Licensed social workers (LCSW, LSW, and ASW) are required by every state in the U.S. to have a certain number of CEU hours in order to be eligible for renewal of their licenses. Each state has its own requirements in regards to the number of years a license is good for as well as how many CE hours are necessary. The idea of continuing education for social workers is to assure that the SW remains current with research, changes and new approaches applicable to their particular field and job.
Regardless of the level of educational achievement, every practicing LCSW/LSW in the United States has a certain basic number of SW CEUs as required by their individual state’s board in order to renew their license. CE requirements for LCSWs/LSWs can range from 20 CEUs to 45 CEUs. To further complicate matters, each state has unique requirements as to the venue in which these ce credits may be acquired and the documentation required.
Licenses for SWs generally last from two to four years (depending upon the issuing state board) and upon renewal, continuing education for social workers documentation must be available. Some states such as Michigan merely require the documentation be available in case of audit while others require documentation of completion of the courses submitted with the license renewal application.
Continuing education for social workers is not limited to formalized classroom experience by any state and a number of different types of CEUs are acceptable. An LCSW/LSW who prepares papers or research for publication can also gain continuing education from publishing said research. The SW who is continuing their education into the Doctorate level may find some of their renewal social worker CEU requirements are met by the formal classes taken for their degree. However, some U.S. states require a certain number of education units be focused in particular areas that may not be covered by the degree courses.
Satisfying the Continuing Education for Social Worker Requirements for License Renewal
Satisfying state board ce requirements at one time was limited to publishing papers, attending workshops, or formalized classroom instruction. These limited choices put busy professionals at a disadvantage because clients and workload had to be juggled with classroom hours.
Although requirements for continuing education for social workers have been increased in some states in the U.S. the ways in which these continuing education requirements can be satisfied has expanded. One of the most notable and possibly simplest means of satisfying the LCSW, LSW, ASW CEU requirements has been online courses and classes designed to satisfy the state requirements for continuing education. It used to be that a social worker had to manage their professional lives & appointments and work to fit formal classes into their schedule and be absent from their practice during set hours to satisfy the CEUs for renewal. Now, online classes offer flexibility in coursework as well as in class content that meets the needs of the practicing SW and satisfies the State Boards’ requirements.
Continuing education for social workers does not necessarily have to be a matter of selecting only what educational units are available but of little or no interest in the course of the professional’s daily work. Social workers whose practices include family counseling, hospital and nursing or any other field can find courses that not only apply to their clients but also enrich their practices. Online classes that grant CEUS can be found in almost every area of practice and to satisfy almost any professional focus. Such classes provide the necessary documentation, state provider numbers (for CEU verification) and focus upon areas that SWs find of interest and their clients can benefit from.
CE requirements can be accrued slowly during the two to four year period before license renewal. Online CE as well as on-site CE is accepted by every US state. Satisfying these educational requirements slowly throughout the period can eliminate coursework overload or the frenzy of last-minute studying and attending seminars that were unfortunately common before online CEUs became readily available. The freedom to choose classes which match the schedule of the professional, as well as enrich the practice, increase their body of knowledge and keep them abreast of changes in the laws for professional licensed social workers are just a few of the advantages to online CEUs.

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