Nearly every jurisdiction that issues social work licenses requires that social workers document their efforts to maintain competence as a social worker. Most often, maintaining competence takes the form of continuing education.
The bottom line
Continuing competence is the responsibility of the individual social worker—not the CE provider, the licensing board, or the professional association. It is up to you to understand your jurisdiction’s requirements for continuing education—how your jurisdiction tabulates CE time (“clock hours” versus “contact hours,” for example), which types of courses will not be accepted, etc.
The final say
Your jurisdiction’s social work board always has the final say about whether the continuing education courses you took will be approved. Familiarize yourself with your licensing board’s continuing education rules. If you’re considering a particular CE program and have a question about whether your board will accept it, contact your board for clarification before you take the course.
Remember, continuing education is intended to ensure that social workers maintain the knowledge and skills necessary to practice safely throughout their careers. After you have made certain that the company providing the CE is qualified and well-organized, ask yourself whether the course you’re considering is a good fit for you. While it’s tempting to choose courses that play to your own practice strengths, you may also want to consider using CE requirements as a way to round out your social work knowledge, especially if you are adding a specialty or changing to a different practice setting.
Maintaining your social work license requires more than just filing paperwork every two years. Regulatory boards recognize the importance of lifelong learning to the social work profession.
Organizations that offer continuing education for social workers can apply to participate in ASWB’s Approved Continuing Education program.Learn more about ACE options