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Online Psychology Degree Programs in South Dakota

Students interested in pursuing an online psychology degree in South Dakota can use this guide to explore all elements of earning their degree in the state. This page details how online programs work, potential courses, how to become a psychologist in South Dakota, specialization opportunities, salaries and job outlook for psychologists, professional organizations, and internship and fellowship opportunities.

How Do Online Psychology Degree Programs in South Dakota Work?

Many psychology students in South Dakota choose to pursue an online education. Earning a psychology degree online allows learners to take advantage of the same course topics and quality of education as on-campus programs from a more flexible and convenient format. Psychology students in South Dakota can explore fully online or hybrid programs, which combine on-campus and online components. Online opportunities often take the same amount of time to complete as on-campus programs, although some online programs highlight accelerated formats.

What Courses are Part of an Online Psychology Degree Program in South Dakota?

Coursework varies by school, but most psychology students take similar classes. See below for some common psychology courses.

Cognitive Processes

Degree-seekers explore topics in puzzles and problems, games, conceptualization, choices and decisions, reasoning and clinical diagnosis, conceptions of time and space, and thought through altered and abnormal states of consciousness. The course allows learners to investigate mental processing along with human behavior.

Memory and Memory Improvement

In this course, students examine human memory through multiple points of view. Learners explore the capabilities and limitations of both a typical and an extraordinary memory, the nature of memory, and the skills that can help with a typical memory.

Sensation and Perception

Learners study models of central and peripheral neural processing along with psychophysical techniques, including signal detection theory and subjective magnitude estimation. The course allows learners to fully understand how sensation and perception relate to various psychological aspects.

Attitudes and Social Behavior

In this course, degree-seekers learn about persuasion processes for ameliorate social problems. Coursework explores a review of contemporary and classic social psychological research on both persuasion and attitudes. Learners work to understand different social behaviors and how attitude can impact those behaviors.

Social and Personality Development

This course allows students to explore personality and social development across the lifespan while they work to understand the interaction between environmental and psychological variables regarding lifespan development changes.

Becoming a Psychologist in South Dakota

Becoming a psychologist in South Dakota consists of a variety of steps, including completing three degrees, passing a licensing exam, completing experience requirements, and applying for licensure. In the section below, readers can learn more about the required steps, including specialization opportunities.

  • Specialize

    Degree-seekers pursuing an online psychology degree in South Dakota can take advantage of specialization opportunities through a variety of colleges and universities, allowing them to tailor their degree to their career goals and personal interests. While not all schools offer specializations, those that do feature options like clinical psychology, child psychology, and educational psychology.

  • Earn Your Degrees

    Before individuals can begin working as psychologists in South Dakota, they must first complete their bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degree. Bachelor's programs expose learners to a basic foundation of the psychology field, focusing on generalized coursework. Full-time students can usually complete a bachelor's degree in about four years.

    Upon earning their bachelor's degree, learners can advance into a master's program, focusing on more specialized topics. Full-time students can earn their master's degree in around two years. Once students complete their bachelor's and master's, they can enroll in a doctoral program, exploring the field's most advanced coursework. Most learners earn their doctorate in 2-3 years.

  • Obtain Licensure

    To become a psychologist in South Dakota, individuals must obtain their psychologist licensure. The licensing process requires individuals to complete an educational component first, including successful completion of a bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degree from regionally accredited colleges or universities.

    For their doctoral program, learners must graduate from a program accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA). Doctoral curriculum must include three years of doctoral coursework. Doctoral students should also complete a one-year, full-time residency component, pass a licensing exam, complete supervised professional experience, and apply for formal licensure.

Other Licenses and Certifications

While many individuals who pursue psychology degrees intend to work as psychologists, individuals with a bachelor's or master's degree in the field can pursue many other career paths in South Dakota. For instance, learners can consider pursuing licensure as a licensed clinical social worker, marriage and family therapist, or licensed professional counselor.

Licensed Clinical Social Worker

These professionals hold a master's degree in psychology or social work. They provide emotional support, therapy, case management services, and mental health evaluations to individuals struggling with mental, emotional, and social issues.

Marriage and Family Therapist

These therapists work as mental health professionals who treat and diagnose emotional and mental disorders within families, couples, and marriages.

Licensed Professional Counselor

These counselors provide substance abuse and mental health care to individuals across a variety of settings. They hold a master's degree in psychology, social work, or counseling.

