When it comes to social work, continuing education is more than a good way to keep up with your chosen field; in many cases it is a requirement. Unlike, say, renewing your driver’s license, keeping up with those requirements and getting your license renewed will take more than simply filling out some paperwork and updating your picture. If you thought your last college class was really your last class, you went into the wrong field. Boards in all states understand the importance of keeping up with changes and developments in all of the social science fields and they know intimately how dangerous it is to let yourself fall behind the time.
With social work, continuing education requirements change depending on where you live and work. Some requirements are imposed by the state licensing board, while others are enforced by private employers. You could be up to date on all of your credits in one jurisdiction but if you move to another you could find yourself woefully behind the time. That’s why several organizations have put together some basic national standards. This helps professionals involved in those fields to make sure they attain the highest possible standards when it comes to obtaining their credits, giving them the experience and resume they need if they have to move to another jurisdiction.
In a way, social workers of today have a much easier time of it than those in years past. There are so many more social work continuing education opportunities when you consider online classes, multimedia workbooks, and so on. Few professionals find themselves forced to go sit in a classroom unless they prefer to learn that way. Still, this degree of choice can also be a sea of hazards if you aren’t careful. Some independent website is under no particular mandate to tell their customers that the credits they offer will not be accepted by such and such a state. Therefore it is always up to you to make sure the credits you’re seeking will be applied to your continuing requirements.
Remember that social work continuing education isn’t just about filling requirements. Keeping up with your chosen field is important for so many other reasons, not the least of which is your ability to connect with your charges. Let’s face it: you got into the field for a reason and that reason was more than likely the chance to help people. Don’t let that ideal slip away as you’re confronted with the harsh realities of real world circumstances. Continue learning and pass on the knowledge you obtain.