When I graduated with my MSW degree, I transitioned from days of classes and field work to a full-time job. However, I continued to learn whele employed in my new professional role. Through working in the field with a full caseload, I learned so much about being a clinical social worker that I couldn’t glean from the classroom. And I supplemented that practical learning by taking Continuing Education Units (also known as CEUs).
What are CEUs? Oriented at working adults, they offer opportunities to continuing learning practical knowledge immediately applicable to your work. They make it easy to hone and develop pragmatic skillsets that you won’t necessarily pick up on the job.
Thanks to technological advances, CEUs are more affordable and easier to access than ever. Online offerings like the AATBS Continuing Ed courses are convenient and smart investments for social work professionals.
Choosing your CEU classes well is important. When you’re picking among the plethora of options, consider the following factors:
Are the CEUs accredited?
As a professional social worker, you’re either already licensed or working toward your license. In order to acquire or maintain a license in your state, the governing board requiers you to obtain a certain number of CEU class credits. You’ll need to ensure that your state’s licensure body accredited the continuing education you’re interested in for the credits to count. Taking accredited CEUs also is important for quality control; accredited courses have gone through a certification process to ensure they’re useful for social workers.
You can check a courses’ accreditation status by checking the description and course catalog. It will say who the course is accredited with and how many credits the course offers. For example, AATBS’ CEU classes are accredited by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB). You can check with your state’s regulatory board to ensure courses by that regulatory board count toward licensure.
Who teaches the CEU class?
The best CEU classes have teachers who are social workers themselves, or who work in a similar field. Ideally, the person who wrote your course or is teaching the class should have licensure as a social worker, or in a related profession such as a psychology or marriage and family therapy, and experience in direct practice in the area where they’re teaching. If you have any questions about the instructor’s credentials, feel free to reach out to the organization offering the course.
Is the opportunity within budget?
Prices vary wildly for CEU courses, ranging from free offerings at your workplace to pricey residential retreats. Generally speaking, online CEUs are less expensive than those you attend in person. When choosing classes, considering your budget per CEU credit and choose useful options you can afford. Keep in mind that many workplaces will pay for CEU credits, particularly if you’ll learn skills directly applicable to your current job.
What will you learn from the course?
Good CEU programs will list course objectives in the description, which succinctly describe what knowledge and skills you’ll obtain upon completion. Along with helping ensure the course is reputable, these objectives will help you decide if the course is right for your own career needs.
The best CEU classes for you will help you acquire information and new methods for working with your population of choice. Alternatively, if you’re looking to transition to a new population or career role, taking CEUs in that area is a great start for making the switch. When I switched from working in community mental health to a geriatric social work role, CEU classes filled in the gaps of practice knowledge I was missing.
No matter what you’re looking to learn in the social work profession, there’s a CEU class that will help you acquire that skill. We invite you to peruse the large number of accredited social work courses we offer at AATBS and are delighted to support you on your continuing professional journey.