Continuing education is important in the field of social work to show competence and keep your license to practice.
As stated by the Association of Social Work Boards:
"Nearly every jurisdiction that issues social work licenses requires that social workers document their efforts to maintain competence as a social worker. Most often, maintaining competence takes the form of continuing education."
This article will give all the info you need about continuing education for social workers in Michigan so you can earn these hours and get renewed.
Terms to Know: Contact Hour, Continuing Education Unit or CEU
What are Continuing Education Units (CEUs) and Contact Hours?
A continuing education unit or CEU is a unit of credit that proves you have taken part in a post-school educational experience designed to improve your knowledge within your specific field. In order to earn CEUs, you must participate in a post-degree or post certificate education session and stay for the entire time.
At EMU, one CEU is equivalent to one contact hour. Contact hours are what social work boards are looking for when you renew your license. A contact hour is the time you spend participating in a continuing education program or course. For example, 1 contact hour is equal to 60 minutes of instruction.
What are the Michigan continuing education requirements for social workers?
According to the Michigan Public Health Code [PDF] and social work administrative board, Michigan Licensed Bachelor Social Workers (LBSW) and Licensed Master's Social Workers (LMSW) must complete 45 hours of continuing education in order to get their license renewed. Five (5) of these hours have to be in ethics, two (2) hours in pain and symptom management, and two (2) hours in human trafficking. Half of these credits must be completed in a live, synchronous format (in person or online) which includes live webinars, and the other half can be completed in the other approved formats.
Pro Tip: Every Michigan social work license expires in three years on April 30th.
Before you take any courses, you need to make sure that they are pre-approved by the board. You can look at the minimum requirements for CE-approved courses here. Or if a course has been approved by these organizations and programs:
- Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB)
- The Approved Continuing Education (ACE) program
- Michigan Social Work Continuing Education Collaborative. (MICEC)
You need to keep documentation of your completed continuing education courses (e.g. Certificate of Attendance) for five years after renewal of your license in the event you are audited. The Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs and the Bureau of Professional Licensing can audit social workers at random so you'll want to be prepared. If this occurs, they'll contact you by mail and ask for your documentation.
When can I start earning CE credit?
You can start earning credit depending on when you receive or renew your license. If you earn more than 45 credits in one renewal period they can not be carried over into a new one.
Where can I earn Social Work CE credits?
Eastern Michigan University’s Professional Programs & Training (EMU PPAT), offers some of the best courses to earn these credits and has done so for 35 years. For more than a decade, we have worked with the Eastern Michigan University School of Social Work to provide post-degree courses and programs for social workers.
PPAT has offered more than 75 relevant, social work courses covering pertinent topics such as human trafficking, ethics, trauma, autism spectrum disorders, and pain management. We have provided more than 500 clinicians and school social worker professionals with skills that can be implemented the next day. All of our continuing education programs are approved by the Michigan Social Work Continuing Education Collaborative (MICEC).
Non-credit classes and symposiums in topics of interest to social work professionals are available throughout the year. Our courses are taught by professors and lecturers from the School of Social Work as well as professionals from the field. All of our instructors are advocates for social change and are committed to sharing their experience and resources with class participants.