The online application is only for individuals who have never taken the NCLEX exam and who have completed a South Dakota board-approved nursing education program or an out-of-state nursing program approved by another board of nursing.

South Dakota belongs to the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC). Individuals who reside in another NLC state are not eligible to apply for licensure in SD and must apply in their state of residence. See for a list of all compact states.

An application is null one year following the date that it was received at the Board office. Fees are non-refundable.

To be made eligible to take the exam, the following steps must be completed:

  1. Submit the online application and $100 fee (click Apply at the bottom of page)
    • You will be asked if you want to apply for a Temporary Permit, if you select yes a $25 fee will be added. See the Temporary Permit instructions below.
    • receipt with a confirmation number will display at the end of your online application and after submitting the payment. Print the receipt as proof of payment; you will not be emailed a receipt.
  2. Complete criminal background check:  Fingerprint cards and instructions will be mailed to you at the address you enter on your online application. You must use the fingerprint cards sent to you by the SD Board of Nursing. Return the completed fingerprint cards to the Board of Nursing office with required fee in the form of a money order.
  3. Submit Nursing Education Information:
    • Recent Graduates of a South Dakota Nursing Program: A Certificate of Nursing Education (CNE) will be sent to the Board of Nursing by your program.
    • Graduate of an Out-of-State Nursing Program: Your degree-conferred transcript must be mailed to the South Dakota Board of Nursing directly from your nursing school or from a transcript clearinghouse. If using a transcript clearinghouse that offers email services, transcripts can be sent to:
  4. Register with Pearson Vue & submit $200 fee: (1-866-496-2539)

After you complete these steps and been made eligible by Board staff, Pearson Vue will e-mail you an Authorization to Test (ATT); the Board will not provide you the ATT.  Follow the directions of Pearson Vue to schedule your appointment to test.

It is illegal to practice in South Dakota as a nurse without a current license or a valid temporary permit. South Dakota law does not allow use of the title Graduate Nurse.

  • A permit is available only for a first-time NCLEX test writer who has met eligibility requirements.
  • A permit is non-renewable and is valid for 90 days or until written notification of NCLEX testing results is received by the applicant.
  • The holder of a permit must use the title Registered Nurse Applicant (RN App) or Licensed Practical Nurse Applicant (LPN App).

A temporary permit will be issued after the following is received in the board office:

  1. Online application (step 1 above);

  2. Completed criminal background check cards and fee (step 2 above);

  3. Nursing education information (step 3 above);

  4. Completed or and $25 fee in form of a money order;

    Temporary Permit RN Application

    Temporary Permit LPN Application

  5. Pearson Vue NCLEX registration.

The board will mail a paper copy of the temporary permit to your address entered on the online application to use for employment verification; online verification is not available.

NCLEX results will not be given over email or phone by Board staff.  Candidates may obtain unofficial results within two business days after taking the exam by using the Quick Results Service through Pearson Vue; there is a fee for this service. Keep in mind, unofficial results do not authorize an applicant to practice as an RN/LPN.

After the Board receives the official results, the results will typically be posted by 5:00 pm the next business day and can be verified on the Board's website: License Verification.

Verify License

The License Verification website will:

  • Show an active license if the applicant has passed the NCLEX.
    • Within 5-7 business days the new licensee will receive a packet in the mail from the Board with the original SD nursing license and a courtesy renewal card. Or,
  • Not return any search results if the applicant failed.
    • Within 5-7 business days the applicant will receive a letter in the mail from the Board with instructions on retaking the NCLEX exam and a Candidate Performance Report.