The roots of Carolinas College date back to the early 1940s when Charlotte Memorial Hospital, now Carolinas Medical Center, provided nursing and allied health training.
The Charlotte Memorial Hospital School of Nursing closed in 1967. In the late 1980s, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Hospital Authority (CMHA), now Carolinas HealthCare System, realized the need for registered nurses would outstrip the number being educated in the community and established the CMHA School of Nursing. Degree-granting authority was provided by the Hospital Authority Act [NC General Statute 113E-23 (a) (31)] and was delegated to the college by the hospital’s board of commissioners.
A New Nursing Program
The application to establish a new nursing program was submitted to the North Carolina Board of Nursing in 1990. Initial approval status was granted in May of 1990 and the first students were admitted in the fall of the same year. The college was located on Morehead Street on the campus of Carolinas Medical Center in metropolitan Charlotte. Full approval status was granted and the first class graduated in 1992.
In December of 1993, the hospital authority’s board of commissioners passed a resolution to incorporate the CMHA School of Nursing and to appoint a separate board of directors. Degree-granting authority was delegated to the college’s board of directors. In May of 1994, the college moved into the newly renovated Rankin Education Center on Blythe Boulevard on the campus of Carolinas Medical Center. Currently, Carolinas College occupies the majority of the space in this building.
Effective in 1995, the CMHA School of Nursing was accredited by the Commission on College of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to offer the associate degree. This regional accreditation was reaffirmed in 2000 and again in 2010.
Expanding the College
In July of 1996, the board of directors changed the name of the school to Carolinas College of Health Sciences and approved preparations to educate other health care providers. The existing hospital-based programs in radiologic technology and surgical technology joined the college in August 1996 and the medical technology program in January 1997. In 1999, the college began offering Nurse Aide I and phlebotomy training; Nurse Aide II offered for the first time in 2006. These three programs formed the original core of the continuing education department, opened in 2007, and now offering a variety of non-credit health care courses.
In a partnership with Carolinas Medical Center’s Pre-Hospital Medicine department, the emergency medical sciences program was started in 2003 offering paramedic education. This program was discontinued in 2008. In that same year, the board of directors approved the development of a program in radiation therapy.
The first radiation therapy students were admitted in August 2009. In 2011, the medical technology program became the medical laboratory sciences program. Also in 2011, the college added anesthesia technology and degree programs in surgical technology and general studies. And in 2012, the first histotechnology students were accepted.
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Carolinas College was recently listed in two different college rankings as the #1 two-year college in the nation (StateUniversity.com), 2011 & 2012) and the #3 two-year college in the nation (Washington Monthly), 2010).
In 2012 the college’s School of Nursing celebrated a 91% graduation rate, one of the highest in the nation, while also boasting a near perfect NCLEX pass rate.
For 25 of the last 26 years, 100% of our Medical Laboratory Science and Radiologic Technology graduates have passed their registry exams on the first attempt.
In 2013, the Surgical Technology program received the award of merit from the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA) for achieving a 100% first time pass rate on the Certified Surgical Technologist (CST) examination. This is an impressive 28.5% higher than the 71.5% national average on this certification exam.