10 Best Online RN to BSN Nursing Schools in South Carolina 2019

The smaller of the Carolinas, South Carolina is not known for major metropolitan cities like Atlanta, GA to the south, or Charlotte and the Research Triangle to the north, but there is still ample need for nurses throughout the state. Historically, South Carolina has struggled with healthcare and modernization; it was, arguably, the state most devastated by the Civil War, and remained heavily agricultural and rural throughout the 20th century. With rural populations and high poverty, healthcare in South Carolina has been underfunded and neglected.

In recent years, though, South Carolina has made healthcare a new priority, especially rural outreach, and better education of nurses is one of the primary ways of making that happen. From the major public research institutions like Clemson and the University of South Carolina, to smaller faith-based colleges and universities, nursing schools in South Carolina are focusing on the needs of the Palmetto State’s nurses. Online degree programs are a major factor in the turnaround, as the TopRNtoBSN ranking shows.

How We Ranked the Best Online Nursing Schools in South Carolina

To rank the best online nursing programs in South Carolina, TopRNtoBSN approached the question as we approach every ranking: with a comprehensive list of every accredited, reputable nursing school in the state. From there, we centered on those offering an online RN to BSN program, then ranked programs according to three equally-weighted factors: Cost, Reputation, and Salary Expectation. Data for these criteria came from College Scorecard, IPEDS, and Niche.

1. Clemson University – Clemson, SC

If you’re a student who would like to pursue their online RN-BSN, you can do so at the Clemson School of Nursing at Clemson University. For the second time, Clemson is one of sixteen universities whereby their School of Nursing received recognition by the National League for Nursing as a Nursing Education Center of Excellence. The university’s goal is to ensure students are making tangible differences in healthcare.  When students are selecting nursing schools in South Carolina, they can be sure Clemson University is one that will help them reach their academic and professional potential. Clemson University knows that nursing programs in South Carolina impact those locally, as well as throughout the nation. Therefore, it’s critical that they set students up for success in their BSN, MSN, DNP, and Ph.D. programs.

Clemson University was founded in 1889 was a public institution, and it’s current undergraduate enrollment consists of 19,402 students. They’re currently ranking among the top National Universities and Best Colleges for Veterans according to U.S. News and World Report. The university receives its accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. Clemson School of Nursing receives its accreditation by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). The university’s core values include having integrity, honesty, and respect.

Degrees: BSN, MSN, DNP, PhD, Online RN-BSN
Accreditation: CCNE

2. University of South Carolina – Columbia, SC

The College of Nursing at the University of South Carolina offers an online RN-BSN program for students looking for a flexible schedule. If you’re a nurse currently holding an RN license that’s unencumbered, you’ll qualify for this program. In addition to flexing around your schedule, it’s possible to complete this program in only twelve months. Students who are interested in nursing schools in South Carolina that offer BSN, MSN, DNP, and Ph.D. programs and want to attend this university, they will have to take courses on site. Because the University of South Carolina know students are looking for the top nursing schools in South Carolina, they work diligently toward ensuring their online program features enriching and top-quality academics.

The University of South Carolina was founded in 1801 as a public institution, and its current undergraduate enrollment stands at 26,362 students. The university receives its accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Their college of nursing receives theirs by the CCNE, Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.  Their core values include excellence, integrity, teamwork, and resilience.

Degrees: BSN, MSN, DNP, PhD, Online RN-BSn
Accreditation: CCNE

3. Lander University – Greenwood, SC

Attending the William Preston Turner School of Nursing means you’ll have an opportunity to attend the Lander University online RN-BSN program. In doing so, you’ll have the flexibility the goes along with online education in addition to the same high-quality education as the on-site BSN and MSN programs. The university commits to ensuring you receive preparation for providing holistic nursing care in multiple settings. Nursing schools in South Carolina are competitive and, it’s for that reason Lander University focuses on ensuring the theoretical and scientific nursing practices for the 21st century. Nursing programs in South Carolina are available on and offline, but your ability to take courses online and Lander University allows you to work around your schedule.

Founded in 1872 as a public institution, Lander University’s current undergraduate enrollment is 2,787 students. According to U.S. News and World Reports the university is ranked in the Top Public Schools in the South, as well as one of the Best Colleges for Veterans. The university is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Their school of nursing receives its accreditation by the CCNE, Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. Their mission is to provide students in South Carolina and beyond with market-driven and high-demand programs.

Degrees: BSN, MSN, online RN-BSN
Accreditation: CCNE

4. Francis Marion University – Florence, SC

Francis Marion University’s nursing program offers an online RN-BSN program to busy working students. In 2016, the nursing program at Francis Marion Univesity received recognition from the NLN Center of Excellence. Students who wish to pursue their BSN, MSN, and DNP in nursing must do so on site. The RN to BSN program is one of the many online nursing programs in SC whereby students can earn their degrees on their schedule. Francis Marion University is one of the nursing schools in South Carolina allowing students to achieve this goal without having to compromise their work schedules or outside activities.

