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South Dakota Psychology Licensure Requirements

If you are interested in becoming a psychologist in South Dakota, you can become licensed through the South Dakota Board of Examiners of Psychologists, the body that oversees all psychology licensure in the state. To become a licensed psychologist in South Dakota, you will need to accomplish the required educational background, complete a detailed application with appropriate documentation, fulfill supervised experience hours, and pass national and state examinations. There are many steps to gaining your licensure, and this guide will help you navigate the journey. Common questions that you may be asking during the process may include:

» How do I become a psychologist in South Dakota?
» I have earned a PhD or PsyD and I am ready to learn how to get a psychologist license in South Dakota.
» What are South Dakota supervised professional experience rules and regulations?
» What psychology exams are required in South Dakota?
» I am already a licensed psychologist in another state; how do I become licensed in South Dakota by endorsement?
» How do I renew my psychology license in South Dakota?
» How much do psychologists in South Dakota make?

Three Steps to Becoming a Psychologist in South Dakota

Before applying for psychology licensure in South Dakota, you will need to understand the requirements, rules, and regulations for the process. You first must complete your educational background, which will require an undergraduate and doctoral-level degree, before beginning the application process. Read on below to understand the three high-level steps necessary to earn your psychology license in South Dakota.

1. Earn a bachelor’s degree and (optionally) a master’s degree in psychology.

First, you will need to complete a bachelor’s degree in psychology or another field, which may be a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or Bachelor of Science (BS) degree. Both types of bachelor’s degrees usually require 120 semester hours to complete, which takes the average student four full-time academic years to fulfill. If you choose an undergraduate major other than psychology, depending on your area of focus, you may need to take psychology prerequisite courses before beginning a graduate program in psychology.

After finishing your bachelor’s degree, you have the option to complete a master’s degree in psychology. A stand-alone master’s degree is not required for psychology licensure. Many applicants instead choose to pursue a doctoral program that offers a master’s degree as part of the doctoral thesis work (see Step 2 below). However, you can choose to pursue a stand-alone Master of Science (MS) or Master of Arts (MA) in psychology, which usually requires 36-54 credit hours and two to three years of full-time study to complete. After your master’s program, however, you will still need to complete a doctorate program, because South Dakota requires all licensed psychologists to have a doctoral degree.

2. Earn a PsyD or PhD in psychology.

Next, you will need to earn a doctoral degree in psychology. You have the option to choose between a Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) or Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Psychology. The two degrees have some key differences, and you can read about them on the American Psychological Association’s (APA) website and decide which best fits your goals and focus area. The South Dakota Board of Examiners of Psychologists requires that your doctoral degree be from a regionally accredited university or recognized by the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC). The doctoral curriculum should include at least three academic years of full-time graduate work. At least two of these years should consist of doctoral-level courses, and for at least one year the doctoral candidate must be in full-time residency. However, most doctoral programs require between four and seven years to complete.

During your licensure application process, the Board will require you to document that your doctoral curriculum included at least three graduate semester hours in each of four subject areas: biological aspects of behavior, cognitive-affective aspects of behavior, social aspects of behavior, and individual differences. In your application, you will need to detail which classes covered these content areas (see Step 1 below). Further details can be found in section 36-27A-1 of South Dakota’s statutes regarding psychology licensure.

During your doctoral program, you will need to participate in a supervised practicum and field or laboratory training in psychology. You are also required to complete a supervised psychology internship and document at least 1,800 hours of practice. The internship should be an organized training program, and at least two-thirds of your time should be supervised by a licensed psychologist with a doctoral degree. Your supervisor will need to verify that you spend a minimum of two hours a week in formal face-to-face individual supervision and one hour a week in supervised learning activities, such as case conferences and co-facilitating group therapy. When you later apply for licensure with the Board, you will need to submit an Applicant Predoctoral Internship Confirmation Form and your supervisor will submit a Release and Waiver for Supervisors Form.

If you want to learn more about doctoral programs offered in South Dakota, visit our Psychology Schools in South Dakota page.

3. Get licensed to practice psychology in South Dakota.

Once your educational requirements are met, you will begin the application process for psychology licensure in South Dakota. The Board’s process begins with an application, then passing required examinations, and finally, completing supervised professional experience. The following steps detail the requirements you will need to fulfill to earn a psychologist license in South Dakota.

South Dakota Psychologist Licensing Process

1. Submit your application and supporting documentation to the Board.

First, you will submit an Application for Licensure to the South Dakota Board of Examiners of Psychologists. The application fee, including the fee for the oral examination, is $300. With this application, you will need to attach a sheet that you create yourself, documenting the content areas of your doctoral courses (see Step 2 above). The Board provides a Required Coursework/Content Areas example sheet. You will also need to include a Board-provided Application for Licensure Cover Letter, the Applicant Predoctoral Internship Confirmation Form, and the Release and Waiver for Supervisors Form. These documents must be approved by the Board before you can move on to the next step.

2. Pass the South Dakota psychology licensing exams.

Once the Board reviews your application materials, you may be approved to take the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP), a national examination that tests your understanding of psychological theories, ideas, and practice. The total cost of the EPPP is $687.50, and in order to pass the examination, you will need to earn a scaled score of 500. The ASPPB offers an EPPP practice exam to help you prepare for the subject matter for the test and the challenges of a timed examination.

