Become a Social Worker in South Dakota

Begin your career in social work alongside the rolling prairies of South Dakota, which boasts a statewide network of almost 2,600 social workers, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). 

This guide for how to become a social worker in South Dakota outlines educational requirements, how to get licensed, social work organizations to join and more. Once you complete the steps to become a social worker in South Dakota, you can embark on a meaningful and fulfilling career.

Sponsored Online Social Work Programs

Howard University

info

Master of Social Work (MSW)

The online Master of Social Work program from Howard University School of Social Work prepares students for advanced direct or macro practice in culturally diverse communities. Two concentrations available: Direct Practice and Community, Administration, and Policy Practice. No GRE. Complete in as few as 12 months.

University of Denver

info

Master of Social Work (MSW)

The University of Denver’s Online MSW Program is delivered by its top-ranked school of social work and offers two programs. Students can earn their degree in as few as 12 months for the Online Advanced-Standing MSW or 27 months for the Online MSW.

Fordham University

info

Master of Social Work (MSW)

Fordham’s skills-based, online MSW program integrates advanced relevant social work competencies, preparing students to serve individuals and communities while moving the profession forward. This program includes advanced standing and traditional MSW options.

Simmons University

info

Master of Social Work (MSW)

Aspiring direct practitioners can earn their MSW online from Simmons University in as few as 12 months. GRE scores are not required, and the program offers full-time, part-time, accelerated, and advanced standing tracks.

University of Southern California

info

Master of Social Work (MSW)

The MSW@USC is the online Master of Social Work from top-ranked USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work. USC offers virtual and in-person field education, and students focus on adults, youth or social change.

Syracuse University

info

Master of Social Work (MSW)

Syracuse University’s online Master of Social Work program does not require GRE scores to apply and is focused on preparing social workers who embrace technology as an important part of the future of the profession. Traditional and Advanced Standing tracks are available. 

Baylor University

info

Master of Social Work (MSW)

Complete the Master of Social Work online program at Baylor University in as few as 12 months. Serve populations in Texas and around the world while ethically integrating faith and social work practice. No GRE required.

Case Western Reserve University

info

Master of Social Work (MSW)

In as few as a year and a half, you can prepare for social work leadership by earning your Master of Social Work online from Case Western Reserve University’s school of social work.

info SPONSORED

Common Steps to Become a South Dakota Social Worker

Before becoming a social worker in South Dakota, you must earn a bachelor’s degree in social work and a social work license depending on what career path you choose. South Dakota offers four types of social work licenses. Based on your goals, there may also be additional requirements such as a background check and clinical supervision. Below are the steps on how to obtain social work licenses in South Dakota, which were retrieved from the South Dakota Department of Social Services

Information below was retrieved May 2022 and is only meant to be a high-level overview. Requirements may change, always check with the state licensing board for complete and up to date information.

1. Earn a CSWE-Accredited Social Work Degree

To become a licensed social worker in South Dakota, you will have to complete a CSWE-accredited Master of Social Work (MSW) program. All three licenses offered in South Dakota require an MSW degree: certified master social worker, registered clinical social worker intern, and licensed clinical social worker.

2. Complete Post-Graduate Field Hours 

Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) and MSW programs will include social work field experience, but you’ll need to meet certain field experience requirements for social work licensure in South Dakota. To become fully licensed as an LCSW, you must have two years of post-master’s supervised experience under the supervision of a licensed clinical social worker. 

3. Get Licensed

Once you’ve completed all requirements according to the board, you may apply to become an LCSW in South Dakota. 

Learn more on how to become a social worker.

Social Work Degree Programs in South Dakota

To become a licensed social worker in South Dakota, you will have to complete a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) or Master of Social Work (MSW) program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). You can pursue these degrees in South Dakota through various formats, including full time, part time and online. 

There are three accredited BSW and MSW degree programs in South Dakota. A bachelor’s degree in social work online or on campus can enable you to enter an advanced standing MSW program, which you may be able to complete in about one year. A BSW also prepares students for entry-level social work positions. 

In order to obtain higher-level licenses in South Dakota, however, a minimum of an MSW is required. Some individuals further their education and experience in social work by pursuing a Doctor of Social Work (DSW) degree. 

Master of Social Work (MSW) Programs in South Dakota 

MSW programs in South Dakota teach students advanced social work theories and practical knowledge. MSW programs include coursework on human development, social work policy, intervention and social work practice for poverty, oppression and trauma.

