Jobs in South Dakota

This area covers jobs in South Dakota including South Dakota’s Fastest Growing Occupations, trends and employment opportunities.

What jobs or careers are in South Dakota?

South Dakota has goals to increase revenue from outdoor recreation industries and tourism, both of which are strengths in their economy at this time. This combined with goals to promote the growth or expansion of existing businesses and encourage the creation and development of new businesses suggest a promising and forward-thinking business climate. South Dakota also has goals to become a net energy exporter using with Ethanol, Biodiesel fuel and Wind energy.

Employment is expected to increase by 15 percent by 2010. Some traditionally strong occupations will see declines while others will see growth, partly due to demographics but mostly due to new economic and social needs. Advanced education will play a larger role in career development in South Dakota than in the past.

Some occupations which need the most employees are in support roles and their growth is projected into 2012. These include positions such as: Cashiers, Retail Salespersons, Food Preparation & Serving Workers, Waiters & Waitresses, Nurses and Nursing Aides, Orderlies & Attendants, Customer Service Representatives, Janitors & Cleaners, Truck Drivers, Child Care Workers, Bookkeeping & Accounting Clerks, Receptionists & Information Clerks, Laborers & Material Movers, and Wholesale & Manufacturing Sales Representatives.

Where are the jobs?

Urban areas and popular tourist locations hold the greatest variety of employment opportunities. The shortage of registered nurses is widespread.

Almost all of the state’s 10 fastest growing occupations require education or training at the level of an associate degree or higher. Six of the 10 fastest growing occupations in the state are in the computer field. Two relate to health: home care aides and medical assistants.

South Dakota’s Fastest Growing Occupations

  • Computer App. Sftwr .Engrs. Computer Support Techs.
  • Computer Syst. Computer Syst. Admins.
  • Database Administrators Data Comm. Analysts
  • Personal/Home Care Aides Medical Assistants
  • Social Service Assistants Mental Health Soc. Wkrs.

Source: South Dakota Dept. of Labor

Most of the region’s fastest-growing professions are drawn from the health

and computer sectors: occupational therapists, physical therapists, physician assistants, pharmacists, registered nurses, and veterinarians will all see major increases in new job creation.

What careers offer stable employment?

The expanding careers noted above offer stable employment. The following careers also expect major growth through 2012: Social & Human Service Assistants, Medical Records Technicians, Massage Therapists, Physician Assistants, Residential Advisors, Dental Hygienists, Respiratory Therapists, Dental and Physical Therapist Assistants.

Occupations providing services to these careers will be stable employment also, though these are more likely to be lower wage jobs with lower education requirements.

What is the employment growth potential in this state?

The fastest growing industries in South Dakota are in health and healthcare services, computer related professions, waste remediation and industries which serve the growing and aging population.

This chart shows growth projected into 2014.

Industry Title Percent Increase
Social Assistance 37.7%
Ambulatory Healthcare Services 37.7%
Waste Management and Remediation Service 33.8%
Amusement, Gambling and Recreation Industries 28.6%
Museums, Historical Sites and Similar Institutions 28.3%
Sporting Goods, Hobby, Book and Music Stores 27.0%
Hospitals 26.4%


How many people live in South Dakota?

The population of South Dakota is approximately 770,000. It is about 88% white and about 8% Native American. The average travel time to work is 16 minutes. The statewide unemployment rate for March 2006 was 3%. The average annual pay is around $28,000. About 21% of the population has a Bachelors degree or higher.

Rural economy and living conditions expect improvements as the state enhances the infrastructure with railroad and water and communication projects.