Massachusetts-licensed social workers have an upcoming license renewal deadline of September 30, 2010. As required by the Board of Registration of Social Workers, all licensees must complete the minimum number of continuing education hours specified below for his or her licensure level during each licensure period:
- Licensed Independent Clinical Social Workers (LICSWs) – thirty (30) continuing education hours;
- Licensed Certified Social Workers (LCSWs) – twenty (20) continuing education hours;
- Licensed Social Workers (LSWs) – fifteen (15) continuing education hours; and
- Licensed Social Work Associates (LSWAs) – ten (10) continuing education hours.
A continuing education course or program that has been reviewed and approved by ASWB as an Approved Continuing Education (ACE) program may be used to satisfy the continuing education requirements. There is no limit on the numer of hours earned from online or home study continuing education courses.
Continuing Education has been viewed as an integral part of the social work profession for many years now. In Massachusetts, Continuing Education has always been a requirement for the maintenance of a social work license. While most licensees agree and see the value of Continuing Education, it has become apparent recently that a reminder as to just what is required and how the Board monitors compliance, is needed.
Licensees, in order to renew their social work license, must sign a renewal form attesting under the penalties of perjury that they have completed all requirements for their license. This, of course, includes completion of Continuing Education.
It is the responsibility of the licensee to ensure not only that the course or program for which they are receiving credit is approved by a recognized entity, but also that they receive and maintain appropriate documentation of their CEUs. Documentation should be maintained for a period of not less than two licensure cycles, inclusive of the licensure period during which the course, program or activity was completed.
Continuing Education Audits are now performed after the submission of renewal forms, and may be done at any time during the two-year licensure cycle. If randomly selected for the audit, you will receive a written notification requesting that you submit documentation of your continuing education for the most recent, previous, complete licensure cycle (10/1/odd year – 10/1/odd year). If you fail to provide documentation of your Continuing Education, disciplinary action will be taken against your license. Audits are performed by ASWB and therefore if you are selected any questions about this process should initially be directed first to ASWB.
It is imperative that licensees understand the absolute necessity of continuing education completion for maintenance of their license. While the Board certainly does not look for ways to penalize social workers licensed in the Commonwealth, it is their duty as a consumer protection agency to ensure that the care and protection of the citizens of the Commonwealth is held in the highest regard. With that said, it falls to the Board to ensure licensees are following the standards of practice, which they have set forth in Massachusetts General Law 258 CMR.
Professional Development Resources is approved as a provider of continuing education for social workers by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB Provider #1046, ACE Program) and offers over 150 online and mail order home study continuing education courses on their website: http://www.pdresources.org/Index.aspx
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