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Continuing Education Options for Social and Community Services Workers

Social workers and community service workers, such as therapists, psychologists and counselors, are required to earn continuing education units to maintain state licenses or certifications. Continuing education units can be earned through classes, workshops and seminars offered by a school's social work or continuing education department.

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For professionals in the social and community services field who need to renew their licensure, there are continuing education options available in a variety of topics. They may be offered in several different formats, including workshops and online courses.

Continuing Education

All states require social and community service workers to become licensed or certified. To maintain these credentials, they must earn a certain number of continuing education units (CEUs) within a specified time frame. Requirements for continuing education vary from state to state, but states typically require 30-45 contact hours every 2-3 years.

Social workers can earn CEUs through participation in workshops, classes and seminars. These training programs may be offered on weekends or evenings by social work schools at colleges and universities. Continuing education units can also be earned through online classes and webcasts.

Social Worker Continuing Education Options

Social workers, who typically hold a bachelor's or master's degree, help people facing problems because of disabilities, discrimination, unemployment, language barriers, disease and substance abuse. Social workers also work with children and adults who have been abused by their guardians or spouses. Social workers can take CEU courses and workshops in many topics, including the following:

  • Ethical practice
  • Trauma treatment
  • Conflict resolution
  • Motivational interview techniques
  • Mediation
  • Diversity

Community Service Worker Continuing Education Options

Community service workers include psychologists, therapists, substance and alcohol abuse counselors, marriage counselors and rehabilitation counselors; they often hold master's degrees, though psychologists need a doctorate. Workshops, one-day seminars and courses in the following topics are available for community service workers seeking CEUs:

  • Obsessive-compulsive disorders
  • Eating disorders
  • Neuropsychology
  • Narrative therapy
  • Adoption counseling
  • Professional ethics
  • Communication skills

Appropriate Continuing Education Programs

State licensing boards determine whether a workshop or seminar is appropriate for meeting continuing education requirements. They may also rely on professional associations, such as the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) Approved Continuing Education (ACE) program. ACE ensures that the content produced by continuing education providers meets the high standards of ASWB. The National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) also approves continuing education programs.

By completing a state or professionally approved continuing education seminar, workshop or course, social and community services workers can expand their expertise in relevant topics and earn credits needed for licensure renewal.

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