Becoming a Licensed Marriage Family Therapist in South Dakota

South Dakota Marriage and Family Therapists Licensure Requirements

To become licensed in South Dakota as a marriage and family therapist, a person must first meet certain educational requirements. In addition, he or she must show a record of accrued work experience under direct supervision and finally successfully completing a state exam.

The field of marital and family therapy is very important to the well being of the family unit. A therapist can practice in the state of South Dakota only after meeting all requirements. It is illegal to use the title without the proper licensure.

General Qualifications for Licensure

In South Dakota, an applicant must submit the initial application for licensure at least 60 days before the examination date, applicable fee along with all required documentation. In addition, the general qualifications must be met.

  • Must be at least 21 years of age
  • Be of Good Moral Character
  • Criminal history
  • Official transcripts showing proof that Educational Requirements were met
  • Documentation that practicum experience requirement met
  • Record of supervised work experience
  • Pass State Licensing Examination

Education Requirements for Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT) Licensing in South Dakota

According to the South Dakota code 36-33-9 anyone wishing to obtain a license must show proof of completion of at least a master's degree program that consisted of no fewer than 48 semester credit hours in marriage and family therapy. This program must be approved by the COAMFTE or its equivalent.

Counseling Educational Track
Education Requirements Education Length Available Programs
Undergraduate Work Earn a Bachelor's Degree in Counseling 4 Years Online or Campus
Graduate Work Earn a Master's Degree in Counseling 5-6 Years Online or Campus
PHD or Doctoral Work Earn a Doctorate in Counseling 7-8 Years Online or Campus

The 48 semester credit hours must include:

  • Marriage and Family Studies (9 semester hours)
  • Marriage and Family Therapy (9 semester hours)
  • Human Development (9 semester hours)
  • One course in professional ethics (3 semester hours minimum)
  • One course in professional research ( 3 semester hours)
  • Assessment and Diagnosis of Cognitive and Behavioral problems (3 semester hours)
  • One year minimum of supervised clinical practice (practicum)

Learn more about South Dakota MFT degrees.

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Supervised Postgraduate Work Experience Requirement

In South Dakota there is a minimum supervised work experience requirement that can only be met after satisfying the educational and internship requirements. Once these have been met, an applicant must accrue two years experience working under the direct supervision of a licensed marriage and family therapist. During this time, 1700 hours of clinical practice with families, couples and individuals must be documented of which 200 hours must be face to face with a supervisor.

However, in South Dakota, an applicant can take the state exam prior to completing the work experience requirement.

Marriage and Family Therapists Examination Requirements in South Dakota

Applicants considering a career in marriage and family therapy in South Dakota must also pass the written and oral licensing exams put forth by the AMFTRB. A passing grade on the written state exam is required before the oral exam can be administered. The oral exam is administered by approved committee members who will ask questions based on the state code of ethics and other questions that are deemed appropriate before forwarding their assessment to the board. An examination schedule is put forth by the governing board and there may be at least one exam once a year. More information for the Application for National Exam is found here.

Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Career Outlook In South Dakota

Marriage and family therapy is a rewarding field that shows promise according to the Occupational Outlook Handbook. It's projected that the employment rate for marriage and family therapists will increase 41% between 2010 to 2020. The average yearly income for therapists in South Dakota is approximately $37,980, which equates to about $18 per hour. In addition, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that in 2012 there were 90 marriage and family therapists in South Dakota.

For more information call 605-331-2927 or the South Dakota Department of Social Services.

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