MSW students in South Dakota also complete a social work practicum where they’re able to get real social work practice under the supervision of a licensed South Dakota social worker. There are full-time, part-time and advanced-standing MSW programs available in South Dakota. The following are CSWE accredited or in candidacy MSW programs in South Dakota.

Online MSW Programs in South Dakota

MSW programs teach students advanced social work theories and practical knowledge. MSW programs may include coursework on topics such as human development, social work policy and intervention. There is one fully accredited MSW program in South Dakota.

Social Work Licenses in South Dakota

South Dakota law recognizes four classes of social workers: certified social worker in private or independent practice (CSW-PIP), licensed certified social worker (LCSW), licensed social worker (LSW) and licensed social work associate (LSWA). The requirements are as follows:

South Dakota CSW-PIP (certified social worker in private or independent practice)

  • South Dakota CSW-PIP education requirement: A doctoral or master’s degree from a CSWE-accredited social work program
  • South Dakota CSW-PIP exam: Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) clinical or advanced generalist level examination
  • Field requirement: Two years of supervised clinical experience in the intended practice area
  • License renewal: Renewal is required every two years. Requirements for renewal are the successful completion of 30 contact hours of continuing education and payment of a $210 renewal fee.

South Dakota LCSW (licensed certified social worker)

  • South Dakota LCSW education requirement: A doctoral or master’s degree from a CSWE-accredited social work program
  • South Dakota LCSW exam: Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) master’s level examination
  • Field requirement: None
  • License renewal: Renewal is required every two years. Requirements for renewal are the successful completion of 30 contact hours of continuing education and payment of a $170 renewal fee.

South Dakota LSW (licensed social worker) 

  • South Dakota social worker education requirement: Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) or a social welfare program from a CSWE-accredited social work program
  • South Dakota social worker exam: Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) bachelor’s level examination
  • Field requirement: None
  • License renewal: Renewal is required every two years. Requirements for renewal are the successful completion of 30 contact hours of continuing education and payment of a $130 renewal fee.

South Dakota SWA (social work associate)

An associate’s degree in a human services-related field usually takes two years to complete; both in-person and online options are available. Although the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) does not accredit associate degree programs, you must earn your degree from a school that is accredited by a nationally recognized body. You can contact the state board to ask if a program you are considering would be accepted for licensure.

  • South Dakota SWA education requirement: Baccalaureate degree in a non-social work field or discipline or an Associate of Arts degree in the human services field approved by the board
  • South Dakota SWA exam: Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) bachelor’s level exam
  • Field requirement: None
  • License renewal: Renewal is required every two years. Requirements for renewal are the successful completion of 30 contact hours of continuing education and payment of a $90 renewal fee.

Social Work Salaries in South Dakota

South Dakota Social Work CareersNumber of Social Workers in South DakotaAverage Mean Social Work Salary
Child, family and school social workers
1,700
$44,770
Healthcare social workers
550
$47,260
Mental health and substance abuse social workers
230
$44,680
Social workers, all other
110
$74,410

Information on the above social work salaries in South Dakota was retrieved from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics – State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates – South Dakota as of May 2022.

Learn more about different social work salaries.

South Dakota Social Work Scholarships

  • BSW Scholarship: $500 
  • MSW Scholarship: $500 
  • Fern Chamberlain Scholarships (two awards): $1,000 each

Learn more about South Dakota Social Work Scholarships

South Dakota Social Work Organizations

  • NASW South Dakota Chapter: Founded in 1955, the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) is the largest membership organization of professional social workers in the world, with more than 120,000 members. NASW works to enhance the professional growth and development of its members, to create and maintain professional standards, and to advance sound social policies.

FAQ

Does South Dakota have social work reciprocity?

No, there is no social work license reciprocity in South Dakota. However, social workers who want to obtain licensure in South Dakota may apply for licensure by endorsement. 

What are the social work continuing education (CE) requirements in South Dakota?

According to South Dakota Department of Social Services, all licensees applying for renewal of license must include certification of completion of 30 contact hours of continuing education within the previous two-year license period. All contact hours may now be obtained through online courses. 

What is the best way to look up my social work license in South Dakota?

To look up social work license verification in South Dakota, visit the Board of Social Work Examiners verification website

Last updated in May 2022