Healthcare Career Exploration

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Colleges & Universities in South Dakota 
Northeast SD 
Dakota State University - Public University in Madison, SD
Lake Area Technical College - Technical College in Watertown, SD
Northern State University - Public University in Aberdeen, SD
Presentation College - Private University in Yankton, SD
Sisseton Wahpeton College - Tribal College in Agency Village, SD
Sitting Bull College - Tribal College in McLaughlin, SD
South Dakota State University - Public University in Brookings, SD
Southeast SD 
Augustana University - Private University in Sioux Falls, SD
Dakota Wesleyan University - Private University in Mitchell, SD
Ihanktowan Community College - Tribal College in Marty, SD
Lower Brule Community College - Tribal College in Lower Brule, SD
Mitchell Technical College - Technical College in Mitchell, SD
Mount Marty University - Private University in Yankton, SD
Southeast Technical College - Technical College in Sioux Falls, SD
University of Sioux Falls - Private University in Sioux Falls, SD
University of South Dakota - Public University in Vermillion, SD
Western SD 
Black Hills State University - Public University in Spearfish, SD
Oglala Lakota College - Tribal College with campuses throughout western SD including Rapid City and Kyle
Sinte Gleske University - Tribal College in Mission, SD
South Dakota Mines - Public University in Rapid City, SD
Western Dakota Technical College - Technical College in Rapid City, SD
Types of Degree Programs 
Certificate - Average completion time: 9-12 months // Common prerequisites: High school diploma or equivalent // Offered at: Typically a community college or technical college, though some colleges and universities also over certificate programs
Diploma - Average completion time: 1-2 years // Common prerequisites: High school diploma or equivalent // Offered at: Typically a community college or technical college
Associate Degree - Average completion time: 2 years // Common prerequisites: High school diploma or equivalent // Offered at: Typically a community college or technical college, though some colleges and universities also offer associate degree programs
Bachelor's Degree - Average completion time: 4 years // Common prerequisites: High school diploma or equivalent // Offered at: Typically at a college or university
Master's Degree - Average completion time: 1-2 years // Common prerequisites: Bachelor's degree // Offered at: Universities
Doctorate - Average completion time: varies greatly, 2-6 years // Common prerequisites: Master's degree, though bachelor's is also acceptable for some programs // Offered at: Universities
West River Health Sciences Center  - Located at BHSU-Rapid City: a collaboration between BHSU, SDSU Nursing, USD Nursing, and WRAHEC
Black Hills State University - Applied Health Science - BHSU's AAS in Applied Health Sciences is a pathway to complete pre-nursing courses for SDSU Nursing or USD Nursing programs in Rapid City.
Healthcare Programs in SD 
Administrative and Support Services 
Health Information Systems 
Dakota State University - Associate or bachelor's degree in Health Information Technology, along with Master of Science in Health Informatics and Information Management (MSHIIM)
Western Dakota Technical College - Diploma (9 month) and Associate degree (18 month) in Health Information Management
Health Services Administration 
University of South Dakota - Master of Business Administration - Health Services Administration Specialization (MBA)
Medical Assisting 
Lake Area Technical College - Associate degree (20 month)
Mitchell Technical College - Associate degree (20 month)
Southeast Technical College - Diploma (1 year)
Western Dakota Technical College - Certificate (9 month) and diploma (12 month) options
Medical Coding 
Dakota State University - Certificate program (9 month)
Southeast Technical College - Certificate program (9 month)
Certified Nurse Aide (CNA)
Behavioral and Mental Health 
Addiction Studies 
University of South Dakota - Bachelor's degree (4 year) and graduate degree in Addiction Counseling & Prevention
Clinical Psychology 
University of South Dakota - Doctorate degree (Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology)
Counseling 
Northern State University - Master’s of Science in Education (MSEd) degree with preparation for K-12 school or clinical mental health counseling certification.
