Continuing Medical Education (CME) - Social Workers
The New York State Education Department monitors and maintains licensed social worker continuing education requirements, including approval of licensed course providers. In the state of New York, licensed social workers are required to complete 36 hours of continuing education courses for every three years during which they are licensed. The NYSED also maintains and updates approval concerning which organizations are licensed to provide continuing education courses.
REQUIREMENTS FOR SOCIAL WORKERS
The New York State Education Department regulates requirements surrounding continued education for social workers throughout New York. Specifically, the education department determines requirements for individual social workers, as well as requirements for those offering continuing education courses.
As of 2015, social workers licensed in the state of New York are required to complete 36 hours of continuing education courses over a period of three years. These courses can be chosen by the individual, so long as they are accredited by the NYSDE. Of those 36 hours, a total of 12 may be "completed through self-study courses that are structured study, offered by a New York State Education Department (Department) approved provider that are based on audio, audio-visual, written, online and other media."
Specifically, "a provider that has been conditionally approved may offer courses to LMSWs and LCSWs and the Department will accept those courses. However, the Department may subsequently notify the provider that a particular course is not acceptable under section 74.10 and, therefore, will not be accepted for CE credit from the date of such notification."
A list of approved course providers, along with the dates for which they have been approved by the NYSED, can be found on the department's website. There are more than 400 providers which currently offer continuing education courses for social workers, which have been approved by the NYSED.
While licensed social workers are not required to take specific courses throughout the three-year licensing period, provided they complete a total of 36 hours, the NYSED does require that licensed course providers offer continuing education classes covering one of the following subjects:
"- theories and concepts of human behavior in the social environment;
- social work practice, knowledge and skills;
- social work research, programs, or practice evaluations;
- social work management, administration or social policy;
- social work ethics;
- clinical interventions, evidence-based models, and principles of clinical social work practice, psychotherapy, and clinical social work diagnosis;
- client communications and record keeping;
- administrative supervision of licensed master social work and clinical supervision of licensed clinical social work practice;
- pedagogical methodologies or other topics which contribute to the professional practice of licensed master social work and licensed clinical social work;
- cross-disciplinary offerings from medicine, law, administration, education and the behavioral sciences are acceptable if they are clearly related to the enhancement of social work practice, skills and knowledge, and the health, safety, and/or welfare of the public."
REQUIREMENTS FOR COURSE OFFERINGS
Providers of continuing education courses for licensed social workers in the state of New York must receive approval from the New York State Education Department.
While general applications are reviewed regularly, the department has noted that timelines for approval are currently longer than projected. As a result, an applicant may receive conditional approval through the department, provided they "submit a complete provider approval application with the Department, including payment of the required fee; and are already approved as a social work continuing education provider by an entity, organization or agency whose provider standards are comparable to the Department's standards."
Conditional approval will last until such time as the NYSED issues an official decision on the provider's application. Courses taken by a conditionally approved provider will be accepted towards a social worker's 36 hours of continuing education.
In order to apply for approval as a provider of continuing education courses for social workers in the State of New York, applicants must submit a completed application with a $900 fee. These materials must be submitted at least 90 days prior to the start of their courses. Similarly to individual social worker licenses, provider licenses must be renewed every three years.
Courses offered must concern one of the above-named subjects, and must be taught by "instructors who are qualified to teach the courses/educational activities which will be offered, including but not limited to, faculty of a licensed master social work or licensed clinical social work program offered by a higher education institution; or instructors who are specially qualified authorities in activities that are directed at developing and enhancing a licensee’s practice as a LMSW or LCSW, as determined by SED with assistance from the State Board for Social Work, to conduct such courses."
In addition to the above requirements, course providers must maintain written records for six years following the completion of each individual course.
ORGANIZATIONS OFFERING CONTINUING EDUCATION FOR SOCIAL WORKERS
The NYSED website maintains a list of more than 400 organizations currently licensed to offer continuing education courses to social workers who are licensed in the state of New York.
Among those organizations currently approved by the NYSED are the Association for Mental Health & Wellness in Ronkonkoma, NY; Catholic Family Center in Rochester, NY; Four Winds Hospital in Katonah NY; Kidz Conference Services in Garden City NY; and NCADD in White Plains NY.
To summarize, the NYSED requires that licensed social workers in the state of New York complete 36 hours of continuing education for every three years during which they are licensed. The department also maintains a list of approved course providers, each of which is licensed through the NYSED as well.