Becoming an LPN in South Dakota
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 2026, it’s been predicted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics that a 12% increase in Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) jobs could be underway. Program options continue to grow in South Dakota to accommodate the demand.
Details on South Dakota LPN Schools & Classes
Currently, there are roughly 5 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
- 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.
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 $15,651 total. This figure includes tuition, fees, supplies and more.
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 Enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact (eNLC), 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.
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.
|Area||Total Employment||Average Hourly Wage||Average Annual Salary|
For those interested in advancing their nursing career, see our South Dakota LPN to RN/BSN programs page.
1201 Arrow Ave., Watertown, SD 57201
101 Antelope Lake Cir, Mission, SD 57555
12572 BIA Highway 700, Sisseton, SD 57262
2320 N Career Ave, Sioux Falls, SD 57107
800 Mickelson Dr, Rapid City, SD 57703
Additional SD Nursing Resources
- South Dakota Board of Nursing
4305 South Louise Ave., Suite 201
Sioux Falls, SD 57106-3115
Phone: (605) 362-2760
- South Dakota Nurses Association
P.O. Box 1015,
Pierre, SD 57501
Phone: (605) 945.4265
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