Education in South Dakota
Students in South Dakota can choose from a wide range of institutions of higher education, including four-year and two-year schools. As the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reports, there were 31 colleges, trade schools, career centers and universities in South Dakota in 2014. That figure includes large, public universities as well as small community colleges and trade schools. Here is a breakdown of all degree-granting colleges in South Dakota, by type:
- Public 4-year: 7
- Public 2-year: 6
- Private 4-year, nonprofit: 7
- Private 2-year, nonprofit: 5
- Private 4-year, for-profit: 5
- Private 2-year, for-profit: 5
As you can imagine, some schools fall under more than one category since they offer both two-year and four-year degrees.
In addition to degree-granting programs, many colleges in South Dakota offer career training. This type of program typically culminates in a certificate or career diploma. Commonly, programs that fall into this category include beauty and cosmetology schools, barber schools, non-accredited business colleges and some technical institutes. Less-than-two-year programs are geared to students who hope to enter the workforce quickly and want to focus their education on a specific trade or skill.
The NCES lists a wide range of data regarding colleges and universities in South Dakota, including recent enrollment numbers. Below you will find enrollment figures at some of the largest public, four-year colleges in South Dakota.
- South Dakota School of Mines and Technology: 2,798
- Dakota State University: 3,047
- Northern State University: 3,531
- Black Hills State University: 4,489
- University of South Dakota: 10,061
- South Dakota State University: 12,543
Many two-year trade schools and community colleges in South Dakota also reported large enrollment figures. The following enrollment figures are the most recent from the NCES for this school type:
- Southeast Technical Institute: 2,332
- Mitchell Technical Institute: 1,245
- Oglala Dakota College: 1,427
- Lake Area Technical Institute: 1,654
- Western Dakota Technical Institute: 840
- Kilian Community College: 224
- Sisseton Wahpeton College: 165
Colleges and universities in South Dakota grant numerous degrees to students on an annual basis. For example, a U.S. Department of Education report from 2014 revealed that Title IV financial aid eligible colleges and universities in South Dakota conferred a total of 11,170 degrees and certificates to 10,841 students during the 2011-12 academic year. Among those degrees, 75 percent were earned at four-year institutions, and the other 25 percent were earned at two-year colleges and institutions. For that year, no reporting was made on the number of career certificates and diplomas earned through less-than-two-year institutions.
Online Education in South Dakota
With online education increasing all over the country, it’s important to note that South Dakota schools are also on board. Throughout the last decade, colleges and universities in South Dakota have embraced online and hybrid programs as a way to increase educational attainment and reach non-traditional students.
The University of South Dakota, for example, offers a wide range of online degree programs geared to working adults or rural students. Here’s a breakdown of the number of online degrees offered through the various schools at the University of South Dakota as of 2015:
- Beacom School of Business: 4
- College of Arts and Sciences: 6
- School of Health Sciences: 8
- School of Education: 6
- Graduate School: 1
- College of Fine Arts: 1
Various online programs the University of South Dakota also offer specializations, which add to the overall number of educational options one can find online at the school.
With online education so entrenched at colleges in South Dakota, it shouldn’t be surprising that some online programs have been recognized on a national level by popular and prestigious ranking agencies. Here’s a list of online degrees and programs at colleges in South Dakota, alongside their rank in each category as reported by U.S. News and World Report:
University of South Dakota
- Best Online MBA Programs (2015): No. 41
- Best Online Graduate Business Programs, Excluding MBA (2015): No. 31
South Dakota State University
- Best Online Bachelor’s Programs (2015): No. 214
- Best Online Graduate Education Programs (2015): No. 60
Dakota State University
- Best Online MBA Programs (2015): No. 126
- Best Online Graduate Education Programs (2015): No. 112
Dakota Wesleyan University
- Best Online Bachelor’s Programs (2015): No. 167
Northern State University
- Best Online Bachelor’s Programs (2015): No. 184
Top Jobs and Careers in South Dakota
According to data collected from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), South Dakota’s workforce was made up of approximately 409,250 individuals in 2014. Together, these workers earned an annual mean wage of $37,300 that year. Some careers for college graduates reported higher than average wages and levels of employment that year, however. Based on data from the South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation, the following chart highlights some of these high-paying, high-demand careers in South Dakota:
|Occupation||Top Regions||Why It’s Hot||Necessary Skills||Relevant Degrees|
