Accounting Degrees in South Dakota


Updated January 24, 2023

Planning to pursue accounting jobs in South Dakota? Learn about career opportunities and CPA requirements in the state to begin your professional journey. is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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South Dakota may be most famous for Mount Rushmore and its national parks, but the Land of Plenty also has a long history of agriculture, energy production, and mining. Tourism is also a massive industry: In 2021, the state brought in a record-breaking $4.4 billion in tourism spending, according to the South Dakota Department of Tourism. These sectors — and many others — need accounting professionals.

Because the state does not tax personal income, capital gains, or corporate income, CNN has previously named South Dakota a top state for starting a new business. Accounting and auditing jobs in the state are projected to grow 10.9% between 2020 and 2030, according to data from Projections Central. This equates to 540 job openings each year during that time frame.

This guide explores accounting jobs in South Dakota, provides details about pursuing an accounting degree, and explains requirements for accounting professionals in the state.

South Dakota at a Glance




Average Annual Temperature: 45.2℉

Annual Precipitation: 20.1 inches

Major Sports Teams

Sioux Falls Pheasants, Sioux Falls Skyforce, Rapid City Rush

Number of Higher Learning Institutions


Per Capita Income


Accountants in South Dakota


Sources: World Population Review, Current Results, NCES, U.S. Census ACS, BLS

Why Go to College for Accounting in South Dakota?

According to data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the state's higher learning institutions enrolled a total of 67,050 postsecondary students in the 2020-21 school year.

Pursuing a degree in South Dakota offers a host of benefits, including low population density, a cost of living in line with the national average, and an array of scholarships for public- and private-school students. Tuition at four-year schools in the state is lower than the national average, which can make higher education less financially burdensome for students.

Many of South Dakota's institutions, including the University of South Dakota and Northern State University, offer accounting programs. These degrees are designed to impart skills in accounting, economics, mathematics, and business — knowledge that can prepare students for jobs in a variety of industries. Completing an accounting degree in South Dakota can also help qualify learners for thecertified public accountant (CPA) exam.

Education Statistics for South Dakota

According to NCES data, South Dakota has 16 four-year schools and three two-year institutions. The state's tax revenue allocated to higher education is on par with the national average, as is the number of adults with a bachelor's degree.

Higher Education Statistics

South Dakota Data National Data

Four-Year Colleges



Two-Year Colleges



Students Enrolled in Distance Education



Postsecondary Education Appropriations per Full-Time Student



Tax Revenue Allocated to Higher Education



Adults Over 25 With an Associate Degree



Adults Over 25 With a Bachelor's Degree



Adults Over 25 With a Graduate Degree or Higher



Sources: NCES, SHEEO, U.S. Census ACS

Accreditation for South Dakota Schools

Accreditation is a type of educational quality control that validates whether schools meet standards of academic rigor. South Dakota colleges and universities hold institutional accreditation — which applies to schools overall — from agencies like the Higher Learning Commission.

Specific programs or departments may also hold programmatic accreditation, which verify that curricular offerings prepare learners for careers in the field. Agencies like AACSB International offer accreditation for accounting programs.

Delivery Formats for South Dakota Accounting Degrees

Attending an accounting program is an important step toward building a career. Prospective students should compare multiple factors at potential schools, including courses and concentrations, financial aid options, and learning modalities.

Schools in South Dakota offer in-person, online, and hybrid education. The following sections discuss the benefits of each delivery format for accounting degrees in South Dakota.

On-Campus Programs

More than half of South Dakota is rural, making in-person interaction and on-campus learning important for building connections and developing professional networks. Students who thrive in social, collaborative environments with face-to-face instruction may prefer in-person programs.

Online Programs

Many South Dakota colleges are located in the state's larger cities, including Sioux Falls, Vermillion, and Aberdeen. Enrollees from rural regions can save time and money by taking advantage of online accounting classes.

Although virtual, these programs have the same curricula and requirements as on-campus degrees. Because of the increased flexibility of most online courses, students must be disciplined and self-motivated in the absence of in-person instruction.

Hybrid Programs

Hybrid accounting programs combine aspects of online and on-campus learning. Some hybrid degrees may offer a mixture of virtual and in-person classes, while others may only use online courses and require students to attend periodic on-campus residencies.

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Paying for Your Accounting Degree

Average tuition for South Dakota colleges and universities is below national averages. In addition to tuition, prospective students must also factor in costs like application fees, books, transportation, and room and board when calculating the total expenses of pursuing a degree.

There are several ways to finance higher education in South Dakota. Aside from federal and private loans, students may also qualify for grants, fellowships, and scholarships.

Follow the links below to learn about financial aid options for South Dakota accounting degrees.

In-State Versus Out-of-State Tuition

According to NCES data from the 2020-21 school year, average tuition at four-year schools is almost $4,000 lower for in-state students than their out-of-state counterparts. South Dakota belongs to several reciprocity agreements, including the Western Undergraduate Exchange, which offer reduced or in-state tuition for enrollees from other member states.

