South Carolina RN Requirements and Training Programs

Nursing is a rewarding career as it offers you the opportunity to touch the lives of the people you serve. It takes a very special person to become a nurse. Apart from the learned skills and knowledge of the science of nursing, you need compassion, patience, commitment, and strength. If you have what it takes, it’s a great time to enter this rewarding profession. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, nursing is the fastest growing profession in South Carolina. To reinforce the BLS’ predictions, the South Carolina Colleagues in Caring reports that the shortage of professional nurses will become progressively worse in the next 10 to 15 years due to an increase in long-term care needs of the elderly population and vacancies left by retiring nurses. The career outlook means tremendous opportunities for nursing graduates, especially those with the bachelor’s degree in nursing. If you’re considering the entry-level ADN degree, you should make plans to enroll in an RN to BSN program shortly thereafter. The South Carolina Board of Nursing requires candidates for licensure to complete an ADN program, at a minimum, to take the NCLEX-RN for state licensure as a registered nurse. Graduates must demonstrate the skills required to care for sick and disabled patients and to educate individuals, families, and communities on disease prevention and the promotion of wellness.

Education Requirements

South Carolina’s Associate Degree Nursing Programs provide a constant supply of qualified nursing staff to meet the shortage of nurses in the state. Graduates have a wealth of employment opportunities, in various healthcare environments, to provide care for patients across the lifespan. The programs emphasize those skills graduates need to help patients maintain or restore optimum health and to provide end-of-life care and support. ADN-prepared nurses participate in the provision of care, management of care, and the collaboration with other members within the discipline of nursing to restore health. Graduates of board-approved programs are eligible to take the NCLEX for registered nurses.

The nursing program is a blend of general education and nursing courses, organized by concept, to prepare graduates for the licensure exam. Interactive classroom sessions help students understand complex principles and promote critical thinking and use of judgment in the profession. The delivery of course content depends on the instructor and can take numerous forms, including classroom lectures, case studies, role playing, presentations, seminars, online discussions, and simulations. Planned clinical and laboratory experiences complement classroom learning and give students real-world opportunities to enhance their skills through the application of principles learned in the classroom. Clinical experiences take place in hospitals, community centers, nursing homes, and long-term care facilities. The clinical sites will have legal limitations for accepting student nurses. Therefore, students may be expected to pass a drug screen and criminal background check before participating in the clinical rotation. Drug screens may also be issued randomly throughout the rotation.

The curriculum, classroom and clinical, covers all the areas graduates need to function as skilled nurses. It includes instruction in basic nursing concepts, general psychology, microbiology, complex health problems, human growth and development, mental health concepts, family centered nursing, and pharmacological basics in nursing. Other topics include trends and issues in nursing, advanced nursing concepts, family centered nursing, and management of care.

Eligibility Criteria

Applicants for admission to the Associate Degree Nursing Program must meet the entrance requirements for admission to the main college before applying to the nursing department. Candidates must be a high school graduate with pre-requisite college-preparatory courses in chemistry and biology with a grade C or above. Applicants must also pass the Test for Essential Academic Skills (TEAS) exam.

Other eligibility criteria include:

  • A completed application for admission to the main college and the nursing department
  • Attendance at the department’s information session
  • Official transcripts of college-level courses indicating a minimum C score
  • A crime-free background check
  • Evidence of valid CPR certification for Healthcare Providers
  • A negative 10-panel drug screen
  • LPNs seeking advanced placement should have a valid SC license to practice.

Duration and Cost

A college education can be expensive, but the investment is well worth the cost. Graduates of South Carolina’s ADN programs earn an average of $56,000 a year and are assured of acquiring a job within 6 months of graduation, so the investment will have almost immediate returns. It is important that you get your money’s worth by investing in a sound education. Make sure the program is recognized by the Board and accredited by a recognized agency. The cost of completing a nursing education program includes tuition and fees for meals, books, uniform, housing, and lab supplies. The average cost of completing the two-year program is $14,500. Costs will depend on a number of factors. Most students qualify for some form of financial aid, so the average cost does not represent your out-of-pocket expense.

South Carolina RN Licensure Requirements

As a member of the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC), South Carolina grants registered nurses from other compact states the privilege to practice in the state under their multi-state license. RNs practicing under the provisions of the multi-state license must adhere to the laws governing practice in South Carolina.

New applicants for licensure in South Carolina must declare a primary residence in the state to qualify for a multi-state license under the NLC agreement. Evidence of residence in South Carolina must be submitted to the Board prior to issuance of the license – a driver’s license, voter registration card, federal income tax return, military form, or W2 from the US Government are acceptable documents to verify primary residency in South Carolina.

All applicants for the professional license are subject to a criminal background check as part of the application process. Candidates for licensure must furnish a full set of fingerprints and other necessary information to complete the criminal background check conducted by the FBI and SLED. The criminal background check fee is $51.50 – subject to change by Identogo/Morpho Trust USA. Scheduling the CBC is simple using Identogo’s online scheduling.

