How To Become A Nurse In South Dakota

Licenses to become a registered nurse (RN) or licensed practice nurse (LPN) in South Dakota are issued by the South Dakota Board of Nursing. Most prospects chose the route to professional nursing in the state by becoming an RN. They make about $60,000 a year there.

The lowest level professional nurse is a licensed practice nurse (LPN) who makes an average of 37,500 a year in South Dakota. In addition to making more money, RNs have a wider range of job opportunities and responsibilities than LPNs. The fastest path to becoming a nurse in South Dakota is to complete an associate degree in nursing program, which takes two years after three to six months of prerequisites. An RN generally completes a four-year program for a bachelor’s of science in nursing.

Once educational requirements are complete, application to take the licensure examination can be made to the state board of nursing, which accepts online applications. Applicants must pass the standard comprehensive National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) to become a nurse in South Dakota.

Studies Show Future Nursing Prospects Good in South Dakota

The South Dakota Center for Nursing Workforce is tasked to design a nursing workforce prepared to partner with South Dakota’s citizens to meet their changing health needs and study issues regarding supply, demand, and need, including recruitment, educational preparation, and utilization of nurses.

The center reports there are 13,597 actively licensed RNs in South Dakota and 2,347 active licensed LPNs. Their study shows a positive growth in supply of the total number of actively licensed nurses in every category in the state. Their numbers also show that the nursing population in South Dakota has grown by 9 percent in recent years. The average age of an LPN in the state is 45.7 years and over 11 percent of those intend to leave or retire from nursing in the next five years, so there will be good job opportunities for new nurses in the state.

South Dakota accepts licensed RNs and LPNs from several surrounding states that are in what is referred to as the multi­-state nurse licensure model, or the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC).

Surrounding states of Nebraska, Iowa, and North Dakota participate in the NLC. Currently, 24 states have implemented the NLC, which allows a nurse to hold one RN or LPN license in their state of residence and to use that license to practice in the other participating states.

Several Colleges Offer Nursing Programs in the State

Consistent with previous South Dakota nursing workforce reports a majority, or 83 percent, of LPNs’ highest educational professional preparation level is a practical nursing diploma or associate degree. Nearly 18 percent of those LPNs are currently enrolled in education classes leading to an advanced nursing degree as compared to only 9 percent in 2007.

There are a total number of 17 approved nursing education programs offered in South Dakota to prepare registered nurse and practical nurse candidates for licensure. These include four associate degree programs, six practical nursing programs and six baccalaureate programs.

Nursing Schools in South Dakota

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Nursing School Locations

Dakota Wesleyan University
1200 West University Avenue
Mitchell, SD 57301-0909
(605) 352-2662

Oglala Lakota College
PO Box 861
Pine Ridge, SD 57770
(605) 867-5856

Presentation Lakota Campus
PO Box 170
Eagle Butte, SD 57625
(605) 964-4071

South Dakota State University
College of Nursing
PO Box 2201
Brookings, SD 57007
(605) 688-4121

University of South Dakota
414 East Clark Street
Julian 313
Vermillion, SD 57069-2390
(605) 357-1560

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