Psychology Degrees, Schools, and Careers in South Dakota

South DakotaIt’s true, South Dakota doesn't strike the average observer as a bountiful land of postsecondary education and they have a right to be skeptical. South Dakota doesn't have nearly as college choices as the rest of the country, and the numbers on psychology education aren't much better. But a small set of choices and a limited number of psychology degrees being offered doesn't mean that students can’t get a quality psychology education at the undergraduate or graduate level in South Dakota. There are just 25 degree-granting institutions across the state, but there is a good range of public and private schools offering everything from associate’s degrees to doctoral degrees in South Dakota. Also, only 219 bachelor’s degrees were awarded in South Dakota in the 2009-10 school year and only another 88 master’s degrees were awarded in the subject that same year.

There are plenty psychology specialties that are available to you when opting to pursue your psychology degree in South Dakota. Associate’s degrees and bachelor’s degrees are fairly straightforward, but you can specialize in disaster psychology at the University of South Dakota. But if you are looking to continue your studies at the graduate level, you can choose from any number of different types of graduate degrees. These include clinical psychology, educational psychology, and applied psychology.

Just remember to have an idea of the career path within psychology you wish to follow because, like other states, South Dakota psychology licensure requirements are strict and ensure that those applying for a psychology license in the state are well-qualified in terms of both education and hands-on working experience.

There are a number of schools in South Dakota that offer degree programs in psychology, and several of these are top notch. The aforementioned University of South Dakota is the only place a student can earn a doctoral degree is the state. But South Dakota State University and Augustana University both offer graduate degree programs in psychology and schools like the University of Sioux Falls and Northern State University offer bachelor’s degrees in psychology. You can even get an associate’s degree in psychology from Killian Community College in Sioux Falls.

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Online Psychology Schools & Degrees in South Dakota

Students interested in online psychology education in South Dakota will be disappointed to learn that out of the state-specific schools in South Dakota that offer psychology education, only the University of South Dakota offers fully online psychology education and that is only a certificate in disaster mental health. The rest of the state-specific schools have not yet begun to offer online psychology education but that does not mean that students in South Dakota only have one option when it comes to earning a psychology degree online. There are a number of national, for-profit, online psychology education providers that serve South Dakota students and have been operating in the area for a long time.

If you are looking for a doctoral degree in psychology online, Walden University, Capella University, and Northcentral University are just three of the online psychology degree providers who offer fully online doctoral degrees in a variety of psychology specialties and subjects. Of course a doctoral degree is not for everyone and there are a number of national online psychology education providers, such as the University of Phoenix, Post University, Grand Canyon University, and the University of Texas-Permian Basin that offer undergraduate degrees in psychology completely online as well and accept students from SD.

Career Opportunities for Psychologists in South Dakota

After seeing the relative lack of options when it comes to psychology schooling and education, it shouldn’t surprise any prospective student to learn that the psychology industry in South Dakota is not very large either. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are at least 250 clinical, school, counseling, and other types of psychologists employed within South Dakota’s borders, which is obviously not a lot of opportunity for aspiring psychologists. The good news is that those psychologists make a tidy annual average wage between $72,040 and $99,220 depending on specialty, which is more than enough to live comfortably given the cost of living in a rural state like South Dakota.

Employment of clinical, school, and counseling psychologists is projected to grow by 8% from 2020 to 2030, which is equivalent to approximately 20 new psychologists employed in South Dakota. So while South Dakota may not seem like the ideal place to start your psychology career, it is not the desolate psychology wasteland some might mistakenly think it is.

2022 US Bureau of Labor Statistics and O*NET (a website sponsored by the US Department of Labor) job market trends and salary figures for clinical and counseling psychologists, school psychologists, and psychologists (all other) are based on national data, not school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary. Data accessed August 2023.

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Psychologist Salary in South Dakota

Location 10% 25% Median 75% 90%
United States $44,500 $76,730 $105,780 $119,460 $133,470
South Dakota $26,160 $76,720 $97,310 $114,030 $118,610

Table data taken from 2020 BLS (

Featured South Dakota Schools with Psychology Degree Programs