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South Carolina offers a mild climate, beautiful beaches and state parks, and plenty of Southern charm. But is the Palmetto State a good place for registered nurses to work?
The demand for RNs in South Carolina continues to rise. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services projects a 10,000 shortfall of RNs in the state from 2014-2030. Continue reading to find out more about what factors affect career prospects and RN salaries in South Carolina.
- Average South Carolina RN Salary: $69,580 (Ranks 39th among all states)
- Hourly South Carolina RN Salary: WAGE
- Projected South Carolina RN Employment Growth (2018-2028): 9.4%
Source: BLS, Projections Central
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Average RN Salaries in South Carolina
Over 46,000 registered nurses work in South Carolina earning an average annual salary of $69,590 that amounts to an average weekly wage of $33.45. RN salaries in the state range from $47,860 for the lowest 10th percentile to $86,820 and above for individuals in the 90th percentile. However, compensation levels vary considerably by type of employer, geographic location, and experience.
While salaries in South Carolina fall below the national average for all RNs, other considerations can offset the comparatively lower wages. For many RNs, the expanding job opportunities and the state's overall affordability compensate for its relatively lower salaries.
The projected nursing shortage, a pressing need for healthcare services by the state's aging and rural populations, and an increasing number of nurses reaching retirement age all fuel the rising demand for RNs through the next decade. This demand will also place upward pressure on registered nurse salaries in South Carolina.
RNs will find job opportunities in the state's many healthcare facilities, including its highly ranked nursing schools and seven nationally recognized Magnet hospitals. Because South Carolina is a Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) state, students who graduate from the state's nursing schools qualify for multistate licenses to practice in all 39 NLC member states.
South Carolina has 67 medically underserved areas, with more than 95% of the population living in health professional shortage areas (HSPAs). The National Health Service Corps offers student loan repayment assistance to RNs who agree to work in HPSAs at approved sites.
|Percentile||Average Annual RN Salary||Average Hourly RN Salary|
South Carolina RN Salary, Adjusted for Cost of Living
RNs who want to live and work in South Carolina should consider the overall cost of living to evaluate how much they need to meet personal and family needs. The cost of living index, based on the U.S. average of 100, adjusts earnings to regional price parity (RPP), based on the cost of essentials, such as clothing, food, housing, utilities, transportation, and healthcare. South Carolina's cost of living index is 91.6 — 8.4% lower than the national average.
When adjusted for cost of living, South Carolina's average RN salary of $74,425 ranks 37th out of all 50 states. Despite the relatively lower salaries, the Palmetto State offers RNs an affordable standard of living. These nurses can expect to spend less than their peers in other states on necessities like groceries, housing, medical services, and transportation. South Carolina's real estate taxes, personal income taxes, and sales taxes rank among the lowest in the country.
- Average RN Salary Adjusted for Cost of Living: $75,425 (Ranks 37th among all states)
- Cost of Living Index (RPP): 91.6 (8.4% higher than the U.S. average)
Highest-Paying Cities for RNs in South Carolina
Some of South Carolina's most desirable places to live also offer RNs the best salaries in the state. Registered nurses working in the Charleston metropolitan area make the highest salaries in the state. Charleston features an expanding economy, affordable housing, and many employment options for RNs, including in two Magnet hospitals.
The areas in and around Spartanburg and Greenville host several colleges and universities offering employment opportunities for healthcare professionals with higher-than-average compensation. Columbia, the state capital, is home to the University of South Carolina with its nationally ranked nursing school and two magnet hospitals.
Myrtle Beach, best known for its recreational attractions, also serves a large retirement community at several healthcare centers where RNs can pursue good-paying job opportunities.
|City||Average RN Salary|
|Charleston — North Charleston, SC||$72,670|
|Greenville — Anderson — Mauldin, SC||$69,280|
|Myrtle Beach — Conway — North Myrtle Beach, SC — NC||$66,750|
Average Salaries for Other Nursing Roles in South Carolina
Nursing assistants and LPN/LVNs can enter the workforce more quickly than RNs. However, they have a restricted scope of practice and earn considerably less than RNs, who must complete either an associate or bachelor's degree to qualify for state licensure.
RNs interested in boosting their salaries and career possibilities can pursue master of science in nursing (MSN) or doctor of nursing practice degrees. These graduate degrees open up careers as advanced practice nurses, nurse educators, and nurse administrators.
Nurse anesthetists and nurse practitioners, the best-paid nursing roles in South Carolina, require at least an MSN and national certification in the nursing specialty.
- Nursing Assistants: $29,260
- LPN/LVNs: $46,470
- Nurse Midwives: $102,850
- Nurse Anesthetists: $213,830
Methodology and Sources
Registered nursing salary data by state is collected from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics program, released on March 31, 2022. Data reflects RN salaries as of May 2021. The highest-paying cities and states for RNs are ranked by average annual salary.
Cost-of-living data is collected from the U.S Bureau of Economic Analysis real personal income for states and metropolitan areas, released on December 14, 2021. RN salary adjusted for cost of living is calculated by multiplying each state's RN salary by its regional price parity (RPP). RPP measures differences in the cost of goods and services in a region compared to national prices.
Projected employment growth data by state is collected from Projections Central.
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