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Registered nurses (RNs) play a critical role in providing and coordinating patient care. A registered nurse has a broad range of healthcare responsibilities. These include performing physical exams and health histories; administering medications, treatments, and wound care; consulting with physicians and other healthcare personnel; supervising licensed practical nurses and certified nursing assistants; and providing health advice and emotional support to patients and their families.

Becoming a registered nurse
Prospective RNs have two types of prelicensure programs from which to choose. One option is a two-year associate’s degree, which can be obtained at a variety of vocational, career, and community colleges. The other option is a four-year bachelor’s degree program at a college or university. South Carolina offers 30 prelicensure programs in all. Candidates must also pass the NCLEX-RN national examination to gain licensure.

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Although either type of program will prepare students to pass the licensure exam, it is important to consider the costs and benefits of a two-year degree versus a four-year degree. There are certainly costs associated with longer schooling, such as longer time out of the workforce and greater student debt. However, a bachelor’s degree also confers many benefits. These include a well-rounded education, more clinical field practice, a competitive advantage in the nursing job market, and opportunities for higher education and management roles.

Job prospects
Of the approximately 70,000 nurses employed in South Carolina, nearly 42,000 are registered nurses. These RNs are employed at a breadth of healthcare institutions across the state including Trident Medical Center, the Department of Veterans Affair, and Carolinas Healthcare System. South Carolina’s RNs have a median annual salary of $58,220. Employment and salaries are expected to rise in the coming years. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, registered nursing is among the top ten occupations by job growth.

To provide a roadmap for South Carolina’s aspiring nurses, we’ve identified below the top RN prelicensure programs throughout the state.

Featured Schools

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Charleston

Medical University of South Carolina
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 95.6% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2012)
Charleston Southern University
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 94.7% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2012)
Trident Technical College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 93.1% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2012)
The Citadel
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
School Program NCLEX score Time period
Medical University of South Carolina
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 95.6% 2008 to 2012
Charleston Southern University
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 94.7% 2008 to 2012
Trident Technical College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 93.1% 2008 to 2012
The Citadel
Bachelor of Science in Nursing

Columbia

Midlands Technical College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 92.6% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2012)
South University - Columbia
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 88.4% NCLEX pass rate (2011 through 2012)
University of South Carolina
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 88.0% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2012)
Fortis College - Columbia
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing
School Program NCLEX score Time period
Midlands Technical College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 92.6% 2008 to 2012
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
Fortis College - Columbia
Associate's Degree in Nursing

Greenville

Bob Jones University
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 97.4% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2012)
Clemson University
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 92.4% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2012)
Greenville Technical College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 91.2% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2012)
Tri-County Technical College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 86.9% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2012)
Anderson University
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
School Program NCLEX score Time period
Bob Jones University
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 97.4% 2008 to 2012
Clemson University
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 92.4% 2008 to 2012
Greenville Technical College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 91.2% 2008 to 2012
Tri-County Technical College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 86.9% 2008 to 2012
Anderson University
Bachelor of Science in Nursing

Myrtle Beach / Conway area

Horry-Georgetown Technical College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 87.6% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2012)
School Program NCLEX score Time period
Horry-Georgetown Technical College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 87.6% 2008 to 2012

Spartanburg

Spartanburg Community College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 92.2% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2012)
University of South Carolina Upstate
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 84.2% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2012)
School Program NCLEX score Time period
Spartanburg Community College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 92.2% 2008 to 2012
University of South Carolina Upstate
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 84.2% 2008 to 2012

Other South Carolina cities

Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 97.4% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2012)
Lander University
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 94.9% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2012)
York Technical College / USC Lancaster
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 94.2% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2012)
Technical College of the Lowcountry
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 93.4% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2012)
Central Carolina Technical College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 93.2% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2012)
Francis Marion University
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 91.3% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2012)
University of South Carolina Aiken
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 91.3% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2012)
Northeastern Technical College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 88.5% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through 2012)
Aiken Technical College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 88.2% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2012)
Piedmont Technical College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 86.9% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2012)
Florence-Darlington Technical College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 86.2% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2012)
University of South Carolina Beaufort
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 80.4% NCLEX pass rate (2011 through 2012)
Newberry College
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 65.6% NCLEX pass rate (2011 through 2012)
South Carolina State University
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 50.4% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2012)
School Program NCLEX score Time period
Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 97.4% 2008 to 2012
Lander University
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 94.9% 2008 to 2012
York Technical College / USC Lancaster
Associate's Degree in Nursing 94.2% 2008 to 2012
Technical College of the Lowcountry
Associate's Degree in Nursing 93.4% 2008 to 2012
Central Carolina Technical College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 93.2% 2008 to 2012
Francis Marion University
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 91.3% 2008 to 2012
University of South Carolina Aiken
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 91.3% 2008 to 2012
Northeastern Technical College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 88.5% 2009 to 2012
Aiken Technical College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 88.2% 2008 to 2012
Piedmont Technical College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 86.9% 2008 to 2012
Florence-Darlington Technical College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 86.2% 2008 to 2012
University of South Carolina Beaufort
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 80.4% 2011 to 2012
Newberry College
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 65.6% 2011 to 2012
South Carolina State University
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 50.4% 2008 to 2012