• Certifications and Licenses
  • RN - South Carolina

    • Compact State
    • Participates in NURSYS
    • Renewal every 2 years

    Overview

    The South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation (LLR) and South Carolina Board of Nursing (SCBON) processes South Carolina nursing license applications and renewals. Nearly 79,000 registered nurses held active licenses in South Carolina in April 2022 per the National Nursing Database using data compiled by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN).

    About

    The fastest way applicants for a South Carolina nursing license by endorsement or exam can obtain licensure is to apply online. Licensees also submit their South Carolina RN license renewal applications online.

    South Carolina RN licenses must be issued in the nurse’s legal name. All applicants must verify their legal name with a vital statistics birth certificate or other acceptable document, such as a valid passport, marriage certificate, divorce decree, or court-approved legal name change documentation.

    Endorsement and exam applications are valid for one year from the date the SCBON receives them. If an applicant doesn’t meet all requirements within this year, they must submit a new application and all required information must be resubmitted, including the criminal background check.

    Renewal

    RN licenses in South Carolina expire on April 30 of even-numbered years. SCBON sends South Carolina RN license renewal information via email to applicants who validated their email addresses. Otherwise, it sends renewal information through postal mail to the address of record. Licensees can check their expiration date and print their license card through their online portal.

    Continuing Education Requirements

    During each two-year licensure period, RNs must meet continued competency requirements by completing one of the following:

    • Completion of 30 hours of contact hours of continuing education from an SCBON-recognized CE provider

    • Certification/Recertification by an SCBON-recognized national certifying body

    • Completion of an SCBON-recognized academic program in nursing or a related field

    • Employer Certification verifying continued competency and the number of practice hours worked

    Continuing education (CE) must be obtained from approved providers. SCBON doesn’t place a limit on the number of contact hours licensees may obtain through correspondence or online courses if they’re approved offerings. Licensees can’t carry over contact hours to the next licensure period.

    Requirements

    Fingerprinting Requirements All South Carolina nursing license applicants must complete fingerprint-based criminal history background checks (CBCs) through the State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). SCBON sends instructions to applicants on processing their fingerprints after it receives their application. Applicants with any prior misdemeanors or felonies, regardless of the age of the criminal conviction, must submit:

    • Original certified court documents for all misdemeanor and felony convictions

    • A detailed explanation of the events leading to the arrest and any other pertinent details for misdemeanor convictions that occurred within the last 5 years

    • A detailed explanation of the events leading to the arrest and any other pertinent details for all felony convictions regardless of when they occurred

    Contact Information

    South Carolina Board of Nursing 110 Centerview Drive Columbia, SC 29210 [email protected] (803) 896-4550

    Multistate

    South Carolina became a member of the original Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) in 2006. It withdrew from the NLC and implemented the enhanced NLC on January 19, 2018. Under the NLC, nurses issued a multistate/Compact license may provide patient care in other NLC states without having to obtain additional licenses. RNs with an original NLC multistate license issued by SCBON are grandfathered into the eNLC. New applicants must meet the 11 Uniform Licensure Requirements (ULRs) to obtain a multistate license. Those who don’t meet the ULRs may still be eligible for a single-state nursing license.

    RNs currently licensed in another Compact state who move to South Carolina and declare South Carolina as their primary state of residence (PSOR), must apply for licensure by endorsement to receive a new multistate RN license in South Carolina. SCBON issues a single-state license to applicants who apply for licensure before they move until they submit their Declaration of Primary State of Residence Form with a copy of their proof of residence.

    Licensure by Endorsement

    RN applicants actively licensed in another state who are moving to South Carolina permanently or are licensed in a non-Compact state and is on a temporary assignment must apply for licensure by endorsement. Applicants must:

    • Provide proof of primary residence

      • Driver's license with home address

      • Voter registration card displaying a home address

      • Federal income tax return declaring the PSOR

      • Military Form #2058

      • W2 with declared state of residence

    • Submit a license verification from their original state of licensure by exam

      • Request an electronic verification through Nursys

      • Request states that don’t participate in Nursys to send a license verification directly to the SCBON

    • Complete a fingerprint-based criminal background check after receiving instructions from the SCBON

    • Provide documentation demonstrating competency in one of the following requirements:

      • Completion of 30 hours of contact hours of continuing education from an SCBON-recognized CE provider

      • Certification/Recertification by an SCBON-recognized national certifying body

      • Completion of an SCBON-recognized academic program in nursing or a related field

      • Employer Certification verifying continued competency and the number of practice hours worked

    Licensure by Exam

    Graduate nurses must apply for South Carolina nursing licensure by exam if they still need to take the National Council Licensure Exam for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). To apply, exam applicants must upload:

    • A copy of their driver’s license, state-issued ID, passport, or military ID

    • A copy of their social security card of Resident Alien Registration

    • Notarized Signature Affidavit with a 2 x 2 color passport photo

    • Verification of lawful presence in the U.S.

