How to Become an LPN in South Dakota – A Step-by-Step Guide

How to Become an LPN in South Dakota - A Step-by-Step Guide

Always wanted to help those around you?

Interested in joining the medical industry? 

Looking to become a Licensed Practical Nurse?

Well, becoming an LPN is a fantastic career choice.

Although there are other medical courses you can choose from, becoming an LPN is faster and cheaper. 

That’s why an LPN is a great alternative, particularly if a long and expensive medical course is something you can’t afford right now.

With an exciting work life and well-paying salaries all achievable in 1-2 years, becoming an LPN is an opportunity you cannot miss.

In this article, we’ve gone in-depth, offering you everything you need to know about how to become an LPN in South Dakota. 

We’ll also answer some FAQs, such as:

  • How much does an LPN make in South Dakota?
  • Are there LPN program scholarships available?

Let’s get started!

How to Become an LPN in South Dakota – 4 Simple Steps

Below are the 4 simple steps to becoming an LPN in South Dakota:

Step #1: Finish Your LPN Education Program

Step #2: Get a License to Practice

Step #3: Secure Your First LPN Job

Step #4:  Keep Your LPN License Active

Let’s have a look at each one.

Step #1: Finish Your LPN Education Program

If you want to start a nursing career, you’re going to have to begin by enrolling in a nursing education program.

LPN programs are intensive training programs designed to teach you the fundamentals and complexities of nursing.

LPN programs are typically 12-18 months, depending on whether you’re studying part-time or full-time.

State Approval

When shortlisting your choices of LPN programs, make sure to put state-approved, properly accredited schools at the top. 

You can find a list of LPN programs approved by the South Dakota Board of Nursing here.

State approval signifies quality and that the school is complying with all the standards required by the Board. 

If you don’t enroll in a state-approved program, you will not qualify for an LPN license. 

Program Cost

Depending on where you live and the choice of institution, LPN programs are around $3000-$15,000. 

Take note that you will need some books, uniforms, and other supplies. It’s best to ask the school if the program cost already includes these requirements or not. 

Prerequisites to Enrolling

You must fulfill the following requirements before you can enroll in an LPN program; these requirements may change depending on the institution:

  • A high school diploma or General Education Development (GED) 
  • Must be at least 17 years old.
  • A CPR certification 

Step #2: Get a License to Practice

If you’re done with school, it’s time to get that LPN license. 

But getting a license is not that easy. There is a process you still need to undergo.

For fresh graduates who have never taken the board exams yet, you will need to apply for licensure by examination.

For those who are already active LPNs in another state but want to work in South Dakota, you can apply by endorsement. 

Let’s break it down.

Licensure by Examination

Graduation from your LPN program is already a big achievement. But it’s not the end of the journey. 

You still need to pass the infamous NCLEX-PN exam or the “board exams.”

What is NCLEX-PN?

It stands for National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses. 

It is a national exam administered by the NCSBN to evaluate if aspiring LPNs have the knowledge and skills necessary to work as LPNs.  

It is a 5-hour test with 85-205 questions on a variety of subjects. 

The questions are mostly in multiple-choice format, but may also include fill-in-the-blank, hot-spot, multiple responses, and ordered response items.

It’s not as terrifying as it sounds, so don’t worry. All you need is practice. Remember practice makes perfect. 

NOTE:  You must register and take the NCLEX-PN within two years of your graduation from nursing school.

How to Qualify for the NCLEX

To be able to take the NCLEX, you need to apply through the South Dakota BON and submit certain requirements.

The BON will determine if you qualify to take the exam. 

Here’s what you’ll need to provide to the BON:

  1. A completed application form (done online)
  2. A completed Criminal Background Check. The package will be mailed to the address you’ve provided. Once filled, it must be returned to the Board of Nursing Address (4305 S Louise Ave, Sioux Falls, SD 57106, USA)
  3. The official transcript, or Certificate of Nursing Education (CNE). This will be sent by the providers to the board directly.
  4. $100 registration fee
  5. Registration with Pearson Vue and payment of the $200 exam fee (to be discussed more below) 

How to Register for the NCLEX-PN

  1. Register with Pearson VUE

Pearson VUE handles all applications and registrations for the NCLEX, so you’ll need to apply with them. Here’s the link for registration.

