South Dakota Nursing Programs and Degrees Guide

    The following guide is designed to provide you with essential information on the nursing programs available in the state of South Dakota. Several of South Dakota’s colleges and universities, including Dakota Wesleyan University, offer online nursing program options while students can specialize in such areas as clinical nurse leader, nurse educator, pediatric nurse practitioner, and adult geriatric nurse practitioner. In addition to the online nursing programs offered in South Dakota, many online universities offer bachelor’s and master’s in nursing programs partially or entirely online.

    Quick Facts

    • 13 schools with nursing programs in South Dakota are in our database (see below).
    • 10 colleges and universities offer associate’s degrees or certificates in nursing.1
    • 7 colleges and universities offer bachelor’s degrees in nursing.1
    • 3 colleges and universities offer master’s or advanced degrees in nursing.1
    • No schools ranked in Kiplinger’s Best Values in Public Colleges in 2018.2
    • No schools ranked in the Princeton Review’s Great Schools for Nursing Majors in 2018.3
    • 1 school ranked in US News Best Nursing Schools: Master’s programs.4
    • 1 school ranked in US News Best Nursing Schools: Doctor of Nursing Practice programs.4

    Top-Ranked Schools with Nursing Programs in South Dakota

    US News Best Nursing Schools: Master’s

    • South Dakota State University (#102 tie)

    US News Best Nursing Schools: Doctor of Nursing Practice

    • South Dakota State University (#92 tie)

    Continue reading below where you will learn more about the undergraduate and graduate nursing programs in South Dakota.

    NCLEX Pass Rate and Accreditation Information for Nursing Schools in South Dakota

    The following table allows you to easily compare not-for-profit South Dakota nursing schools on a variety of factors. Click on the arrows in the top row to sort the table. In addition to seeking a program that leads to licensure in your desired area of nursing, it’s advisable to consider accreditation as a factor in your decision. If you are considering education beyond the associate’s level, know that a degree from a school that holds accreditation from the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) is a common requirement for admission to master’s degree, ADN/LVN and RN to BSN, and specialized certificate programs. You should also check to ensure that the school you are considering is approved or accepted by the South Dakota Board of Nursing (https://doh.sd.gov/licensing-and-records/boards/nursing/).

    SchoolADN or LVN ProgramBSN ProgramGraduate Nursing ProgramACEN/CCNE Accred.*NCLEX-PN First Time Pass Rate**# TakingNCLEX-RN First Time Pass Rate^# TakingNet Price^^
    Augustana UniversityNoYesNoCCNEN/AN/A93%44$19,276
    Dakota Wesleyan UniversityNoYesNoCCNEN/AN/A85%45$19,115
    Lake Area Technical InstituteYesNoNoACEN98%53N/AN/A$10,928
    Mount Marty UniversityYesYesYesCCNE100%461%31$20,307
    Oglala Lakota CollegeYesNoNoNoN/AN/A80%5$2,775
    Presentation CollegeNoYesNoACEN/CCNEN/AN/A88%51$22,064
    Sinte Gleska UniversityYesNoNoNo75%4N/AN/A$13,911
    South Dakota State UniversityNoYesYesCCNEN/AN/A91%288$20,891
    Southeast Technical InstituteYesNoNoACEN99%8584%19$12,324
    University of Sioux FallsNoYesNoCCNEN/AN/A88%42$20,135
    University of South Dakota (ADN)YesYesNoACEN/CCNEN/AN/A84%106$15,898
    University of South Dakota (BSN)YesYesNoACEN/CCNEN/AN/A85%55$15,898
    Western Dakota Technical CollegeYesNoNoNo40%35N/AN/A$12,607

    *The Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) accredits ADN/ASN/BSN programs. The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) accredits BSN/MSN/DNP programs.5,6
    **NCLEX-PN pass rates are for first-time undergraduates testing between January 1, 2015 and December 31, 2015.7 You can compare these pass rates to the national average through the National Council of State Boards of Nursing.
    ^NCLEX-RN pass rates reported are for first-time undergraduates testing between January 1, 2015 and December 31, 2015.7 You can compare these pass rates to the national average through the National Council of State Boards of Nursing.
    ^^The National Center for Education Statistics calculates net price from the total estimated cost of attendance, including includes tuition, books, room and board, and other expenses, for in-state students minus the average financial aid award (such as grants and scholarships).

    Schools in South Dakota with Nursing Degrees

    Associate’s in Nursing Programs

    Oglala Lakota College
    Oglala Lakota College offers an associate degree nursing program that emphasizes disease prevention and health promotion in the native peoples. Graduates are prepared to sit for the NCLEX-RN exam and become registered nurses in South Dakota and to work in a variety of structured health care settings. The program is designed as a component of a nursing career ladder, with graduates well-positioned to pursue a bachelor’s degree program. Courses include Foundations of Holistic Nursing, Holistic Mental Health Nursing, and Professional and Transcultural Nursing with Lakota Emphasis. Students also complete a culminating nursing capstone practicum. Space in the nursing program is limited and students must complete a selective admissions process.

