CCC’s Nursing Programs Rank Third Among NC Community Colleges

Cleveland Community College is proud to announce its rankings on’s Best Nursing Schools® Best in the Eastern Region.

CCC ranked third among North Carolina community colleges, 13 among all NC nursing schools and 112 in the Eastern Region of the United States.

“We set out to find the all-around best nursing schools in each region of the United States. We took 19 metrics and put them into five categories that we felt were both quantifiable and important: quality, affordability, convenience, satisfaction, and value,” according to determined the rankings by evaluating 1,189 nursing schools. They included two-year and four-year programs at both public and private schools. Within each of the five categories, points were awarded for meeting a set of metrics. For example, under quality schools received points based on the highest type of degree offered. CCC, which offers an associate degree, received two points while schools that offer bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees received up to five points.

“As a two-year college that gets no points for bachelor, masters, or doctoral programs, we are excited to rank so high,” said Dr. L. Steve Thornburg, CCC’s president. “We are committed to offering high quality, affordable, and accessible healthcare programs.”

Other criteria examined included tuition and fees, the amount of financial aid awarded to students, distance education options, first-to-second year retention rates, graduation rates, and passing rates on the National Council Licensure Examination.

CCC’s rankings place it in the top five percent of North Carolina community college schools of nursing, the top 15 percent overall among North Carolina schools of nursing, and the top 10 percent in the East.

Congratulations to all of our faculty in the nursing programs. These rankings are a direct reflection of the hard work and dedication of our faculty to help our nursing students succeed.

See the entire list of rankings here:

Happy Anniversary Cleveland Community College!

Fifty years ago today, the Cleveland County Unit of Gaston College opened its doors at 118 North Morgan Street, Shelby.

Photo of window showing Cleveland County Unit of Gaston College.

Led by Dr. James Broughton Petty, the unit began offering classes in two rented buildings, with only a handful of full-time employees and less than 40 students. The College offered a few programs, including practical nursing.

Before long, the College had so many students, classes were being held in any empty space available, including churches. Within four years of opening, the College moved to its current location on South Post Road and continued to grow.

Although the campus looks much different today, the College is still helping students get off to a great start toward a bachelor’s degree, or learn a skill that’s needed by local employers.


The practical nursing program is still going strong. It was recognized earlier this year by the North Carolina Board of Nursing for six straight years of a 100 percent passing rate among students who took the North Carolina Licensure exam for practical nursing.

In addition, many new programs have been added over the years. This fall, CCC will begin enrolling students into the new Mission Critical Operations program. In 2013, the U.S. Department of Labor Employment Training Administration awarded over $23 million to CCC and a consortium of college and university partners for the development of the program. The grant was the largest ever awarded to a North Carolina community college. The program was developed in response to industry’s need for trained workers in mission critical operations – those jobs that keep a company running 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Today, staff and faculty celebrate CCC’s past, and the strong foundation that has been built. At the same time, we are looking forward to the next 50 years and beyond, excited to see what’s ahead for CCC and the students who build their futures here.