Tyrrell County, NC

Tyrrell County | About

Tyrrell County is one of North Carolina’s oldest counties, founded in 1729 and named for Sir John Tyrrell, one of the Lord’s Proprietors of the Carolinas.

Located in northeastern North Carolina, Tyrrell County is bordered on the north by the Albemarle Sound, on the south by Hyde County, on the east by the Alligator River and Dare County, and on the west by Washington County. It is located approximately 150 miles east of the Triangle Area (Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill) and 100 miles south of Tidewater Virginia (Norfolk/Chesapeake/Virginia Beach). The county has a total area of 600 square miles of which 390 square miles is comprised of land and 210 square miles of water.

The county seat and only municipality is Columbia, located on the banks of the Scuppernong River. The county is divided into five townships – Alligator, Columbia, Gum Neck, Scuppernong, and South Fork.

According to the 2010 United States’ census, the population of the county was 4,407, making it the least populous county in the state. Agri-business, commercial fishing, forestry, and tourism contribute to the economy. Access to water and the abundance of forest land and wildlife for recreational fishing and hunting are valuable assets of the county.

The county has a five member Board of Commissioners/Manager type of government. The five members are elected at large by a limited voting election system and serve staggered four-year terms.

  • Population: 4,124 (2006)-5,363 (2016)
  •  Some College- 22.4%
  • Associates Degree- 8.4%
  •  Bachelor’s Degree- 6.5%
  • Higher than Bachelor’s Degree- 2.2%
  • Unemployed- 5.8%(2006) -8.4%(2016)
  • Number of People enrolled in UNC System School- 40, 0.02% of total enrollment
  • Public High School Seniors Applying to UNC System Schools- 18

(Content sources: http://tyrrellcounty.org, http://wikipedia.org, )

Educational Resources

The closest public higher education providers to Tyrrell County are Beaufort County Community College (BCCC), East Carolina University (ECU) and Elizabeth City State University (ECSU).

Each of these institutions provide high-quality, public higher education resources to support a variety of career paths from skilled technical opportunities, to healthcare to business and beyond.

Career Curriculum Example from BCCC:

Early Childhood Education Certificate: The Early Childhood Education curriculum prepares individuals to work with children from birth through eight in diverse learning environments. Employment opportunities include child development and child care programs, preschools, public and private schools, recreational centers, Head Start Programs, and school-age programs. Visit the website to learn more

Tyrrell County Public Higher Education Resources

Affordable Community College for Tyrrell County Residents

Beaufort County Community College offers several scholarships and other financial  support to Tyrrell County residents. The financial support offered enables students to earn credentials that lead to well-paying jobs without incurring a significant financial hardship.

ECU Online Education

ECU offers an online curriculum that includes 1,000 courses.  These courses cover 16 undergraduate majors, 40 gaduate majors and 56 graduate certificates.  This provides an excellent option for Tyrrell County residents who would like to work on their four-year ECU degree without enrolling fulltime.

Early College at BCCC for Tyrrell County Residents

Early college programs are where freshmen high school students start taking college-level courses and then graduate in 5 years with both a high school diploma and an associates degree.  Beaufort Community College President David Loope explains the BCCC program.

Four Aspirations for Tyrrell County Residents

David Loope, President of Beaufort County Community College wants to help improve economic mobility in Tyrrell County.  His approach is to:
1. Break the cycle of poverty.
2. Grow the middle class.
3. Reduce dependence on external aid.
4. Improve the residents’ quality of life.

About Elizabeth City State University

Former Elizabeth City State University Chancellor shares that they are “turning out students that go into the market and are market-ready.” This is one factor that might make them a great choice for Tyrrell County residents.

ECU A Great Investment

East Carolina celebrates the economic impact it has on the state of North Carolina and expecially in rural and underserved counties in North Carolina like Tyrrell.

Tyrrell County Jobs

Please explore the following examples of Tyrrell County jobs attainable with higher education credentials:

Education: Hourly Substitute (Tyrrell County Schools, Columbia, NC)

From the posting: “The Tyrrell County Schools System dedicates its efforts to developing a responsible and productive citizenry, well equipped to meet the challenges of the 21st century. We will accomplish this mission through the commitment and cooperation of our diverse community.”

Education: Certified Athletic Trainer (Tyrrell County Schools, Columbia, NC)


  • Be able to provide services to student athletes under the direction of the team physician
  •  Act as liaison between family physicians and specialists, the school district, athletes and their parents.
  • Contact Mrs. Endia Yancey for a specific job descriptionMINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS Education: Minimum of bachelor’s degree in health related field, with current NATA certification.EXPERIENCE: One or two years in athletic training setting preferred. Entry level graduates with NATA certification will be considered.

