Top LPN Programs in South Dakota

Last Updated/Verified: September 15th, 2023

Becoming a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) is the quickest way to enter the nursing field.

Get Your Degree!

Find schools and get information on the program that’s right for you. Powered by Campus Explorer

To begin this rewarding healthcare career, you will need to complete an LPN/LVN program.

As the population ages, the demand for LPNs will continue to rise, allowing you to secure a nursing career that allows you to help those in need. As of December 2020, South Dakota was one of seven states with a shortage.

LPN Schools in South Dakota Quick Facts

  • An LPN program typically takes 9 to 12 months to complete, which is much quicker than a 4-year Registered Nurse (RN) program
  • The average salary for LPNs in South Dakota is $30.68/hour or $55,076 per year
  • By 2028, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts LPN jobs will increase by 11%
  • LPNs make up approximately 16% of nurses in South Dakota
  • 28.1% of LPNs in South Dakota primarily work in nursing homes/long-term care facilities, 22.5% work in ambulatory care settings, and 8.7% work in hospitals

The cities of Sturgis, Mitchell, and Rapid City provide growth opportunities and are three of the highest paying cities for LPNs.

Overview of LPN Schools in South Dakota

There are currently multiple schools throughout South Dakota that offer LPN programs. These schools include community colleges, private career schools, and technical centers. There are several options for you to choose from, helping you select the best program for your schedule. You can attend a part-time or full-time program, and in some cases, even choose between night and day courses. On average, programs last one year, spread out across multiple semesters.

Your curriculum will depend on the nursing school you attend. You can expect a combination of classroom work, labs, and hands-on clinical experience. Some courses you may take include:

  • Maternity Nursing
  • Nutrition
  • Fundamentals of Nursing Practice
  • Professional Concepts in Nursing
  • Medical Terminology
  • General Psychology

LPN Accreditation

When you choose an LPN school, it’s important to make sure it’s accredited. There are several national and regional accrediting bodies, such as the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). These programs are held to a higher standard and look good on your resume. In South Dakota, programs must be approved by the South Dakota Board of Nursing.

LPN Admission Requirements

Each school will have its own standards when applying. You should check with your schools of interest to make sure you’re eligible.

Common requirements include:

  • High school or GED transcript
  • A satisfactory score on the ATI-TEAS exam
  • CPR certification
  • Immunization records
  • Pass a criminal background check

For example, at Lake Area Technical College, the requirements are fairly standard:

  • Submit an application
  • Complete the ATI-TEAS entrance exam
  • Submit a high school or college transcript
  • Have a GPA score of 2.5 or better
  • Complete all prerequisite courses
  • Provide current immunizations
  • Pass a criminal background check

LPN Tuition & Costs

The cost of tuition varies widely from one school to the next. Many factors need to be taken into consideration. However, at the bare minimum, you will need to pay tuition, and any additional fees. The cost of supplies is generally extra as well, such as your uniform or stethoscope. If you are moving away from home and require residence, that will be an added cost.

When you visit each school’s website, they will give you a breakdown of what you can expect to pay per semester or year.

For example, at Southeast Tech, the tuition is $13,708. However, there is a program fee for LPNs, which is $2,300. The total for the year is $16,208 after you include $2,500 for books.

In contrast, the Practical Nursing program at Lake Area Tech costs $5171 for the fall semester, $4625 for the spring semester, and $1488 for the summer semester. Other costs include uniforms ($90), tools ($100), books ($1475), and a laptop ($915).

LPN Licensing Requirements in South Dakota

To become an LPN in South Dakota, you must complete an approved program. Once you graduate, you will be able to apply for licensure.

Checklist to Become a South Dakota LPN

  • Earn your LPN degree at a board-approved school
  • Sit and pass the NCLEX-PN exam
  • Complete a criminal background check
  • Apply for licensing

Please note: In South Dakota, your LPN license expires every two years on your birthday. To renew, you must provide verification of at least 140 hours in any 12-month period, or an accumulation of at least 480 hours within the previous six years.


To become an LPN in South Dakota, you need to pass the NCLEX-PN exam. When looking at different schools, ask about current pass rates. This is often a reflection of the quality of education provided.

