On Wednesday a committee in the Fayetteville Senate district chose Dickson, who is serving her fourth term in the House, the Fayetteville Observer reports. Rand left his role as the chamber's Democratic majority leader and rules chairman to run the state parole commission.
Gov. Bev Perdue is expected to make Dickson's selection official.
Dickson, 60, said she would run for election this year to keep her new Senate seat.
"I do believe this is a sacred trust," she told the audience at the old Cumberland County courthouse after her selection. "I do not take this lightly in any way."
Joining her in the old Superior Court room were her husband, District Court Judge John Dickson, their two sons and her sister.
Dickson was first elected to the state House in 2002 when she defeated a three-term Republican, Mia Morris. Dickson fended off Republican challengers in 2004 and 2008.
Republican Fayetteville City Councilman Wesley Meredith has previously announced his plans to run for the seat.
Dickson's vacant House seat will be filled by a similar committee.