Becoming an RN in South Carolina

You can become a registered nurse in South Carolina by completing an approved program in professional nursing. The degree program can be approved either by the South Carolina Board of Nursing or by the Board of Nursing in another state. This certainly affords a lot of choices! Most people complete in-state programs, but sometimes people select an online program (currently Registered Nurses or LPNs only) or a program in a neighboring state. If you are a graduate of an out-of-state program, you’ll need to have one additional document sent to the Board: your transcript.

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Some South Carolina programs are at the ADN level, others at the BSN level. All prepare prospective nurses to provide medical-surgical, perinatal, pediatric and psychiatric nursing care. BSN programs prepare nurses for some additional jobs. The BSN is usually required for military nursing and school nursing; it is generally expected by magnet hospitals, as well. Nursing is a field that has a well established career ladder, though, so you don’t necessarily have to do your education all at once.

After you complete your degree program, you can get authorization to take the licensing exam. The process may take a bit of time, but you can apply for a temporary permit in the interim. It is necessary to have at least a permit before you attend orientation for a nursing job.

South Carolina is a member of the Nurse Compact. That means that applicants who declare South Carolina as their primary place of residence are eligible to practice in any of the states in the compact. Currently, there are 24 states.

Education and the RN Career Pathways

Your prior education can shorten your path to licensing as a professional nurse. If you have previous education as a licensed practical nurse, you can enroll in an LPN to RN bridge program.

If you have a bachelor’s degree in another field — even one that’s not healthcare related — you are eligible for an accelerated second degree BSN program. This is quicker than enrolling in a traditional BSN program as a transfer student. Even a traditional program may award you credits for previous coursework. An accelerated BSN program, though, is usually more intensive and is completed on a year-round schedule.

Registered Nursing Career Outlook in South Carolina

Professional nursing can be a bright spot, even in discouraging economic times. This is because most health care is a necessity, and because the population as a whole is aging and requiring more services. Prospects may be better for those with higher levels of education. A 2010 survey of colleges deans found that 95% of those who had entered the field with a BSN or higher in South Carolina in the previous two years had had offers of employment during the first six months. In fact, 64% had had offers straight out of school.

The Nursing School Application Process

South Carolina’s nursing programs are selective, though the level of competition depends on the type of school and the degree sought. Public community/ technical schools, like York Technical College, maintain a wait list of qualified applicants. Candidates must demonstrate, through grades and test scores, that they have the academic skills to complete the program. There are multiple ways that a student can demonstrate readiness. A 2.5 in prerequisite course (2.0 overall) and a COMPASS reading score of 88 are considered adequate. The downside is that it can take some time to actually begin a program. A university or private college may allow you to begin sooner.

If you are applying as a second degree student, your past education is a strong indicator that you can succeed. Schools will still need evidence, though, that you can handle the rigor of an accelerated program (if that is indeed what you choose). For this type of program, the interview can be key.

ADN Programs Approved by the South Carolina Board of Nursing

Aiken Technical College
2276 Jefferson Davis Highway

Aiken, SC 29802
PH: 803-593-9954 Ext. 1491

Central Carolina Technical College
506 North Guignard Drive
Sumter, SC 29150
PH: 803-778-1961
Florence-Darlington Technical College
320 West Cheves Street

Florence, SC 29502
PH: 843-661-8324
Greenville Technical College
620 South Pleasantburg Drive
Greenville, SC 29606
PH: 864-250-8382
Horry-Georgetown Technical College – Grand Strand Campus
743 Hemlock Avenue
Myrtle Beach, SC 29557
PH: 843-477-0808
Midlands Technical College
1260 Lexington Avenue

Columbia, SC 29202
PH: 803-822-3334
Northeastern Technical College
1201 Chesterfield Highway

Cheraw, SC 29520
PH: 843-921-6900
Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College
3250 Saint Matthews Road
Orangeburg, SC 29118
PH: 803-535-1354
Piedmont Technical College
620 North Emerald Road

Greenwood, SC 29648
PH: 864-941-8724
Spartanburg Community College

Spartanburg, SC 29305
PH: 864-592-4871
Technical College of the Low Country
921 Ribaut Road

Beaufort, SC 29901
PH: 843-525-8267
Tri-County Technical College
7900 Highway 76

Pendleton, SC 29670
PH: 864-646-1343
Trident Technical College
7000 Rivers Avenue

Charleston, SC 29423
PH: 843-574-6138

York Technical College/USC Lancaster
452 South Anderson Road
Rock Hill, SC 29730
PH: 803-981-7067


(Source: South Carolina Board of Nursing)

BSN Programs Approved by the South Carolina Board of Nursing

South University

South University has a campus located in Columbia, SC. They offer a BSN program accredited by the NLNAC and approved by the South Carolina Board of Nursing.

Bob Jones University
1700 Wade Hampton Blvd.
Greenville SC 29614
PH: 864-242-5100 Ext. 2250
Charleston Southern University

9200 University Blvd

Charleston SC 29423
PH: (843) 863-7075
Clemson University
510 Edwards Hall
Clemson SC 29634
PH: 864-656-7622
Francis Marion University
4822 East Palmetto Street

Florence SC 29501
PH: 843-661-1690
Lander University
320 Stanley Avenue
Greenwood SC 29649
PH: 864-388-8337

Medical University of South Carolina

99 Jonathan Lucas Street
Charleston SC 29425
PH: 843-792-3941

Newberry College
2100 College Street
Newberry SC 29108
PH: 803-321-5010

South Carolina State University
300 College Street, NE

Orangeburg SC 29117
Phone: 803-533-3678

University of South Carolina-Aiken
471 University Parkway
Aiken SC 29801
PH: 803-641-3263
University of South Carolina – Beaufort
1 University Blvd.
Bluffton, SC 29909
PH: 843-208-8104
University of South Carolina
1601 Greene Street
Columbia SC 29208
PH: 803-777-3861
University of South Carolina – Upstate
800 University Way
Spartanburg SC 29303
PH: 864-503-5444