Online Nursing Programs
in South Dakota

Nursing is one of the fastest-growing fields in the job market. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 15% growth in nursing jobs by 2026, a rate much higher than the national average. In South Dakota, the metropolitan area of Sioux Falls is ranked nationally for its concentration of nursing jobs. With demand rising, now is a great time to earn your online nursing degree from a nursing school in South Dakota.

Nursing programs in South Dakota offer a variety of degree options, including RN to BSN and MSN programs. Students at online nursing programs in South Dakota enjoy flexible schedules that help them fit studies into busy lifestyles. This guide will help you choose the right online nursing degree for you and will introduce you to the many career possibilities for graduates of South Dakota nursing schools.

How to Become a Nurse in South Dakota

The process to become a nurse is fairly standardized across the country. Each state has general licensure requirements and specific exams required to practice. Becoming a nurse in South Dakota involves a process similar to that in other states, but details unique to South Dakota include specific licensing costs and procedures.

Choose the Path That's Right for You

When choosing the degree path that’s right for you, consider your individual career goals. Although you can technically become a nurse with only an associate degree, many employers require at least a bachelor’s degree. If you aspire to advanced nursing roles or college-level teaching positions, you will need a graduate nursing degree — an MNP or DNP , respectively.

Earn Your Nursing Degree

There is an abundance of online and on-campus nursing schools in South Dakota. Choose the type of program that best fits your lifestyle. Programs often require prerequisites for admission; research your school’s requirements before applying. Degree requirements may include clinicals and/or internships, which can contribute to the program length.

Pass the Licensing Exam and Earn Your License

Aspiring nurses must pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) to practice. The exam’s eligibility requirements vary by state; in South Dakota, you must have completed a nursing program. Nursing schools in South Dakota prepare students for the exam, which costs $200 and takes about six hours to complete. Licensure does not guarantee a nursing job. Students in nursing colleges in South Dakota should be networking, seeking career counseling, and researching local nursing positions before graduation.

Nursing Licensure in South Dakota

Regardless of state, aspiring nurses must pass either the NCLEX-RN or NCLEX-PN exam to be licensed to practice. Before taking the NCLEX in South Dakota, you must have completed a nursing degree program and must submit to a criminal background check.

South Dakota nurses may transfer their license to another state. The process for transferring licensure varies, but it does not generally require retesting. The South Dakota Board of Nursing oversees all licensure endorsements and renewals in the state and is the best source of information on South Dakota licensure details. Nursing schools in South Dakota provide students with information regarding the licensure process prior to graduation.

Nursing Licensing Costs in South Dakota


App Fee $100

Permit $25

Total $325

Career Outlook for Nurses in South Dakota

Nurses work in a variety of specializations and medical fields. Registered nurses specialize in areas such as obstetrics, oncology, primary care, and trauma. Each specialization involves unique experiences and demands. In South Dakota, 48.9% of employed RNs work in hospital settings; the majority of these nurses work in acute care settings, such as emergency rooms or surgery. The South Dakota Nursing Board’s bi-annual workforce report notes that 63.9% of the nurses working in acute and critical care positions in hospitals hold a BSN or higher. The number of actively licensed RNs in South Dakota grew 10% from 2014 to 2016, and the nursing field displays potential for continued growth.

Employment Hourly Mean Wage Annual Mean Wage
South Dakota 12,130 $26.89 $55,920
United States 2,857,180 $34.70 $72,180

Biggest Hospitals in South Dakota

In South Dakota, about half of all employed registered nurses work in hospital settings. Not surprisingly, hospitals in South Dakota are some of the largest employers in the state, across all industries. Large hospitals present opportunities for newly licensed nurses to find job openings, which means students in nursing schools in South Dakota have ample employment opportunities following graduation. Hospitals also provide internships and fellowships for students in nursing programs in South Dakota.

  • Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center : The Avera hospital group comprises more than 400 locations in the Dakotas, Minnesota, Iowa, and Nebraska. The McKennan hospital in Sioux Falls has 614 staffed patient beds and a designated children’s building. The facility specializes in areas such as cardiology and oncology.
  • Sanford USD Medical Center : The Sanford Health facility in Sioux Falls is a teaching hospital affiliated with the University of South Dakota. The hospital employs more than 4,000 people and has 545 patient beds. Specializations include transplant services and neonatal and pediatric intensive care.

Additional Nursing Resources in South Dakota

South Dakota Board of Nursing

The Board of Nursing is a critical resource for prospective and practicing nurses in the state. The Board awards licenses, renews licenses, transfers licenses from other states, and provides refresher courses.

Dakota Nurse Connection

This quarterly publication is created by the North and South Dakota nursing boards. It teaches nurses in both states about government health initiatives, trends in local nursing, and ideas for facing nursing challenges.

South Dakota Nurses Association

SDNA connects nurses of all specialties and provides nurses in the state with advocacy, networking, and collaboration. Members receive subscriptions to nursing and health publications, discounted registration at nursing conferences, and discounted personal liability insurance.

South Dakota Student Nursing Association

South Dakota SNA supports students in nursing schools in South Dakota. The organization provides networking, leadership, and scholarship opportunities; publishes a magazine five times yearly; and provides NCLEX study tools.

South Dakota Emergency Nurses Association

This organization offers resources and opportunities for members, including scholarships for those continuing their education. The association publishes a newsletter, holds an annual conference, and provides leadership opportunities.

Accredited Online Nursing Programs in South Dakota

This database is a great resource for students researching nursing schools in South Dakota. All schools and programs in this database are accredited and offered online. The list includes ADN , BSN, RN to BSN, MSN, and DNP programs.

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