South Dakota Career Guide & Top Growing Career Opportunities

May 28, 2018

South Dakota residents and non-residents alike can benefit from the many fast-growing careers in the state. This article gives brief facts about the state and provides a listing of the fastest-growing occupations within South Dakota for the coming decade.

View Popular Schools

South Dakota Economic Facts

Mount Rushmore is not the only attraction in South Dakota. With 32,000 new job openings expected through 2024, according to the South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation (SDDLR), job seekers will have plenty of options in the state. Additionally, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported an average hourly wage of $19.60 for all occupations in South Dakota as of May 2017. The civilian labor force, as of April 2018, totaled nearly 460,000 with an unemployment rate of 3.4%, lower than the nationwide rate of 3.9% at that same time. Industries with the largest workforce were trade, transportation, and utilities; government; and health and education services.

Top Employers

The top employers in South Dakota are located in Sioux Falls, Rapid City, Pierre and Brookings, among other cities. Some of the state's largest employers include the following entities, which range from healthcare institutions to banks to military bases, among others. This list is in no particular order:

  • Citibank South Dakota
  • Sanford USD Medical Ctr
  • Ellsworth Air Force Base
  • Shaw Industries
  • Ferrellgas
  • Avera McKennan Hosp
  • Smithfield Packaged Meats
  • Regional Health
  • South Dakota Department of Social
  • Rapid City Regional Hospital


The total number of workers in South Dakota from 2014-2024 is expected to expand by 6.7%, according to the SDDLR. Meanwhile, occupation growth for all of the positions listed below is projected to be roughly 19.7% or higher. The top ten projected fastest-growing occupations in South Dakota from 2014-2024 are as follows and represent a variety of industries, from machining to healthcare to construction:

  • Computer-Controlled Machine Tool Operators, Metal and Plastic
  • Industrial Machinery Mechanics
  • Nurse Practitioners
  • Web Developers
  • Machinists
  • Physical Therapist Assistants
  • Brickmasons and Blockmasons
  • Cooks, Restaurant
  • Market Research Analysts and Marketing Specialists
  • Farm Equipment Mechanics and Service Technicians
Next: View Schools

Popular Schools

The listings below may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users.

Find your perfect school

What is your highest level of education?