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CEUs for Social Workers: Options and Requirements

Social workers need to earn continuing education units (CEUs) for renewal of state licenses. Prior to earning CEUs, social workers must meet specific requirements. For more information about social worker CEU options and requirements, read below.

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Social Worker Continuing Education Units (CEUs) Options and Requirements

Social work CEUs are a vital part of licensure renewal in most jurisdictions. CEUs help social workers acquire new knowledge, refine their skills, increase their proficiency and meet changing career demands. CEUs also encourage self-assessment and strengthen licensure qualifications. To earn an initial license, most social workers must receive a master's degree in social work and accumulate several thousand hours of clinical experience.

CEU Options

Social workers can earn CEUs in live workshops, as well as through online and home study courses. Online and home study options allow students to earn only some of the total amount of CEUs needed for renewal. For example, Wisconsin allows students to earn up to 16 hours of continuing education through online programs, while Maryland allows students to earn up to 20 hours of continuing education units through home study. These CEU courses usually award individuals with a certificate upon completion.

State CEU Restrictions

Additionally, CEUs are available through the Association of Social Work Boards and the National Association of Social Workers (NASW). It's important to note, however, that CEUs earned from the NASW might not be accepted in certain states, which included California, North Carolina, West Virginia and Michigan as of 2014; therefore, social workers need to consult with their state licensure boards before enrolling in a certain program.

CEU Requirements

CEU requirements vary between jurisdictions. For example, Michigan requires 45 hours during the 3-year period prior to license renewal. Additionally, each state may have specific CEUs in ethics that must be met. The NASW requires 48 CEU hours every two years.

CEU courses can cover several areas, from clinical practice topics to working with special segments of the population. CEU credits might be earned by taking courses on:

  • International social work
  • Substance abuse issues
  • Motivational interviewing
  • Child abuse and neglect
  • Dialectical behavior therapy
  • Social work and technology
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