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Practical Nursing

The mission of the Western Dakota Tech Practical Nursing Program is to educate graduates to provide safe, quality, evidence-based, patient-centered care as an entry level Practical Nurse in the current healthcare environment.

This program is supported by a grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and training Administration. The product was created by the grantee and does not necessarily reflect the official position of the U.S. Department of Labor. The U.S. Department of Labor makes no guarantees, warranties, or assurances of any kind, express or implied, with respect to such information, including any information on linked sites and including, but not limited to, accuracy of the information or its completeness, timeliness, usefulness, adequacy, continued availability, or ownership. Western Dakota Tech’s individual grant of $2,058,946 funds 100% of their portion of the South Dakota Allied Health Training Consortium project.

Degree Description

Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN’s) are an important component of the healthcare team. The nursing program stresses the importance of clinical experience by providing 480 clinical hours of actual supervised clinical. LPN’s work in a variety of clinical settings including acute care, long-term care, and office/clinic environments. The role of licensed practical nurses has expanded to include IV therapy and supervision in some settings. Upon successful completion of the program, nursing graduates take the NCLEX (National Certification Licensure Exam). Job placement for nursing program graduates is excellent for graduates in Rapid City, the Black Hills, and across South Dakota. 

All accepted students in the Practical Nursing program are required to fulfill the prerequisite requirements listed in the WDT Academic Catalog.

Note: If you have been convicted, pled guilty or no contest to, or received a suspended imposition of sentence for a felony or other criminal offense (excluding minor traffic violations) you are advised that it may not be possible for you to participate in the internship or clinical portion of this nursing program. You may also be prevented from taking required licensure examinations and from gaining employment in this field.

This program is approved by the South Dakota Board of NursingFor more information about program approval, click here.

Courses for this popular program are offered at two locations - the main Rapid City campus at 800 Mickelson Dr., and at the college's satellite campus in Halle Hall, 1016 Meade St., in Whitewood, SD. 

Effective January 27, 2021, this nursing program is a candidate for initial accreditation by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). This candidacy status expires on January 27, 2023.

Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN)
3343 Peachtree Road NE, Suite 850
Atlanta, GA 30326
(404) 975-5000

Note: Upon granting of initial accreditation by the ACEN Board of Commissioners, the effective date of initial accreditation is the date on which the nursing program was approved by the ACEN as a candidate program that concluded in the Board of Commissioners granting initial accreditation.

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Application Process

1. Gain acceptance to WDT through the Allied Health Program

    1. Apply for admission to WDT - ALLIED HEALTH by completing the WDT Application online.
    2. Provide an official copy of a High School transcript or GED scores. If you graduated from an international high school, you must submit your transcript to Educational Credential Evaluators to determine U.S. equivalence. Additionally, an official transcript must be submitted if you have attended other post-secondary institutions or universities.
  1. Submit immunization records verifying two doses of MMR vaccinations.
  2. Provide an official copy of a High School transcript or GED scores. If you graduated from an international high school, you must submit your transcript to Educational Credential Evaluators to determine U.S. equivalence.
  3. Schedule an Admissions Advising Session (can be completed on campus or by phone)
  4. Complete the ACCUPLACER test ($15.00 fee).

(The ACCUPLACER test will be waived if you have an ACT sub score of 18 or better in English, Math, and Reading, or a SAT sub score of at least 440 in Verbal and Math. The scores must be within the last five years.)

2. Gain acceptance to the WDT Practical Nursing Program

  1. Complete the Application for Admission to the Practical Nursing Program.
  2. Ensure required general education courses are complete or in progress at the time of application
    • CIS105 Microcomputer Software Applications I
    • ENGL101 Composition 
    • HC114 Anatomy and Physiology for the Health Professions
    • MATH101 Intermediate Algebra or higher
    • PSYC101 General Psychology 
  3. Obtain a current CNA License or complete HC124/126 Intro to Patient Care/Lab with a ‘C’ or better
  4. Complete the TEAS test with a composite score of 60 or higher (Please call 605-718-2565 to make an appointment)
  5. Submit proof of required immunizations:
    • Hepatitis B Series
    • Annual TB Test
    • Polio
    • Tdap
    • Varicella (Chicken Pox)
    • Annual Flu Shot
  6. Provide a copy of current American Heart Association Healthcare Provider BLS CPR Certification
  7. Provide a copy of current driver's license.
  8. Complete a background check through, enter WP56bg for the package code. There is a $50 fee to submit your background request. The results will be sent directly to WDT. Background results must be completed within 5 months of Program (Earliest completion date for Fall is March 1st and for Spring is August 1st).
  9. Complete a drug test through, enter WP56dt for the package code. There is a $40 fee to request a drug test. The results will be sent directly to WDT. Drug test results must be completed within 5 months of Program (Earliest completion date for Fall is March 1st and for Spring is August 1st).

Note: If you are or have been convicted, pleaded guilty or no contest to, or received a suspended imposition of sentence for a felony or certain misdemeanors, you are advised that you may not be able to complete all course requirements for your chosen program, you may be prevented from taking required certification/licensure examinations in your chosen program field, and you may be prevented from gaining employment in your program field.