South Dakota State University - Master of Science in Counseling and Human Resource Development programs offered on main campus and at BHSU-Rapid City and include: Clinical Mental Health Counseling specialization, College Counseling specialization, Marriage and Family Counseling Specialization, Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling specialization, and School Counseling specialization
University of South Dakota - Graduate degree (Master of Arts in School Counseling and Clinical Mental Health Counseling) and doctoral degree (Ed.S. and Ph.D. in Counselor Education)
Social Work 
Oglala Lakota College - Bachelor's degree (4 year)
Presentation College - Bachelor's degree in Social Work (4 year)
Sitting Bull College - Bachelor's degree (4 year), Sitting Bull College offers the Social Work program through the interactive video network (IVN) system at the Mobridge and McLaughlin sites
University of Sioux Falls - Bachelor's degree in Social Work (4 year)
University of South Dakota - Bachelor's degree in Social Work (4 year) and graduate degree in Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)
Biotechnology Research and Development 
Biomedical Engineering 
South Dakota Mines - Bachelor of Science degree (4 year), Master of Science, and Ph.D. (doctorate)
University of South Dakota - Bachelor of Science degree (4 year), Master of Science, and Ph.D. (doctorate)
Emergency Medical Services 
Med/Fire Rescue 
Lake Area Technical College - Associate degree (20 month)
Paramedic 
Lake Area Technical College - Diploma (15 month) or Paramedic Hybrid E-Degree Diploma (20 month)
University of Sioux Falls - Associate and bachelor's degree options
Western Dakota Technical College - Associate degree (21 month) and certificate (18 month)
Exercise & Dietary Health 
Athletic Training 
Augustana University - Graduate degree (Master of Science in Athletic Training)
Dakota Wesleyan University - Graduate degree (Master of Science in Athletic Training)
South Dakota State University - Graduate degree (Master of Science in Athletic Training)
Exercise Science 
Augustana University - Bachelor's degree (4 year)
Black Hills State University - Bachelor's degree (4 year)
Dakota State University - Bachelor's degree (4 year)
Dakota Wesleyan University - The bachelor's degree (4 year) in sport, exercise and wellness is designed as a general studies program in exercise and sports studies.
Mount Marty University - Bachelor's degree (4 year)
Presentation College - Bachelor's degree (4 year)
South Dakota State University - Bachelor's degree (4 year)
University of Sioux Falls - Bachelor's degree (4 year)
University of South Dakota - Bachelor's degree (4 year) in Kinesiology and Sport Management with specialization options in Exercise Science or Sport Management
Nutrition & Dietetics 
South Dakota State University - Bachelor of Science degree (4 year) in Nutrition and Dietetics
South Dakota State University - Graduate degree (Master of Science in Dietetics) offered online
South Dakota State University - Graduate degree (Master of Science in Nutrition) and doctoral (Ph.D.) available
Medical Laboratory Sciences 
Medical Lab Science 
Augustana University - To earn an Augustana degree with a major in Medical Laboratory Science, a student must complete three years of work at the University followed by a year of study in an approved Medical Laboratory Science program
Mount Marty University - Bachelor's degree (4 year)
Northern State University - Bachelor's degree (4 year)
South Dakota State University - Bachelor's degree (4 year)
University of Sioux Falls - Bachelor's degree (4 year)
Medical Laboratory Technology 
Lake Area Technical College - Associate degree (20 month)
Mitchell Technical College - Associate degree (20 month)
Western Dakota Technical College - Associate degree (18 month)
Microbiology 
South Dakota State University - Bachelor's degree (4 year)
Phlebotomy 
Southeast Technical College - Certificate program (4 month)
Western Dakota Technical College - Certificate program (4 month) and Diploma program in Laboratory Assisting (9-10 month)
Medicine 
Physician (M.D.) 
University of South Dakota - M.D. program and combined M.D./Ph.D. for Physician Scientist
Physician Assistant 
University of South Dakota - Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies (24 month)
Public Health 
South Dakota State University - Master of Public Health, online only option
University of South Dakota - Master of Public Health, online only option
Nursing 
Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) 
Lake Area Technical College - Diploma (11 month)
Mitchell Technical College - Diploma (1 year)
Sinte Gleske University - Associate degree (20 month)
Sisseton Wahpeton College
Southeast Technical College - Diploma (1 year)
Western Dakota Technical College - Diploma (14 month)
Registered Nurse, Associate Degree in Nursing 
Lake Area Technical College - Associate degree (11 month) bridge program for graduates of an LPN program who hold a current LPN license
Oglala Lakota College - Associate degree
Southeast Technical College - Associate degree
Western Dakota Technical College - Associate degree (14 month) bridge program for graduates of an LPN program who hold a current LPN license
Registered Nurse, Bachelor of Science in Nursing 
Augustana University - Bachelor of Science in Nursing program (4 years) and an accelerated (1 year) program for students who already have a college degree and have completed prerequisite courses
Dakota Wesleyan University - Bachelor of Science in Nursing program (4 year)
Mount Marty University - Bachelor's degree (4 year)
Presentation College - Bachelor of Science in Nursing program (4 year)
South Dakota State University - Bachelor of Science in Nursing (4 year) offered in Rapid City, Brookings, and Sioux Falls and accelerated (12 month) program offered in Rapid City, Aberdeen, and Sioux Falls for students who've already completed a bachelor's degree in any field
University of Sioux Falls - Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree (4 year) and an accelerated track (4 semesters) for students who possess a previous bachelor's degree in another field
University of South Dakota - Bachelor of Science in Nursing (4 year) program offered in Rapid City, Sioux Falls, and Vermillion
RN to BSN  - RN to BSN programs are designed for registered nurses who possess an associate degree or diploma in nursing and wish to complete requirements for a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree.
