5 Best RN to BSN Programs in South Carolina (Online & Campus) – 2024 Rankings

Written By: Editorial Staff @ NursingProcess.org

If you work as a registered nurse in South Carolina and you’re ready to take your career further, there are several RN to BSN programs in South Carolina that will help you do just that. These programs expand upon what you learned in your ADN program and prepare you for new roles in management or research while setting up the framework for a graduate degree. Out of all the online, hybrid, and on-campus RN to BSN courses in this state, we have ranked the top programs to help you narrow down your choices.

Online RN to BSN Programs in South Carolina: What You Need to Know?

Online RN to BSN programs in SC are convenient and help make the processes involved in earning a bachelor’s degree in nursing simpler and more cost-effective for working nurses. Much of the work can be completed online in your own time, but you may need to visit a South Carolina campus (or an affiliated medical facility) for testing, labs, simulations, or clinical training depending on the individual program.

ACEN/CCNE Accredited & Approved by South Carolina Board of Nursing: It is important that any program you choose – online or otherwise – is approved by the South Carolina Board of Nursing and either the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). These bodies set widely-recognized standards in the quality of nursing education, and this translates to RNs who provide an above-average level of patient care throughout South Carolina.

Coursework: Coursework of RN to BSN programs in this state will build upon the information you learned in your ADN or diploma program as well as any experience you have gained during your time working as an RN. They focus on advanced nursing practices, ethics and legal issues, and the leadership and management skills you will need to serve important roles in the nursing industry. Some courses may be accompanied by labs or clinicals that must be completed at a college campus or a partnering medical facility.

Sample Courses
Professional Nursing, Health Assessment, Pathophysiology, Ethical-Legal Issues in Nursing, Nursing Care of the Client with Complex Health Needs, Nursing Research, Gerontological Nursing, Community Health Nursing, and Leadership & Management

Clinical Training: You may be required to provide supervised hands-on care to patients in order to fully develop the skills you learn in the classroom or online. South Carolina has no legal requirement for this, but individual schools may require it. Check with your school of choice to find out whether you will need to participate in unpaid clinicals or if your current job can fulfill these requirements.

Program Length: It can as little as a year or as long as three (or more) to complete your RN to BSN degree in in SC depending on the school you choose and your preferred program mode of teaching. On average, you can expect to spend 16 months studying.

Typical Admission Requirements: Admission requirements will vary from one school to the next depending on demand and availability. As an example, in order to attend the online program at Clemson University, you will need:

• Proof of completion of a nationally accredited RN program (ADN or diploma);
• A current RN license in your home state without any restrictions;
• A cumulative GPA of 2.75 on all attempted and/or completed college courses you have taken;
• Proof of completion of all prerequisite courses required by the program; and
• A submitted copy of your transcripts.

What are the 5 Best Accredited RN to BSN Programs in South Carolina for 2024?

(Based on our ranking methodology, the following are the 5 best RN-to-BSN programs in South Carolina (Online & Campus).)

1) Clemson University, Clemson

Type: Online

Program Overview: Clemson University’s nursing school has been committed to the purpose of innovative and employment ready nursing education since its inception. Catering to the needs of working nurses, its RN to BSN program offers all classes online, except for the orientation that requires a visit to the Clemson campus prior to beginning the program. You can choose to study full-time and complete this program in 12 months, or slower the pace by taking a part-time schedule to suit your busy life. The curriculum builds up on your past professional knowledge and experience, taking it further by training you in critical thinking, evidence-based nursing practice, ethical decision making and effective communication. It also trains you to effectively function as a vital member of an interdisciplinary healthcare team. Courses in professional nursing, community health, healthcare genetics, nursing leadership and management are some of the BSN courses you will take as part of this program.

Key Highlights

• Clemson University’s ties with regional colleges allows a seamless transition for an associate degree graduate entering this program.
• This online course has no capstone course requirement.
• To graduate you must complete all nursing courses with a minimum GPA of 2.5.

2) University of South Carolina Upstate, Spartanburg

Type: Online & Campus

Program Overview: Established in 1967, University of South Carolina’s nursing school has been instrumental in transforming lives with its nursing education. The first in the state to come up with this program, it offers one of the most flexible RN to BSN courses in South Carolina. You can choose to further your education either by taking the online or on-campus route. The online program is ideal for working nurses as it offers maximum flexibility with a part-time and full-time schedule. Full-timers can complete this program in a year, while part-timers take an additional year. If you prefer attending classes in a face to face format, then the on-campus program, where you will have to attend classes at the USC campus, once a week will be just apt.

