Nurses who work in South Carolina and plan to become nurse practitioners (NPs) can look forward to lucrative, rewarding, and in-demand careers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), South Carolina NPs earned an annual mean wage of $97,140 in 2018, which makes for a considerable pay increase when compared to registered nurses (RNs).
To work as an NP in South Carolina, a candidate should start by earning an undergraduate degree. Aspiring NPs must complete other requirements, but becoming an RN in South Carolina and pursuing an online master's or doctorate can set you on the path toward NP licensure. Your specific responsibilities and wages as an NP depend on your specialization.
Before exploring potential specializations and careers, aspiring NPs should research school options and South Carolina's licensure process. This page covers everything future NPs need to know, including what to expect from online NP programs in South Carolina, career outlook data, how to obtain a license, and resources for students and professionals.
Online Nurse Practitioner Programs Based in South Carolina
Nurses can explore many online NP programs in SC, so experiences vary from school to school. For the most part, South Carolina master's degrees take 2-4 years to complete, depending on the school, specialization, and previous experience. A doctor of nursing practice (DNP) degree can take 3-6 years. While not currently required in South Carolina, some healthcare facilities prefer applicants with a DNP over those with a master's.
South Carolina requires nurses to gain clinical experience in their field. If you plan on earning a master's degree and becoming a family nurse practitioner (FNP), expect to spend time working alongside licensed FNPs. In this sense, no online program takes place entirely online. On-campus requirements are minimal, if present at all.
If you plan on earning a master's degree and becoming a family nurse practitioner (FNP), expect to spend time working alongside licensed FNPs.
Admission to online NP programs in South Carolina depends on the level of degree and amount of previous schooling. Regardless of graduate degree level, the majority of programs require each applicant to have earned a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN). Some programs allow students with a BSN only to apply for DNPs, though most typically require a master's degree, which can reduce the length and cost of the program. Applicants also typically need around two years of professional experience, current RN licenses, multiple letters of recommendation, and a minimum GPA of 3.2 for previous degrees.
Specifics for program length, admission requirements, and graduation requirements depend on the program and applicant, so specifics vary by program. Always make sure to thoroughly research any program before applying.
Complete List of Online Nurse Practitioner Programs in South Carolina
South Carolina Nurse Practitioner Career Information
NPs in South Carolina earn less than NPs in neighboring states, according to the BLS. However, NP salaries in South Carolina outpace those in Tennessee and sit just below those in Florida. BLS projects South Carolina to experience faster job growth than the average state. At a projected 38.8% job growth rate over the next decade, South Carolina may see faster growth than North Carolina and Georgia.
While many healthcare facilities have started requiring a DNP for NPs, 86.8% of NPs in South Carolina only possess a master's degree, while 8.3% have earned a DNP. In South Carolina, the majority of NPs find employment in physician's offices, though nurses can work in many different settings.
Nurse Practitioner Salary and Projected Job Growth in South Carolina and Nearby States
Licensure for Nurse Practitioners in South Carolina
South Carolina requires NPs to earn advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) licenses from the South Carolina Board of Nursing. Eligibility requires applicants to maintain (or have met all the requirements for) current RN licensure, earn certification from a board-approved organization, and complete a master's degree from an accredited school. Finally, each candidate must pay an application fee and declare a specialty.
APRN licenses remain valid for one year, so NPs must renew their licenses each year by April 30th. Before April 30th, NPs must demonstrate competency in one of four ways:
Complete 30 contact hours of continuing education.
Maintain or renew national certification.
Complete a board-approved academic program in nursing or a related field.
Verify competency by an employer through professional practice hours.
Other Requirements for South Carolina Nurse Practitioners
Specialty certifications play a significant role in the APRN licensure process. A new graduate applying for APRN licensure for the first time must provide their certification within one year of completing their degree. The title used by the certifying organization is the title that applicants must declare when selecting their specialty.
National certification typically requires continuing education credits for renewal. While South Carolina does not require continuing education credits, NPs should plan on completing continuing education hours to keep their certifications in good standing.
While South Carolina does not require continuing education credits, NPs should plan on completing continuing education hours to keep their certifications in good standing.
Any NPs planning on earning prescriptive authority must meet additional requirements. First, each applicant must earn an APRN license. Next, a candidate must complete 45 contact hours in board-approved pharmacotherapeutics. Nurses must finish these courses within two years of applying for prescriptive authority or during the applicant's master's or doctoral program.
NPs with prescriptive authority in other states only need to complete 20 contact hours in pharmacotherapeutics. South Carolina requires additional hours for specific controlled substances. NPs must mail the application and a $20 application fee to the board.
Information for Out-Of-State Nurse Practitioners
South Carolina is a member of the nursing licensure compact (NLC), which allows out-of-state RNs to work in South Carolina, so long as they earned RN licensure in an NLC state. For APRN applicants, the NLC accelerates the application process while bypassing the RN requirements, though any applicants are still required to meet all of South Carolina's requirements.
NPs in other states have a fast route to licensure, so long as their license is currently valid in another state. To obtain an APRN license in South Carolina, out-of-state NPs must submit proof of citizenship, official master's and doctoral degree transcripts, a copy of their current NP license, and proof that they meet additional APRN requirements. Practice and prescriptive authority vary by state, and NPs with prescriptive authority in other states must meet additional requirements to maintain that authority in South Carolina.
Capitol Nurse Practitioner Group As an organization for both current NPs and students, this group provides South Carolina nurses with a convenient place to network and a chance to get involved in politics affecting nurses.
South Carolina Board of Nursing This board, as the license-granting organization in South Carolina, offers crucial information about continuing education requirements, application due dates, and required fees.
South Carolina Nurses Association Along with SCNA benefits, including advocacy, networking, and discounts, the APRN chapter offers NPs a chance to get involved in a committee or run for a board position.
South Carolina Action Coalition South Carolina Action Coalition calls for "better care, better health, and reduced costs" for South Carolinians by supporting and advocating for nurses. This coalition aims to make it easier for RNs to earn APRN licenses.