Application for Licensure by Examination
Registered Nurse (RN) and Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)

Instructions for Examination Application

Print this page for reference.

Read the following instructions carefully before proceeding with the online application process.


South Dakota (SD) joined the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) 01/01/2001. You are not eligible for licensure in SD if your primary state of residence is another compact state. See for a list of compact states.

To qualify for licensure by examination in the state of SD, you must have completed:

  1. A board approved in-state nursing education program; or
  2. An out-of-state nursing education program that is approved by another board of nursing

Eligibility to Test

In order to be made eligible to test the following must be received in the Board of Nursing office:

  1. Online application for licensure by examination and fee ($100)
  2. Results of Criminal Background Check
  3. Nursing Education Information
    1. Graduate of South Dakota Nursing Program ONLY – Certification of Nursing education completed by the nursing program
    2. Graduate of Nursing Program OUTSIDE of South Dakota – Official transcripts from your school’s Registrar showing Nursing Degree conferred
  4. NCLEX Registration for testing ($200 fee required at the time of registration)
    1. You need to register with Pearson Vue following the directions in the NCLEX Candidate Bulletin. Test registration should be done at the same time you apply to the Board of Nursing.
    2. Pearson Vue will notify the board office of your registration. Register at or phone 1-866-496-2539.

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.

Note: SD Board of Nursing does not provide you with the ATT.

Temporary Permit

A Temporary Permit will be issued when the following have been received at the Board of Nursing office:

  1. Online application for licensure by examination
  2. Completed Criminal Background Check cards and fee
  3. Nursing Education Information (see above)
  4. Completed application for a Temporary Permit and $25 fee
  5. NCLEX Registration

South Dakota law regulating nursing is mandatory. It is illegal to practice as a nurse without a current license or a valid Temporary Permit. There is no provision in law to use the title “graduate nurse”. A Temporary Permit requires use of the title Registered Nurse Applicant (RN App) or Licensed Practical Nurse Applicant (LPN App). A Temporary Permit is available only for a first-time NCLEX writer who has fulfilled eligibility requirements, is non-renewable and valid for 90 days or until written notification of NCLEX testing results is received by the applicant.

To track the progress of your application, you may check our website and click on Application Status under Online Services. Those items without dates next to them have not been received in our office yet.

A receipt with a confirmation number will display at the end of this process if your application and payment have been submitted. Please print this receipt as proof of payment.

Please keep the Board of Nursing informed of any address changes by completing the address change option on this website.