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2024 top ranked LPN and LVN Programs awards badge

ICC’s Practical Nursing program earns top ranking 

By: Mike Gavin
Published: December 04, 2023

SPINDALE (Dec. 4, 2023) -- The Practical Nursing program at Isothermal Community College has been ranked among the best in North Carolina by a national organization. 

In its 2024 ranking release last week, named ICC’s PN program as the eighth best among the state’s 58 community colleges.  

“The ranking from Practical reinforces what we know about our excellent program that has been preparing LPNs for our communities for more than a half-century,” said Dr. Margaret Annunziata, Isothermal’s president. “I commend our faculty and staff involved with this program for setting a high bar for quality instruction and for helping our students attain their dreams.” 

Carly Jacobs, an official from, said the evaluation process considers “various factors, including past and present first-time NCLEX-PN pass rates, weighted by year. Our methodology ensures that we assess how effectively a program supports students in their journey toward licensure and beyond.” 

That student support plays a critical part in Isothermal’s mission, Annunziata said. 

“Our commitment at Isothermal is to prepare our students with the skills and dispositions necessary to be successful in their careers,” she said. “This recognition affirms our work and celebrates the impact of our Practical Nursing program in serving our students and our broader community.” 

The Practical Nursing program at ICC celebrated its 50th anniversary during a pinning ceremony for the most recent class of graduates. 

It has been housed for more than a decade at the Rutherfordton Learning Center in the old Rutherfordton Elementary School. However, thanks to a $30 million appropriation from the North Carolina General Assembly, the classroom instruction will move to a new Health and Sciences Building on the main campus in coming years. 

“Our faculty and staff in our nursing, emergency medicine, and allied health areas have been doing great work in an old elementary school for years,” said Michael Gavin, the college’s director of Marketing and Community Relations. “I can’t wait to see what kind of student success they generate in a new state-of-the-art facility.” 

According to the website, “North Carolina takes great pride in staying on top of cutting-edge nursing policy, education, and practice. To meet a growing demand for nurses, individuals in the state can apply for a licensed practical nurse (LPN) license in the state by completing coursework and taking an exam. By 2029, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that LPN jobs will increase by 9%, making this an excellent time to invest in an education toward a rewarding, growing career field. LPNs in North Carolina earn approximately $25.49 per hour, which equates to an average annual salary of $53,010.”  

To view the rankings, visit:

To learn more about Isothermal’s nursing and allied health programs, contact Tracey Evans, director of Nursing and Health Sciences, at or 828-395-1675.