Why consider a nursing career in South Carolina? One reason might be a study by the Office for Healthcare Workforce Analysis and Planning, which suggests a registered nurse shortage could soon develop, leaving South Carolina in need of 6,400 RNs by the year 2028. That level of demand suggests a strong job market for nurses in the near future, and the right education can help you take advantage of a bullish nursing market.

Nursing careers in South Carolina can take shape in a variety of locations, including hospitals, long-term care facilities, doctors’ office and outpatient services providers. If you want to know how to become a nurse in South Carolina, read on for information on top nursing colleges, as well as nursing certification, licensure and professional organizations in the state.

Best Nursing Schools in South Carolina

As of November 2018, there are 33 schools offering nursing degrees programs at various levels in South Carolina, which is part of why rankings lists can be so helpful. Our two lists — one that details the best schools for undergraduate students and one for graduate students — can help you narrow down your choices to an elite few.

These rankings are based on data coming from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data Systems (IPEDS) that we ran through our proprietary analysis system. You can scroll to the bottom of this page for the nuts and bolts of our methodology, or read on directly below for our lists of the top nursing schools in South Carolina.

Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Undergraduate tuition
$11,054
Undergraduate graduation rate
73%
Undergraduate retention rate
88%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
91%
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Undergraduate tuition
$4,461
Undergraduate graduation rate
10%
Undergraduate retention rate
59%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
91%
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Undergraduate tuition
$5,232
Undergraduate graduation rate
19%
Undergraduate retention rate
54%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
96%
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Undergraduate tuition
$9,880
Undergraduate graduation rate
40%
Undergraduate retention rate
68%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
99%
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Undergraduate tuition
$4,944
Undergraduate graduation rate
13%
Undergraduate retention rate
60%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
98%
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Undergraduate tuition
$4,320
Undergraduate graduation rate
13%
Undergraduate retention rate
56%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
96%
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Undergraduate tuition
$9,882
Undergraduate graduation rate
42%
Undergraduate retention rate
67%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
93%
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Undergraduate tuition
$4,272
Undergraduate graduation rate
12%
Undergraduate retention rate
55%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
92%
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Undergraduate tuition
$4,680
Undergraduate graduation rate
12%
Undergraduate retention rate
56%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
91%
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Undergraduate tuition
$8,938
Undergraduate graduation rate
38%
Undergraduate retention rate
70%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
95%
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered
6
Graduate Tuition
$12,398
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered through distance education
3
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Graduate Tuition
$8,826
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered through distance education
0
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Graduate Tuition
$3,750
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered through distance education
0
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered
2
Graduate Tuition
$10,100
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered through distance education
0
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Graduate Tuition
$11,800
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered through distance education
1
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Graduate Tuition
$12,798
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered through distance education
1
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered
6
Graduate Tuition
$18,097
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered through distance education
0

Nursing Accreditation in South Carolina

Attending an accredited nursing school is the first step to earning a quality nursing education. Accredited schools have been reviewed by independent, outside agencies that used an established process to check that the instruction they provide meets a national occupational and academic standard. The following agencies commonly accredit nursing colleges in South Carolina:

  • Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing
  • Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • National League for Nursing
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

South Carolina Nursing Licensure

Licensed practical nurses (LPNs) and registered nurses (RNs) in South Carolina apply for their licenses through the South Carolina Board of Nursing. To qualify for licensure, candidates must submit paperwork that shows completion of all education requirements through an approved nursing school. Also, they must take and pass the National Council Licensure Examination for registered nurses (NCLEX-RN) or for practical nurses (NCLEX-PN). The exam can be taken every 45 days for up to a year and must be passed within three years of application.

Nurse practitioners (NPs) and other advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) in South Carolina must also apply for licensure through the South Carolina Board of Nursing. They typically must first complete a master’s degree program in their specialty area — although there are some exceptions — and then obtain specialty nursing certification within one year of completion of their program. Any APRN seeking prescriptive authority must be licensed as an NP, a clinical nurse specialist or a certified nurse-midwife and complete at least 45 hours of board-approved education in pharmacotherapeutics.

South Carolina Nursing organizations

Student and working nurses in South Carolina may find membership in a nursing association helpful for many reasons, including access to career development resources and the chance to network professionally with peers and superiors. Here’s a short list of nursing associations in the state:

  • South Carolina Nurses Association:

    The mission of the South Carolina Nurses Association, founded in 1907 by 21 charter members, is to advocate for the role of registered nurses in overall healthcare. Nurses can access nursing news, a career center and an events calendar, as well as receiving subscriptions to SC Nurse and American Nurse Today.

  • South Carolina Association of Nurse Anesthetists:

    This association boasts a membership of more than 1,000 and features a menu of resources that includes online continuing education courses, a job board, peer assistance, a calendar of events and newsletter subscriptions.

  • South Carolina Student Nurses’ Association:

    Pre-nursing and nursing students enrolled in accredited undergraduate nursing programs in the state can join the SNA-SC. As an arm of the National Student Nurses’ Association (NSNA), this association offers career information, educational resources, leadership experiences and networking opportunities.

  • South Carolina Emergency Nurses Association:

    Members of the South Carolina Emergency Nurses Associations have access to educational information, scholarship opportunities and recognition through the Nurse of the Year and Nurse Leader of the Year awards.

South Carolina-Specific Continuing Education

Licenses for LPNs, RNs and APRNs in South Carolina come up for renewal every two years. Each renewal period, nurses must show that they have completed 30 hours of continuing education (CE) from an approved provider in the past two years. Other CE requirements may also apply. APRNs with prescriptive authority must also show proof of 20 hours of CE in pharmacotherapeutics every two years.

