New License by Exam


Please read the entire page prior to applying!


Must be an individual who has never taken the NCLEX exam and who has 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  NLC for a list of all compact states.

Application Requirements

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

  1. Submit the online application and $100 fee;
    • 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.
    • A 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, your transcript must be sent to
  4. Register with Pearson Vue & submit $200 fee (1-866-496-2539).
  5. 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.  
  6. Follow the directions of Pearson Vue to schedule your appointment to test.

Temporary Permit

It is illegal to practice in South Dakota as a nurse without a current license or a valid temporary permit. 

  • 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). South Dakota law does not allow use of the title "Graduate Nurse".

A temporary permit will be issued after the following is received in the board office: online application (step 1 above); completed criminal background check cards and fee (step 2); nursing education information (step 3); completed temporary permit application and and $25 fee; and registered with Pearsn Vue (step 4). 

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 & Issuance of License

NCLEX results will not be given over email or phone by Board staff. Applicants may obtain unofficial results within two business days after taking the exam through Pearson Vue's Quick Results Service; 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, a new license will typically be issued by 5:00 pm the next business day, and can be verified on the Board's Verification website.

  • If the applicant passed: the verification website will show an active license. A new licensee will receive within 5-7 business days a packet in the mail from the Board with the original SD nursing license and a courtesy renewal card. 
  • If the applicant failed: the verification website will not return any search results. The applicant will receive within 5-7 business days a letter in the mail from the Board with instructions on retaking the NCLEX exam and a Candidate Performance Report.

Application               Track Application

An application is null one year following the date it was received at the Board office. Fees are non-refundable.
Page Updated: 4/3/2024 4:13:09 PM