Online Social Work Programs in South Dakota

The social work program at the University of South Dakota trains professionals to advocate for social change and provides the skills to make a difference in people's lives. Skills like research, community outreach, and case management are taught through fieldwork and classroom learning. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects social work jobs to increase by 16% through 2026, which is faster than most jobs in the nation.

The social work field includes a variety of professions, like school and family social workers or healthcare social workers. These professions feature different annual salaries and education requirements. Child, family, and school social workers in South Dakota make $40,000 annually, while healthcare social workers in South Dakota earn $43,000 annually.

South Dakota ranks fifth overall with the highest concentration of child, family, and school healthcare social workers, a high number of social workers are located in the West South Dakota nonmetropolitan area.

Social Work Programs by Degree Level


Online Master's in Social Work Programs


Education and Licensure Requirements for Social Workers in South Dakota

Social Work Examiners serves as South Dakota's licensing board and ensures qualified social workers abide by the rules, regulations, and statues of the practice. South Dakota offers four kinds of licences: social work associate (SWA), social worker (SW), certified social worker (CSW), and certified social worker in private or independent practice (CSW-PIP).

Education Requirements

To obtain social work licensure in South Dakota, all applicants must pass an examination prepared by the Board. SWAs do not require a degree in social work but must pass the ASWB exam. SW applicants must hold a bachelor's degree, and CSW and CSW-PIP must possess a master's degree. A master's serves as the minimum education requirement for clinical practice in South Dakota.

Exam Application Process and Requirements

Exams are based on education level and practice experience. Candidates completing the advanced generalist or clinical exams require two years of practice experience. In addition, social workers must also pass the ASWB exam.

After applying for licensure, applicants obtain approval from the Board to take the licensing exam. Applicants then register to take the exam with ASWB. Exams include 170-multiple choice questions and candidates can schedule a time and date to take the test.

Exams typically last four hours and cost $230 for associate, bachelor's, or master's levels, and $260 for advanced generalist or clinical exams.

Continuing Education and Licensure Renewal

Practicing social workers must renew their licenses every two years. To renew a South Dakota social work license, professionals must complete 30 minimum contact hours. Social workers can complete these hours through continuing education activities, college courses, workshops, webinars and seminars, and conferences. Annual renewal fees are due one year after verification of a candidate's application.


Why Choose an Online Social Work Program in South Dakota

Online social work programs in South Dakota provide flexibility and convenience for students. Several major online universities outside of South Dakota offer online social work programs; however, the University of South Dakota was ranked as Social Work Guide's top online master's in social work programs for 2018. USD also offers in-state and out-of-state students an affordable, flat tuition rate for its social work degrees.

Graduates can work as child, family, and school social workers or healthcare social workers. These careers offer salaries ranging from $37,000-$70,000 annually, depending on the candidate's job title and education level.

Ranking Methodology

Here is our list of online social work degree programs in South Dakota as reported by the National Center for Education Statistics. We cover online bachelor's in social work, online master's in social work, and online doctorate in social work programs. All programs are regionally and CSWE accredited, and all are available entirely online.


Online Social Work Programs in South Dakota

University of South Dakota

Founded in 1862, the University of South Dakota sits on a 274-acre campus in Vermillion. The school offers 198 undergraduate and 78 graduate programs. USD students can take classes online or at off-site centers in Sioux Falls, Rapid City, and Pierre.

USD's School of Health Sciences offers a master of social work degree that prepares students to work with kids, families, and public agencies. One of the top social work programs in South Dakota, this degree provides two tracks: one for students with a bachelor's in social work degree from a CSWE-accredited program and one for students without a social work degree. Students graduate with the skills to conduct social work research, advocacy, crisis intervention, community outreach, and case management.


USD Online’s Master of Social Work

  • Concentrations: The University of South Dakota social work program offers an advanced standing track and a regular standing track. The regular standing track suits students without a bachelor's degree from a CSWE-accredited social work program. The advanced track is designed for students who hold a CSWE-accredited social work degree.
  • Credits and Courses: Students enrolled in the regular standing track must complete 60 credits, divided over 18 courses. Students in the advanced standing track must complete 36 credits over 11 courses.
  • Completion Time: Typically, full-time students enrolled in the advanced standing track complete the online master of social work degree in three semesters, or less than two years. Full-time students in the regular standing track take about two years, or five semesters, to complete their degree.
  • Field Education: Students with regular standing must complete 900 hours of field work. Advanced standing students must complete 500 hours of field work. Students do not need to complete a thesis.
  • Other Requirements: Applicants must submit an online application, a statement of purpose, a cover letter and resume, three letters of recommendation, and a 3-5-page paper discussing their interest in specific social justice issues.
  • Exam Preparation: This degree prepares students for the Licensed Social Work Associate (LSWA), Licensed Social Worker (LSW), Certified Social Worker (CSW) and Certified Independent Practice Social Worker (CIPSW) exams.
  • Online Student Support: Online students can access the college's One Search library catalog and digital collections. Learners can also contact a librarian through the chat feature.
  • Cost: $336/credit in-state; $647/credit out-of-state.
  • Admission Requirements: Applicants need a minimum 3.0 GPA. No GRE or MAT scores are required.

The University of South Dakota is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association (NCA) of Colleges and School. The University of South Dakota's online social work programs are CSWE-accredited.

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