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SD houses relatively fewer MA program options, but you must pick a course that is accredited and recognized by the South Dakota Board of Medical and Osteopathic Examiners. Use the quick widget to start your research. Enter your pin code to continue.

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Medical Assistant Programs Cost and Duration in South Dakota

Program costs largely depend on the type of degree you choose. Since certificates and diplomas are shorter in duration, the fees are, of course, lesser as compared to AAS degrees. For instance, one school charges $249 per credit hour; thus, for a diploma program (41 credits), the fees would be considerably lower than that for an associate degree (say around 70 credits). AAS degrees usually average around $16,000.

Program lengths also vary depending on the program. Certificate and diploma usually comprise 2 or 3 semesters and complete well within a year. On the other hand, associate programs take around 2 years (4/5 semesters) to complete.


4 Best Medical Assistant Schools in South Dakota for 2021

Click here to know our Ranking methodology

Picking the right MA school makes all the difference. Thus, before going ahead, please ensure that the school you have chosen is ideal. How to evaluate the same? Well, look for crucial school characteristics and USPs. Focus on the degrees being offered by the school, the practicum or clinical opportunities, fees, program accreditation, etc. Visiting the school’s campus is also a good idea to get a feel for the infrastructure yourself.

All in all, ensure the school you pick is recognized by the board and the state as a medical assistant training provider. South Dakota houses 4 schools with the top MA programs in South Dakota. These are enlisted below in no particular order.

Note: For each of the schools, essential features have been outlined to evaluate and decide as per individual goals and suitability.

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Cost $8,684
Type Public
Student-faculty Ratio 17:1
Recent Retention Rate 83%
Financial Aid Yes
Placement Services Yes
Counseling Services Yes
Accreditation Body


Aspiring MAs should look at the Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in medical assisting degree at Lake Area Technical Institute. The total duration of the course is around 20 months. Expect to attend a mandatory 240-hour externship in a medical organization as part of your training at the school. It would be unpaid and under the supervision of a senior. However, students must achieve a C (2.0) or better in all technical modules to advance into the MA 240 Administrative and Clinical Externship module. Thereafter, students must achieve C (2.0) or better at their clinical externship module to graduate successfully.

The MA program here enables graduates from the course to take the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) exam by the AAMA. The job placement rate for the batch of 2018 stood at 91.7%. The exam passage rate for the 2017 cohort was 92.9%. Lake Area Tech also has disability services (suitable accommodation, etc.) to ensure equal opportunities to all students. The school houses many clubs and organizations to keep you active and motivated.

Number of Courses Associate's Degree
Campus Watertown, SD
Cost $6,561
Type Public
Student-faculty Ratio 13:1
Recent Retention Rate 73%
Financial Aid Yes
Placement Services Yes
Counseling Services Yes
Accreditation Body


The medical assisting program here is a 1-year diploma undertaking. Students must earn a total of 41 credits to graduate. Expect to train at a high tech facility, the Sullivan Health/Science Center (enabling students to grasp essential MA skills since 1994). STC initiated a flexible blended program that combines online classes with night-time lab sessions (on-campus). It is in addition to the traditional full-time day program that the school operates. You should also bring a suitable laptop to STC (this is a BYOL program). In case you don’t have one, you can purchase the same from the Southeast Tech Center.

The school’s MA courses allow graduates to take the CMA exam. Students, on completing the program for STC, can seek employment in varied local health settings, such as  Avera, Mercy Medical Center, Sanford Health, Sioux Falls Veteran’s Administration Health Care System, etc. If a candidate opts for the full-time day option, modules are spread over 3 semesters. The other program option is the part-time evening course, which is divided into 5 semesters. To be accepted into the program, students must necessarily document at least 2 of the following parameters:

  • ACT score of18 or better
  • SAT score of 960 or better
  • HS GPA of 2.0 or better
  • GED of 500 or better
  • College GPA of 2.0 or better
Number of Courses Diploma
Campus Sioux Falls, SD
Cost $12,669
Type Public
Student-faculty Ratio 13:1
Recent Retention Rate 57%
Financial Aid Yes
Placement Services Yes
Counseling Services Yes
Accreditation Body


This school has on offer 2 programs in medical assisting, a diploma (39 credit hours and 12 months long), and a certificate (30 credit hours and 9 months long). The diploma program trains across 3 semesters, while the certificate program has only the first 2 semesters with 15 credit hours each. Before entering your MA clinical, you must submit a current BLS CPR certificate, immunization records documenting Hepatitis B and annual TB screening, and a record of a yearly flu shot.

The practicum and clinical here may need you to work across evening/night/weekend shifts as per industry standards. You may also have to travel out of the Rapid City Area. Need financial help with tuition fees? The school follows the US Department of Education’s Title IV Financial Assistance Program. The Build Dakota Scholarships also may be an option for qualifying students where the school pays for the costs on behalf of the aspirants. The application process for the programs includes:

  • Submission of the completed WDT application
  • Completed ACCUPLACER test (this would cost you $15). This requirement can be skipped if you have attained 18 or better in the ACT (English, Math, and Reading) or 440 or better in SAT (Verbal and Math Components) within the past 5 years.
  • Submission of all official HS transcripts or GED records
  • Submission of all immunization records (2 doses of MMR vaccination is mandatory)
Number of Courses Certificate, Diploma
Campus Rapid City, SD
Cost $17,288
Type Public
Student-faculty Ratio 13:1
Recent Retention Rate 70%
Financial Aid Yes
Placement Services Yes
Counseling Services Yes
Accreditation Body


This school boasts of training an MA program that is marked by a 100% job placement rate. For medical assisting, simulation labs are used to provide a real-world feel to the students. The MA program trained is an AAS degree undertaking. The clinical externship constitutes 6 credits alone. Students must complete a total of 70.5 credits to graduate. These are divided across 4 major semesters. The school operates ‘visit days’ from time to time. Attend one of these or schedule an appointment to experience the campus yourself.

