensuring that nursing education programs are in compliance with Law and Rules in order to protect the public through safe nursing care. The Board will consider written and signed complaints about nursing education programs which reflect upon the quality of nursing education and addresses issues of non-compliance with education rules.

    However, the NCBON has no authority over school policies, grades, or conflicts between students and faculty. Each program is required to have processes in place for dealing with grievances and students and faculty are encouraged to follow appropriate procedure in the institution. Consult the nursing program handbook, college handbook, and student services for the proper procedure to follow.

  6. Does a nursing student “work under the faculty or preceptor’s license”?

    A nursing student who is in a clinical area as part of an approved nursing education program is working as an “unlicensed provider”. The authority to practice or “student status” is granted in The Nursing Practice Act Article 90-171.43 (2) License required.

    Note: A student is held to the same standard of care as any licensed nurse.

    Only the person named on the nursing license has the authority to practice nursing.

    The faculty member and/or preceptor is responsible for “appropriate supervision and delegation.” The law allows a licensed nurse to delegate certain nursing responsibilities to individuals who are competent to perform the assignment. Persons caring for the patient are responsible for knowing the boundaries of their role and for knowing if they have the knowledge/skills/abilities to provide for the client’s needs. It is up to each nurse to decide what activities can safely be assigned or delegated to another individual based upon the agency policies/procedures, the education/training of the individual, and the validated competency of the individual. When the nurse has delegated appropriately he/she is not accountable for the actions/errors of the individual assigned the task.

  7. Does the NCBON approve nursing graduate-level (masters and doctoral) out-of-state programs/online programs/correspondence courses?

    The NCBON does not approve or disapprove graduate-level nursing programs, in-state, nor out-of-state, regardless of teaching methodologies used. Programs over which the NCBON does not have jurisdiction include: RN-BSN, masters, and doctoral programs. While some states do have jurisdiction over programs beyond those leading to initial licensure, the NCBON does not. The NCBON has jurisdiction only over pre-licensure nursing programs located in NC that prepare graduates to take the initial LPN or RN licensure examination.

    If I attend a nursing education program in another state, am I able to complete my student clinical experiences in NC?

    a) Pre-licensure (RN or LPN) students who are attending out-of-state programs and wish to complete clinical experiences in North Carolina must contact the NCBON by email at education@ncbon.com to obtain information regarding requirements. Please reference 21 NCAC 36 .0233 for more detail.

    b) Graduate (master's or doctoral) students who do not hold a NC or multi-state nursing license must contact the NCBON by email at practice@ncbon.com to obtain information regarding requirements for the completion of clinical experiences in NC.

    c) Graduate (master's or doctoral) students who hold a NC or multistate nursing license may seek clinical experiences in NC without NCBON notification or approval. The UNC System requires that all out-of-state degree granting institutions be licensed as described in the above question. Although not an NCBON requirement, all students are urged to ascertain their institution's NC licensure status. Individuals should check with the UNC System to verify licensure status by calling 919-962-4558 or on the UNC System web site at: http://www.northcarolina.edu/?q=content/approved-degree-programs-licensed-institutions

  8. Is the NCBON imposing restrictions on out-of-state nursing education programs? I am being told by an out-of-state program that the NCBON is preventing them from admitting NC residents as students.

    The NCBON is not imposing restrictions on out-of-state nursing education programs. However, there are regulations in NC which require out-of-state institutions that conduct educational activities in NC, that require a clinical experience (i.e. student clinical/practicum, student teaching, internship or externship), to be licensed by the University of North Carolina (UNC) System General Administration/Board of Governors. This is a mandate from the United States Department of Education and not associated with the NC Board of Nursing. If the education program is truly a 100% online degree program that does not require a clinical experience, students may enroll. When considering enrollment in ANY out-of-state nursing program with clinical experience requirements, individuals should check with the UNC System to verify licensure status by calling 919-962-4558 or on the UNC System web site at: http://www.northcarolina.edu/?q=content/approved-degree-programs-licensed-institutions

  9. Will my employer accept a graduate out-of-state program?

    Determination of what programs to accept is the purview of each employer. When considering an out-of-state program, it is always best to talk with your employer to make sure the college/university under consideration is accepted by your employer. Federal ruling requires any educational institution requesting to provide education in another state, to first receive approval from the state being considered. This ruling includes all areas of education and is not limited to nursing education.

  10. Does the NCBON require a facility to accept additional clinical experience requests from new or existing programs?

    It is the facility, not the NCBON, which determines when a facility is at the maximum capacity for additional clinical experience requests. There are many factors which must be considered for additional clinical requests. Factors such as staff and patient fatigue, the level of the student, any special projects/accreditation that a facility is undergoing, and the number of days/shifts students are already in the facility. A facility should only agree to provide clinical experiences when patient safety can be maintained. Adequate faculty availability for the students must be aligned with the learning objectives/outcomes for the course in which the student is enrolled for that semester.

  11. Does the NCBON promote other contact hour programs/continuing education courses in their materials or on the NCBON web site?

    No. The NCBON is a regulatory agency whose mission is protection of the public. The NCBON includes information only related to the NCBON mission, or NCBON sponsored programs.

  12. What constitutes a clinical experience?

    Nursing is a practice profession and requires clinical practice with “hands-on” clinical experiences, in order for nursing students to become proficient with integrating nursing knowledge and skills. Clinical experiences need to be designed based on the learning objective/outcomes for the course in which the student is enrolled, and need to provide adequate time for the student to apply theory concepts learned to patient care situations. The nursing program’s advisory committee can provide some guidance for the program related to the performance expectations for new graduates. While the NCBON does not specify percentages or hours for clinical experiences, the expectation is that students will have adequate clinical time throughout the program to apply concepts learned in class to patient care experiences in a clinical setting.

    In 2010, Educating Nurses: A Call for Radical Transformation reported the outcomes and recommendations of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, Preparation for the Professions study by Benner, Sutphen, Leonard, and Day. The following statement from their study report provides evidence of the essential nature of “hands-on” clinical experiences in nursing education:

    “Clinical practice assignments provide powerful learning experiences, especially in those programs where educators integrate clinical and classroom teaching” (p.12)

    “One strength of U.S. nursing education is that students work directly with patients and the health care team” (p.12).

    “As students progress through their programs, they are given ever increasing responsibilities in clinical situations” (p.12).

    “Nursing, like all practice disciplines, relies on situated cognition and action” (p.13).

    “…today’s practitioner must be able to draw on all they learn in each of the professional apprenticeships (cognitive, skilled know-how ethical comportment) and integrate them in practice” (p.29).

    “At the heart of learning in any practice discipline…lies the need for situated cognition (Lave & Wenger, 1991), or the chance to think in particular clinical situations” (p.30).

    “Clinical reasoning is the ability to reason about a clinical situation as it unfolds, as well as about patient and family concerns and context” (p.46).

    STATEMENT

    Innovation Guideline

    The NCBON supports innovative strategies in nursing programs. In order to assure that the nursing program curriculum meets the NCBON Education Rules governing Nursing Education Programs, any innovative teaching strategies for nursing education must be reviewed by a NCBON Consultant, and may receive Board notification and/or approval prior to implementation. The proposed innovation must include evidence and/or best practice information in the supporting documentation. The assigned program consultant is available to respond to questions related to nursing program innovations.