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Navigating the Nursing Profession in South Carolina

Updated: Sep 13, 2022

Let us help you land on your dream job here in South Carolina! Read on this article to know more about the licensing process in South Carolina, and more!


Through this article, you will be able to know the following:

  • Fees for the licensing

  • Licensing renewal process (step-by-step)

  • Requirements for Continuing Education in Nursing

  • Licensing and certification

  • Job and Salary Expectations of Nurses in South Carolina

  • Popular hospitals in South Carolina

  • Nursing associations in South Carolina

  • Contact details


Fees for the Licensing

The table below shows the required payments for the licensing, whether you are a first-time nurse, applying by endorsement, or renewing your license. For more details, visit the South Carolina licensing page.

As a nursing compact state, South Carolina lets nurses hold multi state licenses.

*Fees may change without any notice.

**A background check is required in most states, but prices are not usually indicated.


Licensing Renewal Process

  1. Check when your license expires by visiting the South Carolina Board of Nursing website. South Carolina has a Verification page for you to verify your license.

  2. Complete all your continuing education requirements BEFORE your license expires.

  3. Apply for your renewal process by going to the South Carolina Board of Nursing. You may check on the Renewal Information page for more specific information. Be reminded that if your Primary State of Residency is not South Carolina, you can not apply for a licensure in South Carolina because it is a compact state. You must declare that South Carolina is your Primary State of Residency to be able to do so.


Requirements for Continuing Education in Nursing

The following are the Continuing Education Requirements for nurses in South Carolina.

  • For RN/LPN, you must obtain one of the following requirements every 2 years:

  • Complete 30 contact hours from a recognized education provider

  • Maintain certification or recertification

  • Complete an academic program of study in nursing or a related field

  • Certification from employer to verify competency and number of hours practiced

  • For APRN, you need to maintain national certification or complete 30 hours of continuing education every 2 years.

    • APRNS (NPS, CNMS, AND CNSS) If you are a nurse in these categories and you have the authority to prescribe, you must complete 30 contact hours every two years, where 20 of which should be in pharmacotherapeutics related to your specialty. Two hours in prescribing controlled substances is also a requirement for the nursing professionals.

The South Carolina Board of Nursing accepts courses that are ANCC accredited.


Licensing and Certification

Step 1: Education

To earn an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN), you must attend an accredited institution that offers ADN for 18-24 months. You can also take a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) Degree in an accredited institution. These programs typically take 4 to 5 years to complete. If you have an ADN but you wanna pursue your bachelor’s, there are certain programs that let you earn your BSN in 12 to 18 months. There is also an RN to BSN program that will take one year for you to earn the degree. Said programs let you save on time and money as you work towards advancing your career.

Step 2: Licensing

Six weeks before your graduation, you can start the process of your application for the NCLEX-RN exam. This exam is composed of 75-265 items and you will be given a limit of 5 hours to finish all of it. Failing the exam does not necessarily mean that you do not have the chance anymore. After your first try, you just have to wait for 45 days and you can apply again.

The scope of NCLEX includes questions about: (1) health promotion and maintenance;

(2) safe and effective care environment; (3) physiology and integrity; and (4) psychology and integrity.

Step 3: Experience

This time, you must learn how to take the opportunities in gaining first-hand experiences in dealing with patients, with colleagues and superiors, and with the different situations that you might face. These invaluable experiences will make you more attractive to bigger employers in the future.

Step 4: Certification

Your last step is to obtain certifications for your chosen career. There are different requirements for earning a certification, depending on your preferences so it is important to check with the governing provider for information. You can attend several trainings, seminars or workshops in varied institutions for this purpose.


Job and Salary Expectations of Nurses in South Carolina

Shortage of healthcare professionals, specifically nurses, has been a perennial issue in the country. This makes nurses highly in demand during this period of time. This profession will increase by about 9% from 2020 to 2030. The average annual salary is currently $69,580.

Let us help you check out average wages of nurses to help determine if South Carolina is the right place for you.


Popular Hospitals in South Carolina

Still not decided on whether to work as a nurse in South Carolina or not? This list of the best hospitals in the state will surely help you make that decision to go in the right direction. U.S. News and World Report made a list of the best and popular hospitals in South Carolina. Here are some of them:

  • MUSC Health-University Medical Center – (Charleston, SC):

    • Regionally ranked #1 in South Carolina and in Charleston

    • Nationally ranked in 3 adult specialties and 4 pediatric specialties

    • Rated high performing in 4 adult specialties and 13 procedures and conditions

    • General medical and surgical facility and a teaching hospital

    • Part of the Magnet Recognition Program®

    • Specialties include Ear, Nose & Throat (#14 in the nation), Gynecology (#17 in the nation), and Cancer (#39 in the nation)

  • Bon Secours St. Francis Health System-Greenville – (Greenville, SC):

    • Regionally ranked #2 in South Carolina and #1 in Greenville

    • Rated high performing in 11 adult procedures and conditions

    • General medical and surgical facility

    • Part of the Magnet Recognition Program®

    • Specialties include Colon cancer surgery, Kidney failure, Back surgery, and Hip & knee replacement

  • McLeod Regional Medical Center – (Florence, SC):

    • Regionally ranked #3 in South Carolina

    • Rated high performing in 10 adult procedures and conditions

    • General medical and surgical facility

    • Specialties include Lung cancer surgery, Heart attack & heart failure, Diabetes, and Stroke

  • Spartanburg Medical Center – (Spartanburg, SC):

    • Regionally ranked #3 in South Carolina

    • Rated high performing in 10 adult procedures and conditions

    • General medical and surgical facility

    • Specialties include Colon & lung cancer surgery, Aortic valve surgery, and Heart bypass surgery

  • Lexington Medical Center – (West Columbia, SC):

    • Regionally ranked #5 in South Carolina and #1 in Columbia

    • Rated high performing in 9 adult procedures and conditions

    • Specialities include Colon Cancer Surgery, Cardiology & Heart Surgery, Diabetes, Kidney Failure, Stroke, Knee Replacement, and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).

*The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) awards Magnet Status to Hospitals that apply and meet certain criteria. This award is also considered as the “gold standard” for excellence in nursing practice and care.


Nursing Associations in South Carolina

Becoming a member of a nursing association opens a lot of opportunities to your career growth. It gives you the advantages of varied job offers and networking, and a bunch of information and experiences shared between you and your fellow nurses. Through these organizations, learning and professional growth never stop. Listed below are just a few of the nursing organizations that you can find and join once you are in South Carolina.

Student Nurses Association of South Carolina “This nursing association prepares nursing students for their first licensure as registered nurses. They also teach students to possess the standards, ethics and skills necessary to become responsible and accountable leaders and members of the profession.”

South Carolina Nurses Association “The goal of this organization is to represent registered nurses of South Carolina in an organization. They give emphasis on the roles of nurses.”

Upstate Nurse Practitioner Association “This group of nurses advocates the professional objectives of excellence in practice, education and political advocacy for nurse practitioners and the community.”

For more information about the nursing associations, you may visit the comprehensive list of national organizations as well.


Contact Details

South Carolina Board of Nursing

Phone: (803) 896-4550


Synergy Business Park

Kingstree Building

110 Centerview Drive

Columbia, SC 29210

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