Top South Dakota Nursing Schools and Programs
| NurseJournal Staff
Schools, Licensing Requirements, and Resources
Individuals planning to pursue nursing careers must obtain relevant licenses and certifications. In South Dakota, options include certified nurse aide (CNA), licensed practical nurse (LPN), registered nurse (RN), and certified nurse practitioner (CNP) credentials. This page outlines steps for earning these licenses and certifications, along with detailing online nursing programs in South Dakota. Online enrollees can prepare for licensure with more flexibility than in on-campus programs.
Other sections of this page review average salaries for South Dakota nurses and professional resources for in-state workers. Readers can explore nursing careers, from preparation to practice.
Why Attend Online Nursing Programs in South Dakota?
On average, South Dakota colleges and universities charge lower in-state and out-of-state tuition and fees than the nearby states of Iowa, Minnesota, and North Dakota, along with lower nonresident tuition and fees than Montana, Nebraska, and Wyoming. South Dakota's average tuition and fee charges also come in lower than the U.S. average for in-state and out-of-state learners.
South Dakota ranks 14th among states for affordability. Other notable state rankings include coming in at second for its natural environment, third for fiscal stability, and 18th for education. These rankings highlight positive attributes of the state that can affect a candidate's decision to study and work in South Dakota.
Featured Online Programs
How to Become a Nurse in South Dakota
The process of becoming a nurse includes the same basic steps across the country, but each state maintains general licensure requirements and specific exams required to practice. Consider the following steps as a roadmap for becoming a nurse in South Dakota.
1. Choose the Path That's Right for YouWhen considering different types of nursing and potential degree paths, examine your individual career goals. While you only need an associate degree in nursing (ADN) to become a nurse, many employers require at least a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN). If you aspire to advanced nursing roles or college-level teaching positions, you likely need to earn a master of science in nursing (MSN) or a doctor of nursing practice (DNP), respectively.
2. Earn Your Nursing DegreeAspiring professionals can explore many online and on-campus nursing schools in South Dakota. Choose the program that best fits your lifestyle, taking the time to consider admission prerequisites before applying. Degree requirements vary but often include clinicals or internships, which can contribute to the overall program length.
3. Pass the Licensing Exam and Earn Your LicenseAspiring nurses must pass the NCLEX to practice, although exam eligibility requirements vary by state. In South Dakota, you must complete an approved nursing program. Nursing schools in South Dakota prepare enrollees for the exam, which costs $200 and takes about six hours. However, licensure does not guarantee a nursing job. Students in nursing colleges in South Dakota should network with other professionals, seek career counseling, and research local nursing positions before graduation.
Online Nursing Degree Programs in South Dakota
All nursing credentials addressed in this article require training or education, and everyone interested in working as a nurse in South Dakota should enter an approved nursing program. These programs can also enhance students' professional networks through clinical experiences, which can lead to employment after graduation.
What Courses Are Part of an Online Nursing Degree Program in South Dakota?
Each online nursing school in South Dakota requires unique coursework that reflects degree level and specialty. As examples, students with pediatric, geriatric, and mental health specialties would encounter different coursework, and graduate learners in these disciplines would study more advanced concepts than undergraduate degree-seekers. However, most online nursing programs in South Dakota offer some similar courses, including the following.
Introduction to Professional NursingEnrollees examine the role of nurses within the healthcare system and address topics like assessment, safety, intervention, and group work in nursing practices. Departments may also cover theories and historic milestones in nursing.
PathophysiologyDegree-seekers study how disease and illness alter physiology and how to treat patients who experience these alterations. Courses may address these changes on a cellular level and in connection to specific illnesses.
Health AssessmentClasses train learners to determine patient needs through interviewing, reviewing health history, and evaluating test or check-up results. Other course topics may include common issues for patients of different ages and techniques for building effective health plans.
How Do Online Nursing Degree Programs Work?
Residents who graduate from online nursing programs in South Dakota can earn CNA, RN, LPN, or CNP credentials. These programs may include fully online coursework or employ a hybrid format, where students visit campus for occasional courses, seminars, labs, or orientations. For either format, learners may complete clinical experiences at organizations that relate to their specialty areas.
Typically, online degrees require the same admission and graduation requirements as on-campus programs.
Online nursing programs in the state may award associate, bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degrees. However, online graduate programs are rarer than undergraduate options. Time frames vary by degree but often include two years for an associate, four years for a bachelor's, 2-3 years for a master's, and three or more years for a doctorate. Typically, online degrees require the same admission and graduation requirements as on-campus programs.
Distance learning is ideal for degree-seekers with busy schedules, particularly asynchronous programs, where classes do not include attendance times. For these programs, students can fulfill work and family commitments while completing assignments at their convenience.
Nursing Licensure in South Dakota
Candidates can apply for and renew nursing credentials through the South Dakota Board of Nursing. Each credential requires unique criteria, such as exams, training, and fees. We outline these details more thoroughly in the upcoming sections.
As of 2018, South Dakota experienced a nursing shortage, which indicates expanding career opportunities for licensed or certified candidates. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), South Dakota's average salaries for RNs, nurse practitioners (NPs), and nurse anesthetists in 2018 surpassed the state's overall average income of $48,100. NPs averaged more than double this amount.
NPs in South Dakota also benefit from full practice rights, which allow them to assess and treat patients without ongoing supervision. Less than half of U.S. territories give NPs full practice rights.
State Requirements by Nursing Type
South Dakota nursing licensure steps vary by credential. The following table addresses specific information for CNA, LPN, RN, and CNP application and renewal processes.
