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.


This application is for license by examination in South Dakota for RN or LPN licensees. This process is for individuals who have never taken the NCLEX examination.

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

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.

An application is null one year following the date that it was accepted by the Board. Fees are non-refundable.


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

  1. Online application and submit $100 payment (by clicking “Apply” at the bottom of page)

  2. Criminal Background Check
    You must use fingerprint cards that are provided to you by the SD Board of Nursing office. The fingerprint card packet and instructions will be mailed to the address provided on your application.
    Completed fingerprint cards must be returned to the Board of Nursing office accompanied with fee in the form of a money order.

  3. Nursing Education Information
    Graduate of South Dakota Nursing Program ONLY – If you are recent graduate of a South Dakota nursing program, your Certificate of Nursing Education (CNE) will be sent to the Board of Nursing by your program.

    Graduate of Nursing Program OUTSIDE of South Dakota – If you are a graduate of an out-of-state nursing program, your degree conferred transcript must be mailed to the SD Board of Nursing directly from your school or from a transcript clearinghouse. If using a transcript clearinghouse that offers email services, transcripts can be sent to:

  4. Register with Pearson Vue and submit $200 payment.
    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 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
  4. Completed application for a Temporary Permit and $25 fee (within the licensure by examination application you will be asked if you would like to also apply for a Temporary Permit, if yes, $25 will be added)
  5. NCLEX Registration

You will receive a paper copy of the Temporary Permit. Verification of your temporary permit cannot be verified on the SD Board of Nursing website.

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 here. Those items without dates next to them have not been received or processed at the Board of Nursing office.

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; receipts are not emailed.

Results of NCLEX Examination

Candidates who have taken the NCLEX examination can obtain their “unofficial” results within two business days after taking their exam by using the Quick Results Service through Pearson Vue. There is a fee associated with this service. Please visit the Quick Results Service webpage for more information.

The NCLEX results in the Quick Results Service does not authorize an applicant to practice as a RN/LPN until licensed by the South Dakota Board of Nursing.

NCLEX Results will not be given over email or phone by Board staff.

Results are typically posted by 5:00pm the next business day. After the results have been posted, please visit the SDBON verification page.

The SDBON verification page will show:

  • An active license if the applicant has passed the NCLEX. OR

    • If you have passed, you will receive a packet in the mail from the SD Board of Nursing containing your original SD nursing license and a courtesy renewal card. Please allow up to 5-7 business days for the SD Board of Nursing to mail out your packet.

  • The search will not return any results if the applicant has failed.

    • If you have failed, you will receive a letter in the mail from the SD Board of Nursing containing instructions on retaking your NCLEX and your Candidate Performance Report. Please allow up to 5-7 business days for the SD Board of Nursing to mail out your letter.

Page Updated: 10/25/2021 3:39:52 PM