Psychology Careers in South Dakota

South Dakota is the 5th least populated state that makes up a large portion of income from various sectors such as farming and ranching, natural resources, corn, wheat, soybeans and livestock. While on the other hand, its economy is also dependent on service sector jobs like finance, health care, retail and areas where social science students might easily work. Therefore, psychology careers in South Dakota will be expanding more than ever in the near future. Individuals must be prepared to take advantage of this avalanche of opportunities which would not only support the economy but will also pave way for career advancement.


The state of South Dakota has encountered falling population in rural areas from 1990 till 2000. It was mainly due to 20% of aging population and low birth rate. According to United States Census Bureau, total population of this state was 824,082 in 2011. Such issues have created psychological changes among the people of this state, who prefer counseling to resolve problems that stress them the most.

It has been recorded that around 39,000 of residents are suffering from mental disorders, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illnesses statistics (NAMI). The state has a rural nature, which ultimately increases the need for clinical psychologists to deal with population reporting mental illness symptoms. More and more people are seeking clinical psychologists help to assure them of stability in the future through treatment and counseling.

Effective prevention programs are being introduced to spread awareness of the terrible impact addiction and substance abuse could have on the youth of the nation. South Dakota is ranked 3rd for having the highest behavioral disorder counselors and concentration of substance abuse, as compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It depicts propelled demand of clinical and counseling psychologists and state’s mission to combat addiction habits.

Education Requirements

Graduates can be seen working in almost every sector of South Dakota, backing up the economy greatly by providing their services in manufacturing as well as academia. Social services manages to remain on the top with its ever-expanding growth. These graduates can find employment in social assistance, such as private philanthropic teams, non-profit organizations and government agencies, which has been growing at a rate of 11% annually according to Bureau of Labor Statistics. Some of the ideal places where these graduates can find employment opportunities are community food and housing, vocational rehabilitation, individual and family services and social work.

In the next decade, South Dakota will have plenty of employment opportunities for master’s degree holders in counseling, rehabilitation, clinical, educational or forensic psychology. They can apply empirical as well as qualitative research outcomes practically to assist people to cope with personal hardships and behavioral disorders. One of these master’s degrees may make you eligible to work in health care centers, social service agencies, hospitals, correctional institutions, social service agencies and halfway houses.

Potential career opportunities in this state are in abundance for those who have earned a doctoral degree. As per Bureau of Labor Statistics, 12% of employment growth is expected by 2018. More companies are now valuing the analytical and intellectual benefits of having psychologists for improved services.

License Requirements

If you have earned a master’s degree, then you must complete 3000 hours of experience under supervision and ensure that you pass the Clinical Mental Health Counseling examination. These requirements are mandatory for counseling licensure process in South Dakota. Submit the supervision plan to South Dakota Board of Examiners for Counselors and Marriage and Family Therapists.

Career Opportunities

CNBC listed South Dakota among the Top States for Business in 2010, ranking 7th on the list. With only 4.7% unemployment rate recorded in 2011, the state has become home for opportunities, especially for social science students. Its service industry is the largest, which includes health care, finance and retail. According to South Dakota Department of Labor, employment opportunities for counseling psychologists are projected to grow up to 30% by 2016. The increased ratio would be 34.9% in mental health counseling jobs, 33.6% in substance abuse and behavioral disorder counseling and last but not the least 30% in marriage and family counseling jobs.

More holistic health practices have been adopted by people of this state, which has been resulting in a great demand for counseling professionals. Bureau of Labor Statistics has projected strong job growth in social assistance and health care. Furthermore, a substantial increase of 24% has been anticipated by 2018 in social service facilities. NAMI reported that the public mental health system of the state is heavily underfunded which escalated the need for clinical psychologists.

Forensic psychologists can have a remarkable career in this state. Judges rely on the authentic testimony of these psychologists in cases related to mental health and behavioral disorders seen in civil, criminal and family courts. They might work in human services, court system, law enforcement agencies, hospitals, non-profit agencies, private counseling firms, correctional facilities, law firms, mental health centers and jails. Areas that one could choose to provide services include mediation and conflict resolution, jury selection, victim psychotherapy, veracity testing and consultation to law enforcement.


A psychologist in South Dakota on average earns $68,900 annually, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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