Licensed professional counselors (LPCs) assist clients with issues related to mental, behavioral, and emotional wellness. They give advice and provide crucial resources designed to help their clients achieve a greater sense of well-being. Professionals looking to obtain counseling licensure in South Dakota must comply with the basic requirements outlined by the state's Board of Examiners for Counselors and Marriage and Family Therapists.
This guide provides prospective candidates with an essential overview of these requirements and details on how to become a counselor in South Dakota. It includes possible career paths, salary prospects, educational requirements, steps to licensure, and out-of-state endorsements, as well as resources for continuing education and professional development.
Counseling Careers in South Dakota
Several possible career options are available to South Dakota counseling professionals. While each path focuses on a specific area of specialization or expertise, all of the careers listed below rely on the same set of knowledge and skills validated by LPC counseling licensure within the state.
School, Guidance, Vocational, and Educational Counselors
Educational, guidance, and school counselors help students develop the skills needed to succeed in academic settings. Vocational counselors provide support to job seekers, assisting them in choosing careers and employment paths.Explore Career Information Explore South Dakota School Counselor Certification
Marriage and Family Therapists
Marriage and family therapists work closely with couples and families to identify, manage, and cope with relationship issues. They help patients and clients develop the skills and tools needed to handle emotions, experiences, and decisions in marriage and family contexts.Explore Career Information
Rehabilitation counselors work with patients and clients as they cope with mental, emotional, physical, or developmental disorders and disabilities. They assist individuals in managing and overcoming these challenges in employment and daily life.Explore Career Information Explore South Dakota Rehabilitation Counselor Certification
Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorders Counselor
Substance abuse and behavioral health counselors assist patients and clients with addiction and behavior disorders through individual and group therapy. They help clients and patients deal with the stresses of daily life in their recovery. These counselors also offer resources, skills, and tools to manage individual conditions.Explore Career Information Explore South Dakota Substance Abuse Counselor Certification
Mental Health Counselors
Mental health counselors help individuals achieve holistic, mental, and emotional wellness. They provide emotional support through therapy sessions, diagnose various illnesses and disorders, and work with clients to develop effective treatment plans. Many mental health counselors specialize in specific populations and health conditions.Explore Career Information
How Much Do Counselors Make in South Dakota ?
The information in the table below provides an overview of current salary projections for South Dakota counseling professionals in comparison with nationwide averages. For data gathering purposes, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) combines wage information for substance abuse, behavioral, and mental health counselors. This table does not account for individual variances like the cost of living.
Education Requirements for Counselors in South Dakota
Education and Coursework
Working professionals must meet certain educational requirements before obtaining LPC credentials in South Dakota. Although not required, a bachelor's degree in counseling or a related field, like social work or psychology, can help prospective candidates complete the process.
Candidates who do not attend a CACREP-approved program must provide additional documentation demonstrating their competency
All candidates must provide proof of graduation from a Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) accredited program. They can also submit evidence of earning a master's degree in counseling from an accredited institution. These programs require at least 48 credits, not including internship and practicum components.
Candidates who do not attend a CACREP-approved program must provide additional documentation demonstrating their competency in several subject areas specific to the discipline. These include counseling theory and techniques, human growth and development, social and cultural foundations, helping relationships, and professional orientation. They must also provide proof of internship and practicum experiences.
Practicum and Internship
All LPC candidates also must meet practicum and internship requirements specific to South Dakota. The practicum component involves a minimum of 100 supervised hours, with at least 40 hours of client engagement through therapy. The internship comprises a minimum of 600 hours, with at least 240 hours of direct client contact.
Online Counseling Programs in South Dakota
Online counseling programs in South Dakota provide opportunities for students that aim to become counselors or advance their careers in the field. Online degrees offer coursework online, with clinical and internship requirements taking place under the close supervision of instructors at approved locations. These programs prepare students for licensure in South Dakota.
