Keeping current for your social worker’s license takes more than simply
filing the necessary paperwork every two years. Social work continuing
education is a serious requirement in most states.
Nearly every licensing body requires continuing education credits as a
requirement for licenses. Continuing to learn about different techniques
and advances in the field make the education credits an important
factor for social workers. Regardless of his or her area of expertise,
any social worker can gain insights in the field through coursework,
whether it be probing more deeply into an area in his field of expertise
or diving into a completely new arena.
The ongoing education requirements vary by jurisdiction. Some entities
only require a certain number of credit hours, while other licensing
bodies mandate work be done in ethics, domestic violence or substance
abuse. Individual jurisdictions have the final say on classes and
whether they meet credit requirements of the governing body. It is up to
each social worker to contact his or her respective licensing body to
ensure that the education endeavor he is considering meet his
educational needs with the governing jurisdiction. Know that it is not
the responsibility of the licensing body, the education provider or the
association body sanctioning the training.
Make sure you understand the licensing body’s requirements, such as
whether education requirements are tabulated by clock hours or credit
hours and what types of courses will and won’t be accepted for education
requirements. The best way to be clear about licensing requirements is
to contact the agency either by phone or by searching its website.
Don’t guess that a seminar or program will count for your licensing
requirement. Make sure with that governing body. Your social worker’s
license is not something you took lightly when achieving it. Make sure
you don’t take re-certification requirements lightly either. Know what
your licensing board’s definition is of education credit and if a social
work continuing education program you are considering will meet that
definition. Governing boards normally have their education certification
requirements available on their websites. Be aware of just what those
requirements state. It is always better to contact the licensing board
prior to taking a class rather than pitching it as meeting education
requirements after you have already spent the money and taken it.
Also make sure you understand what type of verification your governing
body needs showing that you took the education program or seminar. The
education provider should be able to provide that verification, but
remember to keep the paperwork for the program so that you have vital
telephone numbers and program information should you need verification
for your licensing. Before leaving the education session, you should
receive a signed certificate verifying your attendance. The social work
continuing education provider should also have that verification
information for up to seven years in case you need to prove your
education credentials again down the road. The provider should also
offer the qualifications of the instructors, consultants and organizers
who implemented the program.
Also, do as much research as possible on the program beforehand. Check
with colleagues who have taken the course. You don’t want to be sucked
in by the marketing hype only to be taking a seminar that doesn’t
improve your social work skills.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
To maintain licensed status social
work continuing education is a must. Find out about programs
and valuable course tips at http://www.psychotherapynetworker.org/.