    Southeast Technical Institute
    Southeast Technical Institute, also known as Southeast Tech, offers an Associate of Applied Science – Registered Nursing degree program that prepares graduates for entry-level professional nursing careers. Currently licensed practical nurses may be eligible for advanced placement in the program. The curriculum includes such courses as Nursing Across the Lifespan, Pharmacology for the Registered Nurse, and Advanced Medical/Surgical Nursing. Students also complete laboratory and clinical practicum experiences across the course of study. The registered nursing program at Southeast Tech is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN).

    Bachelor’s in Nursing Programs

    University of South Dakota
    The University of South Dakota’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) 120 credit program spans four years and combines in-classroom coursework, clinical laboratories, and clinical practicums. Nursing majors begin taking nurse courses in the junior year with coursework focusing on pharmacology, physical assessment across the lifespan, population-based healthcare and disease prevention, organizational systems leadership, and informatics. Graduates of the BSN program possess the necessary qualifications to sit for the National Council Licensure Examination-Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). The nursing department also features an online RN to BSN program that caters to current registered nurses who already hold an associate’s degree in nursing.

    Dakota Wesleyan University
    Current registered nurses, who already possess an associate’s degree in nursing, may pursue a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) through Dakota Wesleyan University’s RN to BSN program, which is offered entirely online. Students must complete 126 credits to fulfill degree requirements with 83 of those credits generally transferred from the associate’s degree. The 43 remaining credits are divided into general college courses and nursing coursework. The nursing curriculum covers pharmacology, health assessment and promotion, nursing research, and family, community, and populations. Practicums are also mandatory. Successful applicants must have an associate’s degree in nursing with a minimum 2.5 GPA and be CPR-certified.

    Master’s in Nursing Programs

    South Dakota State University
    South Dakota State University’s Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program allows students to specialize in nursing education or clinical nurse leadership. Students choose from one emphasis in the clinical nurse leadership track: clinical nurse leader or administrator. Both full-time and part-time study are permitted with students fulfilling degree requirements predominately online. In addition to mandatory practicums, nursing students must complete such core courses as research methods for advanced practice nurses, introduction to roles and issues in advanced practice nursing, and health policy, legislation, economics, and ethics. Applications are due March 15 with successful applicants beginning the program in the fall.

    Mount Marty University
    Mount Marty University’s Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) – Family Nurse Practitioner program prepares students for an advanced nursing career with many different age groups. In addition to general adult nursing education, coursework in the program also covers topics relevant to children, women, older adults, and families. Applicants to the MSN program can submit an application and application materials – including a copy of a current registered nurse’s license, official transcripts, and three letters of recommendation – online. Accepted candidates can begin the program in the fall or in the spring semester.

    Student Reviews

    Note: Student Reviews are based on the experiences of a few individuals and it is unlikely that you will have similar results. Please review the “Data, Student Reviews and Other Information” section in our Terms of Use and Disclaimers.

    South Dakota State University
    Brookings, SD 57007
    (605) 688-4121

    Student Review: “My experience at the SDSU Accelerated Nursing program was great. I chose the program because it was still accepting applications last minute when I had missed deadlines at other programs. After applying, I realized that I would be moving over 1700 miles away for nursing school. What really got me was the fact that this program is only 11 months. It is labeled as a 12-month program but we started January 5 and graduated December 10. That is moving at an incredible speed. After a month of the program, I knew I loved it. There are two main staff members that are instructors for the majority of your nursing theory and skill-based classes. What’s great about them is that they still know what they are doing. Even while being full-time instructors, they are ICU and ER nurses still practicing. For specialty classes like OB or Psych, nurses from that field are brought in to teach giving you great insight into what they deal with daily. The program flies by and you find yourself taking boards with information that is only a year old at the very oldest, much better than a traditional four-year program. It’s more than I could ask for and I feel lucky to have spent my time there.” – Student at South Dakota State University

    Student Review: “My time at SDSU for their Accelerated Nursing program was fantastic. On the first day, you look forward and think about how much further you have to go. Only 11 months later you are looking at graduation and thinking about how much you’ve done in such a short time. While it seems daunting at first, the best part about the program is that the instructors actually want you to succeed and are personable. I found myself several times texting an instructor asking for advice, not only on class-related projects but also once I began looking for a job. This was actually the easiest part of the program. In my fourth semester, I applied to my dream hospital, a huge level 1 trauma center. Not even being done with my program yet I got a call back for an interview two days later. Three days after my interview I had a position locked in for 4 days after I graduated working on a temporary license. The program has led me to where I am today and prepared me for anything ahead. New jobs, grad school, or whatever it may be, I know my year at SDSU has made me prepared.” – Student at South Dakota State University

    1. National Center for Education Statistics College Navigator: https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
    2. Kiplinger’s Best Values in Public Colleges: https://www.kiplinger.com/tool/college/T014-S001-best-college-values-college-finder/index.php#Tile
    3. The Princeton Review. The Best 382 Colleges, 2018 Edition. New York, Penguin Random House, 2018.
    4. US News Top Graduate Nursing Schools: https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-nursing-schools
    5. Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN): http://www.acenursing.us/accreditedprograms/programSearch.htm
    6. Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE): https://directory.ccnecommunity.org/reports/accprog.asp
    7. South Dakota Board of Nursing: https://doh.sd.gov/licensing-and-records/boards/nursing/