CE Requirements for a Social Worker in New York

As a social worker, you are playing a life-changing role in society. We, at Core Wellness, understand that you are working to improve people’s social functioning and a general sense of welfare. We are here to make your life simpler when it comes to governmental regulations and CE norms.


Difference between Licensure and Registration in New York 

License and registration are two very different things and are two different requirements for social workers in New York. In order to use the title of Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), you must:

  • Have completed a master’s degree in social work that includes clinical coursework.
  • Have a minimum of three years of experience in psychotherapy under supervision post the completion of the master’s degree.
  • Clear the exam conducted by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB).
  • Complete coursework or training particularly for child abuse cases.
  • Submit your completed application to the Office of Professions.


These requirements might vary slightly if you are pursuing an LMSW (Licensed Master Social Worker) degree as opposed to an LCSW. However, once you complete the requirements, you get your social worker license. Licensure in New York is permanent. Only in cases of malpractice, your license can be suspended or annulled. But to continue practicing, you must register yourself with the Board every three years after you have received your license.


In order to register yourself with the New York State Board for Social Work, you must complete your continuing education (CE) requirements. This rule exists because it motivates you to learn more and stay updated in your field of work. In addition to state and federal bodies, CE also functions under the guidance of IACET (International Association for Continuing Education & Training) and the ANSI (American National Standards Institute). These organizations exist to ensure that professions generate the highest quality output and that common people get the best possible care.


Registration and CEU Requirements for a New York Social Worker

From 1 January, 2015, the New York State requires each of its LMSWs and LCSWs to be a part of the continuing education program. The registration with the Board is to be updated triennially. In order to do this, you need to complete 36 hours of acceptable formal CE hours during each three-year registration period.


Sometimes, the registration period granted by the Board can be less than three years. This is done so that future renewals can occur during your birth month. In such a case, the calculation of CE hours is done on a prorated basis. You have to complete one hour of continuing education for each month in your registration period. For instance, let us say the Board has registered you for a period of 30 months as opposed to the usual 3 years. In such a case, you must complete 30 hours of CE (within that 30-month duration) to continue practicing in New York.


License and registration for LMSW and LCSW are two independent entities. The scope of LCSW includes that of the LMSW while the other way around is not the case. In case you have gained the clinical social worker title after the LMSW, you can make the license of the latter inactive and regularly update the LCSW license and registration since the scope is larger. In rare cases where you want to keep both the licenses active, you must keep up with the registration processes of both the titles separately.


CEU in New York

An hour of continuing education in New York is defined as a minimum of 50 minutes of a contact hour offered by registered organizations like Core Wellness. We offer live sessions and interactive webinars, both of which count as contact hours as per the requirement. Some of the courses might be calculated as a CE Unit. A CE Unit has 10 contact hours.


If you gain additional CE credits in a registration period, it cannot be carried forward to the next registration period.


Normally, you earn your CE credits by completing courses provided by registered organizations. You are expected to choose the ones that would enrich your practice and in turn your contribution to society. For example, you could choose courses on human behavior in a social environment, social work theory and practice, professional ethics, legal implications of your work and so on.


You can also earn CE hours by teaching a new course or by publishing an article on the practices of social work in a peer-reviewed journal or a book, as long as it is approved by the Department. Please read the Board’s guidelines on how many credits each of these activities offer.


Acceptable CE hours in New York can be divided into contact programs and structured self-study courses. The state allows you to have one-third of your CE hours contributed by the self-study component. We, at Core Wellness LLC, offer both kinds of programs that are approved by the Department.


Once you complete the CE requirement, you must submit the completed Renewal Registration Form. You can apply for conditional registration from the Department in case you are unable to complete the 36 hours. This provision is applicable in certain circumstances only. Otherwise, you are expected to complete your CE requirements to register yourself with the Board. You cannot practice without being a registered member of the Board for Social Work.

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