Enrollees can also take advantage of various scholarships available to South Dakota students. These include the South Dakota Opportunity Scholarship, which the state's board of regents issues to learners attending schools in the state.

Cost of Living in South Dakota

While researching institutions, consider states' cost of living. Aside from tuition, students also need to budget for expenses like food, housing, and transportation.

South Dakota's cost of living is close to the national average, according toWorld Population Review. While housing and utility costs are below national averages, grocery and housing expenses in the state are higher than their respective national averages.

Careers for South Dakota Accounting Graduates

The BLS projects accounting and auditing careers in the U.S. will grow 6% between 2021 and 2031. However, as a large number of accounting tasks become automated, general accountants may need to specialize in areas like financial planning and financial analysis to stay competitive in the job market.

According to Projections Central, South Dakota currently employs over 5,000 accountants and auditors, and the total number of these jobs in the state specifically is projected to grow 10.9% from 2021 to 2031, a rate higher than the aforementioned national projected job growth for this occupation.

Although South Dakota is not home to any Big Four accounting firms or Fortune 500 businesses, several large companies — including Sanford Health and Wells Fargo — and industries like manufacturing require accounting professionals for various financial roles.

Popular Accounting Jobs in South Dakota

Financial Manager

Financial managers are responsible for monitoring the finances of a company, analyzing financial data, recording cash flow and transactions, and developing financial strategies. Working closely with senior managers and top-level executives, these professionals create financial reports, observe market trends, make forecasts, and provide budgeting and investment advice.

Job Outlook in South Dakota (2020-30): +22.1%

Personal Financial Advisor

Personal financial advisors help clients understand and organize their finances; provide advice on investments, insurance, and tax laws; and develop short- and long-term financial goals for clients. Financial advisors may work independently or as part of banking, brokerage, or consulting firms.

Job Outlook in South Dakota (2020-30): +16.7%

Financial Analyst

Financial analysts' duties include analyzing financial data to make forecasts and assess risks, predict business decision outcomes, seek purchase and investment opportunities, and offer advice to management. These professionals can pursue chartered financial analyst certification to validate their skills.

Job Outlook in South Dakota (2020-30): +11.5%

South Dakota Employment Trends

Projected Job Growth for Accountants
Job Availability South Dakota National

2020 Employment



2030 Projected Employment



Projected Job Growth, 2020-30



Source: Projections Central

Accounting Salaries by Career
Career South Dakota Employment South Dakota Average Annual Salary National Average Annual Salary

Associate Degree Recommended

Bookkeeping and Auditing Clerks




Credit Counselors




Payroll Clerks




Bachelor's Degree Recommended

Compliance Officers




Cost Estimators




Property Appraisers and Assessors




Securities, Commodities, and Financial Services Sales Agents




Tax Preparers




Master's Degree Recommended

Accountants and Auditors




Budget Analysts




Financial Analysts




Financial Managers




Personal Financial Advisors




Source: BLS OEWS

As indicated by the BLS data above, South Dakota's average annual wages for most accounting professionals are lower than national averages. Despite this, many accounting and auditing jobs in the state offer average salaries that exceed the national average wage for all workers. Financial managers, financial analysts, and personal financial advisors enjoy the highest average salaries in South Dakota.

South Dakota CPA Requirements

Licensure and renewal requirements for CPAs are determined at the state level. In South Dakota, the South Dakota Board of Accountancy is responsible for setting accounting standards, including CPA requirements.

South Dakota does not impose age, citizenship, or residency requirements for aspiring CPAs, but candidates must have a Social Security number to qualify for licensure. Other South Dakota CPA requirements include:

  • A bachelor's degree in accounting or equivalent
  • 24 semester hours in non-accounting business courses
  • 150 total credit hours of college-level education
  • At least one year of paid, professional experience in an accounting or financial role
  • Completing the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) professional ethics exam

Questions About Accounting Jobs in South Dakota

  • Are there good accounting jobs in South Dakota?

    Projections Central data shows accounting jobs in South Dakota are projected to grow 10.9% from 2020 to 2030, creating nearly 600 new positions.

  • How much do accountants make in South Dakota?

    According to the BLS, accountants and auditors in South Dakota earned an average annual salary of $70,190 in 2021. Professionals with experience and advanced credentials can earn even higher wages.

  • How do I become a CPA in South Dakota?

    Candidates who meet the eligibility requirements must take the CPA examination in South Dakota. Successful examinees who satisfy experience requirements must pass the AICPA ethics exam before applying for licensure. South Dakota CPAs must also participate in continuing education programs and renew their license every three years.

  • How much does it cost to take the CPA exam in South Dakota?

    Per the South Dakota Board of Accountancy, the application fee for the CPA exam in South Dakota is $30. Each section of the exam costs $268.15. Candidates can apply to one or more sections at the same time.

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