Social Work Continuing Education Collaborative


Frequently asked questions

What is continuing education?

Continuing education is education and training oriented toward maintenance, improvement or enhancement of social work practice.  The State of Michigan requires licensed social workers to complete 45 hours of continuing professional education every three years.

Can I take continuing education courses from any provider?

No.  Continuing education courses must be pre-approved.  The Michigan Social Work Continuing Education Collaborative has been designated by the Michigan Board of Social Work as the authorizing agent for approval of CE providers and courses. You may however, also take courses that have been approved by one of the following organizations: ASWB; ACE; MICEC (us) or by another State's Board of Social Work.

When can I start accumulating my continuing education hours?

You may start accumulating hours based on the renewal date of your license. For example: If you renewed your license 4/30/06 then you were eligible to being accumulating your 45 hours as of May 1, 2006. If, for example, you renew your license on 4/30/07 you cannot start accumulating your 45 hours until May 1, 2007.

Are there specific subject matters that must be covered in the courses that I take?

You are required to take 5 (five) hours of Social Work Ethics and 1 (one) hour of Pain and Pain Symptom Management.  CE hours in Pain and Pain Symptom Management may include, but are not limited to: courses in Behavior Management, Psychology of Pain, Behavior Modification, and Stress Management.

In addition, courses must cover one or more of the following topics:

  • Theories and concepts of human behavior in the social environment
  • Social work practice, knowledge and skills
  • Social work research, program evaluation or practice evaluation
  • Social work agency management or administration
  • Development, evaluation and/or implementation of social policy
  • Social work ethics and standards of professional practice
  • Current issues in clinical or macro social work practice

For example, content areas appropriate for continuing education can include methods of intervention, such as individual counseling, psychotherapy, family treatment, group work, and community organization.  Supervision, consultation, planning and policy development.  Teaching and educational methods, social problems, advocacy, social change.  Social action, cultural diversity and specialized services and treatment.

What records do I have to keep?

If you are a licensee attending CE courses, you are required by Michigan law to retain documentation of meeting the CE requirements for a period of four (4) years from the date of application for license renewal or re-licensure.  Although the law does not specify what information the licensee must retain, it is suggested that you keep the following information:

  1. The title of the course or program and any identification number assigned to it by the provider.
  2. The number of CE hours completed.
  3. The provider's name and identifying number.
  4. Verification of your attendance by the provider.
  5. The date and location of the course.

All of this information is likely to be included on a certificate of course attendance that providers will be required to give to all attendees who complete the course.

If you are a CE Provider you are required by Michigan law to maintain records of course attendance that reflects the following information:

  1. The date and location of the program or course.
  2. The credentials of the course presenters.
  3. Rosters of the course attendees.  This must include a "sign in" and "sign out" time next to each attendees printed name and license number.
  4. The continuing education hours that were awarded to each attendee. 

Guidelines require CE Providers to maintain the following information for at least seven (7) years:

  • Names and resumes of CE directors and social work consultants
  • Participant name, profession, and license/certification/registration number from the appropriate jurisdiction
  • Course Title, Date, Location and CE hours awarded
  • Course outline/syllabus and learning objectives
  • Course instructor's qualifications and professional affiliations
  • ADA requests and services provided   (ADA - Americans with Disabilities Act)
  • Grievances and resolutions
  • Course evaluations

How do program lengths relates to continuing education credits?

An instructional hour is defined as a 60 minute hour with no less and 50 minutes of uninterrupted instruction.  Credit can be given in half hour increments (i.e. 30 minutes = 0.5 credits).  When counting hours, the following exclusions apply; travel time, meeting time devoted to business, committee activities, entertainment, or social activities such as coffee hours, luncheons, dinners etc...

As a provider, how do I renew a CE course previously approved by the Continuing Education Collaborative?

If the program has not been changed in any way (content, format, length, or presenter), submit a Request for Approval application, 30 days prior to expiration, listing the course Title and the original assigned reference number along with the applicable processing fee.

If the program has changed in any way, submit a new completed Request for Approval application according to continuing education guidelines along with the appropriate fees.

What about home study hours?

“The Michigan Social Work Continuing Education Collaborative recommends that in order to improve their skills and obtain knowledge, social workers should obtain their CE hours from a variety of methods and sources. The Licensing Board is currently reviewing the law to determine how home study will be defined and incorporated in future licensing requirements.”