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Navigating the Nursing Profession in South Dakota

Updated: Sep 13, 2022

Let us help you land on your dream job here in South Dakota! Read on this article to know more about the licensing process in South Dakota, and more!


Through this article, you will be able to know the following:

  • Fees for the licensing

  • Licensing renewal process (step-by-step)

  • Requirements for Continuing Education in Nursing

  • Licensing and certification

  • Job and Salary Expectations of Nurses in South Dakota

  • Popular hospitals in South Dakota

  • Nursing associations in South Dakota

  • Contact details


Fees for the Licensing

The table below shows the required payments for the licensing, whether you are a first-time nurse, applying by endorsement, or renewing your license. For more information, visit the South Dakota licensing page to know more details.

As a nursing compact state, South Dakota lets nurses hold multi state licenses.

*Fees may change without any notice.

**A background check is required in most states, but prices are not usually indicated.


Licensing Renewal Process

  1. Check when your license expires by visiting the South Dakota Board of Nursing website. South Dakota has a Verification page for you to verify your license.

  2. Apply for your renewal process by going to the South Dakota Board of Nursing. You may check on the Renewal Information page for more specific information. Be reminded that if your Primary State of Residency is not South Dakota, you can not apply for a licensure in South Dakota because it is a compact state. You must declare that South Dakota is your Primary State of Residency to be able to do so.


Requirements for Continuing Education in Nursing

The following are the Continuing Education Requirements for nurses in South Dakota.

  • There are no requirements for RN/LPN, but South Dakota requires a minimum practice:

    • provide a proof of employment in nursing for at least 140 hours in any 12-month period during the previous 6 years, or a combined total of 480 hours during the previous 6 years.

  • For APRN, you must maintain national certification.


Licensing and Certification

Step 1: Education

To earn an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN), you must attend an accredited institution that offers ADN for 18-24 months. You can also take a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) Degree in an accredited institution. These programs typically take 4 to 5 years to complete. If you have an ADN but you wanna pursue your bachelor’s, there are certain programs that let you earn your BSN in 12 to 18 months. There is also an RN to BSN program that will take one year for you to earn the degree. Said programs let you save on time and money as you work towards advancing your career.

Step 2: Licensing

Six weeks before your graduation, you can start the process of your application for the NCLEX-RN exam. This exam is composed of 75-265 items and you will be given a limit of 5 hours to finish all of it. Failing the exam does not necessarily mean that you do not have the chance anymore. After your first try, you just have to wait for 45 days and you can apply again.

The scope of NCLEX includes questions about: (1) health promotion and maintenance; (2) safe and effective care environment; (3) physiology and integrity; and (4) psychology and integrity.

Step 3: Experience

This time, you must learn how to take the opportunities in gaining first-hand experiences in dealing with patients, with colleagues and superiors, and with the different situations that you might face. These invaluable experiences will make you more attractive to bigger employers in the future.

Step 4: Certification

Your last step is to obtain certifications for your chosen career. There are different requirements for earning a certification, depending on your preferences so it is important to check with the governing provider for information. You can attend several trainings, seminars or workshops in varied institutions for this purpose.


Job and Salary Expectations of Nurses in South Dakota

Shortage of healthcare professionals, specifically nurses, has been a perennial issue in the country. This makes nurses highly in demand during this period of time. This profession will increase by about 9% from 2020 to 2030. The average annual salary is $60,540.

Let us help you check out average wages of nurses to help determine if South Dakota is the right place for you.


Popular Hospitals in South Dakota

Still not decided on whether to work as a nurse in South Dakota or not? This list of the best hospitals in the state will surely help you make that decision to go in the right direction. U.S. News and World Report made a list of the best and popular hospitals in South Dakota. Here are some of them:

  • Sanford USD Medical Center – (Sioux Falls, SD):

    • Regionally ranked #1 in South Dakota

    • Rated high performing in 3 adult specialties and 14 procedures and conditions

    • General medical and surgical facility and a teaching hospital

    • Specialties include Gastroenterology & GI Surgery, Orthopedics, Pulmonology & Lung Surgery

  • Avera McKennan Hospital and University Health Center – (Sioux Falls, SD):

    • Regionally ranked #2 in South Dakota

    • Nationally ranked in 1 adult specialty

    • Rated high performing in 2 adult specialties and 7 procedures and conditions

    • General medical and surgical facility

    • Specialties include Pulmonology & Lung Surgery (#48 in the nation), Cancer, and Gastroenterology & GI Surgery

  • Avera Heart Hospital of South Dakota – (Sioux Falls, SD):

    • Rated high performing in 4 adult procedures and conditions

    • A heart facility

    • The facility specializes in procedures and conditions related to Cardiology & Heart Surgery, among other fields.

  • Black Hills Surgical Hospital – (Rapid City, SD):

    • Rated high performing in 4 adult procedures and conditions

    • A surgical facility

    • Specialties include Back Surgery (Spinal Fusion), and Orthopedics

  • Brookings Hospital – (Brookings, SD):

    • Rated high performing in 1 adult procedure and condition

    • A general medical and surgical facility

    • The Facility specializes in Hip Fractures, among other fields.

*The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) awards Magnet Status to Hospitals that apply and meet certain criteria. This award is also considered as the “gold standard” for excellence in nursing practice and care.


Nursing Associations in South Dakota

Becoming a member of a nursing association opens a lot of opportunities to your career growth. It gives you the advantages of varied job offers and networking, and a bunch of information and experiences shared between you and your fellow nurses. Through these organizations, learning and professional growth never stop. Listed below are just a few of the nursing organizations that you can find and join once you are in South Dakota.

South Dakota Nurses Association: “This organization shows support to its members by their advocacy, communication, networking and cooperation regardless of their specialties. They speak up in unity to promote quality and affordable healthcare.”

South Dakota School Nurse Association: “The main goal of this institution is to advocate for the needs, values and essence of nursing and health services in the education sector.”

South Dakota Student Nurses Association: “This association prepares its members to become involved in professional groups after graduation, and teaches them to join in shared governance in the field.”

For more information about the nursing associations, you may visit the comprehensive list of national organizations as well.


Contact Details

South Dakota Board of Nursing

Phone: (605) 362-2760

4305 S. Louis Avenue

Suite 201

Sioux Falls, SD 57106-3115

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