Dakota Wesleyan University - LPN to BSN, 28-month program at Sioux Falls location or main campus in Mitchell
Presentation College - Online bridge program
South Dakota State University - Online bridge program
University of Sioux Falls - Online bridge program
University of South Dakota - Online bridge program
Nurse Practitioner 
Mount Marty University - Master's degree option with a Family Nurse Practitioner track and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner track
Presentation College - Master's degree with online option available
South Dakota State University - Master's (MSN FNP) Doctorate degree (Doctor of Nursing Practice)
University of South Dakota - Doctorate of Nursing Practice degree in Organizational and System Leadership
Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia Practice (DNAP) 
Mount Marty University - Doctorate program offered in Sioux Falls
Pharmacy 
Pharmacy 
South Dakota State University - Doctor of Pharmacy (6 year)
South Dakota State University - Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Sciences
Pre-Professional Programs  - This includes programs that prepare students for graduate degrees in medicine, occupational therapy, physical therapy, dentistry, chiropractic, pharmacy, optometry, physician assistant studies, etc.
Health Science 
Black Hills State University - Associate degree (2 year) offered on main campus and at BHSU-Rapid City
Presentation College - Bachelor's degree (4 year) offered on main campus or online.
University of South Dakota - Bachelor's degree (4 year) offered on main campus, Sioux Falls, or online.
Medical Biology 
University of South Dakota - Bachelor of Science degree (4 year)
Therapeutic Services 
Audiology 
University of South Dakota - Doctor of Audiology program (4 year)
Massage Therapy - To be licensed as a massage therapist, an applicant must have at least 500 hours of specific education and training from a board recognized facility or instructor. The SD Board of Massage Therapy lists approved training sites at the link.
Occupational Therapy 
University of South Dakota - Doctor of Occupational Therapy program
Physical Therapy 
University of South Dakota - Doctorate in Physical Therapy program
Physical Therapy Assistant 
Lake Area Technical College - Associate degree (20 months)
Radiation Therapy 
Mitchell Technical College - Associate degree (3 semesters) for ARRT registered or registry-eligible radiographers
Radiologic Technology 
Avera Sacred Heart Hospital School of Radiologic Technology - Diploma program that has affiliation agreements with several colleges/universities which allow the student to achieve a bachelor’s degree. Students first complete 2-3 years of prerequisite academic coursework at the universities, followed by 24 month internship at various Avera Health facilites in eastern SD.
Mitchell Technical College - Associate degree (21 month)
Mount Marty University - Bachelor's degree (4 year)
Sanford Health Radiography Program - Certificate program that has affiliation agreements with several colleges/universities which allow the student to achieve a bachelor’s degree. Students first complete 2-3 years of prerequisite academic coursework at the universities, followed by 24 month internship at Sanford Medical Center Sioux Falls.
University of Sioux Falls - Associate and Bachelor's degree options
Respiratory Care 
South Dakota State University - Associate (2 year) and Bachelor's (4 year) degree offered in Rapid City and Sioux Falls
Sonography 
Southeast Technical College - Associate degree options in cardiac sonography, diagnostic medical sonography, and vascular sonography
Speech Language Pathology 
University of South Dakota - Master of Arts in Speech Language Pathology
Speech Language Pathology Assisting 
Mitchell Technical College - Associate degree (2 or 3 year), online option only
Surgical Technology 
Southeast Technical College - Associate degree (20 months)
Western Dakota Technical College - Associate degree (18 months)
Funding & Scholarships 
College Scholarships  - Most colleges have their own scholarship awards, application, and deadlines. Visit with the admissions or financial aid office at each college to learn more.
Black Hills State University - deadlines vary, visit the link or chat with BHSU Admissions to learn more
Black Hills State University - Rapid City - deadlines vary, visit the link or chat with BHSU Admissions to learn more
Oglala Lakota College - deadlines vary, visit the link or chat with OLC Admissions to learn more
South Dakota Mines - deadlines vary, visit the link or chat with SDSMT Admissions to learn more
South Dakota State University - deadlines vary, visit the link or chat with SDSU Admissions to learn more
University of South Dakota - deadlines vary, visit the link or chat with USD Admissions to learn more
Western Dakota Tech - deadlines vary, visit the link or chat with WDT Admissions to learn more
Other Funding Sources & Scholarships 
FastWeb - Online scholarship search platform - as always be careful with any online scholarship search platforms. Remember, if something looks too good to be true, it probably is!
Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) - federal student loans and grants
Financial Literacy Guide (Annuity.org) - Topics include how student loans work, sticking to a budget, planning for the future and much more
State and Local Scholarships 
Build Dakota Scholarship - Build Dakota Scholarships will be awarded to skilled scholars entering high-need workforce programs at South Dakota technical institutes; several healthcare focused program qualify
Dakota Corp Scholarship - February 1 deadline; full-ride scholarship for critical need areas as identified by the state (RN qualifies)
GPTCHB Pathways to Healthcare Professions - PHP awards a limited number of scholarships to qualified students to help them defray the costs of pursuing a high-demand healthcare training program or post-secondary healthcare education in one of our qualified healthcare training programs. PHP qualified programs include CNA, Med Aide, Medical Coding/Billing, LPN, RN, EMT, Paramedic, and GED programs
Horatio Alger Denny Sanford Scholarship - application available August 1 – October 25 and January 15 – March 15; chat with the Admissions Rep at your college of choice to determine eligibility, deadline, and application process
SD Opportunity Scholarship - merit-based scholarship for academically accomplished high school graduates who attends an eligible higher education institution in South Dakota
Resources & Opportunities 
Career Resources 
Career Explorer - Search a wide variety of healthcare careers by 'years in school' and 'salary'
Community Resources 
Career Learning Center of the Black Hills - The CLCBH provides education and training (including GED), community education, career preparation, and a testing center.
CSS Prosperity Initiative - The Prosperity Initiative is a vision created by the John T. Vucurevich Foundation that strives to move families in Rapid City from poverty to prosperity through a continuum of success from cradle to career by providing resources to the entire family through community collaboration. The Prosperity Initiative is implemented through Catholic Social Services in partnership with Love INC.
CSS Uplifting Parents - The Uplifting Parents Program (Program UP) was created to empower single parent families by providing resources to support their advancement in education. The goal is to assist lower-income single parents to acquire the education needed to become financially sustainable, and thus provide stability and opportunity for their children. Catholic Social Services (CSS) works with over thirty coalition partner agencies in the community to develop the program.
OneHeart Rapid City - OneHeart provides transitional housing along with a variety of services on their campus - from addiction and mental health counseling to life skills and job training.
Student Homelessness & Basic Needs Insecurity Guide - Half-way down the page is list of scholarships, services, assistance programs, and additional resources
Helpline Center Resource Guides - Resource guides sorted by geographic area and include basic needs, emergency resources, behavioral health, caregiver resources, and food calendars
Mentoring Programs 
Native American Healthcare Scholars Program - The Native American Healthcare Scholars Program is a joint collaboration between University of South Dakota and Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Health Board and provides mentoring and assistance to students as they work their way toward and through a medical education.
SDSU Native American Nursing Education Center - The NANEC's mission is to provide a nurturing and collaborative environment where intentional mentoring inspires Native American nursing students to thrive and flourish.
The Indians Into Medicine Program (INMED™) - comprehensive program designed to assist American Indian students who aspire to be health professionals to meet the needs of our tribal communities. (satellite office at USD Sanford School of Medicine)
Undergraduate Opportunities 
PHEVERS at SD Mines - To help SD Mines students prepare for careers in the health professions, SD Mines designed a free, voluntary co-curricular program known as Roadmap to Pre-Health Experience in Volunteering, Education, Research, & Shadowing (PHEVERS...pronounced "fevers"). This program gives our pre-health students access to opportunities that will help them to develop the Pre-Health Pathways Competencies that we expect all of our students to have by the time they leave SD Mines. The Roadmap to PHEVERS also helps students to gain a deeper understanding of health careers and to connect with both peers and professionals here in Rapid City.
Next Steps  - You've explored healthcare careers and resources, now what? View next steps!
Schedule an appointment with WRAHEC - We can help answer any questions you have, talk about your specific next steps, and personally connect you with healthcare programs and colleges across the state.
Visit with a college or university - A great way to learn more about a program is by scheduling an appointment or tour with admissions. Each college or university has ways to schedule these on their website.
Shadow someone working in the field - Interested in a certain career field, but unsure if it is right for you? Interviewing or shadowing a professional in that field is a great way to learn more about it.
Find West River AHEC at the:

West River Health Sciences Center
on the BHSU-Rapid City campus

4300 Cheyenne Blvd.
Rapid City, SD 57703
(605) 718-4327
Email