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Continuing Education: FAQs 

By what date do I have to have earned my continuing education units (CEUs) for this licensing renewal cycle?

The date for CEU renewal now corresponds with the license renewal date.  All CEUs must be accumulated by September 30 of even years.

How many continuing education units do I need to accrue during a two-year cycle?

In Utah, a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) must complete 40 hours of continuing education for each two-year cycle.  Three of the 40 CEUs must be on the subject of ethics and two must be on the subject of suicide prevention/postvention.

A social service worker (SSW) in Utah must complete 20 hours of continuing education.  Of the 20 hours, three must be in ethics and two must be on the subject of suicide prevention/postvention.

How many of my 40 continuing education hours can be earned through home study or online courses?

An LCSW may earn up to 15 hours per cycle through home study or online courses and an SSW may earn 10 hours per cycle.  No credit may be earned from reading professional journals or books.

How many continuing education units can I carry over into the next cycle?

You may carry over up to 10 CEUs into the next licensing cycle.

If I get my LCSW license in the middle of a continuing education cycle, do I need to accrue the full 40 CEUs?

The number of hours you need to accrue is prorated from the time you received your license.  For instance, if you became licensed in September of an odd numbered year, you would need to accrue 20 of the 40 hours since you were licensed for half of the cycle.  The same is true for the SSW license.

Can I get continuing education credit for teaching a workshop?

Yes. You may earn up to 10 hours per licensing cycle by teaching social work continuing education workshops. 

How do I keep track of my CEU hours?

You may use any system you choose.  A suggested CEU tracking form is available by clicking here.  If you are audited by the Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing ( DOPL), you will be required to submit documentation of attendance at workshops and conferences, proof of completion of home study or online courses, and outlines of continuing education classes taught.

How long do I need to keep my documentation?

You need to keep documentation for six years after the recertification cycle ends in case you are audited by DOPL.

What happens if I don’t meet the CEU requirement of 40 clock hours by the end of the recertification period?

If you are audited by DOPL, you will be subject to review for unprofessional conduct. 

How do I know if a workshop or conference has been approved?

Most workshop sponsors that seek NASW approval will include that information in their brochure.  The NASW, Utah Chapter website lists upcoming workshops that have been reviewed and approved by the NASW Continuing Education Committee.  Click here to access the Approved CEUs webpage. If you have any questions about an event's approval status, contact the NASW office.

What if I attend a workshop or conference that has not received NASW, Utah Chapter continuing education approval?

Keep the conference brochure, any handouts you receive, and your certificate of attendance.  If you are audited, DOPL will decide if the conference meets the criteria for approval.

Why is NASW approval important?

If a conference or workshop has received Utah Chapter, NASW approval, you can be assured that the event has met the NASW criteria for continuing education approval and that it will be approved by DOPL.  Based on the large number of agencies and organizations seeking NASW approval, such approval is very valuable to sponsors.

Who submits CEU applications?

Agencies that are sponsoring clinical conferences submit the Social Work Continuing Education Sponsorship Applications for review by NASW.

What is the deadline for submitting a workshop application?

The NASW Continuing Education Committee meets on the fourth Wednesday of each month (unless a holiday interferes), and applications are due by the third Wednesday of each month. Applicants will receive an approval letter several days of the meeting or, if additional information is needed, a call from a member of the Continuing Education Committee.

Why do some workshops advertise that they "meet DOPL requirements” and others advertise "approved by NASW?"

The Social Work Rules of the Mental Health Practice Act require continuing education for licensed clinical social workers, as set forth by the Utah State Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing.  The DOPL requirements spell out those continuing education activities that qualify for approval.  A workshop sponsor may choose not to apply for NASW approval and may advertise that, in the opinion of the sponsor, the workshop meets DOPL’s requirements.  It then becomes the responsibility of the social worker to decide if he or she feels comfortable attending the workshop under those conditions.  Most workshop sponsors choose to seek NASW approval so that the participants are assured that the workshop meets the criteria for continuing education approval.  A workshop may not advertise that it has received NASW approval if it has not completed the application process.  This sometimes does happen, usually as a result of oversight or error, but most workshop sponsors are diligent about following procedures.  NASW does deal with sponsors who falsely advertise and may impose sanctions such as publishing the names of workshop sponsors who intentionally falsify NASW approval in the newsletter.

Why do some workshop classes receive NASW credit, while others do not?

