September 14, 2014
Update on Requirements for Continuing Education
What NY social workers need to know right now
NASW-NYC Planning a Conference for the Profession on April 8
• This article expands on prior notices from NASW-NYC on continuing education requirements and
provides information for what licensed social workers need to know at this time.
• This is also a notice that NASW-NYC will be offering CEUs through a major conference on April 8 and free standing workshops through the winter and spring.
• NASW-NYC expects to be approved as an authorized provider of CE in New York.
By January 1, 2015 most licensed social workers will be required to obtain 36 continuing education (CE) credits over a three year period in order to renew their license. The exception is that new licensees, whether having recently obtained the LMSW or the LCSW, do not need to obtain CE credits until after their first license renewal.
There are somewhat more than 20,000 licensed social workers in New York City, fairly evenly split between LMSWs and LCSWs, and NASW-NYC estimates that approximately 15,000 will be required to start accumulating CE credits as of January.
NASW-NYC recommends that social workers begin to accumulate their hours as soon as possible and not wait until the year of renewal, if at all possible. To accommodate this, NASW will be providing a range of CE offerings beginning as soon as these requirements go into effect ( more on this below).
As the law first goes into effect, many social workers will find that they are coming up for renewal in less than three years, and some will come up for renewal in the very first months after January. For example, an NASW member emailed recently to inquire about what she will need to do since her renewal comes up on February 1, 2015. The answer is that she will need to document that she has at least one CE credit by that time.
On average, one CE credit will be needed at the rate of one credit per month, although this does not mean one has to obtain CEs every single month, it is an average. This is helpful in order to calculate how many credits will be needed when your renewal comes up before three years or 36 months.
On another matter, NASW-NYC has received inquiries from members as to whether CE credits can be accumulated prior to January 1. The answer is no.
There are providers of continuing education programs claiming that workshops held prior to January are approved for social workers. This is most likely NOT related to the new state requirements. Continuing education credits have been offered in other states for many years and some social workers in New York have been accumulating credits for reasons not related to state law. The Chapter recommends caution before assuming what a provider is claiming that they say credits are approved.
Any continuing education credits accumulated prior to January will not be acceptable to the State Education Department (SED), and licensed social workers who report to the State that they have credits taken before the effective date (January) could put themselves in jeopardy if their documentation were to be reviewed. Anyone claiming such credits when they renew could actually be falling short of what is required.
Every offering of continuing education in New York will need to be approved by SED. This means two things: 1) that the organization that provides continuing education needs to be approved in order to be a recognized provider, and 2) the presenter and the topic for a specific offering needs to be approved. The providing organization will need to seek approval from SED for every offering.
It will be wise for social workers to check the website of the Office of the Professions (OP)’ social work page and find the listing of approved providers. This should prove helpful. The web address is: http://www.op.nysed.gov/prof/sw/swceproviderlist.htm. Since this process is new, there are no providers at the present time.
NASW-NYC is confident that it will be approved as a provider of continuing education offerings and that what it does offer will also be acceptable to OP. The Chapter will be applying for approval as a provider in October, but OP’s application states that organizations should expect up to 90 days to receive approval.
Hold the Date: Major Conference for the Profession Planned for April 8, 2015
In anticipation of the continuing education requirements going into effect, NASW-NYC’s Board of Directors began planning a conference for the profession in New York City. The intent is to enable licensed social workers to obtain their CE credits fairly early.
At this moment, NASW-NYC is finalizing an agreement for a large, state of the art conference space in Manhattan that will allow us to accommodate hundreds of social workers and to have up to 20 breakout sessions. The conference to be held on Wednesday, April 8, 2015.
NASW-NYC will also expand its offerings of free-standing workshops, beginning in January.
Link to NYSED Website
Please email us if you have any questions.