South Dakota provides several opportunities for nursing education, from the LPN and RN diploma to an MSN degree. Mount Marty College provides a graduate program in nurse anesthesiology in Sioux Falls, and South Dakota State University in Brookings offers the MSN program with focuses in seven different specialties from administration to gerontology. Students who want to acquire the four-year BSN can do so at Mount Mary College or South Dakota State University, at Presentation College in Aberdeen, or at Si Tanka University at Huron. Lake Area Vocational Technical Institute provides beginning students with the LPN/LVN diploma, and South Dakota provides four institutions where students can achieve an associate degree or RN. Dakota Wesleyan University at Mitchell, the University of South Dakota at Vermillion and the Aberdeen and Eagle Butte campuses of Presentation College provide that latter opportunity.
Statewide, the average salaries for LPN, RN and specialty nurses range between $13,000 and $71,000 annually, depending upon degree earned, years in the field, expertise and size of the health facility. One of the largest health employment facilities in the state is Avera, the health ministry of the Benedictine and Presentation Sisters with a central office in Sioux Falls. This organization serves the people of eastern South Dakota and surrounding states with hospitals, nursing homes, clinics and other health services at more than 100 locations such as Mitchell, Yankton, Aberdeen and Falndreau. Avera’s McKennan Hospital and University Health Center includes the area’s only burn unit, and it is the state’s only magnet hospital. Two other major employers include Rapid City Regional Hospital in Rapid City, and Sioux Valley Hospitals, located in Sioux Falls. This latter facility is an integrated network of more than 150 health care facilities. Other health care systems within South Dakota include the Sanford Health system, with facilities located in Clear Lake, Watertown, Webster and Chamberlain among other towns. They employ over 5,000 individuals. Other smaller facilities are located throughout South Dakota, with plenty of opportunity for nursing graduates to find employment.