The NASW Continuing Education Committee reviews workshop applications using a set of criteria that has been developed and approved by the Chapter and which is in greater detail than the DOPL requirements.  The criteria include: requirements that the workshop or conference have components such as identified educational objectives with theoretical and clinical outcomes; have meaningful and current theory and practical content which increases the participant’s professional competence; have academically qualified instructors; be clearly planned and organized and deal with social work practice, professional responsibility and ethical obligation; plus many other criteria. For the complete text of the Criteria for Continuing Education activities, click here.

Sometimes a workshop is advertised for a certain number of credit hours and then the CEU certificate indicates a different number approved.  Why?

Workshops frequently advertise that they have "applied to NASW for 6 hours” or "6 hours are pending approval.”  The brochures may be mailed out before the sponsor is granted NASW approval.  If the workshop is then approved for a different number of hours, it is the responsibility of the sponsor to let the registrants know.  The Continuing Education Committee attempts to work with the sponsors to rearrange their workshop hours so that full credit can be given.  We understand the frustration that situations such as this create.

Why do some workshops refuse to give out CEU certificates until the workshop is over?

The short answer is, because they are doing it right!  Participants really should not receive certificates of completion until they have completed the training, and participants have the ethical responsibility to honor that procedure.


The Law

What the Social Work Licensing Act Rules say about continuing education:

R156-60a-304. Continuing Education.

(1) Required Hours. In accordance with Subsection 58-60-105(1) and Section 58-60-205.5, during each two year renewal cycle commencing on October 1 of each even numbered year:

(a) An LCSW shall be required to complete not fewer than 40 hours of continuing education. A minimum of three of the 40 hours shall be completed in ethics and/or law.

(b) An SSW shall be required to complete not fewer than 20 hours of continuing education of which a minimum of three contact hours shall be completed in ethics and/or law.

(c) The required number of hours of continuing education for an individual who first becomes licensed during the two year renewal cycle shall be decreased in a pro-rata amount.

(d) The Division may defer or waive the continuing education requirements as provided in Section R156-1-308d.

(2) A continuing education course shall meet the following standards:

(a) Time. Each hour of continuing education course credit shall consist of not fewer than 50 minutes of education. Licensees shall only receive credit for lecturing or instructing the same course up to two times. Licensees shall receive one hour of continuing education for every one hour of time spent lecturing or instructing a continuing education course;

(b) Course Content and Type. A course shall be presented in a competent, well organized and sequential manner consistent with the stated purpose and objective of the course;

(i) The content of the course shall be relevant to the practice of social work and shall be completed in the form of any of the following course types:

(A) seminar;

(B) lecture;

(C) conference;

(D) training session;

(E) webinar;

(F) internet course;

(G) distance learning course;

(H) specialty certification; or

(I) lecturing or instructing of a continuing education course;

(ii) The following limits apply to the number of hours recognized in the following course types during a two year license renewal cycle:

(A) a maximum of ten hours for lecturing or instructing of continuing education courses meeting these requirements; and

(B) a maximum of 15 hours for online, distance learning, or home study courses that include examination and issuance of a completion certificate;

(c) Course Provider or Sponsor. The course shall be approved by, conducted by, or under the sponsorship of one of the following:

(i) a recognized accredited college or university;

(ii) a community mental health agency or a public agency that provides mental health services;

(iii) a professional association or society involved in the practice of social work; or

(iv) the Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing;

(d) Objectives. The learning objectives of the course shall be clearly stated in course material;

(e) Faculty. The course shall be prepared and presented by individuals who are qualified by education, training and experience;

(f) Documentation. Each licensee shall maintain adequate documentation as proof of compliance with this Section, such as a certificate of completion, school transcript, course description, or other course materials. The licensee shall retain this proof for a period of three years after the end of the renewal cycle for which the continuing education is due; and

(i) At a minimum, the documentation shall contain the following:

(A) date of the course;

(B) name of the course provider;

(C) name of the instructor;

(D) course title;

(E) number of hours of continuing education credit; and

(F) course objectives.

(3) Extra Hours of Continuing Education. If a licensee completes more than the required number of hours of continuing education during a two year renewal cycle specified in Subsection (1), up to ten hours of the excess over the required number may be carried over to the next two year renewal cycle. No education received prior to a license being granted may be carried forward to apply towards the continuing education required after the license is granted.


 

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Utah Chapter, NASW
University of Utah, College of Social Work Room 229
395 South 1500 East • SLC, UT 84112
Phone: 801-583-8855 • Email: office.naswUT@socialworkers.org