Comparing ACE approval types
There are two types of ACE approval: Provider and individual course/conference.
Individual course approval
Individual course/conference approval evaluates individual courses and conferences and approves them for licensees to earn continuing education credit.
Small providers with one to five courses
Provider approval evaluates organizations for their ability to provide high-quality course offerings for social work continuing education credit.
Larger providers with many courses and conferences
Joint Accreditation for health care CE
ACE collaborates with Joint Accreditation for Interprofessional Continuing Education to offer CE providers the opportunity to be simultaneously accredited to provide continuing education activities in the professions of medicine, nursing, optometry, pharmacy, psychology, and social work through a single, unified application process.
All CE providers in the ACE program must adhere to the standards outlined in the ACE Handbook.1. Meeting regulatory requirementsStandard 1.1 – Regulations
The CE provider knows and adheres to social work regulations regarding CE requirements in the jurisdictions where it offers ACE credit.2. Applying social work values and ethicsStandard 2.1 – Values and ethics
The CE provider’s overall programs and individual courses and conferences adhere to the social work profession’s values and codes of ethics.
Standard 2.2 – Nondiscrimination
The CE provider does not discriminate against any individual or group based on gender, race, creed, national origin, sexual orientation, religion, age, organizational membership, or any other basis prohibited by law or counter to the social work profession’s codes of ethics.
Standard 2.3 – Cultural awareness and diversity
The CE provider infuses cultural awareness and diversity into its courses and programs.
Standard 2.4 – Accessibility
The CE provider offers accommodations and accessibility as required by law.3. Working with ACEStandard 3.1 – Application eligibility
Prospective applicants must meet eligibility requirements prior to applying.
Standard 3.2 – Provider staff
The CE provider has assigned staff members to the roles of continuing education director, social work consultant, and primary contact to work with the ACE program during the application process and after approval to ensure continued compliance with ACE standards.
Standard 3.3 – Continued compliance
The CE provider ensures that its program and courses meet current ACE standards.4. Ensuring course quality and relevanceStandard 4.1 – Acceptable topics
The CE provider offers courses on topics that are relevant to evidence-based social work practice and reflect current peer-reviewed research, best practices, and the needs of social workers.
Standard 4.2 – Bibliography
The CE provider creates a bibliography, also called a reference list, that includes all source material used, consulted, referenced, or quoted for each course or conference session.
Standard 4.3 – Learning objectives
The CE provider offers courses with measurable learning objectives—clear and concise written statements defining the knowledge, skills, and abilities a learner should be able to demonstrate following the learning experience—that the provider can evaluate and use to assess and improve future learning and course quality.
Standard 4.4 – Content level
The CE provider accurately identifies content level as beginner, intermediate, or advanced.
Standard 4.5 – Instructor qualifications
The CE provider offers courses taught by instructors or presenters with appropriate professional qualifications.
Standard 4.6 – Instructional materials
The CE provider uses appropriate, high-quality instructional materials.
Standard 4.7 – Avoiding commercial bias
The CE provider does not show commercial bias or promote commercial interests during CE activities.
Standard 4.8 – Calculating CE credit
The CE provider follows ACE requirements for determining CE credit.
Standard 4.9 – Pilot testing
The CE provider uses pilot testing before delivering a course via distance learning to determine credit hours and ensure course quality and effectiveness.
Standard 4.10 – Posttesting
The CE provider uses posttesting as required to assess participant learning and course quality and effectiveness.5. Delivering learning experiencesStandard 5.1 – Course delivery
The CE provider delivers in-person or distance learning courses for CE credit to social workers only in the format(s) for which the course or provider have been approved.
Standard 5.2 – Distance learning communication
The CE provider ensures the availability of communication between participants and instructors when delivering courses via distance learning formats.
Standard 5.3 – Cosponsorship
The CE provider may cosponsor courses and conferences under specified conditions. Individual course or conference approval is required when any cosponsor is not an ACE provider.
Standard 5.4 – Conferences
The CE provider has specific conference approval for events defined as conferences by ACE.6. Promoting and advertisingStandard 6.1 – Promotional materials
The CE provider uses promotional materials that provide adequate information and follow social work ethical conduct and core values.
Standard 6.2 – ACE approval statement
The CE provider displays the correct ACE approval statement and, when needed, the provider number on promotional materials and certificates of credit.7. Administering the CE program and coursesStandard 7.1 – Online security
The CE provider ensures the online security of participant information.
Standard 7.2 – Addressing grievances
The CE provider has a written grievance policy that guides its response in a timely and ethical manner to complaints received by the provider, a regulatory board, or ASWB.
Standard 7.3 – Record keeping
The CE provider collects and maintains important records.
Standard 7.4 – Course evaluation
The CE provider requires participants to evaluate courses.
Standard 7.5 – Attendance documentation
The CE provider accurately documents attendance at in-person and synchronous distance learning (live) events and participation in asynchronous distance learning (self-paced) educational activities and issues certificates of credit to participants who complete courses.