Counseling Degrees and Programs in South Dakota
In South Dakota, you will find several colleges and universities with at least one counseling program in a major field of practice: mental health counseling, marriage and family therapy, rehabilitation counseling, school counseling, and substance abuse counseling. If you would like to become a licensed professional counselor in South Dakota, you will find there are many education and work experience requirements you must complete first. As most counseling careers require a degree, one of the first steps you will take is choosing the right school to attend. As each type of counseling practice has different licensure requirements, you will also need to make sure the program you choose meets state licensure requirements. A master’s degree in counseling is often required for licensure and most schools in South Dakota offer at least some graduate options, but undergraduate degrees are also available for students with no prior education or experience in this field. Some online and hybrid programs are offered in South Dakota in mental health counseling and substance abuse counseling, although students interested in other areas of counseling may need to explore online or on-campus programs in nearby states.
- There are 6 not-for-profit colleges and universities that offer a program in mental health counseling, marriage and family therapy, school counseling, substance abuse counseling, and/or vocational rehabilitation counseling in South Dakota.1,2
- Of the counseling schools in South Dakota, 2 offer an associate degree, 2 offer a bachelor’s degree, 1 offers a certificate, and 5 offer a master’s or advanced degree.1,2
- 5 schools offer a degree in mental health counseling.1,2
- 2 schools offer a degree in marriage and family therapy.1,2
- 1 school offers a degree in vocational rehabilitation counseling.1,2
- 4 schools offer a degree in school counseling.1,2
- 3 schools offer a degree in substance abuse counseling.1,2
- No schools ranked in US News & World Report’s Best Student Counseling Programs 2022.3
- No schools ranked in US News & World Report’s Best Online M.Ed. Programs for Student Counseling 2022.4
- Across 3 schools, 8 counseling programs are accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP).2
- No counseling programs are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE).5
Comparison of South Dakota Counseling Schools and Programs
We have developed this table to allow you to compare South Dakota’s public and not-for-profit colleges and universities offering counseling programs in at least one of the following five areas: mental health counseling (MH), marriage and family therapy (MF), vocational rehabilitation counseling (VR), school counseling (SC), and substance abuse counseling (SA). Use the table to compare each school by program type offered, Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) accreditation status, graduation rate, and net price per year. If you are interested in learning more about how to become licensed as a counselor in South Dakota, have a look at our license requirements page.
|School Name||CACREP-Accred Program2||MH||MF||VR||SC||SA||Grad Rate1||Net Price1|
|Sinte Gleska University||—||Yes||—||—||Yes||Yes||N.Av.||$13,856|
|Sisseton Wahpeton College||—||—||—||—||—||Yes||23%||$921|
|South Dakota State University||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||—||60%||$17,859|
|University of South Dakota||Yes||Yes||—||—||Yes||Yes||60%||$18,974|
Schools in South Dakota with Counseling Degrees
Traditional Undergraduate Programs
Sinte Gleska University, located near Mission, offers undergraduate and graduate programs informed by Lakota language and culture. The 120-credit Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Human Services is available with a concentration in Mental Health or Chemical Dependency and teaches counseling students how to provide culturally-appropriate services to Native American communities. The BA degree includes a general education core; courses in Lakota history and culture; and introductory coursework in psychology, counseling methods, and professional ethics. Students then take senior courses in the area of concentration and related counseling techniques. In both concentrations, students complete two supervised field placements with at least one placement in a Lakota-oriented setting. A Master of Arts (MA) in Human Service is also offered with concentrations in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and School Counseling. The MA degree is available on a part-time basis to appeal to working professionals and takes approximately four years to complete. Courses may be offered on campus or online and are offered in the evening or on weekends. The 55-credit Clinical Mental Health Counseling program meets state educational requirements for the Licensed Professional Counselor-Mental Health (LPC-MH) credential while the 49-credit MA in School Counseling meets state requirements to become a school counselor. Depending on the coursework taken, students in the school counseling program may also meet the academic requirements to become LPC-MHs in South Dakota.
Traditional Graduate Programs
At Northern State University in Aberdeen, prospective counselors can earn a CACREP-accredited, 60-credit Master of Science in Education (MSEd) with a specialization in Clinical Mental Health Counseling or School Counseling. The program admits new students in the fall term and takes two years to complete, including summers. The degree comprises 45 credits of core counseling and research foundations courses, six credits in the area of specialization, and nine credits of work experience. Students complete 100 hours of supervised practicum and 600 hours of supervised internship to gain hands-on experience in their chosen area of practice. Examples of core required courses include Assessment in Counseling; Theories of Counseling and Personality; and Multicultural Counseling. Students in the MSEd in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program also learn about psychopharmacology and diagnosis. Upon completion of the program, graduates will meet state academic requirements to become Licensed Professional Counselors-Mental Health (LPCs-MH). The MSEd in School Counseling program also includes coursework in the school environment and guidance program development. This program meets state requirements to work as a K-12 school counselor in South Dakota schools.
