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Practical Nursing Diploma (PN) Admissions Process

Deadline date for Practical Nursing is May 3, 2021
TEAS Exam: June 2 & 3, 2021
Letters of Acceptance: June 22, 2021
Mandatory New Student Orientation: July 13, 2021


Graduates of the Practical Nursing (PN) program are eligible to apply to the Board of Nursing to become a licensed practical nurse (LPN). Graduates must successfully pass the National Council Licensing Examination- Practical Nurse (NCLEX-PN) to earn licensure.

Students enter the program in August and graduate the following July. Nursing (NUR) courses must be taken in sequence. The lecture is usually held from 8:30 am to noon on Monday and Wednesday. Skills lab, simulation, and clinical are typically held all day on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The program utilizes web-based learning activities. Clinical involves direct patient care and is held in agencies in Cleveland, Polk, McDowell, Henderson, and Rutherford counties. Attendance in clinical outside these counties may also be required. Students must meet the clinical requirements to attend clinical. We maintain a strict COVID protocol on campus as well as in clinical.

Students should expect to read and study 3 hours per week for each hour in a nursing class. This amounts to 30 to 40 hours of studying per week. Therefore, to be successful, students should plan on reading and studying EVERY DAY. Although completion of the General Education courses is not required to apply, we highly recommend that applicants take these courses prior to entering the program as this significantly increases success in nursing (NUR) courses.

Enrollment is limited, and admission is a competitive process. Meeting minimum admission criteria does not guarantee an applicant an offer of admission into the Practical Nursing program. Isothermal Community College does not use a waiting list. Therefore, applicant records must be updated annually. If a student has applied previously, the student must reinitiate the process of applying including TEAS retesting, if applicable. Preference will be given to applicants who have no history of dismissal from the practical nursing program.


General admission requirements for the college must be completed by the deadline date.

  • Complete the online application process (include residency determination) to Isothermal Community College. Use major code A1030N- Associate General Education - Nursing.
  • Submit all official and sealed high school transcript(s) or GED scores from a regionally accredited high school or a state registered private or home school to the Admissions Office.
  • Submit all official and sealed college transcript(s) from the issuing institution to the Admissions Office for evaluation. Only transfer credits can be awarded to courses that reflect a GPA of 2.0 or higher.
  • Students who do not have recent high school transcripts or test scores within the past 10 years should prepare to take the placement test and demonstrate:
    • Mastery on RISE (Reinforced Instruction for Student Excellence) English placement Tier 2 and RISE Math placement Tier 2; OR successfully complete ENG 002 through Tier 2 (grade of P2) and MAT 003 through Tier 2 (grade of P2).


The LPN program admission requirements must be completed by the deadline date.

  • As part of the qualifications for admissions into the Practical Nursing program, you must have either a grade of P2 in MAT 003 (a grade of P2 indicates that you have completed Tier 2 of the course) or a grade of “C” or better in MAT 143 or higher.
  • Credit for ENG 002, with a grade of P2, or completion of a college-level English course with a grade of “C” or better.
  • Mandatory attendance to the Health Science Information Meeting within the last year.
  • Minimum required college GPA is 2.0 or bachelor’s degree or higher.
  • Review the Practical Nursing Technical Standards Document which is included in the packet for your required signature.


Required General Education (non-nursing) courses.

Students are encouraged to take the required general education (non-nursing courses before entry into the Practical Nursing program:

  • ENG 111 - Writing & Inquiry
  • PSY 150 – General Psychology
  • BIO 168 – Anatomy & Physiology I
  • BIO 169 – Anatomy & Physiology II
  • ACA 122 – College Transfer Success or ACA 115 – Success & Study Skills


Information on the standardized TEAS exam required for entry.