South Dakota Licensure Requirements
- Education: Applicants must undergo CNA training through an approved program.
- Additional Clinical Hours: No additional hours are required.
- Exams: Certification requires passing the CNA exam.
- Renewal Frequency: Certifications last two years before renewal
- Continuing Education: Renewal requires at least 24 hours of training and employment.
South Dakota Licensure Requirements
- Education: LPN licensure calls for completing a qualifying nursing program.
- Additional Clinical Hours: The board requires no additional clinical hours.
- Exams: Candidates must pass the NCLEX.
- Renewal Frequency: Renewal occurs every other year.
- Continuing Education: Individuals must work a minimum of 140 hours in a year or 480 hours in six years.
South Dakota Licensure Requirements
- Education: RN applicants must finish an approved nursing program.
- Additional Clinical Hours: Licensure calls for no additional hours.
- Exams: Applicants must take the NCLEX.
- Renewal Frequency: RN licenses must be renewed every two years.
- Continuing Education: Renewal requires the same employment criteria as the LPN license. Candidates who do not meet these criteria must take a relevant, board-approved course.
South Dakota Licensure Requirements
- Education: Candidates must complete an NP program that culminates in a master's, doctorate, or graduate certificate.
- Additional Clinical Hours: NPs without 1,040 practice hours must work with a licensed doctor or practitioner.
- Exams: Applicants must hold a national certification, which may require an exam.
- Renewal Frequency: South Dakota nursing licenses remain valid for two years.
- Continuing Education: Candidates should maintain national certifications.
Online Nursing Degree Programs and Licensing in South Dakota FAQ
South Dakota Nurse Salaries and Employment Trends
CNAs, LPNs, RNs, and CNPs in South Dakota earn mean annual wages below national figures. Likewise, the nearby states of North Dakota, Iowa, Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, Wyoming, and Montana offer higher average wages for nurses than South Dakota.
Nurses may increase their earnings by choosing in-demand practice settings and specialties. For instance, more than 77% of CNPs in South Dakota maintain licensure in family practice, based on a 2019 report from the South Dakota Center for Nursing Workforce.
Nurses may increase their earnings by choosing in-demand practice settings and specialties.
Candidates can also pursue advanced credentials that relate to higher-paying careers. Specifically, South Dakota CNPs average nearly four times as much as CNAs in the state. Earning higher credentials also increases employment odds, with the BLS projecting CNP positions to increase by 30.4% in South Dakota from 2016-26.
Readers should note, though, that factors like industry and experience influence salaries and career opportunities, so no credential or degree guarantees earnings or employment.
Nurse Salary and Projected Job Growth in South Dakota, by Type
|Annual Mean Wage||Projected Job Growth(2016-2026)|
|Certified Nurse Assistant||$26,820||7.8%|
|Licensed Practical Nurse||$38,630||2.2%|
Annual Mean Nurse Wages in Nearby States
|Certified Nurse Assistant||Licensed Practical Nurse||Registered Nurse||Nurse Practitioner|
Certified Nurse Assistant
CNAs in South Dakota took home a mean annual wage of $26,820 in 2018, which comes in nearly $3,000 lower than the national mean annual wage. Some industries, however, offer higher pay. As an example, CNAs who work in the government earned a median salary of $33,800. This figure ranks higher than all noted averages for CNAs except North Dakota. Other lucrative industries include hospitals, nursing care facilities, and home healthcare services.
Licensed Practical Nurse
Mean annual wages for LPNs in South Dakota ($38,630) rank lower than the national average and annual mean wages for all states represented on the previous table, and also the average U.S. income from 2018 ($52,145). Factors like industry and experience, however, can increase earnings. For instance, LPNs in government earned a median income of $48,050, and candidates with at least 20 years of experience average around $3 more per hour than entry-level workers.
RNs earn more, on average, in all other states noted on the table than in South Dakota. The U.S. average for the profession also surpasses South Dakota's mean annual wage of $58,340. However, this expectation exceeds the mean 2018 U.S. income by more than $6,000. The government offers the highest pay for RNs among industries, with median expectations of $78,390. Furthermore, RNs with at least 20 years of experience average almost $9 more per hour than beginning candidates.
NPs in South Dakota, known as CNPs in the state, earn lower wages than U.S. NPs and candidates in nearby states, but nearly twice as much as the 2018 average salary for all U.S. careers. BLS projections indicate that South Dakota's CNPs should also experience over 30% growth in employment opportunities from 2016-26. For this profession, hospitals offer the highest median pay among industries ($120,540), and average pay can increase by $15,000 over a 20-year career.
Nursing Resources for South Dakota
South Dakota Nurses AssociationThis association hosts the SDNA Nurses Day at the Legislature and maintains the career center, where members can search for professional opportunities and obtain resume feedback.
Nurse Practitioner Association of South DakotaThe NPASD provides information on open field positions and related news trends, along with offering the NP certification exam review and advanced practice updates. Site viewers can also access resources on pediatric practice.
South Dakota Board of NursingThe board oversees South Dakota nursing licensure for examination and endorsement applicants. Candidates can also review renewal regulations through the site and read issues of its Dakota Nurse Connection publication.
South Dakota Student Nurses' AssociationSNA offers state and national conventions every year. Individuals can also review resources on topics like nursing programs, resumes, and workplace stress through the website.
South Dakota Emergency Nurses AssociationSD ENA publishes newsletters and provides volunteer opportunities to enhance professional connections and experience. The website also includes a calendar of local nursing events that relate to emergency practice.
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