Social Work Continuing Education Collaborative


Continuing Education Requirements

Links on this page are in "purple" letters

Every "licensed" Michigan Social Worker is required to obtain 45 continuing education contact hours every three years. Your three year cycle is determined by your license expiration date. If you do not know what your license expiration date is, you should contact the Michigan Department of Community Health.

Out of the 45 required CE hours, five of those hours must be obtained from taking an "approved" Social Work Ethics course.

One hour must obtained from taking an "approved" course on pain/pain symptom management.

Every "licensed" Michigan Social Worker can earn up to 10 hours of "approved" online learning every three years.

Not all courses advertised as social work courses are acceptable for your continuing education hours. Only courses approved by one of the following organizations are recognized as "approved" courses for Michigan Social Workers:

Michigan Social Work Continuing Education Collaborative- MICEC

Association of Social Work Boards - ASWB

Approved Continuing Education - ACE

Other states' Board of Social Work

If you take a course that is not approved by one of the organizations listed above then those hours will not count toward your required 45 CE Hours.

NASW is not a recognized, approving organization for Michigan social work continuing education.

Documentation Requirements

All Michigan licensed social workers are responsible for tracking their continuing education hours and for maintaining the documentation records of those hours. Although CE approved providers are tracking attendance, you are responsible for maintaining your own continuing education hours!

You must keep your proof of participation (certificates) of the required 45 continuing education clock hours for at least four years after your renewal cycle has ended, which would result in saving documentation for a total of seven years if you begin taking credits during the first year of your renewal cycle.

According to the Michigan Department of Community Health, Licensing Division (MDCH), social workers will renew their license as they always have in the past.  Once the renewal process is complete, the MDCH database will randomly select 10% of those who renewed their license for an audit.  The first group to renew under the new licensure law requiring continuing education has a license expiration date of April 30, 2009.

If your name is selected for the audit, you will be notified and asked to send proof of your compliance with the required 45 continuing education hours to MDCH.  (Please note: you do not want to send MDCH your attendance documents unless you are required to comply with an audit request.)  Once MDCH receives your documentation as proof of your compliance with the continuing education requirements, they will verify that the CE hours you earned are CE hours that were provided by “approved” course sponsors.  The only acceptable approvals that are recognized by the Michigan Social Work Board are the following:

•   Michigan Social Work Continuing Education Collaborative (MICEC)
•   Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB)
•   Approved Continuing Education (ACE)
•   Other states’ Board of Social Work Approvals

Any workshops you attended that were not approved by one of the organizations listed above will not be accepted and those hours will not be counted toward your 45-hour requirement.  In other words, if you only earned 45 CE Hours and even one hour was from an “unapproved” provider, you will not pass the audit. 

What will happen if I get audited?

According to the MDCH, Division of Licensure:

If a person does not have the 45 hours in approved coursework during the licensure period, they are in violation of the Public Health Code requirements for renewal of their license whether they are short 1 hour or 45 hours.  Documentation of the situation will be sent to MDCH staff who files complaints.  A formal complaint would be filed against the licensee.  The licensee would be sent the complaint and given a chance to settle the case informally or participate in an administrative hearing.   The case is presented to the Disciplinary Subcommittee for final action.
Typically, CE violations are subject to a fine, probation and the licensee would be ordered to complete the missing CE hours within a period of time.  Those CEs would count toward the renewal cycle in question and could not be used in the 45 hours required for the next renewal cycle.  Each case is reviewed and discipline assessed on the merits of the case.

For more information about the audit process, please visit the continuing education section on the NASW-Michigan Chapter Web site at

How can I ensure I’m ready for an audit?

To assist NASW-Michigan members with licensure documentation requirements, the Chapter is offering a CE tracking service free to members for their first year of enrollment.  Used properly, the program will help you determine if you have completed the required number of hours in approved coursework for your licensure renewal. The program will allow you to login and check your CE status to verify how many approved credits you have left to complete for renewal.

Because licensure is new to our state, there is a great deal of confusion revolving around which courses are considered “approved.” This program will double-check and verify that the courses submitted will be accepted by the State of Michigan. The certificate of completion issued through this program will be accepted by the State of Michigan as verification that licensure requirements have been met. The CE Tracking Program was designed to help our members avoid a stressful audit situation from the State of Michigan that could result in license suspension. For more information you can also click on this web address "in blue"for the Michigan Department of Community Health Website at:,1607,7-132-27417_27529-50941--,00.html.

Non-members are also eligible for this valuable service for a nominal fee.  If you would like more information about this service, visit and follow the link for the CE Tracking Service. 

Home Study

“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.”