South Carolina Nursing Schools and Programs

Updated November 18, 2022

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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NurseJournal.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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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

Clemson University

  • Clemson, SC
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Clemson University houses one of the top nursing schools in South Carolina and boasts designation from the National Center of Excellence in Nursing. Clemson offers programs at the bachelor's, master's, and doctorate levels, along with an accelerated bachelor's in nursing for non-nursing bachelor's degree-holders and a completion track for registered nurses (RN) pursuing their bachelor's in nursing.

Average Tuition
In-state
$14,118
Out-of-state
$37,110
Retention Rate
93%
Admission Rate
51%
Students Enrolled
25,822
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
29% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#2 South Carolina Nursing Schools and Programs

Anderson University

  • Anderson, SC
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Baptist-centered Anderson University offers online and continuous learning that includes nursing programs at all degree levels. Specializations focus on registered nursing (RN), family nurse practice, and psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner. Most programs feature hybrid instruction with required clinical hours at student-selected healthcare sites. Non-nursing bachelor's degree-holders and RNs can earn an accelerated bachelor's degree.

Average Tuition
In-state
$26,130
Out-of-state
$26,130
Retention Rate
80%
Admission Rate
69%
Students Enrolled
3,543
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
44% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#3 South Carolina Nursing Schools and Programs

University of South Carolina-Columbia

  • Columbia, SC
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

University of South Carolina's nursing programs train new nurses and also provide opportunities for RNs to earn their bachelor's or master's degree in nursing, accommodate career changes to nursing, and offer specialized study through doctorates and post-graduate certificates.

Many courses can be completed online. Doctoral programs are offered in hybrid format.

Average Tuition
In-state
$12,288
Out-of-state
$33,528
Retention Rate
89%
Admission Rate
69%
Students Enrolled
35,364
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
32% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#4 South Carolina Nursing Schools and Programs

Spartanburg Community College

  • Spartanburg, SC
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

Spartanburg Community College offers an associate degree in applied science in nursing (ADN) that prepares graduates for RN licensure exams and entry-level nursing positions or further nursing study at the bachelor's or graduate levels. 

SCC's 68-credit curriculum combines coursework in the sciences with nursing principles and theories. Students also complete clinical rotations at affiliated healthcare facilities.

Average Tuition
In-state
$5,736
Out-of-state
$9,432
Retention Rate
61%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
4,633
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
36% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#5 South Carolina Nursing Schools and Programs

Charleston Southern University

  • Charleston, SC
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Baptist-based Charleston Southern University lists nursing programs leading to bachelor's and master's degrees. The BSN is available in traditional and accelerated formats that include simulation labs and clinical rotations. Accelerated program enrollees can opt to complete their courses online.

Master's students can concentrate on leadership and healthcare administration or nursing education.

Average Tuition
In-state
$26,000
Out-of-state
$26,000
Retention Rate
65%
Admission Rate
50%
Students Enrolled
3,477
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
43% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#6 South Carolina Nursing Schools and Programs

Trident Technical College

  • Charleston, SC
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

Offering four nursing programs, Trident Technical College features a new nursing and science building with a simulation center to augment coursework and clinical experiences.

Students can earn an ADN, pursue a licensed practical nurse (LPN)-to-ADN track, obtain a practical nursing diploma, or opt for a pre-nursing certificate.

Average Tuition
In-state
$5,024
Out-of-state
$8,571
Retention Rate
57%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
12,351
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
47% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#7 South Carolina Nursing Schools and Programs

Tri-County Technical College

  • Pendleton, SC
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

Tri-County Technical College's Health Education Division offers associate degrees in traditional and practical nursing, an accelerated ADN, and an LPN-to-ADN bridge program. Pre-nursing certificate and practical nursing diploma tracks are also available to complete prerequisites for entering associate degree programs.

Average Tuition
In-state
$5,600
Out-of-state
$9,848
Retention Rate
53%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
6,181
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
35% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#8 South Carolina Nursing Schools and Programs

Orangeburg Calhoun Technical College

  • Orangeburg, SC
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

Students can earn a practical nursing diploma or an ADN at Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College. Through a transfer partnership, OCtech offers an RN-to-BSN track for RNs who want to earn their ADN at OCtech and their BSN at the University of South Carolina Upstate.

Average Tuition
In-state
$5,424
Out-of-state
$7,200
Retention Rate
59%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
2,298
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
44% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#9 South Carolina Nursing Schools and Programs

Horry-Georgetown Technical College

  • Conway, SC
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

Horry-Georgetown Technical College's Health Science Department lists two credentialing options for nursing students: an ADN and a practical nursing diploma.

On-campus instruction at HGTC's Grand Strand and Georgetown campuses complements clinical rotations at local healthcare organizations to prepare graduates to take their LPN or RN exams.

Average Tuition
In-state
$5,088
Out-of-state
$8,352
Retention Rate
53%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
6,705
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
49% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#10 South Carolina Nursing Schools and Programs

Francis Marion University

  • Florence, SC
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Francis Marion University's nursing programs span all degree levels and offer tracks for first-time students, licensed RNs interested in completing their bachelor's degree, doctoral students, and master's-level concentrations for specialists in family nurse practice, nursing education, and psychiatric mental health.

FMU offers many of its nursing program classes online or in hybrid format.

Average Tuition
In-state
$10,384
Out-of-state
$20,768
Retention Rate
69%
Admission Rate
68%
Students Enrolled
4,240
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
24% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Featured Online MSN Programs

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 Areas Median 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.

The Best Nurse Practitioner Programs in South Carolina

If you want more professional autonomy or a higher salary, you may want to consider earning an MSN or a DNP to become a nurse practitioner. This guide helps you identify the best NP programs in South Carolina for your career goals and preferred specialty area.

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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NurseJournal.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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