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Steps to Becoming an APN in South Carolina

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Get your Graduate Degree in South Carolina
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Renewing your Certificate in South Carolina

The South Carolina Board of Nursing (phone: 803-896-4550, nurseboard@llr.sc.gov), a branch of the South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, grants approval for qualified registered nurses to work as advanced practice registered nurses (APRN) in the following categories:

  • Nurse Practitioner (NP)
  • Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNM)
  • Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS)
  • Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA)

To be approved to work as an APRN in South Carolina, you must hold a valid, unencumbered South Carolina (or Compact state) RN license.

South Carolina Statistics

  • 2015 mean salary for NPs in SC: $91,440
  • 2013 NCLEX-RN pass rate for South Carolina: 86.9%
  • As of 2012, there are 40,520 RNs and APRNs actively employed in SC, an increase of 12.7% from 2008
  • Of SC’s 2766 APRNs in 2012:
  • Of SC’s 1674 NPs in 2012:

*Nurse Licensure Compact

South Carolina is part of the Nurse Licensure Compact. The Compact offers practice privileges for registered nurses in all compact states (Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin). If your primary state of residence is another Compact state, you need not apply for RN licensure in South Carolina.


Step 1. Get Your Graduate Degree

To work toward APRN licensure in South Carolina, you must hold a doctorate, post-nursing master’s certificate or a master’s degree that includes advanced education composed of didactic and supervised clinical practice in a specific area of advanced practice registered nursing.

You are exempt from the minimum master’s degree requirement from an accredited college or university by  satisfying one of the following requirements:

  • Provide documentation showing that you completed an advanced, organized formal education program before December 31, 1994
  • Show evidence that you graduated from an advanced, organized formal education program for nurse anesthetists accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs (COA) before December 31, 2003 (CRNAs who graduate after December 31, 2003 must graduate with a master’s degree from a formal CRNA education program for nurse anesthetists accredited by COA).

Prescriptive Authority

If you are an APRN applying for prescriptive authority in South Carolina, you must be licensed by the Board as a NP, CNM, or CNS. If you are applying for initial prescriptive authority, you must:

  • Provide evidence of the completion of 45 contact hours of education in pharmacotherapeutics within the two years prior to applying for prescriptive authority
  • Provide evidence that at least 15 hours of the 45 hours of contact education involved education in controlled substances

If you already hold prescriptive authority in another state, you must:

  • Provide evidence of prescriptive authority in another state that results in at least 20 hours of contact education in pharmacotherapeutics within the two years prior to applying for prescriptive authority
  • Provide evidence that at least 15 of the 20 hours of contact education involve education in controlled substances

Prescriptive authority in South Carolina is valid for two years unless terminated by the Board, and expires at the same time as your APRN license.

CRNAs are not required to obtain prescriptive authority to deliver anesthesia.


Step 2. Earn Your National Certification

After you complete your graduate education, you are then eligible to take an exam to become nationally certified in your general area of specialty:

  • Nurse Practitioner (NP)
  • Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNM)
  • Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS)
  • Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA)

To apply for APRN licensure in South Carolina, you must declare a specialty area of nursing practice and the specialty title you use must be the same title granted by the board-approved credentialing organization for the area in which you received your advanced educational preparation.

All APRN graduates must achieve and maintain a specialty certification from a board-approved credentialing agency. If you are a new graduate, you must also provide evidence that you obtained your national certification within one year of the completion of your advanced practice nursing program. If you are a psychiatric clinical nurse specialist, however, you must provide evidence of your national certification within two years of completing your program.

The following national certifying bodies are recognized by the Board:

  • National Board of Certification and Recertification of Nurse Anesthetists
    • Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists
  • American Nurses Credentialing Center
    • Adult Nurse Practitioner
    • Family Nurse Practitioner
    • Pediatric Nurse Practitioner
    • Gerontological Nurse Practitioner
    • Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
    • Clinical Specialist in Medical-Surgical Nursing
    • Clinical Specialist in Gerontological Nursing
    • Clinical Specialist in Adult Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing
    • Clinical Specialist in Child and Adolescent Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing
    • Psychiatric and Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (Adult and Family)


Step 3. Apply for Your Certificate

To apply for your APRN license as a holder of a South Carolina-issued RN license, complete the APRN Update (with or without prescriptive authority).

