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How to Become a Registered Nurse

Registered nurses care for individuals, families and the community by providing care, treatment, counseling and health education to diverse groups of people. Consistently ranked one of the best nursing programs in North Carolina, our Associate Degree Nursing 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 throughout the Charlotte, NC area. 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 registered nurses, it's the perfect time for those with a passion for others to pursue a sustainable and rewarding nursing career.

Associate Degree Nursing Program

  • You'll get clinical experiences and hands-on learning within Atrium Health facilities such as Carolinas Medical Center.
  • Our ADN program is consistently ranked one of the best nursing programs in Charlotte and in North Carolina.
  • 98% of graduates pass the NCLEX licensing exam on their first attempt.
  • 90% of our students step into a career at Atrium Health after graduation.
  • Small class sizes mean greater connections to our faculty.
  • The Atrium Health Loan Forgiveness program is available. 

Become a Registered Nurse With Our Associate Degree Nursing Program


The Associate Degree Nursing 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.


Tuition & Fees

Carolinas College is consistently recognized by education researchers as a tremendous value when looking at lifetime earnings versus student debt. We work hard to keep our costs affordable and our tuition competitive with other institutions. For Tuition & Fee details, visit our Financial Aid page.
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 Associate Degree Nursing 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 the deadline.
  • High School Transcripts – 2.5 cumulative GPA required.
  • College Transcripts – Minimum 2.5 GPA required.
  • TEAS Test –65% Overall score
  • CNA 1 - must be on the North Carolina state registry, American Heart Association BLS CPR certification.
Apply Now

Applying to the Associate Degree Nursing program

Term Priority Deadline Start Date
Fall March 1 September
Spring July 1 January
Summer November 1 May

Kiara Johnson, graduate of the Associate Degree Nursing program

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 Associate Degree 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 Associate Degree Nursing program depending on your academic performance. Think this is the right path for you? Check out our General Studies page for more info.