Nursing Schools and Licensing Requirements in South Dakota [2022 Guide]

Updated October 4, 2022 • 6 Min Read

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Launched in 2002 through state funding and grants from the Robert Wood Foundation, the Nurse Practice Act expands training and educational opportunities for aspiring nurses in South Dakota. According to the state's Board of Nursing, the past five years have seen the introduction of four new training programs for registered nurses and a steady increase in the field's employment rate. With projected double-digit occupational increases, nursing is a dynamic profession with multiple paths to career success in South Dakota. Interested individuals can use this guide to learn about licensure requirements, review occupational outlooks for the field, and compare top nursing schools in South Dakota.

Top 10 Nursing Schools and Licensing Requirements in Dakota

South Dakota State University Brookings, SD
Mount Marty College Yankton, SD
University of South Dakota Vermillion, SD
Oglala Lakota College Kyle, SD
Presentation College Aberdeen, SD
Dakota Wesleyan University Mitchell, SD
University of Sioux Falls Sioux Falls, SD is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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To be considered for this ranking, schools were required to meet the following criteria: Accredited at the institutional level Private nonprofit or public school Minimum of 1 bachelor's or master's degree in subject area for 4-year schools Minimum of 1 associate degree or certificate program in subject area for 2-year schools Schools were then scored on factors such as: Cost & Financial Aid Number and variety of program offerings Student-teacher ratios Graduation rates (4-year schools only) Placement and support services offered Academic/Career counseling services Employment services Loan default rates These factors were assembled for each school and rated using a peer-based-value (PBV) calculation. PBV compares the cost of a program to the cost of other programs with the same (or similar) qualitative score and cost. PBV denotes the overall value or "bang for your buck" of a college or degree program.

Top Nursing Schools in South Dakota

4 - Year Colleges

Steps to Earning a Nursing License in South Dakota

All nurses must hold a valid and active license to legally work in the state. The practice of nursing is governed by the South Dakota Board of Nursing, which has established guidelines and requirements for registered nurses and APRNs. Learn more about the steps required for first-time applicants seeking a registered nursing license in South Dakota.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Submit an online application for licensure by examination along with a $100 fee
  • Graduate from an approved and accredited nursing program, either locally or out-of-state. In-state graduates must submit a certification of nursing education, while those who gained their degree or diploma from outside state lines must have their school's registrar submit official transcripts directly to the Board
  • Register for the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) with Pearson VUE and submit $200 testing fee
  • Receive Authorization to Test (ATT) from Pearson VUE and schedule a date for testing
  • Submit to a criminal background check

Renewing a South Dakota Nursing License

Nursing licenses in South Dakota are valid for two years. Although the state does not have continuing education requirements, a minimum practice requirement is needed to renew a nursing license. After receiving a renewal postcard, licensees will need to complete a form, which requires their social security number, RN license number, and employment verification. Employment verification ensures applicants have met the minimum practice requirements of 140 hours of work in any 12-month period or at least 480 hours in the preceding six years. The $90 renewal fee is due when the application is submitted.

Being an Advanced Practice RN in SD

The South Dakota State Board of Nursing maintains additional licensing requirements for individuals in advanced practice registered nursing roles. Whether working as a certified nurse midwife, certified nurse practitioner, clinical nurse specialist, or certified registered nurse anesthetist, these professionals must fulfill RN licensing requirements and a few additional steps. Below is a list of the eligibility and licensing mandates for all advanced practice nurses in South Dakota.

  • Submit application and pay $100 fee for licensure
  • Possess an active and valid South Dakota nursing license or temporary permit
  • Pass a criminal background check
  • Submit an official transcript from an approved graduate-level program of study
  • Submit education verification form to the Board of Nursing

Those in specialized roles must also complete and submit a verification form showing successful passage of the certification examination to practice in that area. These include:

  • Certified Nurse Midwife: American Midwifery Certification Board
  • Certified Nurse Practitioner: American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, American Nurses Credentialing Center, National Certification Corporation, or Pediatric Nursing Certification Board
  • Clinical Nurse Specialist: American Nurses Credentialing Center or American Association of Critical-Care Nurses
  • Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist: National Board of Certification and Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists

Visit the South Dakota Board of Nursing for more information on advanced practice nursing and licensure procedures in South Dakota.

Occupational Outlook for South Dakota RNs

Elevating the practice of nursing and producing additional qualified registered nurses is a critical goal for the State Board of Nursing and groups such as the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. The AACN reports the state has 67 medically underserved regions and 83 areas facing a health professional shortage. Because of a continually increasing demand, opportunities for nurses are projected to remain strong well into the future. Learn more about the occupational outlook and earning potential of South Dakota's nursing industry below.

Top-Paying Areas for RNs in South Dakota

AreaHourly Median WageAnnual Median Wage
Rapid City$27.11$56,390
Western South Dakota nonmetropolitan area$26.97$56,090
Sioux Falls$24.96$51,910
Central South Dakota nonmetropolitan area$24.08$50,090
Eastern South Dakota nonmetropolitan area$23.68$49,240

Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014

South Dakota vs. National Numbers


YearAnnual salary(25th percentile)Annual salary(median)Annual salary(75th percentile)Annual salary(25th percentile)Annual salary(median)Annual salary(75th percentile)
Registered Nurse$44,500$52,090$62,120$0$54,620$66,640$81,080
Certified Nurse Midwife$0$0$0$0$82,580$96,970$114,090
Nurse Anesthetist$154,580$168,760$183,500$0$132,380$153,780$181,860
Nurse Practitioner$78,520$89,210$101,660$0$82,720$95,350$113,470
TypeSouth DakotaNational
Registered Nurse11,6202,687,310
Certified Nurse Midwife05,110
Nurse Anesthetist28036,590
Nurse Practitioner420122,050
TypeSouth DakotaNational
Registered Nurse12,8703,238,400
Certified Nurse Midwife07,700
Nurse Anesthetist34043,900
Nurse Practitioner440147,300
TypeSouth DakotaNational
Registered Nurse370105,260
Certified Nurse Midwife0290
Nurse Anesthetist101,560
Nurse Practitioner205,850

Sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014 and Projections Central

RN South Dakota Resources

South Dakota Center for Nursing Workforce

The SDCNW is dedicated to recruitment, development and advancement of nurses in in South Dakota. Through local partnerships, continuing education and nursing leadership programs, the center helps nurses better meet health care needs in the state.

South Dakota Nurses Association

This professional organization is a member of the American Nurses Association and serves to centralize the voices of its members through legislative action. It also provides access to scholarships, conferences, networking events, and professional development opportunities.

South Dakota Organization of Nurse Executives

The South Dakota Organization of Nurse Executives is a membership-based organization for nurses working in health care management, administration and strategic performance. Through scholarships, professional networking events and continuing education programs, SDONE endeavors to advance the work of nursing administrators in the state.

South Dakota State Board of Nursing

Serving as the regulatory body that oversees the practice of nursing in the state, the Board of Nursing establishes licensing requirements, manages licensing and renewal processes, and handles disciplinary issues for practicing nurses in South Dakota.

South Dakota Student Nursing Association

This association is a state chapter of the National Student Nurses Association. It is a pre-professional association that supports student nurses via scholarship programs, conference opportunities, leadership development, and mentoring.

South Dakota Nursing Action Coalition

The South Dakota Nursing Action Coalition is the state-level affiliate of the national Future of Nursing Campaign for Action, a research and advocacy group funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the AARP.

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