Laurie Gill
Cabinet Secretary

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Counselors and Marriage and Family Therapist Examiners

Board Considering Changes to License Laws

The Board of Examiners for Counselors and Marriage & Family Therapists is considering changes to the statutes governing licenses.  The Board’s intent with these proposed changes is to:

  • reorganize the chapters for counselors and marriage & family therapists to be user friendly for licensees and prospective licensees to clearly articulate the requirements for licensure and the expectations of licensees;
  • change the timeline for renewal of licensees to eliminate administrative burdens on licensees;
  • clarify the requirements for licensure by endorsement for professional counselors and marriage and family therapists licensed in another state;
  • provide a temporary license option for professional counselors or marriage and family therapists licensed in another state who do not immediately meet the requirements for licensure by endorsement;
  • provide an option to inactivate a license or reinstate an expired license, under certain circumstances; and
  • create the licensing structure to move to one level of licensure for professional counselors from the current multi-tiered licensing structure, consistent with the one level of licensure for marriage & family therapists.

The Board’s proposal does not change the scope of practice for professional counselors or marriage & family therapists.

For the latest draft of the proposed changes please click here for LPC/LPC-MH and here for MFT.

This draft includes changes to previous posted drafts that include:

  1. The revised proposal separates the changes into two pieces of legislation:  one to address changes to SDCL 36-32 (counselors and counselors-mental health) and one to address changes to SDCL 36-33 (marriage & family therapists).  The revised proposal reflects this separation of the chapters to be submitted as two pieces of legislation.
  1. The revised proposal keeps the current licensing structure for counselors and counselors-mental health as it is now, with the exact same licensure requirements currently required for either of these licenses.  In other words, the license system would stay the same, with an LPC being one license, with the requirements in place to be an LPC as exist today, and an LPC-MH license, which will be the highest level of licensure, with the requirements in place today.  This revised language is reflected in sections 20 and 21 of the revised proposal. Language in Section 21 also reflects the current policy of the Board to “pull forward” a limited number of direct client contact hours for the LPC-MH applicant.
  1. The revised proposal reflects a change to section 23 that allows for the licensure of an applicant licensed in another state at the level of licensure that corresponds to the licensure and exams in the other state.  This is a combined section for both LPC and LPC-MH applicants that was not in the previous version of the proposal.
  1. The revised proposal for SDCL 36-33 (marriage & family therapists) reflects the current requirements for licensure as a marriage and family therapist and is the same language as presented to the legislature last session and in the original proposed changes in the original draft. The only change is that this would be a stand-alone proposal and a separate bill in the legislative process.

The Board will consider a final version of the proposal to submit for consideration as legislation at its October meeting. Please make all comments in writing so they can be shared with the Board. References to line, section and page number are helpful. Comments received by October 1, 2019, will be considered by the Board in making its final recommendation. You can submit written comments to the Board at

Please Note:

The exact formatting of any proposed changes may change to meet the requirements for legislation formatting, if the Board moves a proposal forward for consideration by the 2020 Legislature.

The Board will continue to post the most recent version of any proposed changes it is considering on this website. Please continue to check for any additional versions of proposed changes.

Additional Information

Contact Us

Board of Examiners for Counselors and Marriage and Family Therapists
PO Box 340
1351 N. Harrison Ave.
Pierre, SD 57501
Phone: 605.224.1721
Fax: 888.425.3032