Licensure By Examination

All applications for licensure should be submitted online. The following documents must be uploaded with the application or mailed to the LLR Board of Nursing.

  • A signed and dated full-face passport sized photo. The photo must be 2” x 2”.
  • A copy of your birth certificate or valid passport. A hospital birth certificate will not be accepted.
  • A copy of your social security card or permanent resident card. SC Code of Law requires evidence of social security number from all persons applying for an occupational or professional license. Resident aliens, who do not have a social security number, may submit a copy of their resident alien identification card.
  • Evidence of legal name change if applicable.
  • Evidence of completing the required nursing education. The Dean of Nursing should send an official transcript, indicating degree conferred and graduation date, to the Board of Nursing.
  • A copy of official court documents and a Board order for any “yes” responses to the criminal history, disciplinary action questions.
  • A completed fingerprint card with the fingerprint processing fee of $51.50 mailed directly from the law enforcement agency or other fingerprinting services to Morphotrust USA, ATTN: SC Card Scan, 3051 Hollis Suite 310, Springfield IL 62704.
  • The licensure application fee of $90 payable via cashier’s check, money order or personal check.

Out-of-state nursing graduates:

In addition to the requirements above, an out-of-state graduate must submit an official transcript indicating all nursing courses completed to meet the degree requirements. All courses accepted for transfer credit must be included in the transcript. The official document should also bear the school seal and indicate the date and type of degree awarded and mailed from the school to the SC Board of Nursing.

Foreign educated graduates:

Graduates of nursing programs from another country must submit:

  • A scanned copy of their nursing license.
  • A CGFNS Credential Evaluation Service report of the nursing program.
  • Proof of English language proficiency based on a passing score on the TOEFL exam.

The Board processes all application requests within 14 days of receiving a completed application and all required documents. Application tracking is available online.

NCLEX-RN Registration: Applicants, whose primary state of residence is another compact state, are not eligible to take the NCLEX-RN for South Carolina. All other applicants must use the application form provided by Pearson Vue online to register for the NCLEX. If you fail the exam the first time, you may retake it once every forty-five days for up to one year from your first attempt. If you do not pass the exam within one year of your first attempt, you must provide evidence of remediation that is approved by the Board. The Board must review and approve the remediation before granting permission to retake the exam. If you fail to pass the exam within three years of your first attempt, you must enroll in an approved nursing education program to acquire the knowledge and skills to practice. The fee for the NCLEX is $200. The Board licensure fee for re-examination is $65.

Licensure By Endorsement

Registered nurses with a current license from a non-compact may practice in South Carolina under a temporary permit or license to practice issued by the SC Board of Nursing. The candidate must submit an application for licensure by endorsement.

Submit the following to the Board’s office:

  • A completed application for endorsement.
  • A signed and dated full-face passport sized photo. The photo must be 2” x 2”.
  • A copy of your birth certificate or valid passport. A hospital birth certificate will not be accepted.
  • A copy of your social security card or permanent resident card. SC Code of Law requires evidence of social security number from all persons applying for an occupational or professional license. Resident aliens, who do not have a social security number, may submit a copy of their resident alien identification card.
  • Evidence of legal name change if applicable.
  • A copy of your nursing license from another state or jurisdiction.
  • Evidence of continued competence.
  • Proof of residence in South Carolina. A copy of your driver’s license, voter registration, or state-issued identification card is all acceptable.
  • Verification of licensure from the original state. Use the online verification at nursys.com or submit a Verification Form from the state Board that issued the original license.
  • A completed affidavit of eligibility.
  • An official transcript verifying your nursing education if your education is not included on the License Verification Form. The transcript should indicate the date you graduated and the degree conferred.
  • A completed fingerprint card with the fingerprint processing fee of $51.50 mailed directly from the law enforcement agency or other fingerprinting services to Morphotrust USA, ATTN: SC Card Scan, 3051 Hollis Suite 310, Springfield IL 62704.
  • The license processing fee: endorsement only $100; endorsement and temporary permit $110. Make cashier’s check, personal check, or money order payable to LLR-Board of Nursing.

The Board will issue a temporary license if you apply for it and provide evidence of completing the competency requirements. The Board requires 10 days to process the application for licensure, providing that you submit all required documents. Applications are valid for one year from the time of submission – application fees are non-refundable.

Renewal Requirements

Registered nurses licenses must be renewed by April 30th of even-numbered years. To renew your license, you must submit the application for renewal online along with the $75 renewal fee and documentation of continued competency.

Do not wait until the renewal cycle to request an address change. It is important to maintain an accurate address to receive communications from the Board.

