South Carolina Nursing Schools and Programs of 2023

NurseJournal Staff
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Updated October 3, 2023
By 2030, South Carolina will have a nursing deficit of 10,000 nurses. Learn about the best nursing programs in South Carolina that can prepare you to meet this demand.
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The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services projects that by 2030, South Carolina could have an unmet need for 10,400 nurses. With 25 fully-accredited nursing schools in South Carolina and more nursing programs applying for approval, how do you choose the best option for your needs?

This guide identifies the top nursing programs in South Carolina, outlines salary and employment prospects, and explores how to earn a South Carolina nursing license.

Keep reading to learn more about becoming a nurse in South Carolina, or go straight to our list of the best nursing schools in South Carolina or our list of the best nurse practitioner (NP) programs in South Carolina.

The Best Nursing Schools in South Carolina

Whether you’re looking for a two-year associate degree in nursing (ADN), a four-year bachelor of science in nursing (BSN), or a graduate degree in nursing, there’s a nursing program in South Carolina for your career goals.

Our Methodology: We use a data-driven methodology to rank the best nursing schools in South Carolina, making it easier for you to find a program that works for you. Our methodology is based on metrics that we believe matter most to students, including: academic quality, affordability, reputation, and program offerings.

#1 South Carolina Nursing Schools and Programs of 2023

Anderson University

  • Location-markerAnderson, SC
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$26,820
  • Out-of-state$26,820
  • Retention Rate84%
  • Acceptance Rate59%
  • Students Enrolled3,848
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment60%
  • AccreditationYes
#2 South Carolina Nursing Schools and Programs of 2023

Bob Jones University

  • Location-markerGreenville, SC
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$19,288
  • Out-of-state$19,288
  • Retention Rate86%
  • Acceptance Rate0%
  • Students Enrolled3,029
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment21%
  • AccreditationYes
#3 South Carolina Nursing Schools and Programs of 2023

Clemson University

  • Location-markerClemson, SC
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$14,118
  • Out-of-state$37,110
  • Retention Rate94%
  • Acceptance Rate62%
  • Students Enrolled26,406
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment85%
  • AccreditationYes
#4 South Carolina Nursing Schools and Programs of 2023

Lander University

  • Location-markerGreenwood, SC
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$10,700
  • Out-of-state$20,300
  • Retention Rate75%
  • Acceptance Rate57%
  • Students Enrolled3,513
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment81%
  • AccreditationYes
#5 South Carolina Nursing Schools and Programs of 2023

University of South Carolina Aiken

  • Location-markerAiken, SC
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$10,398
  • Out-of-state$20,856
  • Retention Rate66%
  • Acceptance Rate56%
  • Students Enrolled3,944
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment94%
  • AccreditationYes

Featured Online MSN Programs

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How to Choose a Nursing Program in South Carolina

This guide only includes accredited schools, since accreditation is vital to education and career success. Important considerations include total cost (tuition and other expenses, along with financial aid); the NCLEX-RN pass rate; acceptance rate; graduation rate; program format; curriculum; and location and where you can find clinical placement, especially if you plan to attend online.

Why Become a Nurse in South Carolina

The high demand for nurses in South Carolina puts nursing school graduates in an excellent position for job hunting. While the median salary for nurses is $66,050, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the cost of living, at 94.8, is below the U.S. index of 100. South Carolina is also a Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) state, which means nurses with a South Carolina nursing license can practice in the 39 other compact states.

In addition, South Carolina hosts some of the most beautiful cities and tourist areas of the U.S., including Myrtle Beach, Charleston, and Hilton Head Island. If you like beaches, landscaped gardens and parks, or fine southern cuisine, South Carolina has much to offer.

Salary and Job Outlook for Nurses in South Carolina

Both the cost of living and median annual nursing salaries in South Carolina are lower than figures for the U.S. overall. The median salary for a registered nurse (RN) in South Carolina is $66,050, according to the BLS, compared to $75,330 nationally. Similarly, the median salary for an NP is $98,940, compared to $111,680 nationally.

Although salaries are lower than national medians, the cost of living is also lower. With rising demand for nurses, including 9.4% projected job growth between 2018 and 2028 and an anticipated shortage of 10,400 nurses, salaries trend upward. This makes earning a degree from a nursing school in South Carolina an even more valuable investment.

Some of Charleston’s most beautiful locations also offer the highest salaries in the state. Many of these cities host academic medical centers. If you are looking for an even higher salary, the lower Savannah South Carolina nonmetropolitan area’s average salary for an RN is $72,920.

Highest Paying Cities for Nurses in South Carolina
Top Paying Metropolitan AreasMedian Salary for RNs
Spartanburg$69,260
Charleston-North Charleston$69,130
Hilton Head Island-Bluffton-Beaufort$67,450
Florence$66,240
Columbia$66,100
Source: BLS

Steps to Becoming a Nurse in South Carolina

South Carolina is an NLC state, so you can practice in South Carolina if you have a license from another NLC state. However, if you transfer residence to South Carolina, you must apply for a South Carolina license.

RN Requirements

Like other states, South Carolina requires prospective RNs to graduate from an ADN or BSN program and pass the NCLEX-RN examination. The state board of nursing also requires that you submit a copy of your driver’s license, passport number, or equivalent identification and a notarized signature affidavit with a 2 x 2 color passport photo form.

You must pass a criminal background check. If you attended nursing school in South Carolina, have your school submit a certificate of endorsement form. If you graduated from a nursing school in another state, have your school send official transcripts.

The full requirements are on the South Carolina State Board of Nursing website.

APRN Requirements

For advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) licensing, you need a master of science in nursing (MSN) or a doctor of nursing practice (DNP). You must also pass the board certification examination.

The state board of nursing requirements include a valid South Carolina RN license; confirmation of education and specialization; and, if you intend to prescribe medications, an application for prescriptive authority, with 45 hours in completed pharmacology coursework in the last two years prior to applying. This requirement must include at least 15 hours in controlled substance pharmacology or a graduate-level pharmacology course within the last two years.

Other Top Nursing Programs in South Carolina

Frequently Asked Questions About Nursing in South Carolina


How much are nurses paid in South Carolina?

The median salary for South Carolina nurses is $66,050, but salaries vary based on location and experience. In the rural lower Savannah area, for example, the average salary for an RN is $72,920, because of the higher demand. The median salary for a nurse practitioner is $98,940

Is South Carolina good for nursing?

While the median salary for nurses in South Carolina is below the national median, so is the cost of living. Since South Carolina is an NLC state, attending nursing school in South Carolina allows you to practice in other NLC states. Many people move to South Carolina to enjoy affordable coastal living.

How many nursing schools does South Carolina have?

There are 25 state-approved nursing schools in South Carolina that offer two-year ADN or four-year BSN programs. The BLS projects a 9.4% growth in nursing jobs between 2018 and 2028 in South Carolina. In addition, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services projects a shortage of 10,400 nurses from 2014-2030. Because of the high demand, earning a nursing degree in South Carolina can be a great investment for your future.

How do I get my nursing license in South Carolina?

To obtain licensure in South Carolina, you must graduate nursing school with an ADN or a BSN degree, pass the NCLEX-RN exam, submit verification of your identity and eligibility to work in the U.S., and pass a criminal background check. The South Carolina State Board of Nursing website offers complete information, including fees.

Find Nursing Programs in Other States

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