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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. Get more information about social worker CEU options and requirements.

Social workers can earn CEUs for licensure renewal and to enhance their practice. There are several different formats through which CEUs can be earned, and courses can cover many social work-related topics.

CEU Requirements

To become eligible to earn a license, most social workers must receive a master's degree in social work and accumulate several thousand hours of clinical experience; from there, they must pass an exam. Periodically, social workers must earn CEUs in order to renew their licenses. 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.

Along with meeting licensure requirements, CEUs support professional development. These courses can help social workers:

  • Acquire new knowledge within the field
  • Refine their skills
  • Increase their proficiency in their field of expertise
  • Meet changing career demands
  • Evaluate the current state of their skills

CEU Options

Program 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.

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, including Michigan, New York and West Virginia; therefore, social workers need to consult with their state licensure boards before enrolling in a certain program.

Subject Options

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

Although licensure renewal requirements vary between states, they involve the accumulation of a certain number of CEUs. Social workers can find CEU offerings available in a variety of formats in several relevant subjects.

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