Licenses that are not renewed biennially will fall into a lapsed status, making the nurse unable to practice in the state until his or her license is renewed. Reinstatement of the license requires that a nurse meet certain additional CE requirements.

Hospitals in South Carolina

Nurses of every specialty area and academic level are a part of the healthcare services provided by South Carolina hospitals. These large medical centers may offer more than just employment opportunities: nurses may have the chance to find mentors, complete internships and earn real-life skills. Take a look at this short synopsis of the three largest hospitals in South Carolina:

  • Greenville Memorial Hospital (Greenville): This hospital, the flagship facility of the entire Greenville Memorial System, is home to a children’s hospital, a children’s emergency center, a pharmacy and a 24-hour emergency trauma center. Additionally, BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina recognized it as a Blue Distinction Center for Maternity Care.
  • Medical University of South Carolina – University Hospital (Charleston): Nurses at the Medical University of South Carolina – University Hospital can work in specialized areas like vascular health, neurosciences, spinal care, trauma, cancer and even transplants. The hospital is a key part of the MUSC Health system, which consists of more than 100 outreach locations, affiliations and partnerships.
  • Palmetto Health Richland (Columbia): This hospital, which celebrated 125 years in 2017, employs over 900 medical and dental personnel and has a hospital staff of more than 4,200. Services are available in areas as diverse as behavioral care, cardiology, neonatology, obstetrics and robotic-assisted surgery, and graduate nurses can apply online for nurse residency programs.
Sources & Methodology

Methodology

Using the National Center for Education Statistics’ Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), we gathered data for 6,758 United States institutions. We then filtered that list of schools by state and analyzed the data for each state with two different methodologies, in order to create two different lists: our undergraduate list, based on 11 ranking criteria, and our graduate list, based on 9 ranking criteria.

Final data for the 2016-17 school year was used for these rankings. Schools that did not provide data for all of the required ranking criteria were disqualified from that ranking.

The 11 criteria for the undergraduate school ranking were as follows:

  1. Number of associate-level degree programs offered to nursing-related majors
  2. Number of associate-level nursing-related degree programs offered via distance education
  3. Variety of associate-level nursing-related degree programs offered
  4. Tuition
  5. Retention rate
  6. Graduation rate
  7. Average amount of federal grant aid awarded to full-time first-time undergraduates
  8. Percent of full-time first-time undergraduates awarded any financial aid
  9. Credit offerings (Military, Dual, Life Experience, AP)
  10. Services (Career Counseling, Placement Services)
  11. Availability of tuition plans (Guaranteed, Prepaid, Payment, Other)

The graduate school ranking scored schools based on 9 criteria, different from the undergraduate list. These 9 criteria were as follows:

  1. Number of master’s-level degree programs offered to nursing-related majors
  2. Number of master’s-level nursing-related degree programs offered via distance education
  3. Variety of master’s-level nursing-related degree programs offered
  4. Tuition
  5. Retention rate
  6. Graduation rate
  7. Credit offerings (Military, Dual, Life Experience, AP)
  8. Services (Career Counseling, Placement Services)
  9. Availability of tuition plans (Guaranteed, Prepaid, Payment, Other)

All schools were scored on a 10-point scale for each of the points listed above. Individual data point scores were then multiplied by their respective weights, and the scores were added together, for a maximum possible score of 10 points.

NOTE: Schools’ tuition amounts are based on 2016-17 undergraduate and graduate data reported to the National Center for Education Statistics. The actual cost of tuition may vary.

 

Sources

  1. Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2016-17, National Center for Education Statistics, Accessed January 2018, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/
  2. Code of Laws, South Carolina Legislature, Accessed October 2018, https://www.scstatehouse.gov/query.php?search=DOC&searchtext=LPN&category=CODEOFLAWS&conid=10746758&result_pos=0&keyval=12411&numrows=10
  3. Estimating Future RN Supply and Demand in South Carolina: 2008-2028, Policy Brief 2014, Office for Healthcare Workforce Analysis and Planning, Accessed October 2018, https://www.scohw.org/docs/2014/Estimating-Future-RN-Supply-Demand-in-SC-2008-2018.pdf
  4. Greenville Memorial Hospital, Greenville Memorial Hospital, Accessed October 2018, https://www.ghs.org/locations/greenville-memorial-hospital/
  5. Member Benefits, SCNA, Accessed October 2018, https://www.scnurses.org/page/MembershipBenefits
  6. MUSC Health – Changing What’s Possible, Medical University of South Carolina, Accessed October 2018, http://www.muschealth.org/index.html
  7. Nursing, Palmetto Health, Accessed October 2018, https://www.palmettohealth.org/careers/nursing
  8. Palmetto Health Richland, Palmetto Health Richland, Accessed October 2018, https://www.palmettohealth.org/locations-directions/hospitals/palmetto-health-richland
  9. South Carolina APRN Fact Sheet, University of South Carolina, Accessed October 2018, https://www.sc.edu/study/colleges_schools/nursing/centers_institutes/center_nursing_leadership/sc_onevoice_oneplan/aprn_bullet_points_2015.pdf
  10. South Carolina Board of Nursing, South Carolina Board of Nursing, Accessed October 2018, https://www.scstatehouse.gov/query.php?search=DOC&searchtext=LPN&category=CODEOFLAWS&conid=10746758&result_pos=0&keyval=12411&numrows=10
  11. South Carolina State Council, Emergency Nurses Association, Accessed October 2018, https://www.sc-ena.org/
  12. South Carolina Student Nurses’ Association, South Carolina Student Nurses’ Association, Accessed October 2018, https://www.sna-sc.org/

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