South Dakota has seen a significant increase in the rate of autism diagnoses among children, with the number of students in the state’s public school system on IEPs (Individual Education Plans) specifically for autism spectrum disorder nearly quadrupling in the 15-year period leading up to 2014 (US Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs, 2015).
South Dakota school superintendents, parents and state legislators aren’t taking this news lying down. With so many students in need of interventions including applied behavior analysis therapy, the state has recognized the need to institute significant policy changes to ensure that assistance is available to those who need it.
In 2015, South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard signed a bill into law that would change how autism related medical care (including applied behavior analysis) is covered by insurance. Under the new law, insurance companies in the state are required to cover applied behavioral analysis for autistic children 18 years of age and younger.
Although the maximum cost benefit for ABA decreases as patients get older, (the law stipulates $36,000 as the maximum annual cost for children through age six, $25,000 for children ages 7-13, and $12,5000 for ages 14-18), the law makes South Dakota one of the few states where patients can seek insurance-covered ABA up to age 18.
Experienced board-certified behavior analysts (BCBA®s) in South Dakota can earn salaries as high as $101,340 a year, according to 2021 statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
Salaries for Experienced BCBA®s in South Dakota
The range of salaries for board-certified behavior analysts with ten years of experience in the field are shown below (median to top 10% – current as of May, 2021):
- 50th: $101,340
- 75th: $119,770
- 90th: $119,770
Starting Salaries for Behavior Analysts in South Dakota
The most highly paid BCBA®s in South Dakota who lack job experience in the field of behavior analysis can command salaries that exceed the median salary among highly experienced BCBA®s in the state. Salary data shown below for entry-level ABAs is current as of May 2021 (10th percentile to median):
- 10th: $26,230
- 25th: $66,790
- 50th: $101,340
2021 US Bureau of Labor Statistics salary and employment figures for Psychologists, All Other reflect national data, not school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary. Data accessed January 2023.