Education is an everchanging process that needs to adapt itself to the current times with each passing day. While there may be something that is extremely relevant to your field today, it may have less of a bearing on your professional commitments as you move forward. Similarly, a condition or context may arise that needs you to update your skills or knowledge in order to stay relevant in terms of the career trajectory that you have chosen. Here, the concept of continuing education has a large role to play.
What Is Continuing Education?
Many people find themselves battling the misinformed idea that education is only limited to the formal degrees and certifications that help you get a job. In reality, there are a host of professionals across the board that requires you to constantly update your learning in formal settings — a concept that is often referred to as continuing education or CE. An important term that you must keep in mind while talking about CE is CEU — or continuing education unit — which stands for 60 minutes of an activity that has already been approved by the board governing the practice of that profession.
In the next section, we will be examining the CEU requirements that counselors need to meet in order to practice in Maryland.
Continuing Education Requirements for Maryland Counselors
If you wish to continue practicing as a professional counselor in the state of Maryland, the state requires you to update your current level of learning before you apply for a renewal of your license. This includes fulfilling a certain number of CEUs that you need to complete. The following sections will help you understand the requirements that you need to meet when you are applying for renewal.
Different Categories of Activities
If you are looking to complete your CE requirements for renewing your professional counselor license, you need to finish a certain number of hours in two categories of courses — A and B — both of which are discussed in greater details in this section:
- Category A — The activities in this section include formal courses, workshops offered on the subject of your interest, professional seminars and symposiums or any other formal learning method that can help in developing your skills further. Any work that you may have put in writing, editing or reviewing a juried publication is also considered in this category.
- Category B — This category includes a wide range of activities, including any informal courses that you have attended or presented, in-house seminars or colloquia, sessions with invited speakers, conferences that are aimed at teaching or training and more. Online courses and home study, including distance learning programs that showcase relevant educational gains are also included in this category.
If you are a professional counselor in the state of Maryland, you have to fulfill the following continuing education requirements every two years in order to be eligible to practice in the state:
- Completion of Category A Activities — Professional counselors need to complete 40 hours in CE before they apply for a renewal of their licenses every two years. Out of these 40 hours, at least 30 hours need to be earned with the help of Category A activities, which have been discussed in greater detail in the last section.
- Completion of Category B Activities — Professional counselors can meet the 40-hour requirement by completing 10 CE hours in Category B activities like online courses, which have also been discussed earlier.
- Not Considered Amongst Either Category — You cannot consider any type of meetings, whether they are business related, professional committee meetings or those related to the management of your practice as credit hours under CE. If you have made presentations or written in publications that are meant for lay audiences or home study, those will also not be considered a part of your CE.
As you may have gauged from the instructions mentioned in earlier sections, professional counselors in Maryland are required to renew their licenses or certificates every two years after completing their continuing education requirements so as to stay abreast of all the new developments in the field. All applications for renewal need to be sent in by January 31 of the year that the license is set to expire. All renewals are done through a new portal link on the Maryland Department of Health Website. Keep in mind that this portal closes at midnight and late renewals are not accepted beyond this period.
Professional counselors in the state of Maryland have to uphold high standards of education and practice, which means a great amount of emphasis is laid on CE. With the help of updated home study materials, webinars and workshops offered by Core Wellness, a significant part of your CE requirements can be met within the comforts of your home. So what are you waiting for?