|Interpreters and Translators||Eastern South Dakota nonmetropolitan area||As the prevalence of languages other than English continues to grow in the United States, more bilingual professionals will be needed. Furthermore, additional interpreters and translators will be needed to bridge the gap between people from different cultures and ethnic backgrounds.Because of this, the South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation predicts that employment for interpreters and translators could increase by as much as 40.4 percent in the state through 2022.This high demand, coupled with relatively high pay, adds to this career’s popularity. As of 2014, interpreters and translators in South Dakota earned an annual mean wage of $37,530.||Cultural sensitivity, absolute fluency in at least two languages, listening skills, business skills, communication skills, interpersonal skills, writing skills||Many interpreters and translators begin their careers by earning a bachelor’s degree in English or a foreign language.However, since the main requirement for this career is absolute fluency in at least two languages, a degree in nearly any field may help candidates find entry-level work.|
|Diagnostic Medical Sonographers||Eastern South Dakota nonmetropolitan area, Sioux Falls, Rapid City||As with many fields in health care, the field of ultrasound technology is in high demand. According to South Dakota labor data, diagnostic medical sonographers in South Dakota could even see employment increase by as much as 33 percent during the decade leading up to 2022.Since diagnostic medical sonography is generally a two-year degree, many enter this field with the hope of quick entry into the workforce. High pay also adds to the allure of this degree and career choice. As of 2014, diagnostic medical sonographers in South Dakota earned an annual mean wage of $55,610.||Technical skills, communication skills, computer skills, physical stamina, interpersonal skills, compassion||As the BLS notes, most diagnostic medical sonographers earn an associate degree. Some do earn a bachelor’s degree in sonography, but this is not usually required for employment.|
|Market Research Analysts and Marketing Specialists||Eastern South Dakota nonmetropolitan area, Rapid City, Sioux Falls||No matter where you live, marketing plays a huge role in how products and services are advertised and ultimately sold to the masses. That’s especially true in a state like South Dakota, where the business environment is growing rapidly. Because of anticipated growth in this field, South Dakota labor figures show that employment for marketing specialists and market research analysts could increase by as much as 30.5 percent during the decade leading up to 2022.Meanwhile, students who choose this career path can generally look forward to higher than average pay. As the BLS notes, marketing specialists and market research analysts in South Dakota earned an annual mean wage of $57,420 in 2014.||Analytical skills, communication skills, public relations skills, attention to detail, creativity||As the BLS notes, many market research analysts and marketing specialists get their start with a bachelor’s degree in marketing.Other degree majors can also lead to entry level employment in this field, however. Common degrees for market research analysts and marketing specialists include public relations, communications, statistics, math and even computer science.|
|Physical Therapy Assistants||Eastern South Dakota nonmetropolitan area, Sioux Falls, Rapid City||Across the nation, physical therapy continues to replace more intrusive and expensive means for rehabilitation. Because of the increased use of this type of therapy, the South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation predicts that employment for physical therapy assistants in South Dakota could increase by as much as 27.1 percent from 2012 to 2022.||Physical stamina, time management skills, communication skills, interpersonal skills, dexterity, attention to detail, compassion for others||Physical therapy assistants typically earn an associate degree from an accredited physical therapy assistant program. In the state of South Dakota, physical therapy assistants must also be licensed by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy in order to practice in the profession.|
|Meeting, Convention, and Event Planners||Eastern South Dakota nonmetropolitan area, Western South Dakota nonmetropolitan area, Rapid City, Sioux Falls||Meeting, convention, and event planners use their knowledge and expertise to plan amazing and important conventions, parties and events – and see them to fruition.Because of the demand in this field, the South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation predicts that employment for these workers could increase by as much as 24.6 percent through 2022.High demand, coupled with the allure of working in a creative and exciting industry, continues pulling students into this fast-paced career field.||Attention to detail, the ability to multi-task, negotiation skills, interpersonal skills, public relations skills, customer service skills, composure, the ability to make decisions and solve problems||According to the BLS, many employers prefer to hire candidates with a bachelor’s degree and some experience in hotel management, hospitality or event planning. Popular degree choices for this field include hospitality management, marketing, public relations, communications and business.|
While no degree can guarantee employment, it’s important to pursue a degree choice with an outcome you feel comfortable with. Before you pick a specific degree program or college major, make sure to research potential career outcomes and explore all of the options that may be available.
