Becoming a Nurse in South Dakota
Becoming a nurse in South Dakota takes dedication to pursue the necessary education and testing. You generally need to earn an approved or accredited nursing certificate or degree. You might also need to pass the appropriate version of the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX), depending on what type of nurse you're trying to become.
The South Dakota Board of Nursing regulates licenses for licensed practical nurses (LPNs), registered nurses (RNs), and advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs). The nursing board and the Department of Health take joint responsibility for the state's certified nurse aide (CNA) registry.
South Dakota is grappling with a nursing shortage that affects rural areas the most. As in many states, South Dakota's nursing workforce was declining even before COVID-19 due to a lack of nurse educators qualified to teach the next generation. The state will have plenty of open positions in coming years, but working conditions are likely to be less than ideal as administrators try to do more with less.
Read on to discover the requirements for each level of nursing in the Mount Rushmore State.
To learn about online nursing programs and requirements in other states, explore our list of accredited nursing degrees by state below:
Nursing Degrees by State
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- South Carolina
- West Virginia
How To Get Certified Nurse Aide Certification in South Dakota
Aspiring CNAs must complete a board-approved training program teaching the proper knowledge and skills for the job. Graduates then need to pass a test with written and skill-based, hands-on sections. Alternatively, CNAs can receive certification by endorsement if they verify that they're certified in good standing in another state.
CNAs must renew their registration every two years. They need to demonstrate that they've completed at least 12 hours of approved continuing education each year and that they worked for pay as a CNA for at least 12 hours in the previous two years.
How To Get a Licensed Practical Nurse License in South Dakota
As with all its nursing licenses, South Dakota can grant LPN licenses by examination or by endorsement. New LPNs must take a board-approved practical nursing program before taking the NCLEX-PN. Endorsement candidates must submit proof of licensure in their original state, along with proof of employment to demonstrate that they've worked as an LPN. Both sets of applicants must undergo a background check.
LPN licenses renew every two years. Renewal requires LPNs to show that they worked at least 140 hours during any 12-month stretch of the last six years.
How To Get a Registered Nursing License in South Dakota
South Dakota RN applicants must earn an accredited Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. Licensure-by-examination applicants then need to pass the NCLEX-RN, while licensure-by-endorsement hopefuls submit proof of licensure elsewhere. Each candidate must submit to a criminal background check.
RN licenses must be renewed every two years. South Dakota doesn't make licensees complete continuing education, but they do need to verify that they worked at least 140 hours during any 12-month period from the last six years.
How To Get an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse License in South Dakota
Certified nurse midwife (CNM)
Certified nurse practitioner (CNP)
Certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA)
Clinical nurse specialist (CNS)
We have several resources for aspiring APRNs, including a 2023 Best Online Nurse Practitioner Degree Programs page, a guide on How To Become a Nurse Anesthetist, and a Guide to Online Nurse Practitioner Degrees.
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