CNA Classes in South Dakota (Top Schools)

South Dakota map

Three departments oversee the regulation of Certified Nurse Aides (CNAs) in South Dakota.

  • Department of Health (SDDOH)
  • Board of Nursing (SDBON)
  • Health Care Association (SDHCA)

So to be a CNA, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Must be at least 16 years old
  • Complete a state-approved nurse aide training program (NATP)
  • Pass the SD Nurse Aide Competency Exam (SD NACE)

Taking on a CNA Training Program in South Dakota

Becoming a CNA starts with enrolling in an SDBON-approved NATP offered by:

  • Community colleges
  • Technical and vocational schools
  • Nursing facilities

In the NATP, you will learn how to address the residents’ needs in the nursing facility, such as:

  • Medical needs
  • Psychosocial needs
  • Physical needs
  • Environmental needs

You will spend 75 hours of training, which includes:

  • 16 hours of supervised clinical training
  • 16 hours of training in the following areas prior to any direct contact with a resident:
    • Abuse, neglect, and misappropriation of resident property
    • Communication and interpersonal skills
    • Infection control
    • Promoting residents’ independence
    • Respecting residents’ rights
    • Safety and emergency procedures, including the Heimlich maneuver

Here are some of the NATP training facilities approved by SDBON.

For the complete and updated list, visit SDBON’s website.

10 CNA Schools in South Dakota

School NameAddress
Avantara PierrePierre, SD 57501
Bennett County Hospital and Nursing HomeMartin, SD 57551
Brookings High School Career and Technical Education CenterBrookings, SD 57006
Career and Technical Education AcademySioux Falls, SD 57107
Independent Health SolutionsHuron, SD 57350
Lake Area Technical InstituteWatertown, SD 57201
Oakview TerraceFreeman, SD 57029
South Dakota Human Services CenterYankton, SD 57078
Tekakwitha Living CenterSisseton, SD 57262
Wakonda Heritage ManorWakonda, SD 57073

Evaluating a CNA Candidate

There are two ways to become a CNA in South Dakota.

  • Certification by examination
  • Certification by endorsement

Let’s take a look at each certification path below.

Certification by Examination

SDHCA has contracted with D&SDT-Headmaster to provide tests and scoring services for SD NACE.

The state exam has two parts: a knowledge test and a skills test.

Here are the details for each test:

Knowledge Test

  • It consists of 80 questions taken from the following subject areas:
    • Safety
    • Communication and interpersonal skills
    • Infection control
    • Basic rights
    • Basic nursing skills, data collection, and personal care
    • Role and responsibility
    • Physical health and illness
    • Mental health and illness
    • Aging process
  • You have 90 minutes to answer all the questions.
  • It’s usually a written test but can be an oral test upon request.
  • Passing rate is 75%.

Skills Test

  • You will perform three to four nurse aide skill tasks, consisting of:
    • One mandatory first task, either:
      • Emptying a urinary drainage bag
      • Toileting using a bedpan
    • Two or three random tasks selected from the Skill Task List
  • Each task is broken down into steps, with some of them considered as key steps.
  • You have 30 minutes to complete all assigned tasks.
  • Passing rate is 75% on each task, with all key steps completely performed.

Exam Results

After a few days, you and your organization/employer will receive the test results from SDHCA.

On the score report, it will indicate “Pass” or “Fail” on the knowledge and skills tests.

If you pass, SDBON will add you to the CNA Registry.

By that time, you can download and print your CNA Verification Card at SDBON’s website.

But if you don’t pass, you’ll have to retake the test/s you failed at.

You may refer to the score report for instructions on retaking the test/s.

Exam Fees

You will pay the following fees to be able to take SD NACE:

  • Written knowledge test – $75.50
  • Oral knowledge test – $85.50
  • Skill test – $94

Certification by Endorsement

Out-of-state CNAs in good standing at another state’s CNA Registry can be a CNA in South Dakota through endorsement.

You will submit the following to SDBON:

  • Completed online application at
  • Completed Employment Verification Form proving that you’ve worked as a CNA in the last 24 months

Applying for endorsement is free and can take up to five to seven business days.

Once SDBON approves, you can verify and print your registration card at

Potential Salary

In South Dakota, a CNA’s salary depends on several factors, such as:

  • Education
  • Skill level
  • Work experience
  • Workplace location

Currently, you can expect to earn an average salary of around $26,000 a year.

The table below shows the salary information in different cities across the state.

Annual Salary Range:

Average Salary of CNAs in South Dakota

City NameSalary
Sioux Falls$27,771
Rapid City$27,501
* Salary information based on the May 2022 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Nursing Assistants, OCC Code 31-1131, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Regional Salary

RegionEmployedAvg. Annual SalaryAvg. Hourly PayTop 10% Annual SalaryBottom 10% Annual Salary
Rapid City, SD860$32,690$15.72$38,340$25,300
Sioux Falls, SD2,450$32,170$15.47$38,000$28,090
* Salary information based on the May 2022 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Nursing Assistants, OCC Code 31-1131, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

State FlagCNA Schools by City