How to Become a Licenced Practical Nurse in South Dakota

Practical Nursing is essential to the smooth functioning of healthcare teams. Licensed Practical Nurses, or LPNs, work under the supervision of a Registered Nurse (RN) or doctor to perform patient care tasks in various medical settings, such as hospitals, doctors’ offices and long-term care facilities. Some of the tasks LPNs are required to handle include inserting IVs, performing dialysis procedures and changing bandages, but a well-trained and experienced LPN can take on many responsibilities.

Requirements for Becoming an LPN in South Dakota

Practical Nursing applicants need to have a high school diploma or equivalent. They must also be up-to-date on their immunizations, have current CPR certification and earn a satisfactory grade on ACCUPLACER and TEAV exams. Once an accredited education program is completed, prospective LPNs sit the NCLEX Practical Nursing exam.

Accredited Practical Nursing Programs

The South Dakota Board of Nursing regulates all nursing programs in the state. Only graduates from approved programs are eligible for licensure. Those programs include:

  • Lake Area Technical Institute. LATI is located in Watertown and is one of two universities in the state with a nationally-accredited nursing program. The LPN program is offered three ways: full-time on campus for one year, full-time online and part-time online. The estimated tuition is 10,708.00 at this time, plus books and fees.
  • Sinte Gleska University. This Lakota university, located in Mission, offers an Associate’s of Applied Science in Practical Nursing. This full-time, 63-credit program takes two years to complete. Currently, the cost per credit hour is $110. Books, supplies and fees are extra.
  • Western Dakota Tech. Students at this Rapid City school can earn their LPN diploma in either three or four semesters, after completing 45 credit hours. Tuition, books and fees are estimated at 16,971.00 for the three-semester option, while the four-semester option is estimated to cost 17,146.00.
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State-Required LPN Certification

After successfully completing an accredited LPN program, Practical Nurses are eligible to sit the national NCLEX-PN exam. Nurses who pass the exam can then apply for licensure through the South Dakota Board of Nursing. South Dakota Practical Nursing licenses are valid in multiple states, according to the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC). This compact also means that LPNs from other participating states can practice in South Dakota without transferring their licenses.

Salary and Employment Prospects for LPNs

According to the Bureau of Labour Statistics, half of South Dakota LPNs made more than $18.08 per hour in 2017. The median annual salary for LPNs in the same period was $37,600. The highest-paying jobs are more readily found in Sioux Falls, but for those who prefer smaller cities or rural areas, there are jobs across the state.

It is also important to note that the industry is growing slowly in South Dakota. The projected industry growth is 2.2 percent between 2016 and 2026, which means an estimated 140 job openings per year.

Working as a Licenced Practical Nurse in South Dakota

An LPN’s care is essential to their patients’ treatment, but this care isn’t limited to medical tasks. Practical Nurses will find themselves listening to, educating and comforting patients and their family members. They will encounter challenging situations that require quick thinking and confidence. LPNs who want to progress into other medical careers such as becoming an RN also need to be genuinely passionate about their job.

Maybe you see yourself in these descriptions. If you do, Practical Nursing may be the right career for you.

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How much do licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses earn in the state of South Dakota?

According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses in the state of South Dakota made an average of $38,760 per year in 2019. Entry-level licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses earned around $30,530 and some experienced professionals earned salaries as high as $48,640.

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