Francis Marion University was founded as a public institution in 1970 and currently has an undergraduate enrollment os 3,460 students. The university ranks among the top Regional Universities South according to U.S. News and World Report and receives its accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. Their nursing program receives its accreditation by the ACEN, Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing. It’s Francis Marion University’s mission to ensure everyone, students and professors alike, receive the support they need to achieve their goals.

Degrees: BSN, MSN, DNP, Online RN-BSN; NLN Center of Excellence
Accreditation: ACEN

5. University of South Carolina Aiken – Aiken, SC

The University of South Carolina Aiken’s School of Nursing prepares students for an ever-evolving career in the health sector. If you have an interest in pursuing your online RN-BSN, USC Aiken School of Nursing can help you achieve that goal. The completion track is only available if you’re a licensed RN. When you’re researching nursing schools in South Carolina, you’ll find that the University of South Carolina Aiken’s nursing school’s online program features high-quality and enriching education. RN to BSN nursing programs in South Carolina, like this one, allow students to complete their studies in twelve months.

In 1961, the University of South Carolina Aiken was founded as a public institution, and it currently has 3,354 students in its undergraduate class. The university is tied at #8 in Regional Colleges South and #4 in Best Colleges for Veterans according to U.S. News and World Report. USC Aiken receives its accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. Their nursing school is accredited by CCNE, the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. The university’s values include having character, citizen, curiosity, and collegiality.

Degrees: RN-BSN, BSN, Online RN to BSN
Accreditation: CCNE

6. University of South Carolina Upstate – Spartanburg, SC

University of South Carolina Upstate’s Mary Black School of Nursing has an online RN-BSN program if you’d like to spend one day weekly completing coursework at a Greenville campus classroom or working on online courses. No matter if your goal is to receive your BSN or MSN, it’s possible to do so after going through the RN to BSN completion program. The University of South Carolina Upstate is one of the many nursing schools in South Carolina committing themselves to provide high-quality online nursing education to hard-working nursing students. When you’re researching the top 10 nursing schools in South Carolina, you’ll find that the program offerings available through the University of South Carolina Upstate’s will help you achieve your academic and professional goals.

University of South Carolina Upstate was founded in 1967 as a public institution, and their undergraduate enrollment is currently 5,720 students. The university is currently ranking #2 in Top Public Schools and #10 in Regional Colleges South according to statistics reported by U.S. News and World Report. USC Upstate receives its accreditation by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Their nursing programs are accredited by the CCNE, Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. The university’s vision is that people come first, to practice stewardship, and have integrity.

Degrees: BSN, MSN, online RN-BSN
Accreditation: CCNE

7. Charleston Southern University – Charleston, SC

If you have an interest in advancing your BSN, you can earn your online MSN through Charleston Southern University’s College of Nursing. The program is available fully online as a Master of Science in Nursing – Nurse Educator emphasis, Master of Science in Nursing-Nursing Leadership and Healthcare Administration, and Master of Science of Nursing (Certificate in Nursing Education cohort). You can also opt to participate in the BSN to MSN in nursing program, which is a sixteen-month completion program. Charleston Southern University is one of the many nursing schools in South Carolina offering an ADN to MSN, which is a nineteen-month completion program. These nursing programs in South Carolina allow students to complete their academic goals and begin working quickly.

In 1964, the Charleston Southern University was founded as a private institution, and it’s undergraduate class’s enrollment currently stands at 3,062 students. According to U.S. News and World Report, the university is currently in a tie for #89 in Regional Universities South. The university’s college of nursing receives its accreditation by the ACEN, Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing. Their motto is, “Integrating Faith in Learning, Leading and Serving.” The university’s core values include scripture, God, salvation, diversity, education, and evangelism.

Degrees: BSN, Online MSN
Accreditation: ACEN

8. Newberry College – Newberry, SC

With classes available entirely online, you can earn your online RN to BSN at Newberry College’s Department of Nursing. Students achieve their academic goals with Christian tradition through this college. In addition to advancing your career, you’ll also be experiencing credential advancement as well. Because this college is one of the many nursing schools in South Carolina offering this program online, you can take courses while managing your busy work schedule and other activities. Also, you’ll also earn your degree as quickly as twelve months.

In 1856, Newberry College was founded as a private institution, and its current undergraduate enrollment stands at 1,181 students. They’re currently ranking #3 in Best Value Schools and #12 in Regional Colleges South according to statistics reported by U.S. News and World Report. The college receives its accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. The CCNE, Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, accredits the nursing programs. The college’s values include faith and reason, freedom and responsibility, diversity and inclusion, and personal and public vocation.

