Instructor qualifications and availability
Instructors or presenters of continuing education courses offered by ACE providers must have professional qualifications in good standing with their professional regulatory board, if applicable, and meet one or more of the following criteria:
- Be a faculty member of an accredited undergraduate or graduate school of social work
- Have received specialized graduate- or postgraduate-level training in the subject taught in the course
- Have extensive experience, to include no less than five years of practical application or research involving the subject taught in the course
Instructors who are teaching clinical courses should also have a current clinical license in their field of practice.
Applicants/instructors using technology as part of their course delivery must possess the technical expertise to communicate the course subject matter effectively; alternatively, the organization must have technical staff on hand to assist with those needs during course presentations so that the subject matter can be communicated effectively. For providers offering distance education programs: some form of access to the instructor should be available to participants for each course offered, including self-paced distance learning courses. An example would be allowing participants to email staff with questions, which could then be answered by the instructor. Contact ACE staff at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions or need more information.
Licensure exam preparation disclaimer requirements for promotional materials
As we mentioned in a previous newsletter, licensure exam preparation courses are not allowed to be offered for ASWB ACE credit.
Approved ACE providers who offer social work licensure examination preparation courses must use the following disclaimer language in all public relations brochures, website pages, and other materials used as part of or to promote or advertise such licensure examination preparation courses:
“This licensure preparation program and materials associated with it were not included in the Association of Social Work Boards’ Approved Continuing Education (ACE) review and are not approved by ASWB for continuing education nor endorsed by ASWB in any manner.”
Face-to-face courses and ethical advertising
Social work CE providers should operate in keeping with social work values and ethics, including ethics in advertising. Ethical advertising ensures that adequate and accurate advance information is provided to prospective course participants.
The ACE requirements for promotional materials are intended to help providers meet these requirements. You may review those requirements on our website.
Another important part of ethical advertising for face-to-face courses involves making clear to potential attendees if a course your organization offers is specifically not approved for continuing education in the jurisdiction where you are offering the live, face-to-face course. Your materials should include a clear statement, separate from the required ACE statement, that ACE approval is not accepted in that jurisdiction. (e.g., “New Jersey social workers: This course is not approved for continuing education for New Jersey social work licensees.”)
Not specifying this information in promotional materials may lead potential social worker attendees to assume the course is approved for the CE they need for licensure renewal. Although the social worker is ultimately responsible for determining whether the jurisdiction will accept the CE credit offered for your course, providers should also clearly indicate in your advertising when you know that the CE for a face-to-face course will not be accepted by the jurisdiction where the course is being offered.
A social worker licensed in New Jersey recently asked if a face-to-face course —offered in New Jersey by an ACE provider—would be accepted for CE credit toward license renewal. ACE staff looked up the course and found that the ACE provider did not have approval for this course through the NJ CE Course Approval Program or any other approval organization accepted by the New Jersey Board of Social Work Examiners. We informed the social worker that this continuing education would not be accepted by the New Jersey licensing board. However, the provider did not mention this fact in its promotional materials, even though the provider was offering the course in a jurisdiction that currently does not accept ACE approval. Jurisdictions that accept ACE are listed on our website.
Keeping track of jurisdictional continuing education regulations for social work licensure
ASWB has many great resources to help CE providers stay up-to-date with jurisdictional regulations. ASWB maintains a database of social work regulations available to the public. Key reports are published on the ASWB website. Social work continuing education providers should be current on the continuing education and licensure requirements for the jurisdictions where they offer CE, including the home jurisdictions of distance learners. To locate information about continuing education requirements review both individual license and jurisdictional policy requirements.
The ASWB database also has links to U.S. and Canadian regulatory board or college websites, statutes, and administrative rules.