Human Resource (HR) Degree in South Dakota


Forbes ranked South Dakota as having the 10th best economic climate in the country in 2014.  The state’s unemployment rate continued to be one of the lowest in the country as of August 2015 according to the South Dakota Department of Finance and Management.  In fact, nonfarm employment increased by 5,700 between July 2014 and June 2015.

Levels of increased employment suggest that experts in HR management will be in demand to oversee the hiring and retention of qualified employees for businesses, healthcare providers, and state and local government. 

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HR Degrees Available Through Private Universities and State Schools in South Dakota

Most of South Dakota’s HR management programs are located in business schools, providing a broad foundational background in business operations.

Associate’s Degree in Human Resources – Designed for those preparing to become HR assistants, compensation specialists, and payroll assistants, among others:

Associate of Applied Science in HR Associate—Watertown (Online)

  • 76.5 credit hour program
  • 20 month program
  • Requires an internship or final project equivalent

Bachelor’s Degree in Human Resources - Designed for those preparing to become HR recruiters and labor relations specialists, among others:

Bachelor of Science in Business Administration emphasis in HR Management—Sioux Falls (Online)

  • 6 key courses in HR management

Master’s Degree in Human Resources - Designed for those preparing to become HR managers, benefits managers and training and development managers, among others:

Master of Science in Administration specialization in HR Management—Vermillion

  • Does not require an undergrad HR degree
  • 36 credit hours
  • Does not require a thesis

MBA with a Concentration in Human Resource Management – Designed for those preparing to become HR Directors or VPs:

MBA in HR Management—Sioux Falls (Online)

  • Does not require an undergrad HR degree
  • 48 credit hour program

The Largest Employers of HR Professionals in South Dakota

Companies have been drawn to South Dakota, since its business costs are 15.9% below the national average according to Forbes.  In addition, favorable banking regulations drew Citibank to South Dakota.  The US Department of Labor provides a list of the largest employers of HR professionals in South Dakota as of 2014:

  • IBP Hog Market Inc. (Corporate HQ) in Dakota Dunes - 4,800 total employees
  • Ellsworth Air Force Base in Ellsworth AFB - 4,500 total employees
  • Rapid City Regional Hospital, Inc. in Rapid City - 4,000 total employees
  • Sanford USD Medical Center in Sioux Falls - 4,000 total employees
  • Citibank South Dakota in Sioux Falls - 3,200 total employees
  • John Morrell Food Group (Manufacturing) in Sioux Falls - 3,000 total employees
  • Regional Health Physicians, Inc. in Rapid City - 3,000 total employees
  • VA Medical Center in Fort Meade - 1,997 total employees
  • Avera St. Luke’s Hospital in Aberdeen - 1,400 total employees
  • Larson Manufacturing Company (Corporate HQ) in Brookings - 1,300 total employees                                                                                               

Salary Ranges for HR Professional in South Dakota

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics provides the salaries for a number of HR positions in South Dakota as of 2014.  The values shown range from starting salaries (bottom 10% average) to salaries for experienced professionals (top 10% average):

  • Human Resource Managers: $64,590 - $131,710
  • Human Resources Specialists: $33,870 - $72,740
  • Compensation, Benefits and Job Analysis Specialists: $35,260 - $67,290
  • Training and Development Specialists: $30,490 - $69,810
  • Payroll and Timekeeping Clerks: $25,920 - $40,080
  • Human Resources Assistants, Except Payroll and Timekeeping: $22,860 - $40,490

Job Growth Projections for HR Professionals in South Dakota

Professional and business services in South Dakota have seen year-to-year growth according to the state’s Bureau of Finance and Management. Since HR professionals are a component of this industry, the South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation projects sizable job growth for a number of HR positions between 2012 and 2022:

  • Human Resource Managers: 13.2%                                               
  • Human Resources Specialists: 4.3%
  • Compensation, Benefits and Job Analysis Specialists: 2.0%
  • Training and Development Specialists: 8.3%                       
  • Payroll and Timekeeping Clerks: 7.5%

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