You must include the following documents with your completed application:

  • A recent, 2”x2” full-faced color passport photo that is signed, dated, and taped to the top edge of the application
  • A copy of your birth certificate or valid passport
  • A copy of your social security card, permanent residence card, or resident alien identification card if you do not possess a social security card
  • If you are licensed in another state, a copy of your current license (must show an expiration  date)
  • Documentation of your graduate or post-graduate degree – you must contact the Registrar of the college or university where you obtained your graduate education and submit a request for them to send an official transcript directly to the Board of Nursing
  • A copy of your current specialty certification from a board-approved national credentialing organization
  • Provide a completed Affidavit of Eligibility (found in the application)
  • Obtain all necessary physician signatures and license numbers in the application, if applicable
  • If you are an NP, CNM or CNS applying for prescriptive authority, provide your prescriptive authority application (see prescriptive authority below), and documentation of your pharmacotherapeutics education hours
  • Application fees paid with a check or money order made payable to the “LLR SC Board of Nursing”

Application fees are as follows:

  • APRN Initial License (for those applicants with a current South Carolina RN license): $30
  • APRN initial License and Temporary License: $40
  • Prescriptive authority $20.00

All forms, documentation, fees and your signed and dated application must be mailed to the South Carolina Board of Nursing, P.O. Box 12367, Columbia, SC 29211.

You can expect the Board to process your application within about 10 days after receiving your application. You can check the status of your APRN application here (you will need to provide your login information).

Licensure by Endorsement

If you are licensed in another state, or if your RN license is inactive in SC, you must complete the Advanced Practice Registered Nurse License by Endorsement application.

You must also submit the Verification Form (found in the application) to your original state board of licensure if your original state of licensure is not listed on the NURSYS list found in the application. If your original state of licensure is listed on the NURSYS online verification form, you can process your verification online through NURSYS.

Application fees are as follows:

  • APRN License by Endorsement: $130.00
  • Temporary and Permanent License by Endorsement: $140.00
  • Prescriptive authority $20.00

Temporary APRN License

If you want to apply for a temporary APRN license along with your initial APRN license, you must show evidence to the Board that you have met educational requirements that satisfy the national certification agency through which you will be certified . A temporary application is valid for up to 60 days, pending the completion and approval of your APRN license.

Application fees are as follows:

  • APRN initial License and Temporary License: $40
  • Prescriptive authority $20.00

Prescriptive Authority

If you are already a licensed APRN in South Carolina or are applying for prescriptive authority with your initial APRN license application, use the Application for Prescriptive Authority.

In addition to a completed application, you must also submit evidence that you have completed at least 45 contact hours of pharmacotherapeutics in the two years preceding your application for prescriptive authority.

Submit your completed application for prescriptive authority and pharmacotherapeutics requirements, along with a $20 check or money order made payable to “LLR SC Board of Nursing,” to the South Carolina Board of Nursing, P.O. Box 12367, Columbia, SC.

Notification of Initial Employment

As an APRN, you must inform the Board of your initial employment using the APRN Initial Employment form within 15 business days of securing employment.

Undeclared employment may be considered misconduct resulting in disciplinary action.

Criminal Background History Check

In order to practice nursing in South Carolina, you are required to submit to a criminal history background check.

If you apply for APRN licensure within a year after you received your RN license, you do NOT need to apply for an additional background check. If more than a year has passed since you received your RN license, you must submit to a new criminal background check to become licensed as an APRN.

The background check process requires a full set of fingerprints and additional information. The State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) will conduct the criminal history background check.

To start the process, you must schedule an appointment with L-1 Enrollment Services (866-254-2366). If you are a South Carolina resident, you must show your South Carolina state-issued photo driver’s license. If you are an out-of-state applicant and you do not hold a South Carolina driver’s license, you must submit two forms of identification, which may include a state-issued photo driver’s license, a social security card, a passport, a birth certificate, or a marriage license.

Non-Resident Fingerprinting Instructions

If you are a non-resident of South Carolina and you do not live near an L-1 Enrollment Services/IBT fingerprinting center, you must follow the Non-Resident Card Scan Processing procedures found on the second page of the Background Check form within the application for APRN. You can visit L-1 Enrollment Services’ website to see if there are any fingerprinting centers located near you.


Step 4. Renewing Your Certificate

All South Carolina nursing licenses, including RN and APRN licenses, must be renewed by April 30 of every even-numbered year. All South Carolina nursing licenses can be completed using the South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation Online Renewals system. Fees for renewal can be paid online using a credit card through the system’s secure server. Fees for biennial renewal are as follows:

  • APRN License Renewal $20
  • Prescriptive Authority Renewal $20
  • RN Renewal $50

Demonstration of Competency for APRN License Renewal

To qualify for renewal of your active APRN license, you must provide evidence of at least one of the following requirements:

  • The completion of 30 contact hours from a continuing education provider recognized by the Board
  • The maintenance of certification by a national certifying body recognized by the Board
  • Verification of competency and the number of hours practiced from an employer on a Board-approved employer certification form

Request for Inactive Status

You may apply for inactive status if you do not meet the minimum competency requirements for renewal, or if you want to take a temporarily hiatus from APRN practice.

To apply for inactive status, complete the Request for Inactive Status form and send it along with a check or money order in the amount of $15 made payable to LLR SC Board of Nursing,” to the South Carolina Board of Nursing, P.O. Box 12367, Columbia, SC.