One fundamental prerequisite for the MA 250 Clinical externship module is achieving a grade C (2.0) or better in all technical modules. After that, students need to mandatorily score a grade C (2.0) or better in the externship module to graduate successfully. The school conducts background checks in partnership with CastleBranch. Students have to incur the expenses of this check. You can bring in your laptops to the school provided these specifications are in place at the minimum:

  • 64 GB or higher internal storage
  • Intel Core I Series (i3, i5, i7) Processor or AMD Ryzen
  • Windows 10 as the Operating System
  • 4 GB or higher in Memory

Note: Apple or Mac systems will not do

Number of Courses Associate's Degree
Campus Mitchell, SD

Medical Assistant Degree Finder in South Dakota

Degree options in South Dakota range from a certificate or diploma in medical assisting to associate degrees. If you’re looking for a super swift program, opt for the certificate or diploma options. If you can spare another year, an associate degree provides a more in-depth understanding of crucial MA concepts and insightful general education modules. Use the widget below to browse MA degree options near you.

Search Medical Assistant Programs

Get information on Medical Assistant programs by entering your zip code and request enrollment information.

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Training and Certification Requirements for South Dakota Medical Assistants

SD MAs are governed together by the Board of Medical and Osteopathic Examiners and the Board of Nursing. The state defines an MA as a “professional multi-skilled person who assists in all aspects of medical practice under the responsibility and direct supervision of a person licensed to practice medicine in the State of South Dakota”.

The state laws demand that before practicing, all medical assistants must register mandatorily with the South Dakota Board of Medical Examiners. Updated rules (as of Oct 20, 2016) require applicants to meet the following registration criteria:

  • You must have graduated from an accredited MA program (one that is approved by the boards)
  • Good morals and character are a must
  • You must be at least 18 years old
  • You must have passed a national credential exam (must have certification) approved by the boards

Thus, in this sense, training and certification for MAs in South Dakota become mandatory. Approved training MA programs would include courses accredited by the CAAHEP or others that offer similar curriculums. Further, programs accredited by the CAAHEP make students eligible to sit for the most recognized certification national exam, i.e., the American Association of Medical Assistant (AAMA)’s Certified Medical Assistant (CMA).

Moreover, please note, the top MA credentials in the USA are the CMA and RMA (Registered Medical Assistant by the American Medical Technologists) certificates. Thus, pursuing these is always a smart choice. These certifications render much promise to your career ahead. Each of these credentials has its specific requirements that must be met:

  • To qualify for CMA, students must have attended an accredited MA training and clinical on-site work experience in patient relations, office practices, human pathology, medical terminology, medical law, first aid, diagnostic procedures, and the like. Within 60 months of passing the training, students need to pass the CMA exam to qualify. The CMA exam has 200 questions, out of which 180 are randomly picked and graded. Students answer these in 40-minute break-ups.
  • On the other hand, RMA aspirants may qualify via an accredited MA school or a military medical service training course. Students who have had at least 5 years of medical assistant working experience (in the past 7 years) can also pursue an RMA certification. A candidate also qualifies if he/she has been a medical assisting program instructor for 1 to 5 years.

Employment Outlook for Medical Assistants in South Dakota - 2021

BLS estimates that 930 MAs are employed in the state (as of May 2019). Also, 2.2 was recorded as the employment per 1,000 jobs statistic.

The 5 healthcare industries that employed the maximum number of medical assistants in the state were:

Employing Industry Employment
Ambulatory Health Care Services 720
Offices of Physicians 470
Offices of Other Health Practitioners 200
Offices of Chiropractors 200
Hospitals 180

Source: BLS (as of May 2019)

Future Growth for South Dakota Medical Assistants 2016-2026

Direct healthcare services are one of the fastest-growing occupations in South Dakota. So much so that it is predicted to constitute 14% of the total SD workforce by 2024. Such a significant increase in a short time frame signals plentiful of opportunities in the near future.

Estimated Employment Growth for Medical Assistants – SD

Projected Employment Growth in 10 Years Annual Projected Jobs Growth %
South Dakota 1,040 (2016) 1,230 (2026) 140 19%
National 686,600 (2018) 841,500 (2028) 99,700 23%

Source: careeronestop

Even though the figures are small, one can estimate the employment prospects for medical assistants in the state via the 19% growth projection. So it is more than evident that in the years to come, medical assistants in SD shall at least not go unemployed or scrambling for opportunities. The Project Central report on short term projections also estimates a 4.1% growth in the number of MA vacancies in the state. From 970 openings in 2019 to 1,010 vacancies in 2021, the report highlights a significant increase in demand for MAs even in this relatively short 2 year period.

Census stats tell that 17.2% of the South Dakota population is either 65 years or older. It further enhances the demand for medical services and MAs in the state. Thus, all in all, MAs of South Dakota can be rest assured of fruitful long-standing medical careers ahead. With more significant healthcare facilities coming up, opportunities are only bound to grow.

medical assistant

Written by : Casey Gardner

Casey Gardner is both a healthcare support professional and an accomplished content creator.  She has been working as a certified health care professional with marketable skills as a physician assistant,  and a qualified medical assistant for last two decades. She has dedicated her nursing career to produce over hundreds of content pieces since 2001, and her work has been published both online as well as offline.

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