How to Become a Nurse Administrator in South Dakota

Registered nurses who desire to move up and make more money might be interested in a career as a Nurse Administrator. These nurses trade work centered around patient care for a more managerial, office-based work environment. Although the job titles might differ depending on the facility, such as the director of nursing, nurse manager, nurse supervisor, chief of nursing operations, and more, they all have the same basic responsibilities.

Nurse administrators are responsible for training and managing the nursing staff. They might even be responsible for an entire unit in the hospital or care facility. They often have to balance budgets, handle fiscal responsibilities, address patient complaints, attend meetings with executive officers, do performance reviews on nurses, and oversee projects. As you can see, there are many new duties to take care of, so added education, often based on management and leadership development, is needed to become a nurse administrator.

If you are a registered nurse with excellent leadership skills, look for and enjoy high-level responsibilities, enjoy training others and have a desire to help influence the healthcare environment, then you have what it takes to be a nurse administrator.

To land a coveted spot as a nurse administrator, you will need at least a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. While there may be a select few positions and employers who will hire a registered nurse with an associate degree (ADN), with enough experience in management positions, most employers want a minimum of a BSN with a preference for nurses who hold a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN). You will have to carry an unencumbered nursing license and be up to date on your CPR certifications. Some areas will also require a year or more of experience working in a leadership role, such as a charge nurse. If you lack this experience, you should try to volunteer to assist the current charge nurse/nurse administrator or seek out extra leadership positions available to you.

Nurse Administrator Salary and Career Outlook in South Dakota

Nurses have remained in high-demand positions for many years, and that trend continues today as the Baby Boomer generation continues to age. As this demand grows, the need for highly skilled, advanced educated nurse administrators will stay in demand as well.

Registered nurses in South Dakota earn an average annual wage of around $58,500, which is much lower than the national average of $75,500. This is because the cost of living in the Mount Rushmore State is less than, say, New York or California. Nurse administrators earn significantly more; their average yearly salary is between $81,000 and $121,000 in South Dakota. The average salary can vary greatly because of several factors. Education level is a main factor in the annual salary difference, as MSN degree holders may earn up to $30,000 per year more than the nurse administrator who holds a BSN degree. Experience, location, and type of facility you work for can also factor in how much a nurse administrator can make per year.

No matter which path you choose or what education level you attain, employment as a nurse administrator can be a challenging, rewarding, and very lucrative career.

Best Nursing Administration and Leadership Degree Programs in South Dakota

South Dakota offers several schooling options to advance your degree and career. You have both physical campus locations and plenty of online schools ready and willing to give you the education you need. Sometimes the number of options can be overwhelming, so we have narrowed down these choices to three accredited options for you. These are not the only schools you have to choose from, and if none of these choices appeal to you, you can certainly attend another college or university. Just be sure to do your research on the school of your choice.

You want to ensure the education you receive is accredited through nationally accepted nursing education organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and/or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). If you get a degree from a school without one of these accreditations, you could have trouble getting financial aid, and some employers might not accept your degree, meaning you could have difficulty finding a job. If you can’t find either of these accreditations, look for another option in your education.

The following universities all have proper accreditations, have options for either a BSN or MSN degree and may or may not have online options for those who want to continue working while earning their education.

We have included an average tuition cost for these schools, but schools may change their rates at any time for different reasons. Other factors that could make your tuition rate different from what we report could be GPA, online versus in campus cost, and whether you’re a student that lives in-state or out of town.

1. South Dakota State University

South Dakota State (SDSU) is the largest university in the state and is a hotspot for many prospective students. The reason is that SDSU has been ranked one of the safest colleges in the nation and has a 90% job placement rate for recent grads of their nursing programs.

The average tuition for students who reside in South Dakota is $9,700 per year.

SDSU offers three BSN degree options and MSN degrees with a focus on nurse administrator education. They offer a traditional BSN for those new to nursing and ready to get an undergraduate degree. This is a four-year degree and will get students prepared to pass the nursing licensure exam.

SDSU also offers an online RN-BSN degree for nurses with an associate degree in nursing. This path provides nurses a flexible choice to get their advanced degrees. Each class is seven weeks long, and they are all offered at least three times per year. Meaning nurses enrolled in this program can customize their learning path to suit their needs.

The accelerated BSN degree is for students who already have a bachelor’s degree but want to transition to nursing. This program will only take 12 months to complete. Once the student has satisfactorily completed the course, they will be ready to take the National Council Licensure Exam (NCLEX) for registered nurses.

SDSU’s Master of Science in Nursing degree is offered online with in-person practicums. The focus in nurse administration will have students learning everything they need to become effective leaders in this career path.

2. Augustana University

This small, private university holds about 2,100 students per year. Applicants here might be able to receive an in-state tuition break, but most do find financial aid to help with the higher tuition cost. The average annual rate you might be expected to pay to attend Augustana University is $33,960.

Augustana is accredited by the CCNE, offering two BSN options and one MSN degree. The college has both an accelerated BSN pathway and a traditional four-year BSN. The MSN program takes two years to complete, but it allows students to attend part-time classes to continue to work and earn a salary as they complete their graduate degrees.

One thing that makes Augustana University unique is its Norwegian Nursing Exchange program. Students who can travel during their degree program will attain 15 credit hours at one of four different facilities in Norway, while some students come from Norway to study at Augustana.

3 .The University of South Dakota

The University of South Dakota (USD)is one of the largest universities in the state, but it is also the state’s flagship facility. Being the most recognized university in the state, there is a lot to love about USD, such as being a highly ranked university. Though there are over 10,000 students here, it still manages to keep a small, 16 to 1 student-to-faculty ratio.

Nursing students at USD have the option to apply for a traditional BSN degree, an LPN to BSN, or an RN to BSN program. Both the traditional and LPN to BSN degree programs are located on campus, while the RN to BSN program is all online. There are also two options to choose from for the RN program for added flexibility.

USD also offers an MSN degree in an online format for nurses who want to go the extra step in their education.

In-state tuition at USD averages less than $10,000 per year, so this sought-after university is an affordable option.

Optional Certificates and Credentials

You can get certificates and credentials that will help move your resume to the top of the stack and maybe add a little more to your starting salary. These are entirely optional and will not hinder your job search if you don’t have them, but they could be an added benefit.

You can get a Nurse Executive certificate through the American Nurses Credentialing Center. If you choose to become nurse executive certified, this means you have shown an accelerated level of competence in the nurse administration field, and it means you are now an expert in your field. Another certificate you can get is the Executive Nursing Practice certificate through the American Organization for Nursing Leadership.

You will have to pay between $300 to $400 to take either of these exams, but upon completion, you will be issued a certificate that tells potential employers that you not only have the degree but you have the real-world knowledge to back up the education. Again, neither of these certificates are mandatory, but they could help you land that dream job.