Request for Reinstatement/Reactivation

To apply for reactivation of an inactive APRN license or reinstatement of a lapsed license, you must submit an APRN Reactivation/Reinstatement application (and prescriptive authority application, if applicable), and pay a reinstatement fee for the current period.

You may also apply for a temporary license that is valid for up to 90 days if you are participating in a refresher course seeking the reinstatement of your lapsed or inactive APRN license.

The following must accompany your APRN Reactivation/Reinstatement application:

  • A completed Affidavit of Eligibility
  • A completed Criminal Background check
  • A recent, 2”x2” full-faced passport-type color photo that is signed, dated and taped along the top edge of the application
  • A copy of your current state license
  • A copy of your current specialty certification by a board-approved credentialing organization
  • If you are an NP, CNM or CNS applying for prescriptive authority, provide your prescriptive authority application, documentation of your pharmacotherapeutics education hours, and documented evidence of prescriptive authority in another state (if applicable)
  • Submit the application fee in a check or money order made payable to the “LLR SC Board of Nursing”

Reinstatement/Reactivation application fees are as follows:

  • APRN Reinstatement of lapsed license $70.00
  • APRN Reinstatement of lapsed license with Prescriptive Authority $90.00
  • APRN Reactivation of inactive license $50.00
  • APRN Reactivation of inactive license with Prescriptive Authority $70.00

Submit your completed application for reinstatement/reactivation, prescriptive authority application, your supporting documents, and the required fee to the South Carolina Board of Nursing, P.O. Box 12367, Columbia, SC.

Notification of Change in Practice

As an APRN, you must notify the Board of a change in employment (physician or place of practice) or the discontinuation of your employment using the APRN Change of Practice Request form within 15 business days. Undeclared changes may be considered misconduct and be subject to disciplinary action.

Advanced Practice Registered Nurse Associations in South Carolina

There are a number of professional organizations that support APRNs in South Carolina:


South Carolina Nurse Practitioner Salary

The 2011 National NP Compensation Survey conducted by the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners showed that nurse practitioners in the southeastern United States, including South Carolina, earned an average base salary of $87,653 and an average total income of $96,916 when taking benefits and bonus into consideration. In the annual salary survey conducted by Advance for NPs & PAs, nurse practitioners in Columbia were shown to earn an average of $75,720, while the highest salaries in South Carolina were found in Greenville, where NPs earned $95,291 on average.

Registered Nurse Salary

Area name
Employment
Annual mean wage
Augusta-Richmond County GA-SC
5070
65340
Charleston-North Charleston-Summerville SC
8540
66990
Charlotte-Gastonia-Concord NC-SC
17940
60760
Columbia SC
8700
59500
Florence SC
3130
56030
Greenville-Mauldin-Easley SC
6240
60200
Myrtle Beach-Conway-North Myrtle Beach SC
1560
52960
Spartanburg SC
2630
54840
Sumter SC
690
56920
Low Country South Carolina nonmetropolitan area
2160
61070
Upper Savannah South Carolina nonmetropolitan area
2190
55430
Pee Dee South Carolina nonmetropolitan area
800
55700
Lower Savannah South Carolina nonmetropolitan area
990
63260

Health Diagnosing and Treating Practitioners Salary

Area name
Employment
Annual mean wage
Charleston-North Charleston-Summerville SC
190
153470
Charlotte-Gastonia-Rock Hill NC-SC
Estimate Not Released
66750
Columbia SC
50
60520
Greenville-Mauldin-Easley SC
Estimate Not Released
122150

Nursing Instructors and Teachers Salary

Area name
Employment
Annual median wage
Charlotte-Gastonia-Concord NC-SC
300
57160
Greenville-Mauldin-Easley SC
120
69500

Nurse Administrator Salary
(Includes Nurse Managers, Directors, and Chief Nursing Officers)

Area name
Employment
Annual mean wage
Anderson SC
110
Estimate Not Released
Augusta-Richmond County GA-SC
640
83450
Charleston-North Charleston-Summerville SC
740
92860
Charlotte-Gastonia-Rock Hill NC-SC
1360
98250
Columbia SC
920
87210
Florence SC
330
73070
Greenville-Mauldin-Easley SC
950
75540
Myrtle Beach-Conway-North Myrtle Beach SC
120
81030
Spartanburg SC
280
86610
Low Country South Carolina nonmetropolitan area
270
93420
Upper Savannah South Carolina nonmetropolitan area
290
78630
Pee Dee South Carolina nonmetropolitan area
90
77190
Lower Savannah South Carolina nonmetropolitan area
150
78710

These tables provide salary and employment information compiled by the US Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics in May 2011. The data contained herein does not include self-employed nurses in independent practice.

When responding to the salary survey, some advanced practice registered nurses identified themselves as RNs while others identified themselves as health diagnosing and treating practitioners. When available, both sets of data were included for comparative purposes.

* These figures represent earnings that are at or above $90.00 per hour or $187,199 per year. The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not publish earnings beyond $90.00 hourly or $187,199 yearly.

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