Nurses with special skills, advanced medical knowledge and extra clinical experience often pursue careers as nurse practitioners, working with physicians and medical specialists to provide targeted care. In South Carolina, the typical nurse practitioner is able to command an income above and beyond what he or she could earn as a nurse. This pay raise often proves an important factor as South Carolina nurses make the sacrifices necessary to achieve legitimacy as nurse practitioners.
Nurse Practitioners: Earnings On A National Scale
Nurse practitioners earn competitive wages when compared to other medical specialties requiring similar levels of education and experience. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for a nurse practitioner was $95,070 as of May, 2013. Depending on their level of experience and place of employment, most nurse practitioners can expect to earn between $66,960 to $126,250 annually.
Salary Range For South Carolina Nurse Practitioners
The average salary for South Carolina nurse practitioners is somewhat lower than the national average. Standard incomes vary somewhat from one region to the next, with nurse practitioners in urban areas generally faring better than their rural counterparts.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Myrtle Beach area offers reasonably competitive wages for nurse practitioners, with this region’s practitioners earning an average annual salary of $85,180. Spartanburg is even better for nurse practitioners, with an average annual salary of $97,860.
Although Spartanburg practitioners command impressive wages, this is not the case in other South Carolina regions. Those working in Greenville only earn an average annual income of $84,770, which is well below the national average. Likewise, Pee Dee nurse practitioners have also fallen behind the national average, earning only $79,140 each year.
Before growing discouraged by the seemingly low salaries available in South Carolina, prospective nurse practitioners should remember that the overall cost of living in South Carolina is relatively low. According to SC Commerce, the South Carolina Cost Of Living Index (COLI) rating is only 0.885. Compare this to the index ratings of 0.915 and 0.923 for the neighboring states of North Carolina and Georgia. South Carolina practitioners may make less, but they also spend less on housing, food and other essentials.
Opportunities For Improving Wages
Outside of moving to Spartanburg or Myrtle Beach, South Carolina nurse practitioners can improve their wages by working in facilities that command higher pay. Hospital-based practitioners tend to receive better pay than those working in physician offices or substance abuse facilities. Specialty hospitals such as the Greenville Cancer Institute or the South Carolina Heart Center offer the most impressive wages, sometimes topping six figures.
One of the best ways to achieve a higher salary is to obtain extra credentials. A Doctorate of Nursing Practice can prove quite valuable for specialized practitioners. Those unable to pursue doctorate programs may benefit from participating in post-graduate certificate programs. These programs often provide a level of flexibility appealing to currently employed nurses or nurse practitioners, allowing for the completion of necessary coursework and clinical on a part-time basis. With the help of advanced degrees and certificates, it is entirely possible to command a six figure income as a South Carolina nurse practitioner.