Salaries and Job Outlook for Psychologists in South Dakota

Although South Dakota does not report specific data for a projected job growth between 2016 and 2026, surrounding states like Nebraska, Wyoming, Minnesota, and Montana, report projected job growth figures ranging from 7.1% to 33.3%, with a projected national average job growth of 10.3%.

Psychologists in South Dakota earn an average annual salary of $84,200, about $10,000 less per year than the national average of $96,610. In comparison to surrounding states, South Dakota maintains a much higher average annual salary than Montana's $69,870 and a slightly lower figure than Minnesota's $93,310.

South Dakota at a Glance

Population: 882,235

Population Growth (2010-2018): 8.36%

Population Growth Rank: 15

Source: United States Census Bureau

Salary and Projected Job Growth for Psychologists in South Dakota Compared to Nearby States
  Mean Annual Salary Projected Job Growth (2016-26)
South Dakota $84,200 N/A
Nebraska N/A 11.1%
Wyoming N/A 33.3%
Minnesota $93,310 7.1%
North Dakota N/A N/A
Montana $69,870 16.7%
National Average $95,610 10.3%

Source: BLS, Projections Central

Economies of Metropolitan Areas in South Dakota
  Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologist Salary General Unemployment Rate Education and Health Services 12-Month Employment Growth
Rapid City $79,350 3.0% 2.5%
Sioux Falls $73,350 2.4% 7.1%

Source: BLS

Psychology Degrees and Careers in South Dakota -- Frequently Asked Questions

In the section below, readers can find answers to some common questions regarding enrolling in an online psychology program in South Dakota.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Psychologist in South Dakota?

Becoming a psychologist in South Dakota typically takes students about 10 years to complete their bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degree, with additional time added for the licensing exam, process, and experience component.

Are Online Psychology Classes Hard?

While online psychology courses can be rigorous, especially the more advanced programs get, many psychology students who study online enjoy a variety of helpful resources that make their coursework easier to understand. At the bachelor's level, learners focus on more general topics, advancing into more specialized areas in master's and doctoral programs.

What Skills are Needed to be a Psychologist?

Psychologists need excellent active listening skills since much of their work requires them to listen to their clients. Additionally, these professionals must demonstrate strong communication skills to express their observations and convey their treatment plans.

What Schools are Best for Psychology in South Dakota?

Degree-seekers can explore a variety of colleges and universities in South Dakota that offer psychology programs at all levels. Many institutions highlight online opportunities. Some of the best schools include Black Hills State University, Dakota Wesleyan University, and Northern State University.

Is a BA or a BS in Psychology Better?

Students should consider neither a bachelor of arts or a bachelor of science in psychology better than the other. The two degree types vary in terms of program focus, with BA programs focusing on psychology courses and BS programs exploring technical studies in math, science, and statistics.

Accreditation for Online Psychology Programs in South Dakota

Students pursuing an on-campus or online psychology degree in South Dakota must consider accreditation. Schools and programs can be accredited on the national, regional, or programmatic level. For psychology students in South Dakota, the important regional accreditation to look for is from the Higher Learning Commission. This governing body oversees degree-granting institutions, ensuring that schools and programs meet the necessary standards.

On the programmatic level, students should look for accreditation from the APA. While this seal of approval is only awarded to doctoral degrees in the U.S., it is typically considered to be the highest achievement for a psychology program. While graduating from an APA-accredited program is not mandatory to work as a licensed psychologist in South Dakota, it simplifies the licensing process.

Psychology Internships and Fellowships in South Dakota

Aspiring psychologists can reap many rewards from an internship or fellowship. While most fellowships are only available to doctoral students, internships are accessible at most levels, including those earning a master's in psychology online in South Dakota. These two experience-related positions also differ in what students receive in return for their work. With internships, students typically gain school credit and experience, while fellows receive salaries or stipends.

Degree-seekers can explore fellowship and internship opportunities in South Dakota to not only gain field experience, but also help them pay for tuition. While learners can look to a variety of companies and organizations for these opportunities, they can also consider some of the below resources, including the Capital Area Counseling Service and the Northeastern Mental Health Center.

Behavior Management Systems

The largest community mental health center in western South Dakota, BMS provides citizens with comprehensive counseling services, mental health treatment programs, and support for many mental illnesses and issues, including anxiety, addiction, and family relationship problems.

Capital Area Counseling Service

CACS is dedicated to delivering mental illness care, addiction treatment, and child welfare assistance. The group serves several locations with plans to build a large outpatient mental health and addiction treatment facility.

Human Service Agency

Located in Watertown, South Dakota, HSA serves more than 2,000 people experiencing mental health conditions, including addiction, mental illness, and mood disorders. HSA employs a variety of behavioral health experts. The agency's New Horizons division assists patients with developmental disabilities.

