Human Services Guide
       
 

Counseling Licensure in South Dakota

Most states will have very different requirements to undertake for those seeking licensure in counseling with some fundamental similarities. In the state of South Dakota there are two levels of licensure the Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and the Licensed Professional Counselor-Mental Health (LPC-MH). Both levels of licensure require that you have a Master’s of Counseling degree from an accredited school.

You will need to take the following steps in order to become a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) or Licensed Professional Counselor-Mental Health (LPC-MH) in South Dakota:

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  1. You will want to start by fulfilling the educational requirement by attaining your master’s in counseling degree from a CACREP-accredited program, or a 48-hour master's degree in counseling from an accredited institution.
  2. You will need to complete a practicum and internship.
  3. Pass a criminal background check.
  4. Accumulate the necessary hours to complete the supervised experience requirement. This will vary depending on whether you want to become an LPC or an LPC-MH in South Dakota.
  5. Apply with the South Dakota Board of Counselors and Marriage and Family Therapists Examiners take your National Counselor Examination (NCE) as administered by the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC) for the Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) title.
  6. Apply to the South Dakota Board of Counselors and Marriage and Family Therapists Examiners so you can take your National Mental Health Counselor Examination (NMCHE) as administered by the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC) for the Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) title.
  7. Apply to the South Dakota Board of Counselors and Marriage and Family Therapists Examiners to receive your Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) or Licensed Professional Counselor-Mental Health (LPC-MH) title.

Educational Requirements

South Dakota regulations require that prospective Counselors must fulfill the following educational components as part of the licensure process.

  • The safest and best undergraduate degree to earn is the Bachelor’s degree in Counseling. Most graduate of counseling programs consider the Bachelor of Counseling to be the most desirable degree for applicants. If you are not planning on getting your Bachelor of Counseling, then you will want to earn a Bachelor’s in a highly related Behavioral Science field such as Psychology, Social Work or Human Services.
  • The next step is to enroll in a master’s program in counseling accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), or a 48-hour master's degree in counseling from an accredited institution.
  • You will need to complete both a practicum and an internship during your graduate studies.
  • Your practicum must be a minimum of 100 hours with at least 40 hours of client contact in the form of therapy, all of this must be supervised and have face-to-face evaluation.
  • You must then complete an internship of 600 hours minimum with 240 or more hours of direct client contact.

Supervised Experience

There are two different levels of experience required for the LPC and LPC-MH titles. You will need to complete the following for the LPC and the LPC-MH additional requirements will be noted below:

  • Pass a criminal background check.
  • Submit to the South Dakota Board of Counselors and Marriage and Family Therapists Examiners your plan for supervised experience.
  • You can find the form for the plan here: http://dss.sd.gov/behavioralhealthservices/licensingboards/docs/LPC%20Plan%20of%20Supervision%2008132008.pdf
  • For those working towards the LPC title, you will need to complete 2000 hours over a two year period.
  • A minimum of 800 hours must be direct client service.
  • You will need a minimum of 100 hours of direct supervision 50% of which must be face-to-face supervision by a board approved supervisor.
  • To attain the LPC-MH title you will need and additional 2000 hours of supervised work experience.
  • Your supervisor must be a currently licensed in South Dakota LPC-MH
  • You may apply 1000 hours of your LPC work experience toward the LPC-MH licensed, but those 1000 hours must be under the supervision of an LPC-MH.
  • You may also include 50 hours of supervision from the LPC supervised work experience time period..

Apply for and Take Your NCE or NCMHCE

The next step is to apply for and take your exam:

  • Apply to the South Dakota Board of Counselors and Marriage and Family Therapists Examiners to take your National Counselor Examination (NCE) as administered by the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC) if you wish to become an LPC.
  • Pass the NCE with a score acceptable under South Dakota law.
  • To become a LPC-MH you will need to complete the steps for LPC add the additional work experience as described in the section above and then apply to the South Dakota Board of Counselors and Marriage and Family Therapists Examiners to take your National Clinical Mental Health Counselor Examination (NCMHCE) as administered by the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC).
  • You will need to pass the NCMHCE with a score acceptable to the board.

Apply for Your LPC or LPC-MH Title

Once you have passed the NCE or NCMHCE with a score acceptable to the South Dakota Board of Counselors and Marriage and Family Therapists Examiners you may apply to the board for your full LPC or LPC-MH title.

  • Apply to the South Dakota Board of Counselors and Marriage and Family Therapists Examiners for your LPC title.
    • You can find the appropriate form here:
  • For the LPC-MH title you will also need to apply after meeting all the requirements for both LPC and LPC-MH. You can find the correct form here: http://dss.sd.gov/licensingboards/examiners.aspx

Continuing Education and License Renewal

You must renew your license every year. During every four years you must show that you have earned Continuing Education credits.

  • You will need to complete 40 hours of continuing education credits.
  • You will need at least 4 hours in ethics.

You will want to take the time to periodically review and refresh your understanding of current laws around licensure by visiting the South Dakota by visiting the South Dakota Board of Counselors and Marriage and Family Therapists Examiners website here:

       
 
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