2024 - Best LPN Programs in South Dakota

Last Updated/Verified: Mar 18, 2024

South Dakota supports quality nursing by focusing on collaboration, education, information, and leadership. Attempting to deliver high-quality patient care, they pride themselves on maintaining a competent health workforce. To become a licensed practical nurse (LPN) in South Dakota, the proper application must be filed by the applicant once an approved program is completed. By 2029, it’s been predicted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics that a 9% increase in Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) jobs could be underway. Program options continue to grow in South Dakota to accommodate the demand. LPNs in South Dakota earn approximately $22.12 per hour, which equates to an average annual salary of $46,000. This is roughly $9,860 per year less than the national average.


Are you looking to become a licensed practical nurse in South Dakota? The school you choose is important when it comes to getting your license. Approved programs in South Dakota are offered at community colleges, technical centers, and private career schools - we list 5 schools across the state. After careful review of NCLEX-PN exam first-time pass rates over the past several years, we have ranked the top 3 programs. For more information on our LPN program rankings, see our Methodology page.

To see all the top ranked LPN programs in South Dakota click here.

Details on South Dakota LPN Schools & Classes

Currently, there are a few schools throughout the state that offer practical nursing programs. Community colleges and technical institutes are the most common kinds of schools offering this type of program. Students have the choice between attending school part-time or full-time, and in some cases can even choose between day or evening courses. Total program length is roughly one year of full-time study; longer if the student chooses part-time attendance.

The LPN curriculum will generally consist of classroom nursing courses, labs, and hands-on clinical hours. Course titles may include:

  • Fundamentals of Nursing Practice
  • Nutrition
  • Medical Terminology
  • Maternity Nursing
  • Nursing Care of Children
  • Professional Concepts in Nursing


Properly accredited practical nursing programs can give students peace of mind that’s worth its weight in gold. These programs are held to high academic standards and are regularly re-evaluated to ensure consistency. The Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) is one example of an accrediting agency that endorses LPN programs. Students are also strongly advised to check that their program of choice is approved by the South Dakota Board of Nursing.

Admission Requirements

Each school will have its own standards of admission, and students should check them over carefully before deciding if they are eligible to apply. Common requirements include:

  • Submit high school transcript or proof of GED
  • Submit immunization records
  • Submit transcripts from all high schools/colleges previously attended
  • Complete the ACCUPLACER test
  • Satisfactory score on TEAS
  • Provide proof of current CPR certification

Tuition and Costs

Many students are rightfully concerned about how much a practical nursing program will cost them. Generally, students will have to factor in the costs of tuition, mandatory fees, and course materials (such as textbooks). For students needing assistance, most schools have financial aid departments that can help them explore loan and grant options. Keep in mind that indirect expenses, such as gas, room/board, and more, should also be considered.

To provide an idea on costs, the LPN program at Southeast Technical Institute in Sioux Falls runs approximately $16,000 total. This figure includes tuition, fees, supplies and more.

For those interested in advancing their nursing career, see our South Dakota LPN to RN/BSN programs page.

South Dakota LPN Licensing Requirements

South Dakota requires intensive state-approved educational programs for its nurses to prepare them to work in the field. Graduates are required to sit for the NCLEX—a passing score is expected before licensure can be granted. Along with the required licensing application, South Dakota LPN applicants must also submit:

  • Official transcript from state-approved nursing program.
  • Proof of registration (ATT) for the NCLEX.
  • Criminal background check.

South Dakota LPN licenses expire every 2 years on the licensee’s birthday. The applicant must provide employment verification—at least 140 hours in any 12-month period or an accumulation of at least 480 within the preceding 6 years.

NCLEX Exam Information

The NCLEX-PN exam is what students must pass at the conclusion of their LPN program. This exam tests nursing curriculum comprehension and is required for licensure. For more information on the examination, check out our comprehensive guide here. Students may also wish to take the NCLEX-PN practice test to get a better feel for the exam and to aid in studying.

LPN Reciprocity and eNLC

As part of the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC), South Dakota does not require additional licensing for nurses who reside within other compact states to practice within the state. Nurses from outside of the compact area wanting to work within the state, however, are required to apply for a license by endorsement and provide:

  • Official transcript from state-approved nursing school.
  • Verification of licensure of another state.
  • Verification of having worked at least 140 hours in any 12-month period over the last 6 years.
  • Criminal background check.
  • Valid social security number.
  • Course-by-course evaluation of official transcripts if licensed in another country.

2024 SD NCLEX-PN Pass Rates and Statistics

  • Total Number of State Approved LPN Schools: 5
  • Total Number of Test Takers in 2022: 224
  • 2022 Average Statewide South Dakota NCLEX-PN Pass Rate: 94.3%

Top Ranked South Dakota LPN Programs


Lake Area Technical Institute

1201 Arrow Ave., Watertown, SD 57201 - (800) 657-4344 - Visit Homepage

Watertown's Lake Area Technical Institute offers students several pathways to an LPN diploma. Students can opt for the full-time campus option, the part-time campus option, the full-time online option, or the part-time online option. Each pathway teaches students the skills and knowledge necessary for a rewarding entry-level nursing career.

Overall Score: 98.18 - Compare Program to Nearby Schools

Mitchell Technical Institute

1800 East Spruce Street, Mitchell, SD 57301 - (800) 684-1969 - Visit Homepage

Mitchell Technical Institute is home to a practical nursing program that can be completed in just one calendar year. The curriculum utilizes classroom learning, high-fidelity medical simulation labs, and clinical experiences. General education courses can be completed in either a traditional or online format.

Overall Score: 98.00 - Compare Program to Nearby Schools

Southeast Technical Institute

2320 N Career Ave, Sioux Falls, SD 57107 - (605) 367-6040 - Visit Homepage

Southeast Technical Insitute of Sioux Falls provides students with a one-year, 44-credit practical nursing program that culminates in a diploma. The curriculum includes courses such as Medical Language, Pharmacology, and Introduction to Medical-Surgical Nursing, amongst others.

Overall Score: 93.74 - Compare Program to Nearby Schools

Continued List of All Programs in South Dakota

#4 Western Dakota Tech
800 Mickelson Dr, Rapid City, SD 57703
(605) 394-4034
#5 Sinte Gleska University
101 Antelope Lake Cir, Mission, SD 57555
(605) 856-8100

Are we missing your school's program or need to make changes to the information listed? Please contact us.

Additional SD Nursing Resources

LPN Salary in South Dakota

The table below lists career information obtained from the Bureau of Labor Statistics for licensed practical nurses in South Dakota. The table is sorted by total employment, with the largest metropolitan areas listed first.

AreaTotal EmploymentAverage Hourly WageAverage Annual Salary
Sioux Falls920$22.26$46,300
Rapid City370$21.97$45,700

Table data sourced from 2022 BLS (http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes292061.htm)