Continuing Education Requirements for South Carolina RNs

Documentation of continuing competency is necessary for renewal. RNs must submit documented evidence of at least one of the following – completed within the licensure period:

  • 30 hours of continuing education from a board approved provider.
  • Maintenance of certification or re-certification from a national association.
  • Academic study in nursing or a related field from a board-approved institution.
  • Employer certification, completed on a Board-provided form, indicating verification of competency and hours of practice.

Failure to complete the continuing competency requirements will lead to the Board’s refusal to renew the license.

South Carolina Salary and Job Outlook

In their most recent report, the South Carolina Department of Commerce and the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated a surge in future employment level for a variety of healthcare occupations, including nurses. As of May 2014, there were 42,170 registered nurses in the state. By the year 2018, there’ll be an estimated 48,021 nurses employed. The anticipated annual growth for the profession includes new job opportunities as well as vacancies created when people leave the workforce due to a career change and retirement.

An estimated 20% of the current workforce is expected to retire by 2020. However, most (almost 59%) of the anticipated new jobs in South Carolina will arise from new job growth. The economy may reduce the anticipated number of new jobs, but the overall outlook is still very strong. The outlook is definitely positive for BSN-prepared nurses who find jobs in hospitals, physician offices, residential care facilities, and home healthcare. Calls for the BSN as the minimum requirement for entry into nursing has had some impact on graduates of associate’s degree programs who have to compete with the growing number of BSN graduates. As the Board of Nursing still upholds the ADN as the minimum requirement for taking the NCLEX-RN, you can still obtain your RN credential through the two-year program. However, the best way to increase your job prospects and earning potential is to complete the BSN degree requirements through RN to BSN bridge programs. The annual mean wage for South Carolina nurses in 2014 was $59,670 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Contact the Board of Nursing
South Carolina State Board of Nursing
110 Centerview Drive, Suite 202
Columbia, SC 29210
Phone: (803) 896-4550
Fax: (803) 896-4525

South Carolina Registered Nursing (ADN) Programs and NCLEX-RN Pass Rates:

Beaufort, SC ADN Programs:
Technical College of the Lowcountry
921 Ribaut Road, Beaufort, SC 29901
843-525-8211
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 92.31%

Charleston, SC ADN Programs:
Trident Technical College
7000 Rivers Avenue, Charleston SC 29423
843-574-6138
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: N/A

Cheraw, SC ADN Programs:
Northeastern Technical College
1201 Chesterfield Highway, Cheraw, SC 29520
800-921-7399
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 76.19%

Columbia, SC ADN Programs:
Midlands Technical College
P.O. Box 2408, Columbia, SC 29202
803-738-8324
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 90.13%

Fortis College
246 Stoneridge Drive Suite 101, Columbia, SC 29210
830-678-4800
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 65.57%

ITT Technical Institute – Columbia
1628 Browning Road Suite 180 Columbia, SC 29210
803-216-6000
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: N/A

East Conway, SC ADN Programs:
Horry Georgetown Technical College
2050 Highway 501 East Conway, SC 29528-6066
843-347-3186
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 81.40%

Florence, SC ADN Programs:
Florence- Darlington Technical College
2715 West, Lucas Street, P.O. Box 100548, Florence, SC 29502
800-228-5745
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 75.25%

Graniteville, SC ADN Programs:
Aiken Technical College
2276 J. Davis Highway, Graniteville, SC 29829
803-593-9231
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate:96.46%

Greenville, SC ADN Programs:
Brown Mackie
75 Beattie Pl #100, Greenville, SC 29601
864-239-5301
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: N/A

Greenville Technical College
PO Box 5616 Greenville, SC 29606,
864-250-8000
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 93.38%

Greenwood, SC ADN Programs:
Piedmont Technical College
620 North Emerald Road, P.O. Box 1467, Greenwood, SC 29648
1-800-868-5528
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 95.83%

Myrtle Beach, SC ADN Programs:
Horry-Georgetown Technical College – Grand Strand Campus
743 Hemlock Avenue Myrtle Beach, SC 29557
843-477-0808

North Charleston, SC ADN Programs:
Trident Technical College
7000 Rivers Avenue, North Charleston, SC 29406
843-574-6111
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 90.46%

Orangeburg, SC ADN Programs:
Orangeburg- Calhoun Technical College
3250 Street Matthews Road, Orangeburg, SC 29118
803-536-0311
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 97.73%

Pendleton, SC ADN Programs:
Tri-County Technical College
P.O. Box 587, Pendleton, SC 29670
864-646-1500
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 81.90%

Rock Hill, SC ADN Programs:
York Tech
452 South Anderson Road, Rock Hill SC 29730
803-981-7067
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 100.00%

Spartanburg, SC ADN Programs:
Spartanburg Community College
Address: 107 Community College Drive, Spartanburg, SC 29303
864-592-4800
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 92.31%

Sumter, SC ADN Programs:
Central Carolina Technical College
506 North Guignard Drive, Sumter, SC 29150
803-778-6695
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 85.57%

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