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 Board), the body that oversees psychology licensure in the state. To become a licensed psychologist in South Dakota, you will need to get a doctoral degree, 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.

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How to Become a Psychologist in South Dakota

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

The first step to psychology licensure in South Dakota is to complete a bachelor’s degree in psychology or another field. 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 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. However, you can choose to pursue a stand-alone master’s degree, which usually requires between 30 and 40 credit hours and takes two to three years of full-time study to complete.

2. Earn a doctoral degree in psychology.

Next, you will need to earn a doctoral degree in psychology to qualify for licensure. 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 our home page and decide which best fits your goals and focus area. The Board requires that your doctoral degree be from a regionally accredited university or professional school of psychology, or recognized by the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC). Most doctoral programs require between four and seven years to complete.

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. Submit your application and supporting documentation to the Board.

First, you will submit an Application for Licensure to the Board. 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. The Board provides a Required Coursework/Content Areas Example Sheet. You will also need to include a Board-provided Application for Licensure Cover Letter, and the Applicant Predoctoral Internship Confirmation form. These documents must be approved by the Board before you can move on to the next step.

4. Pass the South Dakota psychology licensing exams.

Once the Board reviews your application materials, you will 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. In order to pass the examination, you will need to earn a scaled score of 500. The ASPPB offers a 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.

5. Request a provisional license.

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. The provisional license cannot exceed 12 months and cannot be renewed, and it will expire when you earn your psychology license. Only those who are already in the process of applying for psychologist licensure can apply for this provisional license.

6. 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 sign and submit a notarized Release and Waiver for Supervisors Form for each of your supervisors. Once your experience is complete, you will send the Post-doctoral Psychological Experience form completed by you and the supervising psychologist 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.”

7. 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.

License Renewal and Continuing Education

All licensed psychologists in South Dakota must renew their licenses annually by July 1 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 relicensure application.

School Psychologist

For prospective school psychologists in the state, the South Dakota Department of Education offers a school psychologist education specialist certificate to be able to practice from early childhood through grade 12. Candidates for professional certification must hold a master’s degree and have completed an approved program for the preparation of school psychologists. The first step for many is to apply for an Internship certificate for the required internship component of their school psychologist preparation program. To qualify for the Internship certificate, you must have a master’s degree or have completed an equivalent number of graduate semester hours. To apply, you will need to create an account on the SC Educator Portal and complete the Academic Application. Then you will submit an application fee of $105, complete fingerprinting and criminal records review, submit an official transcript, and request a letter from the school program verifying your enrollment in a school psychologist program and participation in an internship. After your internship year, you may upgrade to the Professional certificate by submitting an updated official transcript verifying that you have completed the internship, a recommendation form signed by an institution official, official score reports on the Praxis exam, and, if applicable, an Experience Verification form completed by each employer where your educator or school psychologist experience was earned.

South Dakota Psychologist Jobs and Salary Information

Excluding educators, psychologists in South Dakota earned an average of $84,050 annually as of May 2021.1 Clinical, counseling, and school psychologist positions in the state are projected to grow by 8.3% through 2030.2 As of May 2021, postsecondary psychology teachers earned an annual average salary of $72,830 in South Dakota, and these positions are projected to grow 14.3 through 2030.1,2 This is a faster rate than the nationwide growth of postsecondary psychology teacher positions, which are projected to grow 10.2% through 2030.2

OccupationNumber Employed1Average Annual Salary1
Clinical and Counseling Psychologists100$91,540
Industrial-Organizational PsychologistsN.Av.N.Av.
Psychologists, All Other40$91,660
Psychology Teachers, Postsecondary60$72,830
School Psychologists90$68,950

Additional Resources

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 was $84,050 annually as of May 2021.1 Postsecondary psychology teachers in the state earned an average of $72,830 per year.1,5

1. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2021 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, South Dakota: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_sd.htm
2. Projections Central, Long Term Occupational Projections: https://projectionscentral.org/projections/longterm