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How to Become a Registered Nurse

Nurses care for individuals, families and the community by providing care, treatment, counseling and health education to diverse groups of people. Our program immerses you in real-world nursing with your second nursing course, NUR 120. Our relationship with Atrium Health means you get valuable hands-on experience in a variety of clinical settings. This enables you to experience many different areas before you decide your area of specialty. Typically, close to 100% of students pass the NCLEX licensure exam on their first attempt, and more than 90% of students are employed within six months, most of them working within the Atrium Health system. 

With today's national demand for nurses, it's the perfect time for those with a passion for others to pursue a sustainable and rewarding nursing career.

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Associate Degree Nursing Program

  • Clinical experiences and hands-on learning within Atrium Health facilities
  • 98% pass NCLEX licensing exam on first attempt
  • 90% of students step into a career at Atrium Health after graduation
  • Small class sizes
  • Atrium Health Loan Forgiveness program available


Our program, consisting of 5-6 semesters of course work, immerses you in real-world nursing. Nursing courses include Nursing Fundamentals, Behavioral Health, Maternal/Neonatal Health and others. The clinical portion of your education enables you to experience many different areas before you decide your area of specialty. General Studies courses include Anatomy and Physiology, Human Growth and Development and Microbiology.

All students admitted to the ADN program receive a conditional admission to the RN-BSN program. Students who accept the conditional admission are eligible to take the upper-level general education courses in the BSN curriculum while completing the ADN program and must transition to the full BSN curriculum within one year of graduation from the ADN program and successful completion of the NCLEX licensure exam.

For full curriculum details, download the viewbook below.

Download Viewbook

Tuition & Fees

$394 per credit hour

For Tuition & Fee details, visit our Financial Aid page.

Loan Forgiveness

Atrium Health offers a loan agreement available to finance up to $10,000 for students enrolled in the ADN program. This loan defers payment on principal and interest, and if the graduate becomes employed full-time by an eligible Atrium Health facility, a work forgiveness option is available. Questions? Contact or 704-355-5486.

Application Requirements

  • Application – Submit here (plus all documents) by deadline
  • High School Transcripts – 2.5 cumulative GPA
  • College Transcripts – Minimum 2.5 GPA
  • SAT or ACT – 900/19 minimum score (waived with bachelor’s degree)
  • TEAS Test – At least 50th percentile on the individual percentile ranking at the National level
  • Pre-enrollment requirements: CNA 1 - must be on the North Carolina state registry, American Heart Association BLS CPR certification
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Term Deadlines Decision Notification
Fall 2022 February 1, 2022 4-6 weeks after application deadline
Spring 2023 June 15, 2022 4-6 weeks after application deadline
Summer 2023 November 1, 2022 4-6 weeks after application deadline

Kiara Johnson, ADN Alumna

Kiara is a two-time Carolinas College alumna, having first graduated from the Surgical Technology program in 2015. “I realized that I wanted to be more hands-on with my patients,” Kiara says. “This sparked a desire to continue my education and become a registered nurse.” After receiving her ADN from Carolinas College in 2019, Kiara went right to work in the cardiothoracic ICU at Atrium Health’s Carolinas Medical Center. Kiara says her education prepared her well for her nursing career. "I learned so much in clinical settings that other schools don’t even have access to," she says. "And the teachers are fully devoted to their students."

Pre-Nursing Pathway

At Carolinas College, our Nursing program is extremely competitive. The Pre-Nursing track is a great way to complete the General Studies courses and then potentially earn guaranteed admission to the Nursing program depending on your academic performance. Think this is the right path for you? Check out our General Studies page for more info.