Rapid City and Its Colleges

In Rapid City, prospective students have the option to attend different schools for 2-year, 4-year, certificate and other degree programs. The Rapid City Economic Development Center reports 24 percent of residents hold bachelor’s degrees and nearly 9 percent hold advanced degrees. One school contributing to the population’s education is South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, which has a 2013-2014 enrollment of 2,640 students from around the world.

South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, founded in 1885, is a science and engineering-based institution focused on bachelor's, master's and doctoral-level studies. This university has approximately 42 undergraduate, graduate and doctorate programs, not including the certificates and minors available. South Dakota School of Mines and Technology has programs ranging from a bachelor’s in applied biological sciences to doctorate programs in mechanical engineering.

Along with this institution of higher learning, other colleges and training centers serve the students of Rapid City. Western Dakota Technical Institute is the only public technical institute for the western region of the state. WDT features more than 20 programs in fields such as business, computer technology, construction trades, health services, legal and public services, manufacturing and mechanical trades. WDT also has a Corporate Education Center with a variety of non-credit classes, workshops and short-term training programs for the local workforce.

Listed below are some universities, colleges and career centers in the Rapid City area:

Institution Type
South Dakota School of Mines and Technology Public – 4-year and above
Western Dakota Technical Institute Public – 2-year

Online Study Programs in Rapid City

Along with the brick and mortar-based instruction in Rapid City, there are options for distance learning from numerous institutions. Western Dakota Tech has its own distance learning program. For students looking for Associate in Applied Science degrees, this school offers three different programs with limited on-campus time. WDT online studies may include accounting, business or library technology.

South Dakota School of Mines and Technology offers a technical curriculum conducive to blended or hybrid approaches. Online learning programs allow students to attend certain courses online, via videoconferencing and the on-demand option. Specific classes at SDSM&T may provide streaming video options. South Dakota School of Mines and Technology has distance learning master’s degree programs in mining engineering and management, engineering management and construction management. Distance learning programs at SDSM&T typically incorporate elements of both online and on-campus learning.

Key Industries and Occupations

Rapid City relies on a mix of industries to provide economic growth for the city, but according the Rapid City Economic Development Center, these promise the highest growth:

  • Natural Resources, Mining and Construction
  • Manufacturing
  • Wholesale Trade
  • Retail Trade
  • Educational & Health Services

Along with companies operating in the above sectors, the top employers for the Rapid City area span the government, education and defense industries:

  • Ellsworth Air Force Base
  • Rapid City Regional Hospital
  • City of Rapid City
  • Federal Government
  • Rapid City School District

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Rapid City's main occupational areas include:

  • Mining, Logging and Construction
  • Financial Activities
  • Manufacturing

In addition, the Rapid City Economic Development Center expects careers in the following industries to be on the rise:

  • Construction
  • Office and Administrative Support
  • Transportation and Material Moving
  • Management

Santa Maria's colleges and career institutes offer technical and professional studies for students interested in entering high-growth local industries such as aerospace, education and health care.

Colleges & Universities in Rapid City

Colleges & Universities in Rapid City

South Dakota School of Mines and Technology 2,721 $3,430 Public

Community Colleges and Vocational Schools in Rapid City

Western Dakota Technical Institute 1,563 $3,040 Public

Online Colleges in Rapid City