The TEAS exam information:

  • The cost of the TEAS exam is approximately $70.00.
  • You will receive a notification to your Isothermal student email of the time, payment, and location of the TEAS exam.
  • The TEAS scores and rankings will be sent to the PN Director who will identify the top 35 scorers & 10 alternates.
  • The TEAS includes Reading, Math (including Algebra) Science, and English sections.
    • The TEAS composite (total adjusted) score will be used to rank applicants for the program and a minimum score of 55 is required to be considered for the program.
    • A composite score can only be attained through testing on all four areas at one sitting.
    • Students will receive a score immediately upon completion of the TEAS.
  • Students with more than one TEAS test score from either Isothermal Community College or another institution must notify the pre-health sciences advisor before the scheduled TEAS exam, to utilize the highest TEAS score.
    • The TEAS may be taken at an approved location within the United States following ATI guidelines.
    • TEAS exams from other institutions must have an official transcript sent from ATI, taken within the last five years to the advisor by the posted date above.
    • The TEAS may be taken every 30 days at other institutions. The TEAS is only offered to Isothermal students as posted on your application.
    • In the event of a tie, the grade point average (GPA) will be used.
  • Preparation for the TEAS exam may be found at ATI Testing. Online practice assessments are also available at the vendor website. The study manual can be purchase in two formats printed and EBook.

Before the start of the PN program, students are required to complete the following.

Letters of acceptance will be mailed to the 35 applicants & 10 alternates by PN Program Director

Applicants need to return the Student Response Notification form included with the letter to the PN Director on the date that is stated in the acceptance package.

  • The PN director requires all accepted PN students to attend a mandatory New Student Orientation that further information will be provided by PN director.
  • Verification of the NA I registry listing is REQUIRED by August (first day of class if accepted)
    • Must complete a North Carolina State approved NA I (Certified Nursing Assistant) Training Program and be listed on the NC Department of Health & Human Services (DHSR) Health Care Personnel Registry without restrictions before the program starts.
    • Must remain on NA I registry throughout the duration of the program with no restrictions.
    • Students are highly encouraged to work as a NA I for at least six months before beginning the nursing program.

Applicants are advised to begin working on the health forms as soon as they receive them in their packet from the PN Director.

  • A student should schedule an appointment with a health care provider within 1 week of receiving an acceptance letter and begin the collection of immunization records.
  • Students are advised to begin the process of health requirements (e.g. PPD, Hepatitis series, and varicella titer series) but evidence of these is not required until after program acceptance.
  • Completed health forms and immunization information and a copy of your BLS HealthCare Provider (CPR) are to be returned by mail or delivered to the location listed below
    • Mailing address : PN Director, Stephanie Denison, PO Box 804, Spindale, NC 28160,
    • Location Address: Rutherfordton Learning Center, 134 Maple Street, Rutherfordton, NC 28139


Other important information

Criminal background checks and drug screenings will be required by clinical sites for students admitted to the Practical Nursing program at the student’s own expense.

  • Further information will be provided at New Student Orientation. Failure to achieve acceptable standards will result in the denial of clinical privileges and the inability to continue in the Practical Nursing program.
  • Myclincial Exchange will be used for Immunizations & Certification tracking for a student cost of (approximately $55.00 one-time fee).
    • Keep copies of all vaccinations, immunizations, and/or certification for your records.
  • The background check and drug screen will be completed by DrugForce (approximately $75.00).

Isothermal Community College does not require a background check for general college admission or entrance into the Practical Nursing (PN) program. Attendance in clinical education is a requirement for progression in and graduation from the PN program. Clinical education for the PN program occurs at clinical agencies in the surrounding communities. Clinical agencies require background checks and drug screens, along with other requirements, prior to allowing student attendance. PN faculty and staff have access to the information on the background report in order to be able to coordinate clinical education. Clinical agencies have the right to disallow students to attend. Students who are disallowed may attempt an appeal to the clinical agency. Students who are disallowed to attend clinical by an agency will be unable to continue enrollment in the PN program.

  • Personal health insurance is the responsibility of the student. Neither the college of the application nor clinical agencies provide health coverage for the student. Any illness or injury incurred during class, lab, or clinical during the program will be the financial responsibility of the student.
  • Classes will be held at Rutherfordton Learning Center, 134 Maple Street, Rutherfordton, NC 28139.
    • Class/lab may be conducted during day hours. Students are responsible for arranging their transportation. Clinical locations will vary depending on where available. Please be aware that students may be required to drive to facilities outside the Polk/Rutherford county area for clinical.