In South Dakota, nurses must have a current, valid South Dakota nursing license, which can be secured either through examination or by endorsement. They must also complete an accredited nursing program that has been approved by the South Dakota Board of Nursing.
Procedures to get licensed and educated are similar to those in most states, with a few noteworthy exceptions and additions.
For new nursing graduates who can establish residency in South Dakota via a drivers license, voters registration card or proof of federal income tax filing, the first step in getting a license revolves around the NCLEX exam. Applicants must apply with the Board of Nursing, then register and pay $200 with Pearson Vue.
Once they receive authorization to test, they should schedule the exam with Pearson Vue, then present the letter of authorization along with an ID. After taking the test, they will receive results from the board of nursing.
License verification can be performed online using either the license number, the first and last name of the license holder, or his or her social security number. Verification procedures can be found at https://www.sdbon.org/verify/.
For nurses who get a single-state license, that license is valid only in the state of issuance.
South Dakota is also a Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) state, having joined this program in 2001. This means out-of-state nurses can practice in South Dakota, but both resident nurses and out-of-state nurses must practice according to the laws of the state.
License renewal procedures must be conducted according the rules and regulations of the home state, and compact states are allowed to share investigation information in the case of violations. This is done through NURSYS, the coordinated license information system.
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LPN Licensing Requirements
As is the case with RNs, LPNs can apply for a license via examination or endorsement. They must be able to show evidence of qualifications by presenting a Certificate of Nursing Education, and they must also pay a $100 examination fee before taking the NCLEX-PN exam with Pearson Vue.
It is illegal to practice nursing without a current license or a valid temporary permit.
There are a couple of other licensing provisions that are unique to South Dakota. For Canadian-educated nurses, the list of requirements includes completing a government-approved, four-hear high school program or its equivalent, and they must also have a US social security number. A list of these requirements can be found at https://doh.sd.gov/boards/nursing/assets/CanadianNurse.pdf.
A similar set of provisions applies to foreign-educated LPNs. For these applicants, they must have completed the CGFNS Certification Program (Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools), information for which can be found at www.cgfns.org. A criminal background check and fingerprinting is also part of the process.
RN Education Requirements
South Dakota RNs must have at least an associated degree to practice in the state, and their degree program must be approved by the South Dakota Board of Nursing.
Because the state is sparsely populated, there are fewer options to get an associates degree. A partial list of schools includes Dakota Wesleyan University, the University of South Dakota and Presentation Colleges.
There is also an online option for an associates degree offered by the College Network. This online RN program leads to an AS in Nursing, but applicants must be licensed LPNs or LVNs in order to enter it. More information about this program and the schools that support it can be found at http://www.degreetree.com/resources/associates-in-nursing-online.
While continuing education units are not required in South Dakota, nurses must prove that they have met minimum practice requirements by providing verification of nursing employment for at least 140 hours during any calendar year during the last 6 years, or a total accumulation of at least 480 hours over the course of that same 6-year period.
LPN Education Requirements
LPNs must have at least an associates degree to practice nursing in the state, with the practical nursing program being the fastest path to become a practicing nurse. This program requires a year of courses along with hands-on practice, and LPNs must also obtain a CPR card and pass the NCLEX-PN exam after completing their coursework.
A partial list of schools offering this degree includes Western Dakota Tech, Southeast Technical School and Sinte Gleska University. There is also an LPN-to-RN upward mobility program offered at the Lake Area Technical Institute in Watertown, South Dakota. Information about these programs can be found on the websites of the individual schools offering the degree.
Salary and Career Info
The interactive chart above is a visual representation of the annual salary of South Dakota licensed nurse compared to the national annual salaries, all based on the latest May 2013 Occupational Employment Statistics figures released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Earning a BSN in South Dakota
Over 42 percent of all nurses in South Dakota currently have a bachelor’s degree or higher, and over a third of all RNs are enrolled in courses that would lead to a higher degree.
One of the most popular options for furthering education is the Bachelor of Science in Nursing, which is offered by the University of South Dakota (Vermillion), the University of Sioux Falls and South Dakota State University (Brookings).
Information about these programs and a complete list of schools offering the RN-to-BSN option can be found at http://www.bestnursingdegree.com/programs/rn-to-bsn/south-dakota/.