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.
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.