Degrees: Online RN to BSN
Accreditation: CCNE

9. Claflin University – Orangeburg, SC

Claflin University’s department of nursing has an RN to BSN program in nursing to help you further your career and academic goals. As South Carolina’s only HBCU, historically black college and university, offering an RN to BSN you’ll be joining future nursing leaders. The program features high-quality, innovative curriculum and technology designed to help prepare you for the nursing practice’s higher levels. As the only nursing schools in South Carolina, that’s HBCU; you’ll be earning your RN to BSN among your peers in an enriching environment. Compared to other nursing programs in South Carolina, Claflin University follows guiding principles that include being customer focused, committing to excellence, delivering exceptional education, valuing people, and remaining accountable.

Claflin University was initially founded as a private institution, and it’s current undergraduate consists of 2,038 students. They’re currently ranked at #7 in Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. World News and Report. Claflin University receives its accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. Their nursing programs receive accreditation through the CCNE, Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. The university’s guiding principles include having a commitment to excellence, valuing people, being student-centered, exemplary educational programs, and fiscal accountability.

Degrees: RN to BSN
Accreditation: CCNE

10. Anderson University – Anderson, SC

Anderson University’s school of nursing allows you to take their online RN-BSN program online as a flex degree program. In doing so, you’ll have the opportunity to work at your pace while earning your degree. Because you’re not taking classes on campus, it’s possible to continue working and move through classes at an accelerated pace. AU’s flex degree program is one of many that are available through nursing schools in South Carolina where students can take up to four courses throughout a seven-week term. When taking online nursing programs in SC’s Anderson University, it’s possible to earn this flex degree after completing 28 hours and one senior project.

In 1911, Anderson University was initially founded as a private institution, and its current undergraduate enrollment consists of 2,983 students. The university is currently ranking in at a tie at #16 in Most Innovative Schools and a tie for #65 in Regional Universities South. They receive their accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. The CCNE, Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education accredits their nursing programs. The university’s motto is, “To nourish humanity through the cross.” Their core values include servant leadership, generosity, excellence, integrity, and responsibility.

Degrees: BSN, MSN, DNP, online RN-BSN
Accreditation: CCNE


How Do I Become a Nurse in South Carolina?

Similar to other states, to become a registered nurse (RN) in South Carolina, a candidate must earn a nursing degree from an accredited institution. In fact, South Carolina has approximately thirty schools that offer a nursing degree that can qualify students for the NCLEX exam. The education level of Registered Nurses are at the minimum, an Associate’s degree. However, many students proceed to the BSN or MSN level for higher learning and a larger salary.

The courses required for the RN licensure in the state of South Carolina start out with basic core classes, such as health and wellness, history of nursing, nutrition, and pathophysiology. As the student continues with their education, upper division level courses and clinical hours are also part of the curriculum. Continuing education is a requirement to maintain an RN license.

All states require students to take (and pass) the NCLEX-RN exam right before graduation. According to nursing.org, the cost is $200, not including the exam and enforcement fees. South Carolina also offers an accelerated RN to BSN degree program, making it easier and faster for RN’s to graduate, and start working in the state. Depending on which school a student attends, the average time is 12-24 months to earn the degree.

How Much Do Nurses Make in South Carolina?

The 2018 median salary for Registered Nurses nationwide was $71,730 according to the BLS. However, it is expected to grow over the next several years. On Glassdoor.com, it states that the average salary for BSN degree nurses is $69,270, making it worth the extra coursework to get the higher pay rate. For RN salaries South Carolina nurses can expect around $69,000.

Due to the growing longer life expectancy, increased emphasis on preventative care and rising rates of obesity and diabetes, nurses are in demand throughout the state. An LPN salary in SC is about $46,240. South Carolina is in need of this specialty just as much as the RN licensure. According to the HRSA, there will be a 4,700 shortage of LPN nurses by the year 2030.

Other positions in the nursing field may not pay as much as the RN licensure, but are more readily available. For example, a certified nursing assistant or CNA salary in SC is around $27,104. To become a CNA, the individual must pass a state-approved training program and take about 100 hours of clinical training. Another popular nurse career path is the nurse practitioner (NP). Nurse Practitioners have a similar education level of that of a doctor, since many require Masters or PhD level of education. NP salaries have started to increase over the past several years. According to the nursing.org website, the average salary for nurse practitioners is about $105,730 annually.

How is the Job Market for Nurses in South Carolina?

The nursing field has really started to increase in the state of South Carolina over the past several years. Many job positions within the healthcare industry offer more positions for RN’s or LPN’s to inquire employment throughout the state. According to the BLS, most jobs within the hospital setting or private office clinics are often popular within the field. Hospitals are also a great place for teaching new techniques and on-the-job training.

The demand for nurses in South Carolina is high as well. With more people moving down from the northern states, South Carolina is among the highest populated states with older generation residents. This may be the reason the state will have a shortage of nurses by the year 2030. According to the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), in the July 2017 article, South Carolina is mentioned as one of the four states with more than 10,000 nurses in deficient. Demand for more nurses is imperative, and something that could really make a difference in the healthcare industry throughout the state.

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