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Career and Education Opportunities for Mental Health Counselors in Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Mental health counselors can find many career and educational opportunities in the Sioux Falls, South Dakota area. Currently, 220 people work as mental health counselors in South Dakota. This is expected to grow by 34% to 290 people by 2016. This is better than the national trend for mental health counselors, which sees this job pool growing by about 24.0% over the next eight years. In general, mental health counselors counsel with emphasis on prevention.

The income of a mental health counselor is about $17 per hour or $36,110 annually on average in South Dakota. In the U.S. as a whole, their income is about $17 hourly or $36,810 annually on average. Mental health counselors earn less than people working in the category of Counseling and Therapy generally in South Dakota and less than people in the Counseling and Therapy category nationally. Jobs in this field include: mental health/mental retardation supports coordinator , counselor, and therapist.

There are ten schools of higher education in the Sioux Falls area, including one within twenty-five miles of Sioux Falls where you can get a degree to start your career as a mental health counselor. The most common level of education for mental health counselors is a Master's degree. You can expect to spend about six years training to become a mental health counselor if you already have a high school diploma, or just 2 years if you have a Bachelor's degree.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Mental Health Counselor

Mental Health Counselor video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, mental health counselors counsel with emphasis on prevention. They also work with individuals and groups to promote optimum mental health.

Mental health counselors maintain confidentiality of records relating to clients' treatment. They also encourage clients to express their feelings and consider what is happening in their lives, and help them to evolve insight into themselves and their relationships. Equally important, mental health counselors have to collect data related to clients through interviews and tests. They are often called upon to guide clients in the development of skills and strategies for dealing with their problems. They are expected to modify treatment efforts and approaches as needed to comply with changes in clients' status. Finally, mental health counselors formulate, organize and lead structured programs of counseling, work, study, recreation and social activities for clients.

Every day, mental health counselors are expected to be able to piece together evidence to, in some sense, diagnose what is going on in a situation. They need to evaluate problems as they arise. It is also important that they listen to and understand others in meetings.

It is important for mental health counselors to monitor clients' use of medications. They are often called upon to formulate and conduct programs to stop substance abuse or improve community health and counseling services. They also supervise other counselors, social service staff and graduate students. They are sometimes expected to schedule and direct employee workshops and training about mental health issues. Somewhat less frequently, mental health counselors are also expected to guide clients in the development of skills and strategies for dealing with their problems.

Mental health counselors sometimes are asked to design and implement treatment plans on the basis of clinical experience and knowledge. They also have to be able to ready and maintain all required treatment records and reports And finally, they sometimes have to learn about new developments in their field by reading professional literature, attending courses and seminars, and establishing and maintaining contact with other social service agencies.

Like many other jobs, mental health counselors must have strong self control in the face of challenging situations and have a strong concern for others.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Sioux Falls include:

  • Child and Family Services Worker. Provide social services and assistance to improve the social and psychological functioning of children and their families and to maximize the family well-being and the academic functioning of children. May assist single parents, arrange adoptions, and find foster homes for abandoned or abused children. In schools, they address such problems as teenage pregnancy, misbehavior, and truancy. May also advise teachers on how to deal with problem children.
  • Marriage and Family Therapist. Diagnose and treat mental and emotional disorders, whether cognitive, or behavioral, within the context of marriage and family systems. Apply psychotherapeutic and family systems theories and techniques in the delivery of professional services to individuals, couples, and families for the purpose of treating such diagnosed nervous and mental disorders.
  • Substance Abuse Specialist. Counsel and advise individuals with alcohol, tobacco, or other problems, such as gambling and eating disorders. May counsel individuals, families, or groups or engage in prevention programs.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Mental Health Counselor Training

Kilian Community College - Sioux Falls, SD

Kilian Community College, 300 E. 6th Street, Sioux Falls, SD 57103-7020. Kilian Community College is a small college located in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs and has 330 students. Kilian Community College has an associate's degree program in Substance Abuse/Addiction Counseling.


Certified In Thanatology: Certification in Thanatology (CT) is a foundation certification that enhances the professional designation established by the academic discipline of each certificate holder.

For more information, see the Association for Death Education and Counseling website.

Distance Credentialed counselor: A Distance Credentialed Counselor (DCC) will be nationally recognized as a professional with training in best practices in Distance Counseling.

For more information, see the Center for Credentialing & Education, Inc. website.


Licensed Professional Counselor - Mental Health

Address: PO BOX 2164, SIOUX FALLS, SD 57101

Phone: (605) 331-2927

LOCATION INFORMATION: Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Sioux Falls, South Dakota photo by AlexiusHoratius

Sioux Falls is located in Minnehaha County, South Dakota. It has a population of over 154,997, which has grown by 25.0% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Sioux Falls, 81, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Sioux Falls cost $149,700 on average, which is above the state average. In 2008, five hundred eighty-six new homes were built in Sioux Falls, down from 1,000 the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Sioux Falls are health care, finance and insurance, and educational services. For men, it is construction, finance and insurance, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 16 minutes. More than 27.8% of Sioux Falls residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 7.6%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Sioux Falls is 5.1%, which is greater than South Dakota's average of 4.5%.

The percentage of Sioux Falls residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 66.8%, is more than both the national and state average. Messiah Church, Sunnycrest Church and First Convenant Church are some of the churches located in Sioux Falls. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the United Methodist Church.

Sioux Falls is home to the Elmwood Golf Course and the Cactus Hills Country Club as well as Pioneers of Minnehaha County Monument and Picasso Park. Visitors to Sioux Falls can choose from Kelly Inn, Fairfield Inn Sioux Falls and Albert House for temporary stays in the area.