Key Highlights

• The clinical course for both the programs is offered online, so you can undergo clinical practice experience, virtually, right from your home.
• You can choose to this enter this program either in fall, spring or summer.
• Out-of-state online students pay the same tuition costs as in state students.

3) Anderson University-South Carolina, Anderson

Type: Online

Program Overview: Anderson University’s faith-based education and an experienced faculty that knows the nuances of online teaching, makes its RN to BSN program in the Palmetto State a popular choice. Ideal for working registered nurses, this completely online program requires completing 28 credits in core nursing courses. Classes are offered in a seven-week term format. From the ten nursing courses, if you complete four courses in one seven-week term, you can complete the program much sooner, in fact, just nine months. Of course, this 9-month schedule requires tremendous amount of commitment and focus, however completing the program sooner can save considerable time and money. Upon graduation you will have an array of employment opportunities that open up in supervisory roles, management positions, as surgical nurses or nurses in the emergency rooms and ICUs.

Key Highlights

• Each seven-week term, the college offers two additional courses at no extra cost, provided you manage to complete the first two courses within a five-week span. This way you complete four courses in a seven-week term, while paying for two.
• You can transfer up to 46 credit hours from your previous degree towards your BSN.

4) Francis Marion University, Florence

Type: Online

Program Overview: Francis Marion University offers affordable nursing education to its growing student population. Nursing programs integrate liberal arts and science components to prepare graduates for a wide array of clinical settings. This RN to BSN program offers all eight core nursing courses online, amounting to 30 credit hours. With a full-time schedule you can complete this program in 11 months. If you still haven’t completed general education requirements, you can do so along with the nursing courses. Health assessment, research in nursing, health informatics, population focused nursing care, healthcare policy, principles of pathophysiology and leadership and management in nursing are the BSN courses you will take.

Key Highlights

• Admission requires you to hold an active nurse license along with a CPR certification.
• The program does not have a clinical practicum requirement as it considers your professional nursing experience adequate.

5) University of South Carolina Aiken, Aiken

Type: Online

Program Overview: University of South Carolina is a public university that has been consistently ranked amongst the top colleges in the nation. In 2018, it was ranked by the U.S. News as #1 public college in the south region, little wonder that it is acclaimed for RN to BSN education in South Carolina. The 100% online program is where you complete nine BSN courses in 12 months, if taken consistently. Each course is offered in a 7-week format, for a total of 31 core nursing credit hours. To be eligible, you must have a minimum GPA of 2.5 in all your previous coursework. You can start whenever you are ready as the college offers multiple start dates (twice each semester). Before you begin the BSN coursework you must complete a course in statistics. This program expands professional skills and knowledge by helping you learn various aspects of nursing such as ethical principles, community nursing and leadership and management in nursing.

Key Highlights

• The last semester requires completing five credit hours of clinical practicum in nursing and management. This clinical course will be for a duration of seven weeks.
• The BSN curriculum includes a course in Gerontological Nursing, which will train you in nursing elderly patients.



Update on South Carolina’s Push for 80 Percent BSN

The University of South Carolina’s College of Nursing is home to the Office of Healthcare Workforce Research for Nursing, a group that collects statistics and releases workforce reports for the state’s nursing industry. Per the 2018 Hospital Nursing Workforce in South Carolina Report, trends point toward a decreasing interest in the pursuit of BSN degrees by existing RNs in the state’s workforce. This is being driven by a few different factors, including SC employers’ clear preference for experienced RNs, which makes it less appealing for associate-level RNs to return to school.

As a result of this, SC hospitals have begun to turn toward LPNs and even some unlicensed staff to help bridge the gap and provide patient care, and there is some evidence to suggest that patient care has started to suffer statewide. This is the opposite of the effect called for by the Institute of Medicine and it’s 2010 initiative to educate 80% of RNs across the country at the BSN level by 2020. In this case, it would seem South Carolina state employers’ hesitancy to hire new graduates has come under fire, and as a result, the demand for BSN-educated RNs fresh out of college is expected to start rising.

How to pay Your RN to BSN in South Carolina

For many RNs across South Carolina, even though the culture has started to shift, and employers are more willing to hire new graduates, cost is still an issue when it comes to earning a BSN. There are a few ways to help offset some of these costs, however.

