South Carolina Nurse Practitioner Programs

Nurse practitioners are in growing need over the next decade per a report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is partly due to the growing population, but even more demanding because of the baby boomers generation reaching retirement age. As our population ages, there is more need for medical professionals and many medical companies look for the very well trained, but slightly less expensive nurse practitioners to fill the constant need for new graduates.

South Carolina is ahead of the game in many of the important categories in the healthcare profession, but that should not keep you from aiming to practice your profession in the state. While the national average of nurse practitioners per 100,000 citizens in 2011 was 58 per, SC weighs in at 79 per. There are a total of just under 4,000 total practicing NPs in South Carolina, but there is plenty of room to find your place in the field.

Some of the highest percentage of NPs reside in Florence, Charleston and Columbia which may sway you in one direction or another when you decide where to start your job hunt. If you are looking for an area that is underrepresented look at Myrtle Beach, Greenville and Sumter. If you are pretty open to entering the field regardless of city, the highest median salaries can be found in Charleston Sumter and Greenville. Two of those cities have the lowest percentage of NPs in the state. That should get you headed in the right direction as you start your job hunt.

In 2011 a total of 243 medical school graduates entered the work force. Compared to the rest of the country, that is on the low end of the spectrum, so competition should not be as fierce as it would be in states with more graduates per year. You’ll also find a median wage of around $90,000 per year once you get a little experience in your career. This is a higher than average number and should continue to rise the longer you work for a particular company.

Employers and Tuition

You’ll find that Greenville Memorial Hospital, McLeod Regional medical Center, Spartanburg Regional Medical Center, Medical University of South Carolina – University Hospital and Palmetto health Richland are among the top employers for nurse practitioners in the state. Looking to each of these employers for work as early as possible should help you secure a position much more easily upon graduation.

South Carolina is also home to a well-respected association called the South Carolina Nurses Association. With events, workshops, seminars and conventions, you will find plenty of assistance as you move through your career in the NP profession.

For tuition assistance, look at the Student Nurses’ Association of South Carolina. Each year, $1500.00 is given to a number of students, so be sure to get in your application by the due date for the current year. You can also find another $2,000 from the Lexington Auxiliary Nursing Scholarship or additional assistance from McLeod Health.


When it comes time to earn your MSN, you’ll want to find a college that prepares you for the National Council Licensure Examination, or NCLEX. Most schools will make sure that this is a focus of your education, but it is worth speaking with advisors about any additional assistance they may give as you move towards your exam. The most popular schools in South Carolina include:

Medical University of South Carolina

The College of Nursing is an integral part of this University which includes the only academic Health Science Center in South Carolina. They are recognized for providing a very supportive learning environment that has a low student to faculty ration. This means you will work in smaller classes and have more time to discuss questions and subjects with each of your instructors. The school also encourages students to personalize their program within context of their multi-focal Family Nurse Practitioner MSN Program.

You will be able to study online and collaborate with physicians and other health care disciplines in providing primary health care. You will also be eligible to obtain a national certification as a FNP.

University of South Carolina

With more than 200 years of history, University of South Carolina is a historic and well respected school. Students have been awarded more than $16 million for national scholarships and fellowships since 1994. Their faculty is involved in more than just teaching, generating $238 million in funding for research, outreach and training programs in 2012. They are one of only 63 public universities recognized by the Carnegie Foundation in the highest tier of research institutions in the U.S.

The flagship campus is located in Columbia, but you will also find four year campuses in Aiken, Beaufort and Upstate (Spartanburg and Greenville). If you are just starting out, Lancaster, Sumter, Salkehatchie (Allendale and Walterboro) and Union cover the rest of the state with two year programs.