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South Dakota’s public nursing schools are well-known for offering first-rate yet affordable education. The state is home to a handful of public colleges and universities with accredited nursing programs. Like private nursing schools, public schools offer several education pathways that require anywhere from a few months to a few years for completion.

Overview of public nursing schools
As state research institutions, public schools are typically large, with renowned faculty and reduced tuition fees thanks to government financial support. Students can often expect to halve their tuition fees relative to private schools, and they can cover the remaining costs through an internship or part-time job at a nearby hospital or clinic. Nursing students will learn from leading experts in the field, and they can pursue several distinct nursing roles: certified nursing assistant (CNA), licensed practical nurse (LPN), or registered nurse (RN). Training programs differ in content and length by role, but they always ensure that students obtain the necessary skills and education for their desired career path.

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Training and career outlook in South Dakota
South Dakota’s public nursing schools fall into two camps. The state has several regional community colleges with nursing programs, such as Southeast Technical Institute in Sioux Falls and Western Dakota Technical Institute in Rapid City. These schools focus on shorter vocational training, including CNA and LPN certificates as well as RN associate’s degrees. South Dakota also has a few large public universities with nursing programs. The most notable is South Dakota State University, which offers a prelicensure RN bachelor’s degree and several master’s, graduate certificate, and doctoral programs. Graduates of any public program are prepared for employment at local healthcare providers, including Sanford USD Medical Center and the Department of Veterans Affairs.

To help South Dakota’s aspiring nurses find affordable education, we’ve profiled below the state’s top public nursing schools.

Featured Schools

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South Dakota

Lake Area Technical Institute
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing
  • Certificate in Practical Nursing
Oglala Lakota College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing
Sisseton Wahpeton College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing
  • Certificate in Practical Nursing
South Dakota State University
  • Accelerated Second Degree BSN
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing
  • MSN: Clinical Nurse Leader
  • Master of Science in Nursing
  • Post-Baccalaureate DNP
  • Post-Baccalaureate PhD
  • Post-Master's Certificate: Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Post-Master's Certificate: Nursing Education
  • RN-to-BSN Degree Completion
Southeast Technical Institute
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing
  • Certificate in Practical Nursing
University of South Dakota
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • RN-to-BSN Degree Completion
Western Dakota Technical Institute
  • Certificate in Practical Nursing
School City Programs offered
Lake Area Technical Institute Watertown
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing
  • Certificate in Practical Nursing
Oglala Lakota College Pine Ridge
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing
Sisseton Wahpeton College Sisseton
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing
  • Certificate in Practical Nursing
South Dakota State University Brookings
  • Accelerated Second Degree BSN
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing
  • MSN: Clinical Nurse Leader
  • Master of Science in Nursing
  • Post-Baccalaureate DNP
  • Post-Baccalaureate PhD
  • Post-Master's Certificate: Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Post-Master's Certificate: Nursing Education
  • RN-to-BSN Degree Completion
Southeast Technical Institute Sioux Falls
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing
  • Certificate in Practical Nursing
University of South Dakota Vermillion
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • RN-to-BSN Degree Completion
Western Dakota Technical Institute Rapid City
  • Certificate in Practical Nursing