Becoming a Social Worker in South Dakota

You may begin your social worker education in South Dakota at virtually any level. You can become a social work associate with a two-year degree or a private practice clinical social worker with a master’s and post-degree practice. Here is a guide to get you started.

If You Are in High School

Step 1:

In high school, take the standard college prep curriculum. You may begin volunteer service either in high school or during your first two years of college. Some South Dakota schools require a small amount of volunteer service before you can be admitted to the major.

Step 2:

Select a university. There are advantages to selecting a school that has a baccalaureate program that is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. South Dakota will issue licenses to individuals who have degrees in other fields, but they are required to begin as social work associates. They must take some coursework in social work.

Step 3:

Enroll in college and begin general studies coursework. Meanwhile meet with an adviser. You may be required to complete two social work courses before you are formally admitted to the social work school.

Step 4:

Apply to the social work major at the appropriate time. Often this does not occur until your fourth semester. You may need to write an essay as part of the application process. A criminal background check may be required after you have received your conditional acceptance.

Step 5:

Complete coursework and practicum experiences.

Step 6:

Apply for licensure as a Social Worker (SW). If your degree was not in social work, apply as a Social Work Associate (SWA).

Find more detailed South Dakota Social Work Licensure information here.

Step 7:

If you are considering a master's, there are advantages to enrolling within five to seven years of graduation. A Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree can qualify you for advanced standing and a relatively short master's program. However, the opportunity will eventually be lost. If you do not have a BSW, you will need to complete the full program, which includes foundations/ generalist concepts that are taught in bachelor's social work programs.

If You Have a College Degree

Step 1:

Research programs and prepare for admission. If you do not have social service experience, you may want to spend time volunteering. Admission committees will want to know how your past experience has prepared you for a career in social work.

The Simmons College School of Social Work ([email protected]) is the nation’s oldest school of social work and is offering an innovative Online Master of Social Work program. You can complete this CSWE-accredited Master's in Social Work program in as little as 15 months. There is no GRE required for acceptance to this program. Request information.

The USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work offers a CSWE-accredited online Master's in Social Work. The GRE is not required to apply to the [email protected] program. A Bachelor's degree is required. Learn more about this program.

Fordham University's top-ranked School of Social Work offers an online MSW program that prepares students for relevant, integrated practice with all populations. GRE scores not required. Request information today.

Capella University is now offering an online Master of Social Work that is in CSWE candidacy status. The MSW program helps prepare students to enter the general or clinical practice role (in most states). Capella also offers an online Doctor of Social Work. Click Here to contact Capella University about their Master of Social Work program or Doctor of Social Work program.

MSW programs typically look for a GPA of at least 3.0 during your last two years of undergraduate coursework. However, you may be accepted with a lower undergraduate GPA if you demonstrate success in graduate level courses. South Dakota programs look for biology, statistics, human development, and social science courses on your transcript; generally, these are completed at the undergraduate level.

Step 2:

Submit application materials. You may need to write an essay about an issue of interest to you.

Step 3:

Complete degree requirements. The full program is two years and may be completed part-time or full-time. You will do at least 900 hours of fieldwork. There are online programs available in South Dakota; often schools are able to supervise you at a site that is relatively close to your home.

Step 4:

Apply to the South Dakota Board to become a Certified Social Worker (CSW). You will take the ASWB national board examination at the master's level.

Step 5:

If you are pursuing clinical licensure, take a position in your intended practice area and make sure you have appropriate supervision. You can earn an independent practice designation after just two years, provided you work 30 or more hours per week.

Step 6:

Take the clinical level ASWB exam to earn your Certified Social Worker – Private Independent Practice (CSW-PIP) license.

Find more detailed South Dakota Social Work Licensure information here.