I Graduated Already, Why Do I Have to Take Continuing Education Classes?
You completed your undergraduate program, then your master’s degree. You might even have completed a Ph.D. program. You took a licensure exam. You worked under supervision for a year or two. Finally, you were fully licensed.
But you’re not done with your education just yet. In fact, you likely won’t ever be done - not as long as you want to keep practicing in your profession.
Counselors, social workers, psychologists, and psychiatrists - in fact, most healthcare professionals - typically are required to take continuing education classes throughout their careers to maintain licensure.
You can check your state’s CE requirements here.
Each state has licensure laws that set minimum continuing education requirements. Why?
Continuing education ensures that clinicians stay up-to-date on new developments in their field including clinical practice, theory, human development, diversity, assessment, and research.
Some professionals choose to exceed the state minimums for continuing education, especially when they need to expand the focus of their practice, when they’re looking for another job, or when they’re trying for a promotion.
Continuing education also can help fill in key gaps in your knowledge. For example, until recently, most universities did not offer specific training in telemental health - knowledge, and skills that became essential when the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic forced most mental health professionals to close their doors to in-person therapy.
If you’re a new professional, or even if you’ve been in the business awhile, getting the right amount and the right kinds of continuing education can be confusing.
For example, what’s the difference between continuing education (CE) hours and continuing education units (CEUs)?
CEs are continuing education hours or contact hours - the number of hours you spent in contact with the instructor or the material. CEUs are continuing education units. These are 10-hour blocks used in the school system.
It’s very important to know which unit of measurement your state licensure board is using.
How do you choose which continuing education classes to take? Again, each state has specific requirements for the course content. For example, in my state - Georgia - our license is renewed every two years. We have that two-year period to complete 35 CE hours: 5 in ethics, 15 core (related to our specialty), and 15 hours in related topics (continuing education hours in the allied professions).
It’s also important to know the delivery method for your continuing education training. You may have seen the terms synchronous and asynchronous.
Synchronous learning means at the same time, but not in the same place. For example, a live webinar would be synchronous.
Asynchronous learning refers to pre-recorded, or on-demand training.
Some states require that several hours be live and in person, but the state also may allow you to get some of your training from recorded online classes, live online webinars, or independent study.
Another key point about continuing education: Know your source. There are many providers for CE content, but be sure to confirm the courses are approved for your state.
Finally, continuing education may feel like another time-suck for already overworked mental health care professionals, but it can give you time for yourself - time to learn new skills, to expand your therapy toolkit, and time to network with colleagues.
Telehealth Certification Institute CE information:
(CE details can vary for each course offered. Please refer to the CE details for each individual item)
Continuing education requirements for Social Workers: (refer to ASWB’s policies and state our official ASWB approval status statement)
Telehealth Certification Institute LLC, #1609, is approved to offer social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) Approved Continuing Education (ACE) program. Organizations, not individual courses, are approved as ACE providers. State and provincial regulatory boards have the final authority to determine whether an individual course may be accepted for continuing education credit. Telehealth Certification Institute LLC maintains responsibility for this course. ACE provider approval period: 05/02/2021 – 05/02/2024.
Continuing education requirements for Psychologists: (refer to APA’s policies and state our official APA approval status statement)
Telehealth Certification Institute LLC is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. Telehealth Certification Institute LLC maintains responsibility for this program and its content.
Continuing education requirements for Counselors: (refer to NBCC’s policies and state our official NBCC approval status statement)
Telehealth Certification Institute, LLC has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No, 6693. Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified. Telehealth Certification Institute, LLC is solely responsible for all aspects of the programs.
Continuing education requirements for Addiction Professionals: (refer to NAADAC’s policies and state our official NAADAC approval status statement)
Telehealth Certification Institute is an approved provider of continuing education by NAADAC, the Association for Addiction Professionals, provider #193104. Full attendance is required; no partial credit will be awarded for partial attendance.
Continuing education requirements for Play Therapists: (refer to APT's policies and state our official APT approval status statement)
Telehealth Certification Institute LLC has been approved as a continuing education provider by the Association for Play Therapy: APT Approved Provider 21-633. Per the Association for Play Therapy (APT), play therapy training may not be awarded to non-mental health professionals. APT alone holds the right to accept or deny any continuing education training at its discretion.
Telehealth Certification Institute
American Counseling Association
National Association of Social Workers
American Psychological Association
CDC: Types of CE for Health Professionals
NBCC: Earn Continuing Education
Rules and Regulations: State of Georgia
By Amanda Barnett, LPC, Ed.S., NCC