Online degrees offer coursework online, with clinical and internship requirements taking place under the close supervision of instructors at approved locations
The University of South Dakota offers an online master's degree in addiction studies, which is ideal for counselors already working in the field. The program has two tracks: a standard path and an advanced path for certified or licensed addiction counselors. Students with a bachelor's degree in addiction studies also typically enroll in the advanced track. The university also offers an online graduate certificate program in addiction studies aimed at supporting certification by the South Dakota Board of Addiction and Prevention Professionals.
How to Become a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in South Dakota
Once LPC candidates meet all education, internship, and practicum requirements, they can proceed to the next stage of the process. This involves applying for a plan of supervision with the South Dakota Board of Examiners for Counselors and Marriage and Family Therapists, a subdivision of South Dakota Department of Social Services. In this application, candidates must provide evidence of meeting all educational requirements, in addition to successful completion of the National Counselor Examination (NCE).
Candidates must also pay a non-refundable application fee and submit to a criminal background check. The application should also include a copy of the candidate's driver's license or valid, government-issued ID and a quality color photograph of the candidate.
Out-of-State Counselor Candidates
Out-of-state LPCs seeking credentials in South Dakota must apply for a professional counselor license by endorsement. The application should include a copy of the candidate's driver's license or valid government-issued ID and a quality color photograph of the candidate. Verification of out-of-state licensure for at least three years, proof of active practice within the previous three years, and proof of a passing NCE exam score must also accompany the application. Candidates must also pay a non-refundable application fee and a refundable licensing fee.
Counselor License Maintenance and Renewal in South Dakota
Active LPC professionals in South Dakota must renew their licensing credentials annually. Late renewals are subject to a late fee. Renewals also require continuing education credits biennially. Every other year, working LPC professionals must provide evidence of 40 hours of continuing education, including at least four hours of ethics instruction. Active licensees must also continue to adhere to the code of professional and standards of practice outlined by the American Counseling Association.
Continuing Education Opportunities for Counselors in South Dakota
- South Dakota Counseling Association The SDCA is an NBCC-approved continuing education provider in South Dakota. This association offers professional development opportunities to members and resources for counselors to obtain information about continuing education information from affiliate associations.
- Stronghold Counseling Services, Inc. This company emphasizes faith in counseling and provides counseling services to current professionals in the field. Stronghold Counseling Services training is NBCC-approved to provide continuing education in South Dakota. Life-crisis management and non-judgmental counseling training is available several times a year.
- NAADAC, Association for Addiction Professionals NAADAC offers continuing education resources through webinars, seminars, conferences, study courses, magazine articles, and certificate programs for addiction and prevention counselors. Continuing education resources are free for NAADAC members. NAADAC is one of the continuing education organizations approved by the South Dakota Board of Addiction and Prevention Professionals.
Resources and Professional Organizations for Counselors in South Dakota
- South Dakota School Counselor Association The SDSCA unites and supports school counselors from around the state. This association provides professional development, advocacy, ethical support, and resources to school counseling professionals that work with and promote student success.
- South Dakota State University Resources for School Counselors School counselors in South Dakota can access the information provided by South Dakota State University for details about how to better advise and work with their students as they pursue academic goals.
- South Dakota Department of Social Services The South Dakota Department of Social Services offers information about education, application, and licensure requirements for counseling professionals in the state. They also provide resources for child protection and support, medical eligibility, and other social service offerings.
- South Dakota Counseling Association The SDCA offers ethical information, networking resources, and event listings to support counselors in the state. This association also features five specialty areas and eight local chapters available to counseling professionals.
- American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy The American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy is open to marriage and family therapists throughout the country. Members receive access to continuing education and networking opportunities, publications, insurance discounts, and research resources.
- South Dakota Association of Addiction and Prevention Professionals SDAAPP is a branch of NAADAC. This association holds annual conferences and workshops for addiction counselors and educators in South Dakota. Its members can also receive membership in NAADAC.