Students that sit out for a spring or fall semester or longer, will return under a new Catalog and may be required to repeat courses or successfully complete new or revised skills or competency assessments. Before readmittance, the program may need to determine if a student is eligible to continue in technical courses. Program sequencing and cohort size may prevent enrollment in technical courses.

Clinicals, practicums, and internships may include, but are not limited to, differential shifts (evenings, nights, weekends, and holidays) to meet industry expectations. This may require travel outside the Rapid City Area.

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Career Description

A Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) is a member of the medical profession that does their duties taking care of patients while under the management of registered nurses or doctors.

The LPN does what is considered essential care, which means they help patients to eat, dress, walk, take a bath, comb their hair, etc. They may also give them their medicines, take their temperature or other vital signs, and do other similar duties.

They cannot do things like assist in surgery or help with anesthesia, but they are very vital in doing many common medical and personal things for patients and assisting the doctors and nurses do other functions. LPNs can work in places like hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, or private homes.

What Do LPNs Do?

LPNs take care of a variety of duties depending on their work setting and location. Typically, they do the following:

  • Keep detailed, accurate records on patients' health
  • Monitor the health of patients by taking blood pressure and checking other vital signs
  • Report the status of patients to doctors and registered nurses
  • Help patients with basic care and personal hygiene activities, like dressing or bathing
  • Administer basic nursing care, such as inserting catheters, changing bandages or administering intravenous medications
  • Discuss health care with patients, explain procedures and listen to their concerns
  • Teaching families and caregivers how to care for injured or sick relatives

    Where do LPNs work?

    LPNs work in a variety of settings. In 2010, 29 percent of LPNS worked in nursing care facilities, 15 percent worked in hospitals offering general medical and surgical care, and 12 percent worked in physicians' offices. The remaining LPNs worked in community care facilities for elderly patients or in-home health care services.

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Licensure and Certification

Professional licensure and certification requirements often vary from state to state. If you are not planning to locate and work in South Dakota and are considering an academic program that leads to a professional license or certification, it is highly recommended that you first seek guidance from the appropriate licensing agency in the state you plan to work before beginning the academic program. If you need assistance locating a state licensing agency, please contact the Vice President for Teaching and Learning: or 605.718.2905.

Current as of July 12, 2021:

  1. The program curriculum meets educational requirements for licensure/certification in the following states: AK, AL, AR, AZ, CO, DE, FL, GA, HI, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, MA, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, MT, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV, WY
  2. The program curriculum does not meet educational requirements for licensure/certification in the following states: LA
  3. WDT has not determined whether the program curriculum meets educational requirements for licensure/certification in the following states: American Samoa, CA, CT, DC, Guam, The Republic of the Marshall Islands, MD, ME, The Federated States of Micronesia, MN, MS, The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, The Republic of Palau, The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, The Virgin Islands

General Education EMT

After Earning Your Degree

Licensed practical nurses (LPNs) and licensed vocational nurses (LVNs) provide basic nursing care. They work under the direction of registered nurses and doctors. Licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses work in many settings, including nursing homes and extended care facilities, hospitals, physicians’ offices, and private homes. Most work full time.  Employment of licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses is projected to grow 16 percent from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations. As the baby-boom population ages, the overall need for healthcare services is expected to increase. LPNs and LVNs will be needed in residential care facilities and in home health environments to care for older patients.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the 2019 mean annual wage is $23,170 - $42,740.

Meet Your Faculty & Staff

Western Dakota Tech has a low student-to-faculty ratio, meaning more one-on-one learning. Individual attention from your professor can make your college experience more fulfilling.

  • Photo of Christi McArthur
    Christi Keffeler

  • Suzanne Brandt

  • Tracy Wyman

  • Kate Berger

  • Kristen Hybertson

  • Devin Constant

  • Jeannie Wiege

  • Lisa Alishouse

Financial Aid

Continuing your education is crucial and Western Dakota Tech wants to make sure that any student who wants to attend school, has the opportunity to do so. For this reason, WDT is dedicated to administering the U.S. Department of Education’s Title IV Financial Assistance Program fair and consistently to anyone who needs it.

Build Dakota Scholarships

The Build Dakota Scholarship at Western Dakota Tech will pay all your tuition and fees and prepare you for a career that is in-demand and growing in South Dakota. Build Dakota Scholarships will be awarded to students entering high-need workforce programs at South Dakota’s technical institutes to fill the state’s technical careers with skilled professionals.

Student Housing

While Western Dakota Tech does not offer on-campus housing, we understand that finding a place to live within town while you go to school can be difficult. We have a few resources to help prospective students find affordable housing.

Child Care

Finding child care during school is a challenge for many students. Western Dakota Tech currently does not offer on-campus child care, but here are some resources that may help you in your search.

Youth & Family Services is an organization dedicated to helping children in Western South Dakota. They offer a variety of services, including child care at multiple locations.

The Y of Rapid City offers child care and other services.

Disclaimer: Western Dakota Tech provides these links to you only as a convenience, and the inclusion of any link does not imply affiliation, endorsement or adoption by Western Dakota Tech of any site or any information contained therein. When you leave, you should be aware that our terms and policies no longer govern. Western Dakota Tech makes no claim or representation regarding, and accepts no responsibility for, the quality, content, nature or reliability of third-party websites or vendors.

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