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Masters Degree Programs in South Carolina

Overview of Master's Education in South Carolina

The state of South Carolina is home to a variety of public and private universities offering master's degree programs. For instance, South Carolina's military college, The Citadel, offers 27 master's degree programs (as of 2013) for students who want to combine their education with military training. The College of Charleston, steeped in tradition, boasts 19 master's programs (as of 2013), while the University of South Carolina, with its emphasis on public research, is another likely contender for any student considering South Carolina masters programs. At several schools, including Clemson and the University of South Carolina, online programs are available at the master's level.

Students working toward traditional or online master degrees in South Carolina generally need to have previously earned a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution. In some cases, students may also be able to enroll in a master's-bachelor's hybrid program. Schools often require prospective students to take the Graduate Records Examination (GRE) or the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) in addition to maintaining a required minimum GPA during their undergraduate studies. The minimum required GRE or GMAT score can vary, so interested students should check with their school of choice for specific details. According to the Lumina Foundation, 8.25 percent of South Carolina residents age 25 to 64 hold a graduate or professional degree as of 2011 (luminafoundation.org, 2013).

Mental Health Counseling Master's Degree in South Carolina

Because of an increasing awareness of the importance of mental health, suffering patients have been turning to mental health counselors for help solving their problems and improving their lives. Students interested in the diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders may want to consider a career in mental health counseling, which is expected to grow at a rapid pace in South Carolina between 2010 and 2020 (jobs.scworks.org, 2013). All mental health counselors are required to hold a master's degree in counseling or marriage and family therapy, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS.gov/ooh, 2012). In addition to earning a master's degree, mental health counselors are required to be licensed in order to practice.

Occupational Therapy Master's Degree in South Carolina

Those who wish to improve the lives of disabled individuals may want to consider a career as an occupational therapist, another health-oriented occupation expected to see rapid growth in South Carolina from 2010 to 2020 (jobs.scworks.org). According to the BLS, occupational therapists are required to have a master's degree in order to gain employment. Before starting an occupational therapy program, students may be asked to gain some hands-on experience in an occupational therapy setting, reports the BLS. After completion of a master's degree program, occupational therapists are required to be licensed to work in the profession (BLS.gov/ooh, 2012).

Popular Schools in South Carolina for Earning a Master's Degree

As of fall 2012, institutions with the highest total enrollment of master's students in South Carolina were:

  1. University of South Carolina (Columbia Campus): 4,012
  2. Clemson University: 2,512
  3. Winthrop University: 867

This information is based on data from the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education (che.sc.gov, 2013).

In addition, U.S. News & World Report has highly ranked several South Carolina colleges for their grad programs (usnews.com, 2013), including:

  • University of South Carolina: Ranked as having the 3rd-best international MBA program and 5th-best online education programs in the nation.
  • Clemson University: Ranked No. 39 nationally for its online graduate engineering programs and No. 43 for its part-time MBA program.
  • Medical University of South Carolina:  Ranked No. 20 nationally among online graduate nursing programs

U.S. News & World Report also ranked The Citadel No. 1 among public colleges in the South and the 8th-best value in the region.

Note: Most current rankings as of August 2013

Job Employment & Outlook in South Carolina

Demand for mental health counselors and occupational therapists should remain high in South Carolina. According to the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce (scworks.org, 2013), employment for mental health counselors in the state is expected to grow nearly 33 percent from 2010 to 2020. Employment for occupational therapists should surge as well, with an increase of 26 percent predicted from 2010 to 2020. Both careers handily beat the state's 14.5 percent average job growth rate.  In terms of salary, according to the BLS, the annual mean wage for mental health counselors and occupational therapists in South Carolina in May 2012 was $42,550 and $73,140, respectively (bls.gov/oes, 2013).


Sources:
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, May 2012 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, South Carolina, March 29, 2013, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_sc.htm
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-2013 Edition, Mental Health Counselors and Marriage and Family Therapists, March 29, 2012, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/mental-health-counselors-and-marriage-and-family-therapists.htm
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-2013 Edition, Occupational Therapists, June 26, 2012, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/occupational-therapists.htm
College of Charleston
Lumina Foundation, A Stronger Nation through Higher Education: South Carolina, June 2013, http://www.luminafoundation.org/stronger_nation/report/#south-carolina
South Carolina Commission on Higher Education, Fall 2012 Headcount Enrollment, http://www.che.sc.gov/New_Web/Rep&Pubs/Enrollment/2012-13.htm
The Citadel Graduate College
U.S. News & World Report, Rankings and Reviews, Colleges, The Citadel, 2013, http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges/the-citadel-3423
U.S. News & World Report, Rankings and Reviews, Colleges, Clemson University, 2013, http://grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-engineering-schools/clemson-university-02161
U.S. News & World Report, Rankings and Reviews, Colleges, University of South Carolina, 2013, http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges/university-of-south-carolina-columbia-218663/overall-rankings
SC Works Online Services, Occupational Employment and Projections (Long-Term), 2013, https://jobs.scworks.org/analyzer/session/session.asp?cat=HST_EMP_WAGE_OCC

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