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Why This Matters


    College Navigator shows that South Dakota has six educational institutions that offer associate degree programs.


    On average, South Dakota residents paid $7,312 for in-district tuition and fees at public community colleges for the 2022-23 school year, according to College Board.


    The National Center for Education Statistics estimates that 370,718 students attending two-year institutions during the 2020-21 school year received some type of financial aid.

Our Research

This list features some of the best community colleges in South Dakota. Each school featured is a nonprofit, accredited institution — either public or private — with a high standard of academic quality for post-secondary institutions. We included small, midsize, and large colleges as well as trade, technical, and vocational programs. Next, we compared this comprehensive list to a list of aggregated college rankings from reputable publications like the U.S. News & World Report among others to simplify a student’s college search. We pored through these rankings so students don’t have to.

The colleges on our list are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), a reputable organization that examines objectives, quality and overall effectiveness of education programs throughout the United States.

We evaluated each school on tuition costs, admission, retention and graduation rates, faculty, and reputation as well as the student resources provided for students. Then we calculated the Intelligent Score on a scale of 0 to 100. Read more about our ranking methodology.

Online College Programs That Might Interest You

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

The Top 50 Community Colleges in South Dakota

Best Community Colleges In South Dakota Badge

Lake Area Technical College

Mitchell Technical College

Oglala Lakota College

Western Dakota Technical College

Sisseton Wahpeton College

Southeast Technical College

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What You Should Know About Graduating From Community College in South Dakota

Choosing your career path at a community college impacts your job outlook and career potential. Based on 2021 wage data, the top five highest-paying careers with an associate degree requirement in South Dakota were funeral home managers, radiation therapists, dental hygienists, air traffic controllers, and engineering technologists.

The number of available jobs is also an important factor to consider. In South Dakota, the top five careers requiring an associate degree with the most job openings are preschool teachers (except special education), agricultural and food science technicians, computer network support specialists, radiologic technologists, and paralegals and legal assistants.

Not all jobs for people with associate degrees are increasing in South Dakota. The careers that are predicted to have  no job growth include air traffic controllers, broadcast technicians, and human resources assistants (except payroll and timekeeping).

What’s Next?

Below is a list of state and federal resources that can provide you with useful information and help you find financial aid opportunities for students earning an associate degree in South Dakota.

  • South Dakota Board of Technical Education. This organization oversees South Dakota’s technical college system.
  • Federal Student Aid. More than $120 billion in loan, work-study, and grant money is distributed by the office of Federal Student Aid every year. Visit FAFSA4caster to check your eligibility, and fill out the online FAFSA form when you’re ready to apply for federal financial aid.
  • CareerOneStop. For information on scholarships, grants, loans, and other financial aid options, visit CareerOneStop. You can filter options based on the type of degree and location.

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