South Dakota Financial Aid Information
An important factor to consider when choosing between colleges and universities in South Dakota is the total cost of your desired program. The fact is, cost can vary dramatically across different types of schools, and that difference in cost can lead to huge variations in your degree’s return on investment. The difference between choosing a public or private institution, for example, could mean spending dramatically more for the same degree — or a whole lot less. Meanwhile, your choice of major and the specific college you choose may have an impact.
As you may have heard, the cost of higher education is also increasingly dramatically each year. The College Board tracks these changes closely and releases annual data on the fluctuations of these costs year after year.
Here are some figures that show how the cost of tuition at colleges in South Dakota has changed during the last decade. All figures have been recalculated for inflation to match the 2014 dollar, which should truly demonstrate the rising trend in these costs:
- Public 2-year in-state
- 2004-05: $3,818
- 2014-15: $5,683
- Public 4-year in-state
- 2004-05: $5,469
- 2014-15: $7,653
- Private 4-year nonprofit
- 2004-05: $19,406
- 2014-15: $25,200
Although the cost of tuition at colleges and universities in South Dakota has ticked up over the years, it’s important to note that costs in this state are lower than the national average. The average cost of a four-year degree at a public school is an especially good value when compared to the costs in other states.
Meanwhile, many students in South Dakota may qualify for financial assistance that can make a college degree more affordable. The first step towards identifying aid that may be available is generally filling out a free application for federal student aid, or FAFSA form. The information provided on this form helps state and federal agencies determine which type of aid, and how much, is applicable for each student.
The South Dakota Board of Regents also lists information on state-based aid. After a quick search of their website, one can find information on scholarships and grants, as well as reduced tuition programs, loans and payment plans, for students that attend colleges in South Dakota.
Students should also check with colleges and universities in South Dakota to determine whether any school-based aid is available. Many times, financial aid may be available to students who meet certain income or academic guidelines.Article SourcesArticle Sources
- College Navigator, National Center for Education Statistics, https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/?s=SD
- Dakota State University, Online Programs, U.S. News and World Report, http://www.usnews.com/education/online-education/dakota-state-university-219082
- Dakota Wesleyan University, Online Programs, U.S. News and World Report, http://www.usnews.com/education/online-education/dakota-wesleyan-university-219091
- Diagnostic Medical Sonographers, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2014, Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes292032.htm
- Diagnostic Medical Sonographers and Cardiovascular Technologists and Technicians, Including Vascular Technologists, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/diagnostic-medical-sonographers.htm
- Interpreters and Translators, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2014, Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes273091.htm
- Interpreters and Translators, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/media-and-communication/interpreters-and-translators.htm
- Market Research Analysts and Marketing Specialists, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2014, Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes131161.htm
- Market Research Analysts and Marketing Specialists, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/market-research-analysts.htm
- May 2014 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, South Dakota, Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_sd.htm
- Meeting, Convention, and Event Planners, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/meeting-convention-and-event-planners.htm
- Meeting, Convention, and Event Planners, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2014, Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes131121.htm
- Northern State University, Online Programs, U.S. News and World Report, http://www.usnews.com/education/online-education/northern-state-university-219259
- Paying for College, South Dakota Board of Regents, https://www.sdbor.edu/students/payingforcollege.htm
- Physical Therapy Assistants, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2014, Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes312021.htm
- Physical Therapy Assistants and Aides, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/physical-therapist-assistants-and-aides.htm
- Postsecondary Completers and Completions: 2011-12, Web Tables, U.S. Department of Education, March 2014, Accessed September 12, 2015, http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2014/2014033.pdf
- South Dakota Occupational Employment Projections to 2022, South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation, http://dlr.sd.gov/lmic/lb/archive/2014/july2014laborbulletin.pdf
- South Dakota State University, Online Programs, U.S. News and World Report, http://www.usnews.com/education/online-education/south-dakota-state-university-219356
- Tuition and Fees by Sector and State over Time, Trends in Higher Education, The College Board, Accessed September 12, 2015, http://trends.collegeboard.org/college-pricing/figures-tables/tuition-and-fees-sector-and-state-over-time
- University of South Dakota, Online Programs, U.S. News and World Report, http://www.usnews.com/education/online-education/university-of-south-dakota-219471
- University of South Dakota, Online Programs, U.S. News and World Report, http://www.usd.edu/usd-online/online-programs