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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: marriage and family therapy, mental health counseling, 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.

Quick Facts

  • There are 5 not-for-profit four-year colleges and universities that offer a program in marriage and family therapy, mental health counseling, school counseling, substance abuse counseling, and/or vocational rehabilitation counseling in South Dakota.1,2
  • Of the counseling schools in South Dakota, 0 offer an associate’s degree, 2 offer a bachelor’s degree, 1 offers a certificate, and 5 offer a master’s or advanced degree.1,2
  • 2 schools offer a degree in marriage and family therapy.1,2
  • 5 schools offer a degree in mental health counseling.1,2
  • 2 schools offer a degree in vocational rehabilitation counseling.1,2
  • 4 schools offer a degree in school counseling.1,2
  • 2 schools offer a degree in substance abuse counseling.1,2
  • No counseling schools ranked in Kiplinger’s Best College Values 2019.3
  • No schools ranked in US News Best Student Counseling Programs 2019.4
  • 1 school ranked in US News Best Rehabilitation Counseling Programs 2019.5
  • Across 3 schools, 7 counseling programs are accredited by CACREP.2

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 four-year colleges and universities offering counseling programs in at least one of the following five areas: mental health counseling (MH), marriage and family therapy (MFT), vocational rehabilitation counseling (VR), school counseling (SC), and substance abuse counseling (SA). The table indicates the schools that offer programs accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP); CACREP-accredited programs are denoted with an asterisk (*). Use the table to compare each school by program type offered, 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 NameCACREP-
Accred
Program2
MHMFVRSCSAGrad Rate1Net Price1
Northern State UniversityYesYes*Yes*48%$15,668
Sinte Gleska UniversityYesYesYes11%$12,234
Sioux Falls SeminaryYesYesN.Av.N.Av.
South Dakota State UniversityYesYes*YesYes*Yes*56%$18,253
University of South DakotaYesYes*Yes*Yes58%$17,354

Top-Ranked Schools with Counseling Programs in South Dakota

US News Best Rehabilitation Counseling Programs 2019

  • South Dakota State University (#80 tie)

Schools in South Dakota with Counseling Degrees

Traditional Undergraduate Programs

Sinte Gleska University

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 Services 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 an LPC-MH in South Dakota.

Traditional Graduate Programs

Northern State University

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 summer terms. The degree comprises 36 credits of core counseling and research foundations courses, 15 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 a Licensed Professional Counselor-Mental Health (LPC-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.

Sioux Falls Seminary

Sioux Falls Seminary is a Baptist institution offering a Master of Arts (MA) in Counseling with areas of focus in Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy. The degree comprises 62-66 credits including 10 credits of supervised work experience. All students complete the required work experience at Sioux Falls Psychological Services, the institution’s own mental health counseling clinic, under the supervision of licensed mental health and marriage and family therapy professionals. This clinic provides mental health counseling and marriage and family therapy to low-income or uninsured individuals, couples, and families in the Sioux Falls area. The program has a self-paced format in which students progress through the degree requirements in a predetermined order and must pass each module before progressing to the next. If studying on a full-time basis, the degree should take approximately two years to complete. 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 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.

South Dakota State University

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 and Mental Health 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 48 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 48-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

University of South Dakota

The University of South Dakota (USD) offers several online and on-campus counseling programs. At the undergraduate level, a 120-credit Bachelor of Science (BS) in Addiction Studies is offered fully online or at the Vermillion campus and teaches students about social, psychological, and medical theories of addiction; prevention strategies; and addiction counseling techniques. A 27-credit undergraduate Certificate in Addiction Studies is also available online to students who already have a bachelor’s degree. The coursework in these programs can be applied towards the educational and supervised experience requirements for the Certified Addiction Counselor (CAC) credential in South Dakota. The Master of Arts (MA) in Addiction Studies requires 33 or 45 credits depending on the student’s academic background and experience and can be completed with an optional six-credit specialization in Co-Occurring Disorders. The entire program can be completed online or in combination with on-campus courses in Vermillion. A 15-credit Graduate Certificate in Addiction Studies is available online to students who already have a graduate degree. Coursework from the MA and Graduate Certificate programs can be applied towards state educational requirements to become a Licensed Addiction Counselor (LAC). The Vermillion campus also offers a Master of Arts (MA) in Counseling with CACREP-accredited tracks in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and School Counseling. The degree requires 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. An online Certificate in Clinical Mental Health Counseling is offered that enables students with a counseling degree of fewer than 60 credits to meet state educational requirements to become an LPC-MH.

References:
1. National Center for Education Statistics College Navigator: https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
2. Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), Accredited Programs: https://www.cacrep.org/directory/
3. Kiplinger’s Best College Values, 2019: https://www.kiplinger.com/fronts/special-report/college-rankings/index.html
4. US News & World Report Best Student Counseling Programs, 2019: https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-education-schools/student-counseling-rankings
5. US News & World Report Best Rehabilitation Counseling Programs, 2019: https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-health-schools/rehabilitation-counseling-rankings