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RN Nursing Programs in South Dakota - SD

How to Become a Registered Nurse/RN in South Dakota

The fastest way to become licensed as a Registered Nurse in South Dakota is through a diploma program at a hospital, and it takes a little under two years. But, these are not readily available. The vast majority of RNs are licensed through one of two college-based programs: a two year Associate Degree, Nursing (ADN) program, or a four year Bachelor’s Degree, Nursing (BSN). To enter either of them, students must first enter general studies and earn around 30 credits of pre-nursing course work in general studies, focusing on topics like English, math, physiology and psychology.

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After gaining entry through application to a college of nursing within a college of university, course work in either an ADN or a BSN builds towards advanced knowledge of patient diagnosis, treatment and care, as well as nurse management skills—however, a BSN offers deeper understanding of treatment processes, while also allowing the opportunity to pursue areas of special interest through elective courses and two years of additional study. At the end of either college-bases program, students take the NCLEX-RN licensure examination. It is administered by Pearson Vue and costs $200, while also requiring application and payment of a $100 fee to the South Dakota Board of Nursing, plus fingerprinting and a criminal background check. Ninety percent of graduating nursing students pass the test on their first try, and receive licensure and membership in the largest group of health care professionals in the USA—a group that continues to grow and will be one of the more in-demand occupations in South Dakota for years to come.

RN Salary and Jobs in South Dakota

The median annual income for South Dakota Registered Nurses is roughly $60,000 (according to, before typically excellent benefits. Around 2/3 of RNs in the state are employed by hospitals, with the remaining 1/3 serving retirement facilities, clinics, doctors offices, government health organizations, and other health care facilities. Although there are diverse employment opportunities for South Dakota Registered Nurses, the majority of them work with doctors and lesser-qualified nurses to devise and maintain patient care plans for multiple patients—indeed, the RNs workplace is ever-changing and rarely dull.