How to Become a Social Worker in South Dakota

south dakota

South Dakota Social Work Licensing Requirements

Social work is an academic discipline that leads to a specialized profession in which credentialed individuals provide assessment, counseling, intervention and support services to various individuals or groups. Those who obtain social work services, for example, include people undergoing psychological issues and others who need help obtaining social and health services. Since the practice of social work deals directly with the health, wellness and safety of individuals receiving assistance, the process of becoming licensed and the practice of it is strictly regulated.

In South Dakota, there are two certified licenses available to those who have met the educational, examination and experience criteria established by the State Board:

Both types of licensure come with their own requirements that qualify candidates to perform different levels of social work services.

LICENSE TYPE EDUCATION REQUIREMENT SUPERVISED EXPERIENCE EXAM
Certified Social Worker
(CSW)
MSW or doctorate  No supervised
experience required
for licensure.
ASWB Masters level
exam
Certified Social Worker
in Private or
Independent Practice
(CSWP)
MSW or doctorate  Minimum of two
years supervised post-
degree practice.
ASWB Clinical level
exam

Learn more about social work degrees in South Dakota

CSW Requirements in South Dakota

Certified Social Workers are permitted to practice social work as defined by the board. However, they cannot perform clinical social work in a private practice setting or as an independent practitioner. To apply for licensure, all candidates must possess the following qualifications:

  1. Master’s Degree in Social Work – All applicants must provide an official college transcript certifying completion of a Master’s degree in Social Work (or further education, such as a doctorate) from an institution accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).
  2. ASWB Master Social Work Examination – All candidates must have passed the national exam at the Master’s level prior to licensure and submit their scores as part of the application.

CSWP Requirements in South Dakota

Certified Social Workers in Private or Independent Practice are permitted to practice social work in a private office or under the umbrella of public or voluntary institutions. This requires having been licensed previously as a CSW in South Dakota for a minimum of two years. To apply for licensure, all candidates must possess the following qualifications:

  1. Master’s Degree in Social Work – All applicants must provide an official college transcript certifying completion of a Master’s degree in Social Work (or further education, such as a doctorate) from an institution accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).
  2. Supervised Experience – CSWP candidates must have completed two years of full time work experience under an appropriate supervisor in the field in which they will eventually practice (for example, psychotherapy or community organization).
  3. ASWB Clinical Social Work Examination – All candidates must have passed the national exam prior to licensure and submit their scores as part of the application.

The Importance of CSWE Accreditation

The Council of Social Work Education has developed standards that post-secondary and graduated level programs must meet via multistep process in order to obtain CSWE accreditation. Every state across the U.S. requires licensed social workers to attend a CSWE-accredited program. This ensures that licensees have obtained the proper critical thinking skills and knowledge that are necessary to practice social work.

Persons without a CSWE-accredited degree could potentially apply with their respective state board for an exemption. However, the majority of exemptions are typically granted to individuals already licensed to practice other related disciplines like medicine or psychology.

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Additional Resources for Social Workers in South Dakota: