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Programs include LPN/LVN, ADN, BSN, MSN, and more

South Carolina’s nursing job market is on the rise, with a projected 24% nursing staff shortage over the next few years. As the largest city in South Carolina, Columbia employs nearly 20% of the state’s nurses at major local employers like the Department of Veterans Affairs, Palmetto Health Richland, and Providence Hospital. Before considering a nursing career, it is important to understand the roles available and the education and responsibilities each requires.

Certified nursing assistant
A certified nursing assistant (CNA) supports the daily living needs of patients, including bathing, grooming, and feeding. CNAs are in especially high demand at institutions that provide continuing care and assisted living for the elderly. They work under the supervision of more senior nursing staff, typically a licensed practical nurse (LPN) or a registered nurse (RN). CNAs must complete a 100-hour state-approved nurse aid training program and pass the National Nurse Aide Assessment Program (NNAAP) examination. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the city of Columbia employs 3,370 CNAs with a median annual salary of $22,330.

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Licensed practical nurse
LPNs provide basic nursing care under the supervision of registered nurses and doctors. However, depending on the healthcare facility, LPNs may perform additional duties like administering medication and beginning an intravenous drip. Aspiring LPNs with a high school diploma or GED must apply for a 12- to 18-month accredited certificate program. These are found at a variety of technical colleges and vocational schools throughout South Carolina. Graduates must also pass the NCLEX-PN national licensure exam before practicing. Columbia employs 2,020 LPNs with an average salary of $39,820 per year.

Registered nurse
RNs serve as a critical liaison between patients and doctors. They coordinate and often directly provide patient care. On a given day, an RN may administer medication, chart a patient’s progress, supervise a team of LPNs and CNAs, and provide emotional support to patients and their families. There are two primary educational options available to prospective RNs. Although a two-year associate’s degree is sufficient for licensure, many nurses choose to pursue a four-year bachelor’s degree since it affords enhanced career mobility and advancement. Either program will prepare students to pass the NCLEX-RN national licensure exam. Columbia employs 7,840 RNs who earn an average of $55,250 annually.

Nurses in all roles are invaluable members of the local healthcare team. For those seeking to join the profession, we’ve listed below the top nursing schools in Columbia, South Carolina.

Featured Schools

Columbia nursing schools by NCLEX score

Midlands Technical College
1260 Lexington Drive | West Columbia, South Carolina 29170
  • Certificate in Practical Nursing: 98.8% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2012)
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 92.6% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2012)
  • Nursing Assistant Certificate
South University - Columbia
Nine Science Court | Columbia, South Carolina 29203
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 88.4% NCLEX pass rate (2011 through 2012)
University of South Carolina
902 Sumter Street | Columbia, South Carolina 29208
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 88.0% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2012)
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing
  • MSN: Nursing Administration
  • MSN: Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
  • Master of Nurse Anesthesia
  • Master of Science in Nursing
  • Post-Baccalaureate DNP
  • Post-Baccalaureate PhD
  • Post-Master's Certificate: Nursing Administration
  • RN-to-BSN Degree Completion
Fortis College - Columbia
246 Stoneridge Drive, Suite 101 | Columbia, South Carolina 29210
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing
School Program NCLEX score Time period
Midlands Technical College Certificate in Practical Nursing 98.8% 2008 to 2012
Associate's Degree in Nursing 92.6% 2008 to 2012
Nursing Assistant Certificate
South University - Columbia Bachelor of Science in Nursing 88.4% 2011 to 2012
University of South Carolina Bachelor of Science in Nursing 88.0% 2008 to 2012
Doctor of Nursing Practice
Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing
MSN: Nursing Administration
MSN: Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
Master of Nurse Anesthesia
Master of Science in Nursing
Post-Baccalaureate DNP
Post-Baccalaureate PhD
Post-Master's Certificate: Nursing Administration
RN-to-BSN Degree Completion
Fortis College - Columbia Associate's Degree in Nursing
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