LPN Licensure by Equivalency

South Dakota law allows nurses to license as an LPN by equivalency of education. Not all states recognize equivalency of education as a basis for licensure as an LPN. A nurse issued an LPN license by equivalency from South Dakota may not be allowed to practice in another state and may not be able to obtain an LPN license in that other state. To determine whether a state will accept LPN licensure by equivalency and allow you to practice in their state, please contact that state’s Board of Nursing office.


Only individuals who meet one of the two conditions listed below may apply for LPN licensure by equivalency:

  1. RN licensure applicants who successfully completed an RN education program but did not pass the NCLEX-RN examination.  Obtaining LPN licensure by equivalency does not prohibit applicants from taking the NCLEX-RN and being licensed as an RN in the future. 
  2. RN students who completed a partial RN education program but are not currently enrolled and cannot enroll because of failure to progress in a nursing program or unable to complete a nursing program due to relocation or illness.  (Other reasons may be considered.)

Application Requirements

  1. Complete Request for LPN Licensure by Equivalency Application and submit, along with the required documents, to the South Dakota Board of Nursing (SDBON) office.
  2. Following receipt and review, you will be contacted as to meeting the eligibility criteria for LPN licensure by equivalency.
  3. If eligible you will be required to:
    • Complete an independent learning course on the LPN role, South Dakota scope of practice, and LPN nursing responsibilities.
    • Complete the online the SDBON LPN licensure by examination application.
    • Complete a criminal background check (CBC) using fingerprint cards sent from the SDBON. Further instructions will be supplied at the time the application is completed. 
    • Register to take the NCLEX-PN examination with Pearson VUE.
    • When you have met all eligibility requirements and have been deemed eligible for licensure by board staff, Pearson VUE will e-mail or mail you an Authorization to Test (ATT). Follow directions given by the ATT for scheduling your appointment to test.
After passing the NCLEX-PN exam you will receive a single-state South Dakota LPN license that is valid for practice only in South Dakota.
Page Updated: 12/29/2023 7:14:04 PM