  1. Payment 

Here are the details for payment. See what applies to you and make the necessary payments online 

Type of FeeAmount
Registration Fee$200
International Scheduling Fee$150
Change Nursing Regulatory Body after Registration Fee$50
  1. Authorization

Pearson VUE will provide you an Authorization to Test once you have met all eligibility conditions and the board staff has considered you qualified for licensing (ATT). 

Follow the ATT’s instructions for scheduling your NCLEX testing appointment.

What happens after you take the NCLEX?

If you pass the exam, then it’s time to celebrate! 

You will receive your LPN license soon and you can start working.

But if you don’t pass on the first try, don’t be too discouraged. You can still retake the exam.

You just need to follow the instructions for re-examination that will be mailed to you by the SD BON. 

Licensure by Endorsement: Another way to obtain licensure

The second way to gain an LPN license in South Dakota is limited to active LPNs from other states.

To be able to apply by endorsement, you need to submit the following:

  • An official transcript from a nursing program that has received state approval.
  • A criminal history check
  • A signed waiver and a fingerprint card.
  • A valid license from another state.

However, if you haven’t worked as an LPN in the previous five years, you must first finish an approved refresher course.

NOTE: South Dakota is a Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) State. This means that LPNs from other NLC states who have multi-state licenses do not need to apply for an SD LPN license. They can work in South Dakota using their multi-state licenses.

Step #3: Secure Your First LPN Job

You’ve completed the hardest part of your journey to becoming an LPN. Congratulations!

What’s left? Finding your first job!

Contrary to what people think, and significantly different from other jobs, getting a job as an LPN is relatively easy.  

So, how can I get my first job?

Find out where LPNs most commonly work.

 The Bureau of Labor Statistics, or BLS, reports that LPNs primarily work in the following fields:

  • Residential care facilities: 38%
  • Hospitals: 17%
  • Doctors’ offices: 13%
  • Home health care services: 11%
  • Government – state, local and federal: 7%

In light of these statistics, you should begin job-hunting in these areas. 

But landing your first job as an LPN isn’t the end of the road for you. If you’re up for the challenge, more opportunities await. 

Working as an LPN is among the many types of nurses you can work as, but more advanced roles such as a registered nurse, a specialized RN, or an APRN are also possible through pursuing further education.  

If you’re interested in further education, check it out right here.

Step #4: Keep Your LPN License Active

You’ve completed your education, cleared the exams, got your license, and are now working, but are there still some steps left? Well, yes and no.

Keeping your license active isn’t really a step, but an ongoing process. 

That being said, it is very important, and you shouldn’t skip this.

How can a license be renewed in South Dakota?

The applicant must provide employment verification—at least 140 hours in any 12-month period during the previous 6 years or an accumulation of at least 480 hours within the preceding 6 years.

Many other states require continuing education. However, South Dakota does not, making it one of the most ideal places to practice LPN.

Frequently Asked Questions about Becoming an LPN in South Dakota

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions by our readers.

How much does an LPN make in South Dakota?

It depends. 

A variety of factors contribute to one’s per-hour income, such as years of experience, what city you are in, what institution you are working for, etc. 

But the mean hourly wage is $20.11. This translates to a mean annual wage of $41,830.

Generally speaking, the average wage in South Dakota is lower than the national average. But you can still find ways to improve your credentials and earn more.

Are there LPN program scholarships available?

The average cost of a nursing training institution in South Dakota is from $3000-$15,000, but if you’re worried that it’s too expensive, don’t fret! 

Many top-ranking nursing institutions provide fully funded scholarships, financial aid, and much more, so definitely keep an eye out for that.

Wrapping it up

So, there you have it!  A step-by-step guide on becoming an LPN in South Dakota!

Becoming an LPN isn’t easy, but it’s not impossible either. 

One of the most important traits required to become an LPN is staying consistent and sticking to the plan. The journey may be long but to succeed, you must never abandon the plan. 

Keep working hard and never give up.

Good luck!

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