The University of South Dakota is the exclusive institution that offers an accredited Bachelor's and Master's degree toward social work in the state of South Dakota. There are four different state licensures to apply for, including a Social Work Associate and Certified Social Worker.

South Dakota CSWE Accredited MSW Programs

There is only one university that has accreditation at the Master's degree level for social work by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), and that is the University of South Dakota. In addition to the Bachelor's degree tis university offers, other accredited programs at the undergraduate level in the state can be found at the University of Sioux Falls and Oglala Lakota College.

Finding a Campus Based South Dakota MSW Program

Varying accredited degrees can be earned in the cities of Sioux Falls, Vermillion, and Kyle. For the Master's degree at the University of South Dakota, students can specialize as an advanced generalist to help develop communities and/or analyze policies at various government levels. In addition to the graduate-level education, Sioux Falls typically offers the most opportunities for social workers.

University of South Dakota's Online Master of Social Work

The School of Social Work offers an MSW program available on-campus or in a convenient online format. This is a 60 credit-hour program for the traditional format, but students that have achieved a Bachelor's degree from an accredited institution over the last seven years may qualify for advanced standing. Courses on campus take place every Monday and Tuesday at the Sioux Falls campus.

Advanced Standing Format

Students eligible for the advanced standing format can waive foundational courses from the traditional program and require just 36 credit hours in the curriculum. This can be completed in just one school year for full-time students with 12 credit hours in the summer, fall, and spring semesters. Examples of courses include Practice-Informed Quantitative Research and Advanced Practices with Individuals and Children.

Online Experience

Students will pursue the online program with the Desire2Learn learning management system. Courses will generally have asynchronous lectures and assignments, but deadlines will still need to be adhered to. Typical technical requirements include having a modern computer system with the Windows or Mac operating system installed, and access to high-speed internet and various accessories needed.

Admission Requirements

In order to be considered for this program, students must complete a Bachelor's degree with a cumulative 3.0 GPA. For advanced standing consideration, the undergraduate degree must be a Bachelor of Social Work that is from a CSWE-accredited program. All social work courses must have been completed with at least a 3.0 GPA, and higher academic merit is recommended.

Careers, Licensures, and Salaries in South Dakota

Like many states across the country, South Dakota sees a significant portion of social workers specializing in youth and school services according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Over 1,700 workers are represented in this category, which is on par or higher with neighboring mountainous states, but lower than Nebraska, Iowa, and Minnesota.

Average Salary of a South Dakota Social Worker

South Dakota sees a large concentration of social workers in youth and family services with four employed per 1,000 workers. This competition is generally found across the state and equates to an annual mean wage estimate of $40,660. Across the board, salaries are lower across the state when compared to the national average in a number of social work specializations.

South Dakota Social Work Licensure Requirements

There are levels of certification at every educational step in the state of South Dakota. For example, those with associate degrees receive licensure as a Social Work Associate while applicants holding a Master’s degree aim for the Certified Social Worker (CSW) or Certified Social Worker in Private, Independent Practice (CSW-PIP). Gaining the latter licensure requires at least two years of post-graduate supervised work approved by the state board.

Endorsement and Renewal Requirements

Endorsements are allowed by the state of South Dakota as long as applicants can verify prior practice and exam scores from the Association of Social Work Boards. Renewals must take place prior to the first of January at the end of the second year with increasing rates depending on licensure. At least 30 credit hours worth of continuing education is needed prior to renewal.

Online MSW Programs in South Dakota That Are CSWE Accredited


Campus-Based South Dakota MSW Programs

University of South Dakota

  • Program: Master of Social Work
  • Campus: Vermillion