South Dakota is the 17th most extensive, the 5th least populous and also the 5th least densely populated state out of the 50 states of the United States of America. Less population leads to less job opportunities in South Dakota as compared to other places in the Country. According to the BLS, the average annual and hourly income of occupational therapy professionals in South Dakota was $63,260 and $30.41 (in May 2015), respectively. All the processes and formalities related to the license in the state are regulated by the South Dakota board of Medical and Osteopathic Examiners. Before issuing license to the applicants, board properly reviews and verifies the documents requited. This may take about 30 days.

Occupational therapy schools in South Dakota offer programs for all the courses of the field, including bachelor’s, master’s, doctorate’s, associate’s or dual degree. All these courses concentrate on both the practical knowledge about this health care profession. Already working occupational therapist with only bachelor’s degree can do the post graduation in just 1 or 2 years. On the contrary, the graduates of some other stream gain the same degree in 2 or 3 years. If anyone wants to get both the bachelor’s as well as master’s degree in just 5 years, s/he can opt for dual degree course. To obtain license from the licensing body, it is essential for you to gain your OT education from an Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) or American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) approved school, college or university. Also, before enrolling for a course in a school you must be aware about its past reputation and the number of students enrolled in it for the last 5 years.

For more information about the accredited schools, procedure to become an OT and the salary figures in different cities of the state of South Dakota, read below:

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Approved Occupational Therapy Schools in South Dakota

  • Lake Area Technical College
    Address – P.O. Box 730, Watertown, SD – 57201
  • University of South Dakota
    Address – 414 East Clark Street, Vermillion, SD 57069

Stepwise Procedure to Become an Occupational Therapist in South Dakota

According to the data of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 290 employed and licensed occupational therapists in South Dakota in May 2015. Most of the conditions for licensure are the same in all the states of America but some requirements may differ with each place as the licensing bodies are different in all the states. The authorized body that takes the responsibility of providing license to the applicants of the different job titles of occupational therapy in the state is the South Dakota Board of Medical and Osteopathic Examiners. It offers license according to the state law at two levels: one for the occupational therapists and another for the occupational therapy assistants. One can apply for a temporary license for any of the two levels while waiting to sit for the exam of permanent license. For temporary license, you need to work under the supervision of a licensed occupational therapist with at least a year of licensure with the state. In order to become a registered occupational therapist in the state of South Dakota you have to follow the stepwise procedure given below.

Step 1 – Graduation from an Accredited School of Occupational Therapy

If you wish to practice as a registered occupational therapist in South Dakota, first, you have to complete your graduation with a bachelor’s, master’s or dual degree in occupational therapy from an ACOTE or AOTA approved college. You must possess at least a bachelor’s degree to apply for the license to the state board. In this state, only one school offers the courses that are necessary to become an occupational therapist. To get the primary information about the occupational therapy schools in South Dakota, you can refer to the list included in this article.

Step 2 – Complete the Internship or Practicum

In order to work as a registered OT, practical program in the field is one of the requisites that the board asks for. It is an important part of the coursework of the programs of occupational therapy as it makes the students analyze and understand the practical situations that these professionals face while doing their jobs. To become a registered occupational therapist in South Dakota, you need to complete at least 6 months of internship or practicum under the supervision of a licensed occupational therapist in a clinical setting.

Step 3 – Pass the National Certification Exam

If you are planning to practice as a registered occupational therapist all over the U.S., you need to pass the national certification exam for occupational therapy. This exam is named as Occupational Therapist Registered (OTR) and is organised by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). To pass this exam in South Dakota you have to score at least in the 70th percentile.

Step 4 – Application for the State License

After passing the national certification exam, you are ready to apply for licensure to the licensing body. For this, you have to submit a properly signed and filled application form with a check or money order of $50 as a license fee. Along with this, you also need to attach some important documents such as verification of licensure from all the past states where you have practiced so far, verification of certification from the NBCOT and all the transcripts from the past schools you have attended till date. Board may take around 30 days to provide you the license after completely reviewing all the documents and transcripts.

Step 5 – Maintenance of the Licensure

License renewal is quite important if you want to continue practicing as a registered occupational therapist in the state of South Dakota. It is equally important as to gain the licensure. To accomplish this, you have to complete 12 continuing competency hours before your license expires.

Salary of Occupational Therapists in South Dakota

As per, the salary of an occupational therapist in South Dakota was $65,000 as of May 12, 2016.

Average Salary of Professionals with Similar Job Titles

Occupational Therapist Outpatient$65,000
Occupational Therapist Home Health$72,000
Occupational Therapist Pediatric Outpatient$65,000
Occupational Therapist Hand$70,000
Outpatient Occupational Therapist$72,000
Occupational Therapist Rehab$65,000
Occupational Therapist Pediatric$65,000
Occupational Therapist Occupational Therapy$65,000
Occupational Therapist Skilled$65,000
OT Occupational Therapy$77,000
Occupational Therapist School$65,000
Occupational Therapist Rotation$38,000
Occupational Therapist Acute$65,000
OT Occupational Therapist Therapy$76,000
Occupational Therapist Psych$65,000

Information Source:

From the table above, we can analyze that the wage of OT Occupational Therapy is highest among all the related jobs titles of occupational therapy in South Dakota at $77,000, while lowest is of Occupational Therapy Rotation at $38,000.

Annual Median Salaries of OTs in Different Cities of South Dakota

Name of the CityAnnual Median Salary
Rapid City$73,768
Sioux Falls$63,071

Information Source:

From the table above, we can find out that wage of an occupational therapist among the different cities of South Dakota is highest in Deadwood and Rapid City at $73,768 and the lowest is in Aberdeen and Pierre at $62,950 as on April 26, 2016.