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Frequently Asked Questions

Can people be counselors without a license?
No one is allowed by law to do professional counseling for a fee without a license or if they fall into these categories as outlined in Statute 36-32-76.

What is the difference between the Board of Examiners and the SD Counseling Association?
As a SD State entity, the Board of Examiners has as its main goal the protection of the public by regulating the professionals it licenses.  The Association is an organization that promotes the profession of counseling.

Is the information I hear in my agency or from my peers accurate information about licensing?
Only the Board of Examiners for Counselors & Marriage and Family Therapists has the most current and accurate information. 

Why do you list three license types and what is the difference?
SD has a two-tier counselor license of which you must hold the LPC (Licensed Professional Counselor) before you can qualify for the LPC-MH (Mental Health).  Also, the Board separately issues a marriage and family therapist license (LMFT).

How do I get the LPC?
Basically, you must have at least a 48-hour Master’s degree in counseling from an accredited institution, a board approved LPC Plan of Supervision on file, completed at least 2,000 hours post-graduate supervised experience and 100 hours of supervision, and passed the National Counselor Examination (NCE).  Visit our LPC page to find more information.

How do I get the LPC-MH?
Basically, you must have the LPC, required coursework, a board approved LPC-MH Plan of Supervision on file, completed at least 2,000 hours of Direct Client Contact in a clinical setting and 100 hours of supervision, and passed the National Clinical Mental Health Counselor Examination (NCMHCE).  Visit our LPC-MH page to find more information.

How do I get the LMFT?
Basically, you must have at least a 48 hour Masters degree in marriage and family therapy from an accredited institution, have an approved LMFT Plan of Supervision on file, completed 1700 hours post-graduate supervised experience in conjunction with 200 hours of supervision, and pass the Marital and Family Therapy Examination.  Visit our LMFT page to find more information.

What about the national examinations?
The Board is not involved with the examination process for the NCE or NCMHCE. The examinee must register directly with or visit our Examinations page.  The examinee for the Marital and Family Therapy Examination has to start the process by contacting the board office.

Does SD recognize reciprocity of licenses?
Per SD codified laws 36-32-16 and 36-33-18, the board may grant a license to any person who, at the time of application, is licensed under the laws of a state or territory of the United States that imposes substantially the same or greater requirements as these chapters.

What is the application review and licensing process?
All application files deemed complete/compliant per licensing requirements are sent to the Board Member (Reviewer) tasked with the review and consideration to issue a license, at the end of each month.  The applicant receives written correspondence shortly thereafter.

What if I don’t renew my license on time?
A $50 late penalty is required by law for each license type.

What if I have questions about a continuing education program or the approval process?
Visit our Continuing Education for all your information.

What if I have an ethical issue and/or question?
The board, the board office staff, or the board attorney cannot advise you.  You must seek your own legal counsel and/or refer to the required Code of Ethics. 

How do I get the QMHP?
It is not this board’s jurisdiction.  Contact Community Behavioral Health Services in Pierre at 605.773.3123.

How do I file a complaint against a licensed counselor?
Call the board office to determine whether the counselor is licensed by this board.  If the counselor is found to be the board’s licensee, visit our Complaint Procedures page to find the required complaint form and read about the process.

How do I reach the SD Social Work or Psychology Boards?
Contact their board office in Spearfish at 605.642.1600.

How can I get a mailing list of all your licensees?
To obtain a list of Licensed Professional Counselors, Licensed Professional Counselors – Mental Health and/or Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists, please complete the Practitioner Request Form and email it to our office. The information is available electronically in an Excel format and will include: License number, Name, Business Address, Original License Issue Date and License valid through date.