    Exam applicants also must: 

    • Have evidence of completion of an approved RN education program

      • In-state applicants must request the nursing school to complete a Certificate of Endorsement and mail it directly to the SCBON

      • Out-of-state graduates must have their official transcripts mailed directly from every school they earned nursing credits

        • Nursing schools that use electronic transcripts may email these to [email protected]

        • Transcripts must include nursing courses, date and type of degree awarded, date of graduation, school seal, and registrar’s signature

    • Complete a fingerprint-based criminal background check after receiving instructions from the SCBON

    • Register to take the NCLEX-RN

    Applicants who fail the NCLEX must apply to retest. They must re-register with the SCBON and PearsonVUE each time they retake the exam. Applicants must pay the $200 each time they take the NCLEX and before the SCBON can make them eligible to retest. They may retake the exam once every 45 days for up to a year from the first attempt.

    Licensure for Foreign Educated Nurses

    Applicants who graduated from a nursing program outside the U.S. must follow standard South Carolina nurse licensure directions and complete some additional steps. Foreign-educated nurses must: 

    • Apply with a social security card or resident alien registration

    • Submit a credential evaluation from an approved credential evaluator

      • Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS) Credentials Evaluation Service (CES) Professional Report

      • Josef Silny & Associates, Inc. (JS&A) Foreign Credential Evaluations

    • Submit evidence of passing an English Proficiency Exam

      • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) Internet-Based Test

        • Overall score of 84 with a minimum speaking score of 26

      • International English Language Testing System (IELTS)

        • Overall score of 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in all modules

      • Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic

        • Overall score of 55 with a minimum of 50 in all other modules

      • International Test of English Proficiency (iTEP)

        • Overall score of 3.9

    • Complete a fingerprint-based criminal background check after receiving instructions from the SCBON

      • Can’t have fingerprints processed until they obtain a social security number

    • Register to take the NCLEX-RN

    Timing

    Once the SCBON receives the application and all required documents, applicants for a South Carolina RN license should allow 14 business days for processing before contacting SCBON about the status of their application. SCBON mails the results of the NCLEX-RN within 10 business days of receiving the results from PearsonVUE. Applicants check the status of their application 24/7 on the online portal.

    Temporary Nurse License

    RNs applying for licensure by endorsement may apply for a 60-day temporary license while SCBON processes their application. Applicants must provide proof of an active RN license from another state or jurisdiction. SCBON must receive all required documentation except the CBCs and license verification to issue a single-state temporary license.

    SCBON can’t issue a temporary license if the endorsement applicant was educated outside the U.S. and hasn’t passed the NCLEX-RN or they answered “Yes” on any questions in the personal history section. SCBON may immediately cancel a temporary license if the applicant supplied any misleading, false, or fraudulent information.

    Graduate nurses may apply for a 90-day temporary license to practice nursing under supervision pending their completion of the NCLEX-RN. To obtain a temporary license, graduate nurses must:

    • Submit a completed application for licensure by exam and pay associated fees

    • Register to take the NCLEX-RN

    • Have never failed the NCLEX-RN

    • Have no prior felony convictions or criminal charges pending

    SCBON may revoke a graduate nurse’s temporary license if the: 

    • Applicant fails the NCLEX-RN

    • Board issues/denies a permanent RN license

    • Graduate nurse has a complaint filed against them

    • Applicant is charged with a misdemeanor or felony, other than a minor traffic violation

    Fees

    Applicants may pay with a credit or debit card or electronic check when submitting their applications online. All fees are nonrefundable. SCBON may charge a fee of up to $30 on all returned funds. The current fee schedule includes:

    • Licensure by Endorsement: $100

    • Licensure by Endorsement with Temporary License: $110

    • Licensure by Exam: $90

    • Licensure by Exam with Temporary License: $100

    • NCLEX-RN (Payable to PearsonVUE): $200

    • Re-examination: $65

    • South Carolina RN License Renewal: $75

    • Reinstatement of Lapsed License Less than 5 Years: $135

    • Reinstatement of Lapsed License More Than 5 Years: $145

    • Reactivation of an Inactive License Less than 5 Years: $50

    • Reactivation of an Inactive License More Than 5 Years: $60

    • Reinstatement of Disciplined License: $225

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    Frequently asked questions

    How long does it take the SC Board of Nursing to post a nursing license?

    Allow up to 14 days before contacting the SC Board of Nursing about the status of a nursing application.

    What should an applicant of a South Carolina nursing license do if they fail the NCLEX?
    • Applicants who don't pass the NCLEX on the first attempt may retake the exam not more than once every 45 days for up to one year from their first attempt.

    • Applicants who don't pass the NCLEX within one year of the first exam must provide evidence of remediation approved by the SC Board of Nursing before reexamination. They may apply online to retake the exam.

    • Applicants who don't pass the NCLEX within three years of graduation must re-qualify to take the exam by enrolling in an approved nursing education program. They must demonstrate knowledge, skills, and ability of a graduate nurse. Applicants also must file the S.C. Application for Licensure by Examination and register with Pearson VUE before completing their program.