The South Dakota Board of Social Work Examiners has been licensing social workers since the 1970’s. All levels are licensed, from associate on. Social Work Associates have education at the associate’s or bachelor’s level. Social workers have bachelor’s degrees in social work (or equivalent education and training). Certified Social Workers have a master’s in the field. A Social Worker in Private or Independent Practice CSW-PIP has additional post-master supervised practice.
Candidates at all levels are required to pass a licensing exam.
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There are several routes to licensure as a Social Work Associate. A board-approved human services associate program will meet the educational requirement. If a person has a bachelor’s degree, it doesn’t necessarily have to be in human services -- a candidate can take the ASWB associate level exam and pursue licensing. The application is $90 and the exam, $230.
An SWA will need at least four hours a month of direct supervision (for as long as the candidate/SWA holds this status). The SWA must fill out an annual form; supervisor signature is required except in cases where the licensee is not actually working in the field.
Generally, a person needs a degree in social work social welfare from a CSWE-accredited program in order to qualify for the SW license.
South Dakota stopped issuing SW licenses to individuals with equivalent training and experience in 2015. The associate-level license remains an option.
Baccalaureate social workers must pass the ASWB baccalaureate level exam. Application at this level is $130. The exam is $230.
A certified social worker will need a master’s degree from a CSWE-accredited program; a doctorate in social work is another option. After graduation, the candidate will seek licensure as a CSW. This entails passing the ASWB master’s level exam. There is a $170 application fee and a $280 exam fee.
You may also want to read the article "Master’s Degree in Social Work: Developing Skills and Competencies" if you have any questions about Master's of Social Work programs.
In order to get the independent designation, one must work under supervision full-time for two years (30 or more hours per week). One will need regular consultation with a qualified supervisor: a CSW-PIP or psychologist or psychiatrist. Usually, the supervisor is someone who has the same primary practice area (for example, psychotherapy or community organization).
A candidate who is working full-time must have, at minimum, four hours a month of supervision. The CSW may opt instead for part-time work (18 – 29 hours a week). In this case, the candidate must have at least two hours a month of supervision. On this schedule, they will finish the licensing requirement in four years. Supervisors will provide additional supervision/ consultation when necessary. They should be reachable through technological means.
Eventually, the PIP will need to pass the clinical or advanced exam. This is $260. The application fee is $210.
A candidate must apply to the South Dakota Board before registering to take the licensing exam. It is administered in South Dakota on an ongoing basis in Rapid Falls and Sioux City. It’s also given in other cities around the country. Two retakes are permitted. Retaking the exam will incur additional fees, but will not require board permission.
The candidate will check the licensing level they are seeking. Before applying, they must read the applicable portions of South Dakota Codified Law. The application must have a cover letter. This has been written by the Board; it must be signed to indicate that they have read the laws and understand the licensing process.
Licenses are renewed biennially. Generally, this requires 30 contact hours of continuing education. The renewal fee is the same as the initial application fee.
If you are still in High School, hold a High School Diploma/GED, or hold a bachelor's degree, check out suggested steps to take along the path to become a Social Worker in South Dakota.