Grants: Grants are sums of money awarded to aspiring graduates that do not have to be repaid. They are available at the federal and state level for RNs who demonstrate financial need, academic prowess, or both. You can find out whether you qualify for these grants by filling out and submitting the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

Loans: Student loans are another option for RNs who may not be able to afford their education upfront, but these are best explored to bridge the gaps after grants and scholarships have been awarded. Federal student loans and private student loans from personal banks are both viable options.

Scholarships: Scholarships for aspiring baccalaureate-educated RNs across South Carolina are available from employers, schools, and medical facilities, and in some cases, from individual organizations such as the South Carolina Nurses Foundation.

Employer Assistance Programs: Finally, employer assistance programs are another excellent way to fund your baccalaureate degree, but they are quite rare across South Carolina. To learn more about whether your employer offers scholarships or tuition reimbursement, speak to your Human Resources department or its equivalent.

6 Benefits of Pursuing an RN to BSN in South Carolina

Being among the first waves of registered nurses across SC to actively pursue RN to BSN education is thrilling, but it also comes with several other more tangible benefits that will serve you well for a lifetime.

1. Expand Your Knowledge and Skills: As time passes, employers across the state realize that the better trained their nurses, the better-quality care they can provide to their patients. By returning to school and obtaining your BSN degree, you will gain knowledge, skills, and abilities – particularly in leadership, management, and research – that will make you far more valuable to your employer.

2. Salary Bump: Prior to earning their BSN degrees, registered nurses across the state of South Carolina earn an average annual salary of $67,440. However, after completing their baccalaureate education (and therefore becoming more valuable to employers), these same nurses will earn an additional $9,950 on average each year. This equates to a huge sum over the course of a career.

South Carolina
Before RN To BSN After RN to BSN How Much More Will I Earn
(Source: Compiled using data from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

3. More Job Openings: Part of truly enjoying your career as a registered nurse involves finding the job that best suits your preferences, your needs, and your professional goals. ADN graduates have access to 900 jobs across the state each year, whereas BSN graduates have access to 1,620. As you might expect, with a BSN, you have access to higher-paying jobs with better schedules, more benefits, and a better overall work environment, too.

South Carolina Annual Job Openings (New + Replacement)
Annual Openings for BSN Graduates 1,620
Annual Openings for ADN Graduates 900
(Source: Compiled using data from careeronestop.org)

4. Brighter Outlook: Nurses in general enjoy excellent job security and have a very bright outlook, but that outlook is even brighter in South Carolina when you further your education. To put this into perspective, between the years of 2020 and 2030, some 1,230 new jobs will become available for ADN-educated RNs across the state, representing 8.74% growth. However, for BSN-educated RNs, there will be 2,880 new jobs in that same timeframe, representing a much stronger growth of 11.68%.

10 Year (2020-2030) Job Outlook
Employment New Job Growth
2020 2030 Number %
(Source: Compiled using data from careeronestop.org)

5. Advance Your Career: Though a higher salary and better job opportunities are excellent reasons to pursue a BSN in SC, many RNs do it in order to prepare themselves for careers in nurse management, research, leadership, or education. In fact, most employers who hire for these positions require RNs that are educated at the BSN level or higher.

Advancement Opportunities
Charge Nurse Director of Nursing
Chief Nursing Officer Nurse Educator
Clinical Nurse Specialist Nurse Manager
Clinical Research Nurse Nurse Supervisor

6. Post-RN to BSN Higher Education Options: For many South Carolina RNs, management and leadership positions are just the start of their career journeys. Some nurses continue school for another two years, earn an MSN or MS degree, and become administrators or nurse practitioners earning up to $126,420 a year. Some even go on to earn their PhD or DNP degree, which allows them to work as APRNs or faculty members at one of SC’s prestigious nursing schools earning salaries of $147,590 a year.

Type of Degree Length Roles and Responsibilities Salary
Master’s Degree (MSN/MS)Up to 2 yearsAdministrator, Certified Nurse Midwife, Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist, Clinical Leader, Clinical Nurse Specialist & Nurse Practitioner$77,100 - $126,420
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) or Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Degree4 to 6 yearsAdvanced Practice Registered Nurse, College Faculty, Nursing School Dean, Health System Executive, Researcher, & Senior Policy Analyst$77,100 - $147,590

RN to BSN Programs in Nearby States
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