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5 things you didn’t know about renewing your NY social work license

Continuing education requirements have arrived for New York social workers and with them some pitfalls to trap the unwary. Since this is all new as of January 2015, you may just be sorting through what, exactly, is required, and how to meet the new standards for renewing your license.

To inform social workers about the new regulations, the state prepared a list of questions and answers. (We have downloaded them into a more accessible and readable format in our FAQs section.) But here are five things that you should know right away, with links to the appropriate FAQ answer from the state licensing board.
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Search for courses and workshops

To immediately search for courses and workshops, either In Person courses or Live Online courses, click here.

How to use Social Work Continuing Education Finder

Courses and workshops that are scheduled for specific dates and times can be accessed from the FIND CE EVENTS button on the menu strip (top right). That takes you to our calendar page, preset to the current month. To look for events in an upcoming month, enter the date in the gray EVENTS IN search box (top left) or use the navigation at the bottom of the calendar.

If you want to search for all courses on a specific topic, for example trauma, enter that term under SEARCH. Then the button FIND EVENTS will limit the search to courses and workshops containing the search term.

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For an alternative view of the listings, the VIEW AS allows you to choose between the traditional calendar view and a text listing.

To immediately search for courses and workshops, either In Person or Live Online, click here.

For self-study courses, the section is still under construction and should be ready by July 2015. Bear with us.

What SocialWorkCEUfinder.com Can Do For You

Welcome to the Social Work Continuing Education Finder, a resource to support social workers throughout New York State with information intended to

  • help you locate convenient and cost-effective training
  • keep you on the right side of regulations
  • maintain your education records
  • save you money

This site is not associated with the State of New York, its Department of Education, or any providers of continuing education. It is created and maintained by social workers dealing—as you are—with the changing requirements to maintain licenses and practice in New York State.

Background

As of January 2015, social workers in New York State face a new hurdle for maintaining their licenses: obtaining continuing education credits before license renewal. The surprise is not that this is required, it is that it took so long to institute—more than 10 years after New York switched from the old certification system to licensing that relied on the national exams and more closely conformed with national standards. As with the earlier switch that caused many headaches, stops and starts, twists and turns, New York has gone its own way with continuing education. The result is nuances that can trip up the unwary social worker and cause confusion, uncertainty, doubt, anxiety and unnecessary expense.

The Office of the Professions has provided a series of webpages to explain the new requirements. Their basic statement is clear:

Beginning January 1, 2015, each Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW) and Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) must complete 36 hours of approved continuing education courses for each triennial registration period. No more than 12 hours of continuing education activities in any 36 month period, or one-third of the total hours in periods of other length, may consist of self-study educational activities from New York State Education Department approved providers.

The state site provides a 40-question FAQ page, a list of approved providers of education, and instructions for becoming an approved provider. That is a lot of information to digest and much of it confuses rather than illuminates. For example, the list of providers at the time of writing is 82 organizations long, yet many on the list do not actually provide courses, seminars or workshops that the average social worker can attend. (For instance, they may only be for employees of that agency.)

How Social Work Continuing Education Finder can help

1. Browse our articles for basic information about the regulations

2. Dive into our database of courses approved for New York continuing education credit

3. Ask questions in the forums

4. Sign up to receive information about new courses and providers as they come online,

5. Inform your colleagues of education opportunities via social media or email.

Eventually, we will provide tools to help you maintain your records and track your progress, eliminating that last-minute panic as your deadline approaches.