Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ | Education

What nursing education programs are approved by the Board?

The North Carolina Board of Nursing (NCBON) approves only those leading to initial Registered Nurse or Licensed Practical Nurse licensure. The NCBON maintains a list of currently approved nursing education programs by law.  This list is currently available on our website under Approved Nursing Programs

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

What are the requirements for simulation nursing faculty?

The following simulation guidance shall apply when simulation is replacing traditional clinical experiences/hours. This guidance is not intended for simulation being used to supplement classroom learning or validation of skills in lab experiences. 

Simulation is a pedagogy that may be integrated across the pre-licensure curriculum. Nursing education programs are advised to incrementally increase the amount of simulation as faculty expertise is acquired. Faculty expertise, resource and curricular requirements for simulation are defined in 21 NCAC 36 .0321 (n), (o) and (p) CURRICULUM 

Definitions (consistent with 21 NCAC 36. 0120) 

Simulation: A technique, not a technology, to replace or amplify clinical experiences with guided experiences that evoke or replicate substantial aspects of the real world of nursing practice in a fully interactive manner. 

Traditional Clinical Experience: Traditional clinical experience means a clinical experience where the student provides in-person care to patients/clients under the guidance of an instructor or preceptor. 

Program Responsibilities 

It is the responsibility of the Program Director to ensure that the International Nursing Association for Clinical Simulation and Learning (INACSL) Standards of Best Practices are utilized for lead faculty and lab personnel in simulation education. Core and advanced courses in simulation are required for faculty to acquire the foundational competencies prior to using simulation as a learning tool. 

It is the responsibility of the program director to ensure and document that simulation faculty are qualified to conduct simulation and debriefings.  

The NCBON does not prescribe simulation courses, number of continuing education hours, or certifications for lead faculty and lab personnel teaching in simulation education. Please contact your education consultant with any questions. 

Does the NCBON 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 North Carolina. At this time, NCBON does not approve nursing education programs which are outside of North Carolina 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 North Carolina. 

The NCBON encourages you to 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. 

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 conditions. 

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

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 a Licensed Practical Nurse. 

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

These 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 Licensed Practical Nurse education standards. 

Graduates of all other U.S. Military Programs that have not passed NCLEX may be eligible to list as a Nurse Aide II. U.S. Military applicants must be listed as a Nurse Aide I with the Division of Health Service Regulation-Nurse Aide I Registry and must have been discharged within the past two years. Submit the following documents to the Nurse Aide II Registry for review. 

Will the NCBON 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 NCBON will consider complaints about nursing education programs which reflect upon the quality of nursing education and address issues of non-compliance. 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, therefore, students and faculty are encouraged to follow appropriate procedures for the institution. Consult the nursing program handbook, college handbook, and student services for the proper procedure to follow. 

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, he/she is not accountable for the actions/errors of the individual who assigned the task. 

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 post-licensure 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, post-licensure graduate level, 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 North Carolina that prepare graduates to take the initial Licensed Practical Nurse or Registered Nurse licensure examination. 

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

a) Pre-licensure (Registered Nurse or Licensed Practical Nurse) students who are attending out of state programs and wish to complete clinical experiences in North Carolina must contact the NCBON Education Department using the Email Us Form to obtain information regarding requirements. Reference 21 NCAC 36 .0233 for more detail. 

b) Graduate (master's or doctoral) students who do not hold a North Carolina or multi-state nursing license must contact the NCBON Licensure Department using the Email Us Form to obtain information regarding requirements for the completion of clinical experiences in North Carolina. 

What is the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) for Distance Education?

The State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) is an agreement among member states, districts and territories that establishes comparable national standards for interstate offering of postsecondary distance education courses and programs. The primary objectives of SARA are to make it easier for institutions in North Carolina to provide online and distance education options to students in other states and provide basic protections for those students. North Carolina became a SARA state in June 2016. 

Please visit the North Carolina SARA website at for more information. To check out-of-state colleges and universities visit the SARA website at and click on the states tab to locate the college or university. This means you may be eligible to participate in field placement experiences (clinicals) in North Carolina, while taking didactic courses in a SARA approved college or university. 

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

Each employer will determine which out-of-state program to accept. When considering an out-of-state program, it is best to talk with your employer to make sure the college/university under consideration is accepted. The 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. 

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. 

Does the NCBON promote other contact hour programs/continuing education courses in their materials or on the NCBON website?

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

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. As defined in 21 NCAC 36. 0120 “Clinical experience” means application of nursing knowledge demonstrating clinical judgment in a current or evolving practice setting in which a student provides care to clients under the supervision of faculty or a preceptor. 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. 


Innovation Guideline 

The NCBON supports innovative strategies in nursing programs. In order to assure that the nursing program curriculum meets the rules governing nursing education programs, any innovative teaching strategies for nursing education must be reviewed by a NCBON consultant, and may receive 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. 

How does an out-of-state pre-licensure nursing education program get approval to use a clinical agency/organization/hospital for student clinical experiences in North Carolina?

The North Carolina Administrative Code for out-of-state students is referenced below. Please read carefully and submit the required items electronically to Dropbox. Please note the request and information must come from the chief nursing administrator, not the nursing education program. 

Last Changed: 19-March-2024