Production and Operations: Field Service Technician I (Evoqua Water Technologies, Columbia, NC

The primary responsibility of the Site Operation Technician is to operate clarification / filtration equipment systems, effectively identify problems as they occur and take appropriate steps to solve them, including performing repair or referring more complex issues to others.


  • High School Diploma or equivalent GED required. (Associates degree or 2 yrs. vocational/technical training preferred).
  • Able to lift 60 lbs. on a daily basis
  • Must have clean driving record and must meet eligibility requirements to drive a company vehicle
  • Must have valid Driver’s License
  • Must be self-motivated and able to think through situations quickly.
  • Water treatment experience or similar with strong electrical / mechanical background – preferred

Support Resources

Want to go earn your higher education credentials and get a better paying job in Tyrrell County? Need additional support resources to make it happen?  Please see the list of helpful resources below:

Child Care - Tyrrell-Washington Partnership for Children, Inc

The Tyrrell-Washington Partnership for Children…

  •  administers Smart Start funds from the state legislature to support programs to benefit children age 0-5 and their families.
  •  is a catalyst for bringing different groups together for the sake of the children.
  •  educates the community on the critical needs of young children and helps develop solutions.

Click to visit the website and learn more.

Child Care - Mother’s Helper Childcare

Mother’s Helper is a Child Care and Learning Center located in Columbia, NC. It is an outreach of The Assembly of Praise, Columbia, NC.

Click to visit their Facebook page to learn more

Child Care - Open Arms Child Care

From their Facebook Page: 

“We believe education must be relevant, meaningful and fun. It must inspire the natural curiosity of a child. We are open M-F from 7 AM to 6 PM.”

Click to visit their Facebook Page and learn more.

Scholarship and Financial Assistance

Beaufort County Community College has a foundation that helps students with scholarships and other financial aid.  “The BCCC Foundation is a non-profit charitable organization established in 1984 to provide community-based support for the college in achieving its educational and workforce development goals. Through the Foundation, generous donors provide support for scholarships, institutional programs, faculty and staff development and facility improvements.”

Click to visit the website and learn more.

Financial Aid - General

Beaufort County Community College also provides help with accessing Pell Grants, other federal aid, childcare assistance and more.

Click to visit their Financial Aid Page to learn more.

Haley Whitener –  Financial Aid Assistance

Tyrrell County resident Haley Whitener describes how Beaufort County Community college helped her to find the financial support she needed to complete her postsecondary education.



Help Us Build This Resource List for Tyrrell County Residents.

Click to submit additional suggestions for resources.


Please explore the following testimonials from Tyrrell County Residents:

Tyrrell County Manager David Clegg

County Manager Clegg describes how “unlike in anytime in history,” some sort of postsecondary training is essential for those who love and want to live and succeed in Tyrrell County, NC.

James Cahoon, Columbia Mayor – Education is a Journey

Columbia Mayor James Cahoon shares the importance of getting postsecondary credentials in this globally competitive world.  He encourages residents of Tyrrell County to pursue education beyond high school.

Tyrrell County Resident Dorothy Spencer

Dorothy Spencer was the first in her family to go to college.  After getting her degree she came back home to Tyrrell County and after an interview she was hired on the spot into a well-paying job that she held for 18 years.

Tyrrell County Resident Haley Whitener

Haley Whitener describes how she chose her nursing career path. Family and personal experience help shape life decisions.

Wifi Limits Access to Online Higher Education in Tyrrell County

County Manager David Clegg describes how one can still see pickup trucks parked outside of the public library so children can access wifi to do their homework.

Saria White – Tyrrell County Late Bloomer

Saria White describes herself as a “late bloomer” when it comes to getting postsecondary credentials.  She dropped out of high school, got married, had children and then went back to get her GED at the age of 32.  From there she worked to earn her bachelor’s degree and cherishes her long career as an educator.

Saria White – Postsecondary Education Is Important

Saria White has a message for her fellow Tyrrell County residents: “I think it is very important that you get this postsecondary education.  It will change your life.”

Sharon Diggins – It’s Never Too Late

Sharon Diggins returned to Tyrrell County after getting her postsecondary degree and enjoys a successful career in banking.  In this video she reminds other Tyrrell County residents that it is “never too late to get a postsecondary degree” and encourages those who have dropped out to go back to school.


Visit Our Website

Weekly Newsletter