Becoming an LPN in South Carolina
South Carolina strives to offer the highest quality healthcare while focusing on educational development and continued personal growth of healthcare staff. With practical nursing programs available in the state, students can be on their way to a nursing career in as little as one year. Licensed practical nurse (LPN) jobs are on the rise and slated to increase by 12% by 2026, per the Bureau of Labor and Statistics. South Carolina LPNs earn around an hourly wage of $18.95 or annual salary of $39,410, which is roughly $4,620 less per year than national average.
Are you looking to become a licensed practical nurse in South Carolina? The school you choose is important when it comes to getting your license. Approved programs in South Carolina are offered at community colleges, technical centers, and private career schools - we list 16 schools across the state. After careful review of NCLEX-PN exam first-time pass rates over the past several years, we have ranked the top 5 programs. For more information on our LPN program rankings, see our Methodology page.
To see all the top ranked LPN programs in South Carolina click here.
Details on South Carolina LPN Schools & Classes
With around 15 schools in the state offering practical nursing programs, prospective students in South Carolina have plenty of educational options. The community colleges and trade schools that offer practical nursing programs typically design them to be completed in around one year of full-time study. Those who choose to attend part-time will take longer to finish the program. In some cases, students may be able to choose whether they attend daytime or evening courses.
Throughout the course of the program, students will take a mix of basic nursing courses, labs, and even participate in hands-on clinical experiences. Common course titles include:
- Fundamentals of Nursing
- Medical-Surgical Nursing
- Medical Calculations
- Maternal, Infant, and Child Nursing
- Anatomy & Physiology
Students are strongly advised to choose practical nursing programs that are accredited by national organizations such as the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Accredited programs are held to high academic standards, and are continually re-evaluated to ensure that they are up to par. It’s also of great importance to make sure that any potential program is approved by the South Carolina Board of Nursing.
Admission requirements will vary from school to school, but most consist of some version the following:
- High school graduate or possess a GED
- Cumulative GPA of 2.5
- SAT/ACT scores
- Official transcripts from all high schools/colleges attended
- Completion of prerequisite courses
- Satisfactory score on TEAS exam
Tuition and Costs
Costs and expenses are some of the most important considerations of deciding whether to attend a practical nursing program. While expenses will vary depending on location, type of school, and many other factors, students can expect to pay for tuition, fees, and supplies. For those worried about being able to afford these costs, most schools offer financial aid options, and scholarship opportunities exist as well.
As an example on costs, the LPN program at Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College costs approximately $5,742 in its entirety. This includes tuition and all additional fees.
South Carolina LPN Licensing Requirements
South Carolina requires the intensive study via state-approve nursing course and examination. The applicant must pass the NCLEX-PN to be considered for licensure.
To apply for licensure, the applicant must submit an application, criminal background check, and fingerprinting card to the board, as well as the following:
- Recent headshot (passport-style) photo that is signed and dated.
- Copy of birth certificate of valid passport.
- Copy of social security card (or equivalent).
- Official transcript with completion date of all coursework.
South Carolina LPN licenses expire April 30th every even year and require 30+ contact hours of continued education.
NCLEX Exam Information
Students are required to pass the NCLEX-PN examination once they have completed their practical nursing educational program. This exam tests many aspects of the LPN curriculum, and is needed in order to gain licensure. Our comprehensive guide on the examination can be found here. Additionally, this NCLEX-PN practice test can be utilized in order to study for this important examination.
LPN Reciprocity and eNLC
As one of the states included in the Enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact (eNLC), South Carolina allows LPNs from other eNLC states to work in its hospitals, clinics, etc., without additional licensing. For nurses outside of the eNLC area to work within its borders, they must apply for South Carolina licensing by endorsement and provide the following:
- Proof of current license and official transcripts from their state-approved nursing program.
- Submitting a passport-style photo.
- Submit copies of birth certificate and social security card.
- Proof of residence.
- Evidence of continued competence.
- Criminal background check.
South Carolina will issue licenses to foreign educated and licensed individuals as long as he or she submits approval from the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS) after they have evaluated the official transcripts and completed a full course-by-course review. They must also prove their English proficiency by taking the Test for English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) exam. If the applicant has yet to take the NCLEX-PN exam, it will need to be taken once the application for licensure is submitted.
The table below lists career information organized by the BLS for licensed practical nurses in South Carolina. The table is sorted by total employment, with the largest metropolitan areas listed first.
|Area||Total Employment||Average Hourly Wage||Average Annual Salary|
|Greenville, Anderson, Mauldin||1,390||$17.86||$37,150|
|Charleston, North Charleston||1,250||$19.97||$41,540|
|Myrtle Beach, Conway, North Myrtle Beach||540||$18.61||$38,700|
|Hilton Head Island, Bluffton, Beaufort||340||$18.74||$38,970|
For those interested in advancing their nursing career, see our South Carolina LPN to RN/BSN programs page.
York Technical College (YTC) is a public, two-year institution located in Rock Hill, South Carolina, with additional locations in Chester and Kershaw. YTC offers associate degrees, diplomas, and certificates, as well as non-credit programs that lead to personal and professional advancement and workforce development.
Trident Technical College (TTC), located in North Charleston, South Carolina, serves as a catalyst for development by empowering students through education and training. TTC is a public two-year community college, providing quality education that promotes economic development in the area.
Williamsburg Technical College, located in Kingstree, offers an in-demand practical nursing program that combines 48 credit hours of nursing and general ed courses. The curriculum weaves classroom and clinical experiences in areas such as medical/surgical, obstetrics, pediatrics, geriatrics, and more.
The practical nursing program at Graniteville’s Aiken Technical College trains students to provide safe and efficient healthcare to patients in an array of settings. Both theory presentation and supervised clinical practice at off-site locations are provided through the curriculum so that students are given a full and robust educational experience.
Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College’s practical nursing program trains tomorrow’s LPNs to become leaders in nursing care. This ACEN-accredited program consists of in-person courses and a variety of clinical experiences that span over 3 semesters. They also offer a PN Flex program for those who have experience as a CNA or other healthcare provider.
Continued List of All Programs in South Carolina
2697 East Highway 76, Marion, SC 29571
316 S Beltline Blvd, Columbia, SC 29205
620 Emerald Road North, Greenwood, SC 29648
7410 Northside Dr, Charleston, SC 29420
2050 U.S. 501, Conway, SC 29526
7900 Highway 76, Pendleton, SC 29670
1001 Keys Drive #100, Greenville, SC 29615
921 Ribaut Rd., Beaufort, SC 29902
1126 Soloman Blatt Blvd, Denmark, SC 29042
1201 Chesterfield Hwy, Cheraw, SC 29520
Programs Not Included In Rankings
250 Berryhill Rd. #300, Columbia, SC 29210
Additional SC Nursing Resources
- South Carolina State Board of Nursing
110 Centerview Drive, Suite 202
Columbia, SC 29210
Phone: (803) 896-4550
- South Carolina Nurses Association
1301 Gervais Street; Suite 802
Columbia, SC 29201
Phone: (803) 252-4781
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