Northeastern Mental Health Center

NEMHC serves patients in 10 South Dakota counties with services like addiction counseling, mental healthcare, and psychological assistance. The center provides services throughout four different facilities in the state.

Sanford Research

Part of the largest healthcare system in the country, Sanford Research employs more than 200 researchers in many different disciplines to conduct healthcare research.

Avera Research Institute

From research on new products and medicine to clinical trials, Avera works to stay on the cutting edge of medicine and healthcare. Avera has been testing and developing innovations for healthcare since 1998.

Professional Organizations for Psychologists and Mental Health Professionals

Graduates of online psychology programs in South Dakota can explore membership opportunities through a variety of professional organizations. Joining a professional organization can expose professionals to networking opportunities, allowing them to connect with other professionals and pursue development opportunities.

  • South Dakota Psychological Association Affiliated with the APA, the South Dakota Psychological Association represents psychologists by promoting the profession and encouraging higher standards in education, ethics, advocacy, and research. The association is endorsed by the American Insurance Trust.
  • American Psychological Association Known as the country's largest professional and scientific professional organization for psychologists, APA serves nearly 120,000 members comprising students, consultants, educators, scientists, and clinicians. The association highlights 54 different divisions.
  • South Dakota Counseling Association SDCA functions as a partnership representing professional counselors. The group strives to improve human development by providing products, services, and benefits to expand members' professional expertise and knowledge. SDCA also promotes recognition of counselors to the media and public.
  • American Mental Health Counselors Association An organization of licensed mental health counselors in the U.S., AMHCA creates and enforces standards for licensing, education, and ethics for mental health counselors. The association also publishes the Journal of Mental Health Counseling.
  • South Dakota Association of School Psychologists Functioning as an association of school psychologists in South Dakota, SDASP highlights events and resources to allow the state's school psychologists to expand their skills and knowledge.

Scholarships for Online Psychology Degree Programs in South Dakota

South Dakota Opportunity Scholarship

Open to students who plan to attend a South Dakota university or college, this scholarship aims to keep bright South Dakotans in state for their higher education.

  • Amount Offered: Up to $6,500
  • Scholarship Deadline: September 1
  • Eligibility Requirements: Applicants must be South Dakota residents within five years of high school graduation, demonstrate academic proficiency, and attend a South Dakota postsecondary institution.

Dakota Corps Scholarship Program

This program was established to help finance the education of South Dakota's strongest students. The scholarship rewards academic excellence and aims to keep capable students working in South Dakota after graduation.

  • Amount Offered: Full tuition and fees
  • Scholarship Deadline: February 1
  • Eligibility Requirements: Applicants must demonstrate academic excellence, apply within one year of graduation, plan to work in a critical needs area, and be a South Dakota resident attending a South Dakota school.

Jump Start Scholarship

This scholarship is awarded to South Dakotan students who complete high school within three years. Students who finish early and apply to an accredited postsecondary school are automatically considered for the award.

  • Amount Offered: $1,500
  • Scholarship Deadline: September 1
  • Eligibility Requirements: Applicants must be South Dakota residents who completed high school in three years. They also must apply to an accredited postsecondary school.

Need Based Scholarship Program

This program was established to help fund the education of South Dakotans who demonstrate financial need. Applicants are automatically considered for the scholarship once they complete the FAFSA.

  • Amount Offered: $500-$2,000
  • Scholarship Deadline: Varies by institution
  • Eligibility Requirements: Applicants must demonstrate financial need and enroll in an eligible South Dakota school.

Find Online Psychology Degree Programs in South Dakota

While online psychology programs provide flexible educational options, many students find advantages with in-state degrees. Since online programs often require on-campus components, earning an online psychology degree in South Dakota requires students to travel less. Browse the list below for every accredited online psychology program in South Dakota.

School Degree Levels State

Mental Health Initiatives in South Dakota

South Dakota highlights a variety of mental health initiatives. The Division of Behavioral Health supervises the state's publicly funded treatment and prevention provider system. Individuals can access the Intensive Methamphetamine Treatment services to take advantage of evidence-based, long-term programming if they struggle with severe abuse of methamphetamine. Individuals struggling with substance abuse can also review South Dakota Opioid Information through the Department of Social Services.

Ranch, farm, and rural families in South Dakota can contact a local community mental health center to explore resources created to specifically help families from their backgrounds. These individuals can take advantage of several free assistance opportunities.