How to Become a Nurse Administrator in South Carolina

A registered nurse in South Carolina that is looking to further their career might look into becoming a nurse administrator. While RNs are directly related to patient care through observation, making sure they get the individualized care they need and working with doctors to take care of their charges, nurse administrators have different roles to tend to.

A nurse administrator may also be called a head nurse, charge nurse, director of nursing, director of care or another title; they certainly have a different role than registered nurses. Nurse administrators are the supervisors of the nursing hierarchy. Their roles can include training of nursing staff, leadership roles, difficult decision making, making sure staff are implementing proper procedures and serving as a liaison between hospital staff and executives.

If you are someone who thrives on responsibility, you seek out leadership roles, are highly motivated and extremely organized, then a role as a nurse administrator might be the career path for you.

Nurse Administrator Educational Requirements

To become an RN, all you need is a two-year associate’s degree and pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX). A nurse administrator will need more education to qualify for the added leadership and responsibilities this position can tack on. You will need a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree, while some employers may require a Master of Science in Nursing or MSN.

Most of these programs can be completed completely or mostly online, which will let you continue to work while pursuing your continued education. Some schools have accelerated programs which will let you finish your degree months earlier than traditional routes, meaning you are able to further your career that much faster.

Advanced Nursing Degree Programs in South Carolina

1. Clemson University

Clemson University, located near the picturesque Hartwell Lake, is the second-largest university in South Carolina. This college offers an accelerated BSN degree program for already licensed RNs that is completely online that can be completed in one year. There is also a part-time program for nurses who still need to work while furthering their education. Students enrolled in the RN to BS program will only have to attend a one-day orientation at the campus. The rest of the teaching will be online.

Students enrolled in Clemson’s RN to BS will find this program focuses on roles associated with critical thinking, ethical decision making, leadership and management in healthcare roles.

Clemson University also offers a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree. This degree will delve more into advanced nursing knowledge and start getting into specialized areas of nursing practice. This program at Clemson offers students the opportunity to take medical trips to Central and South America. Students taking advantage of this program will get unparalleled experience in caring for indigenous people that don’t have modern technology or lab access to machines we often take for granted. These remote locations usually don’t have x-ray machines, ultrasounds, CTs or modern medications. The lack of modern equipment and jungle locations will cause students to rely heavily on critical thinking skills. Students in this MSN program will have the opportunity to mentor BSN students while going through this experience.

2. Francis Marion University

For RNs who want to enhance their background by getting a bachelor’s degree, Francis Marion has an entirely online course that will help them to gain the essential knowledge used to build upon their previous degree. In a rapidly changing, ever-evolving healthcare environment, a BSN degree will not only aid in getting a better salary, but it will open up more career paths as well.

Students in the BSN program will build upon their critical thinking skills, use scientific processes for decision making and continue to foster more leadership and managerial qualities.

Francis Marion University also offers nurses advanced graduate degrees such as a MSN/FNP (Family Nurse Practitioner) and MSN Nurse Educator for those nurses looking to go even further in their careers.

3. Charleston Southern University

If you’re looking for a faith-based, Christian university, look no further than Charleston Southern University (CSU). They incorporate the Christian faith into their programs, but being a Christian is not a requirement to apply here. They accept and have students that come from all walks of faith and have diverse backgrounds.

CSU offers both a standard, four-year BSN degree and an accelerated program for those who already hold a BS degree.

The four-year BSN readies students to take the NCLEX-RN, and with a 10-year average pass rate of 94%—the highest pass rate in the state—students get the education they need to move on to their careers. This exceptional pass rate may be because of the 12 to one faculty to student ratio. Students get small classes where instructors can focus on them if they need it.

The accelerated BSN program offers classes that are both online and in person, they hold labs during the evenings, and students attend clinicals in local Charleston hospitals on the weekends to get real world experience. Students with 58 to 60 credit hours can finish the program in as little as 16 months. Once students receive this degree they can start their career as a nursing administrator, as well as many other career paths.

If you are looking to get an edge over the nurse administrator competition, you can continue your education at CSU and go on to get your Master of Science in Nursing. This program has a specified nursing leadership and healthcare administration concentration for a nurse administrator career.

The MSN program at CSU concentrates on one class at a time for an intense five weeks, so students only need to focus on a single subject while they are still employed.

4. Lander University

Lander University used to be a private institution for women only. It stayed a private school for the next 26 years when it was opened to the public and moved to Greenwood, SC, where it is still located. Lander University did not become a co-ed school until nearly 70 years after first opening its doors.

Lander University is open to all prospective students and offers traditional and accelerated BSN degrees as well as an MSN-Clinical nurse leader degree. This program prepares nurses to meet the critical leadership requirements of nursing administrator duties.

Students at Lander not only get nursing educators to teach them, but most of the nursing school faculty are practicing professionals who continue to uphold their certifications and remain current in their clinical practices. You will get instructors that know their field of study and still have current experiences.

5. Medical University of South Carolina

This university has both an accelerated BSN program and an RN-BSN program for students interested in furthering their nursing careers. They, unfortunately, do not have an MSN degree at this time, but as we stated, that level of degree is not always required for a role as a nurse administrator.

The RN-BSN program at MUSC is a fully online program that can be finished in either 12 or 24 months, depending on full-time or part-time enrollment status. It offers the flexibility to gain your bachelor’s degree while maintaining your current employment.

The accelerated BSN program is a 16-month fast-paced learning environment that gives extra attention to leadership skills, communication and care coordination. All essential skills for any nurse administrator. You don’t have to already have a bachelor’s degree to get into this program. Although students who already have an undergraduate degree are typically accepted first, some students who apply are accepted with only 60 semester hours of completed prerequisites.

South Carolina Needs Nurses

State agencies in South Carolina estimate that by the year 2028, the state will have a nurse shortage of more than 6,400 positions. Some of the factors contributing to this shortage are retention issues—South Carolina nurse salaries are below the national average—over a third of current SC nurses are over the age of 50, so they will be thinking of retiring soon, as well as diversity issues. For a state where African American citizens represent over 28% of the population, only 11% of the nurses in the state are African American. The good news for nurses and nurse administrators in South Carolina is that these individuals should be able to find employment easily.

Nurse Administrator Projected Salary

An RN with a BSN in South Carolina, fresh out of school, with no working experience, can expect to make an average of $62,000 per year. Experienced nurses—with five years of nursing experience or more—see a salary jump close to $97,000 per year. It may not seem like much to start off with, but after a few years of experience, the boost in pay is significant.

Nurse administrators can expect to see higher salaries as their annual pay range lands between $81,869 and $100,376. These are numbers for nurses who have a bachelor’s degree. For nurse administrators who go on to finish their master’s degree, their salary can jump up an additional $30,000 per year.

Multiple factors affect your salary, such as how many years of experience you have, what city or state you live in, and how much employers are willing to pay. South Carolina nurses actually get paid about 15% less than the national average as of 2022. Part of the pay gap difference may be because the cost of living in SC is currently 8% less than the national average.