LPN Reciprocity

South Dakota became a member of the Nurse Licensure Compact on January 1, 2001.

This means that if you’re a licensed LPN, working in any other U.S. state, you can be transferred to South Dakota to work by seeking endorsement. If the state you transfer from is also a compact state, you will simply need to provide evidence of your license — no additional licensing is required. You will also need to provide proof that you completed a board-approved nursing program.

LPN Salaries in South Dakota

How much you make as an LPN in South Dakota will depend on where you work, how much experience you have, the certifications you hold, and other factors. On average, LPNs in South Dakota make $55,076 per year, but this figure varies significantly across the state. This is higher than the national average of $48,820 per year.

Here are some sample salaries across South Dakota according to the BLS:

  • Rapid City — Average salary of $40,930 per year or $19.68/hour
  • Sioux City, IA-NE — Average salary of $45,150 per year or $21.71/hour
  • Sioux Falls — Average salary of $40,440 per year or $19.44/hour
  • East South Dakota nonmetropolitan area — Average salary of $37,860 per year or $18.20/hour
  • West South Dakota nonmetropolitan area — Average salary of $38,710 per year or $18.61/hour

Job Outlook for LPNs in South Dakota

The LPN industry has an excellent future in the United States for both job opportunities and salary. Much like the rest of the country, South Dakota will see increased job growth over the next decade. This is because of an increasing need for patient care. A significant portion of LPNs in South Dakota are approaching retirement.

Top LPN Schools in South Dakota

Lake Area Technical College

1201 Arrow Avenue, PO Box 730, Watertown, SD 57201


The Practical Nursing program at Lake Area has received several awards, including the 2020 Best LPN Programs in the Nation Award and the 2020 Best LPN Programs – Fast Track Award. Both full-time and part-time options are available, taking 11 months and 11 months, respectively. Upon completion, you can apply for a second year to become an RN, or enter the workforce. The full-time program is two semesters, plus one summer session. To graduate, you must have 47 credits.

Southeast Tech

2320 North Career Avenue, Sioux Falls, SD 57107


This one-year program requires the completion of 44 credits. During your training, you will study anatomy and physiology in STC’s high-tech Sullivan Health/Science Center. The estimated total for the year is $16,208 — over $13,700 of which is your tuition. Financial aid is available to those who qualify. Sample courses include Medical-Surgical Nursing, Maternity and Pediatric Nursing, and Medical Language.

Mitchell Technical Institute

1800 East Spruce Street, Mitchell, SD 57301

(800) 684-1969

Mitchell Technical Institute is proud to have a 100% job placement rate. This program is completed in one calendar year, taking place in the classroom, in the institute’s state-of-the-art simulation laboratory, and in clinical practice healthcare settings. Courses include Adult Health Nursing, Medical Law and Ethics, Geriatric Nursing, and Psychology. Tuition and fees are nearly $14,600, plus $1409 for books and tools. Financial aid is available.

Western Dakota Technical Institute

800 Mickelson Drive, Rapid City, SD 57703


The Practical Nursing program at Western Dakota Tech requires you to complete 45 credits, 30 of which are “technical” requirements. These technical courses include Advanced Nursing, Skills Lab I & II, and Transition to Practical Nursing. In 2019, the NCLEX-PN pass rate was 95.65% and in 2020, it was 88.89%. Financial aid, affordable housing, and child care options are all available.

Sinte Gleska University

101 Antelope, Lake Circle, Mission, SD 57555


Sinte Gleska University offers an Associate of Applied Science in Licensed Practical Nursing and a Certificate of Licensed Practical Nursing. Unlike the other programs, the LPN program at the university is two years. Both years, you will participate in a fall, spring, and summer semester, completing courses such as Nursing Basics and Pharmacology. To graduate, you must get a 3.0 GPA in all year 2 LPN classes.

Additional Resources

Need additional support? Check out the following resources when planning to become an LPN in South Dakota.

  • The South Dakota Nurses Association supports nurses through networking, communication, advocacy, and collaboration. They can be contacted at 605-301-0408.
  • South Dakota Board of Nursing is located at 4305 S Louise Ave, Sioux Falls, SD 57106, United States. Its mission is to ensure citizens have access to quality nursing care through the regulations and standards for nursing education.