After the Board receives your EPPP results, you will be invited to complete an oral examination that is heard and scored by a majority of the Board members. The exam will cover ethical and professional issues in the practice of psychology, as well as South Dakota licensing and administrative rules. The Board requires that candidates earn a score of at least 75% to pass the oral examination. The cost of this examination is included in your original application fee.

3. Request a provisional license to complete post-doctoral supervised experience.

Once your application has been reviewed, the Board has received your EPPP and oral exam scores, and you have completed your pre-doctoral supervised psychology internship, you can request a time-limited provisional license. You will need to send the Board a letter requesting provisional licensure, as well as a copy of your completed Application for Licensure form. The provisional license cannot exceed 12 months and cannot be renewed, and it will expire when you earn your psychology licensure. Only those who are already in the process of applying for psychologist licensure can apply for this provisional license.

4. Complete one year of supervised post-doctoral psychology practice.

The next step toward licensure is fulfilling one year of supervised post-doctoral psychology practice. This is separate from the pre-doctoral supervised psychology experience hours. A year consists of 40-hour work weeks, and two hours a month must be formal face-to-face supervision. To document your year of post-doctoral supervised professional experience, you will need to submit a Post-doctoral Psychological Experience Form and your doctoral-level licensed psychologist supervisor will need to submit a Release and Waiver for Supervisors Form to the Board. While you are completing your supervised experience, in all professional situations you must be sure to identify yourself as training, using titles like “psychological associate” or “psychology trainee” rather than “psychologist.”

5. Receive your license from the Board.

When you have met all of the above criteria, you will receive your psychology license from the Board. You will be required to pay an initial licensure fee of $200.

South Dakota Licensure by Endorsement

If you have previously earned a psychology license from another jurisdiction (either another state or a province of Canada), you may be able to apply for a license in South Dakota through endorsement. If you have an active license, you can start to practice as a psychologist in the state for up to six months while the Board is considering your licensing application for approval. You must start the process within 30 calendar days of starting your practice by submitting a form for the verification of all past/present licensure. If the Board decides that your application is valid, your license was issued under requirements similar to South Dakota’s, and that you practiced for at least five years in your other jurisdiction, you will be awarded a license by endorsement. Upon receiving your license, you will need to pay the state’s initial licensure fee of $200.

Licensing Renewal and Continuing Professional Education Information

All licensed psychologists in South Dakota must renew their licenses annually by July 1st by submitting an Application for Relicensure and a fee of $300. Although many states require a set number of Continuing Education Units (CEUs), in South Dakota, there is no law specifying the number of required CEUs. However, the state does request that licensed psychologists complete some CEU hours, and there is a section for reporting this continuing education on the re-licensure application.

South Dakota Psychology Jobs and Salary Information

Excluding educators, psychologists in South Dakota earn an average of $80,770 annually.1 Clinical, counseling, and school psychologist positions in the state are projected to grow by 10.5% through 2026, which is comparable to the national average of 14.2% during the same period.2 Postsecondary psychology teachers earn an annual average salary of $75,960 in South Dakota, and these positions are projected to grow 18.6% through 2026.1,2 This is a faster rate than the nationwide growth of postsecondary psychology teacher positions, which are projected to grow 15.1% through 2026.2

OccupationNumber EmployedAverage Annual Salary
Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists220$74,900
Industrial-Organizational PsychologistsN/AN/A
Psychologists, All Other4086,640
Psychology Teachers, Postsecondary90$75,960

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2017.1

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to become a psychologist in South Dakota?

The bulk of your journey to psychology licensure will be spent completing your educational foundation in psychology. In order to become a licensed psychologist in the state, you will first need to complete a bachelor’s degree, which usually takes four years. South Dakota requires all psychology licensure candidates to have a doctoral degree in psychology, and most doctoral programs take four to seven years to complete. After you have fulfilled the educational requirements, you can begin your year of post-doctoral supervised experience and the application process, including the national EPPP and the state’s oral examination. All in all, the entire licensure process can take close to 10 years, but the exact number of years depends on your educational choices, area of focus, and personal timeline.

What degree do I need to be a licensed psychologist in South Dakota?

South Dakota requires that all psychology licensure candidates have a doctoral degree in psychology. If you have only a master’s degree in psychology, you will need to complete a doctoral program before beginning the process of becoming a licensed psychologist in the state.

How much do psychologists in South Dakota make?

The average salary of clinical, counseling, school, and “all other” psychologists (excluding educators) in South Dakota is $80,770 annually.1 This is lower than the national average of $87,385 for all psychologists.3,4 Postsecondary psychology teachers in the state earn an average of $75,969 per year, which is also lower than the national average of $85,050.1,5 However, postsecondary psychology teacher positions in South Dakota are projected to grow by 18.6% through 2026, which is higher than the national average.2

Additional Resources

References:
1. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2017 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, South Dakota: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_sd.htm
2. Projections Central, Long Term Occupational Projections (2016-2026): http://www.projectionscentral.com/projections/longterm
3. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2017, Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes193031.htm
4. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2017, Psychologists, All Other: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes193039.htm
5. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2017, Psychology Teachers, Postsecondary: https://www.bls.gov/oes/2017/may/oes251066.htm