Registered Nurse Certification in How to Become an RN in South Dakota: Nursing License Application and Renewal Guide

Registered nurse certification in South Dakota enables nurses to take responsibility for the treatment, safety, and recovery of every patient. The license in the state is issued by the South Dakota Board of Nursing, which aims at safeguarding public welfare, health, and life, and focuses on protecting residents from improper application of nursing practices, as well as unqualified and unauthorized nursing education programs.

There are many accredited schools that offer each type of nursing degree, including:

  • Associate degrees in nursing (ADN);
  • Bachelor’s degrees in nursing (BSN);
  • Licensed practical nursing degrees (LPN);
  • Registered nurse (RN);
  • Master’s of Science in nursing degrees (MSN);
  • Doctor of nursing practice degrees (DNP).

Based on 2018 estimates, RNs in South Dakota earned an average of $58,822 annually, which is significantly less than the national average salary for RNs.

South Dakota Licensing Board, Office, or Authority

The South Dakota Board of Nursing makes it their mission to “protect the public through the regulation of nursing licensure, practice, and education, in accordance with SDCL 36-9, SDCL 36-9A, ARSD 20:48, and ARSD 20:62.” The Board can be contacted at:
600 East Capitol Avenue
Pierre, SD 57501
Phone: (605) 773-3361.

Registered Nurse Education Requirements

The national certification standards for an RN require that prospective students obtain a degree from an accredited agency and/or nursing school that the South Dakota State Board approves, including both in-state programs and out-of-state schools.

To qualify for these state-approved programs, applicants must complete the application for licensure (by examination or endorsement).

  • Complete the corresponding nursing school’s application;
  • Declare their nursing major;
  • Send in ACT or SAT scores and high school transcript to the ideal university;
  • Successfully finish courses in an undergraduate program of study.

It is important to keep in mind that each school/university may have its own requirements that must be met prior to admittance — applicants will want to research these requirements to make sure they have met each one.

RN Licensure by Examination

Obtaining a nursing license by examination is just one way students are able to get their license. To do so, students must complete the following examination requirements:

  • Pay the required application fee of $100;
  • Pass a criminal background check and fingerprinting;
  • Complete any one of the following:
    • In-state nursing program approved by the Board.
    • Out-of-state nursing program approved by any other board of nursing and provide official transcripts showing completion of your degree.
  • Register for the NCLEX exam and pay the required registration fee of $200.

Fingerprinting and Background Checks

Applicants must contact the South Dakota Board of Nursing to request their criminal background check packet. The fingerprint cards they receive from there must be used for their fingerprints since there is specific agency data pre­ printed on each card. Applications for licensure will not be processed and a temporary license will not be issued until a completed application and completed fingerprint cards are received.

Approved Exams

The National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) is an exam used by Nursing Regulatory Bodies to test the competence of entry-level nursing candidates. The NCLEX exam is an exclusive computerized adaptive test.

When taking the exam, you must answer a minimum of 75 questions. Your level of understanding of those 75 questions will determine whether you will be required to answer more questions. You can access practice questions for the test for free ahead of time to help you prepare.

Applying to Take a Certification Exam

When registering to take the NCLEX-RN exam, you will need to:

  • Submit an application for licensure/registration to the Nursing Regulatory Body where you wish to be licensed/registered;
  • Meet all of the Nursing Regulatory Body’s eligibility requirements to take the NCLEX Examination;
  • Register and pay for the NCLEX examination with Pearson VUE;
  • Receive eligibility from your Nursing Regulatory Body.

Testing Vendors and Proctors

There is one testing location in South Dakota:

Pearson Professional Centers-Sioux Falls SD
101 West 69th Street
Suite 104
Sioux Falls, South Dakota 57103.

Applying for Licensure

You will fill out an application that consists of the following categories:

  • License type;
  • Education;
  • Exam and temporary permits;
  • Regulatory questions;

After filling out these sections, you will be prompted to preview the application to check it for errors. After verifying that everything is indeed correct, you may then submit the application with the appropriate fees attached.

RN Licensure by Endorsement (Out-of-State Applicants)

All candidates applying for RN licensure by endorsement must follow the below procedure:

  • Apply using the initial licensure application and pay the required $100 fee;
  • Have official transcripts sent to the SD Board of Nursing office;
  • Complete a criminal background check and submit fee payment;
  • Send verification of the original state of licensure to the SD Board of Nursing office;
  • Employment verification:
    • The number of hours you worked in the nursing profession (at least 140 hours in any 12-month period, or an accumulated total of at least 480 hours within the preceding six years).

It is important to note that applicants are not eligible for licensure in South Dakota if their primary state of residence is another compact state:

ArkansasNew Hampshire
ColoradoNew Jersey
DelawareNew Mexico
FloridaNorth Carolina
GeorgiaNorth Dakota
IndianaSouth Carolina
IowaSouth Dakota
MarylandWest Virginia

RN License Renewal

All RN licenses in South Dakota need renewal every two years. Before completing the online renewal process, applicants will need the following information:

  • First and last name;
  • U.S. Social Security number;
  • RN license number;
  • Employment verification (completion of a minimum of 140 work hours within one year, or at least 480 work hours during the preceding six-year period)
  • Current primary address;
  • Pay the required renewal fee of $115 via Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover.

Continuing Education Requirements

There is currently no continuing education (CE) requirements in the state of South Dakota.

South Dakota Nursing License Verification

To verify your RN license in South Dakota, you may use any of the following online methods:

quick RN guide links