Kairos University, formally known as Sioux Falls Seminary, is a Baptist institution offering a Master of Arts (MA) in Counseling and an MA in Marriage and Family Therapy. The MA in Counseling comprises 63 credits including 10 credits of supervised work experience at Sioux Falls Psychological Services and Stronghold Counseling Services, owned by the school. The degree content includes introductory coursework on family systems, assessment, and trauma, along with more advanced coursework in counseling techniques, psychoanalysis, and spiritual direction. Students will learn the skills necessary to work in public, community, or faith-based settings with a diverse clientele. While the program does not specifically meet the state educational requirements for licensure as a Licensed Professional Counselor-Mental Health (LPC-MH) or a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT), students can work with faculty and academic advisors to create an individualized academic plan that will help them meet the coursework requirements for their desired type of state licensure. If studying on a full-time basis, the Counseling degree should take approximately two and a half years to complete. The MA in Marriage and Family Therapy consists of 65 credits and prepares graduates for licensure as Marriage and Family Therapists (LMFTs) in South Dakota and other states.
Located in Brookings, South Dakota State University (SDSU) offers a Master of Science (MS) in Counseling and Human Resource Development with specializations in Clinical Mental Health Counseling; Marriage and Family Counseling; Rehabilitation Counseling; and School Counseling. In the 60-credit MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, students learn how to provide mental health support and counseling services to individuals, families, and groups. The program meets state educational requirements to become a Licensed Professional Counselor-Mental Health (LPC-MH) and is accredited by CACREP. The 60-credit MS in Marriage and Family Counseling teaches the counseling models and techniques necessary to work with couples and families on an individual or group basis in clinics or private practice. Graduates will meet state educational requirements for the Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) credential. The CACREP-accredited MS in Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling comprises 60 credits and focuses on the mental health and rehabilitation needs of clients with disabilities. Students will be eligible to work in entry-level rehabilitation counseling settings. Finally, the MS in School Counseling is a 60-credit, CACREP-accredited degree that meets state requirements to become a school counselor. In this specialization, students develop guidance counseling programs and learn how to provide individualized counseling support to children and adolescents. SDSU also offers 18-credit minors in Mental Health Services and Rehabilitation Services that can be completed online. These minors introduce students to the foundational theories and models of counseling but do not lead to licensure. They must be completed in combination with an undergraduate major.
Online and Hybrid Programs
The University of South Dakota (USD) offers several online and on-campus counseling programs. The Master of Arts (MA) in Addiction Counseling and Prevention requires 33 or 45 credits, depending on the student’s academic background and experience. Students can also choose to complete an additional six credits for a Co-Occuring Disorders specialization along with the 45-credit standard track. All three varieties of the MA in Addiction Counseling and Prevention are offered completely online, and each meets the educational requirements to become a Licensed Addiction Counselor (LAC). A 15-credit Graduate Certificate in Addiction Studies is available online to students who already have a graduate degree, and emphasizes evidence-based addiction education. Graduates will have 15 of the 27 required credits required to qualify as LACs in South Dakota. The Vermillion campus also offers a Master of Arts (MA) in Counseling with CACREP-accredited tracks in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and School Counseling K-12. Both tracks require 60 or 64 credits, depending on whether the student chooses to complete a thesis. The MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling meets state educational requirements for the Licensed Professional Counselor-Mental Health (LPC-MH) credential, while the MA in School Counseling enables graduates to become school counselors in South Dakota. For individuals who already have a counseling graduate degree, an Educational Specialist (EdS) and a CACREP-accredited Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Counselor Education are available. A 12-credit online Certificate in Clinical Mental Health Counseling is offered that enables students with a counseling degree of at least 48 credits but less than 60 credits to meet South Dakota state educational requirements to become LPCs-MH.
1. National Center for Education Statistics College Navigator: https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
2. Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs, Accredited Programs: https://www.cacrep.org/directory/
3. US News & World Report Best Student Counseling Programs 2022: https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-education-schools/student-counseling-rankings
4. US News & World Report Best Online Master’s in Education Programs Offering Student Counseling and Personnel Services 2022: https://www.usnews.com/education/online-education/education/student-counseling-rankings
5. Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education, Directory of COAMFTE Accredited Programs: https://coamfte.org/COAMFTE/Directory_of_Accredited_Programs/MFT_Training_Programs.aspx