BCD Standards for Continuing Education

Continuing Education (CE) is an important part of advanced practice. The American Board of Clinical Social Work (ABCSW) requires that the Board Certified Diplomate (BCD) clinician amass a minimum of 20 clock hours of clinical education (CE) annually either virtually or in-person to maintain the BCD. This CE may be formal or informal,as related below. ABCSW does not pre-approve specific CE activities outside of the Annual Conference or other organizationally sponsored trainings. CE activities must directly address the professional, independent clinical practice of social work and meet the guidelines listed below. 

Formal Activities    Formal CE activities include verifiable courses, practice-oriented seminars, workshops, staff development activities, webinars, podcasts, or other forms of "distance learning".  All such formats must be original source verifiable and accredited/offered by state licensing boards, professional associations, or graduate schools. 

Informal Activities    Informal CE activities include clinical learning at structured social work meetings, training and discussions, including the following:

  • Professional meetings focused on clinical social work methods or theory but not on specific cases or administrative matters
  • Speaker presentations addressing clinical social work methods, theories, or issues
  • Peer-group meetings, panel discussions, and study groups, focused on advancement of clinical social work practice methods and theories.

Informal CE activities are limited to no more than 50% of total hours of CE submitted for BCD renewal. 

Teaching    Continuing education activities are accepted at a maximum of 5 hours of the total CE hours submitted for renewal to BCD clinicians teaching full-time in clinical or practice courses and or serving as Field Directors full-time at Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accredited BSW or MSW institutions. (verifiable by the sponsoring organization). 

Publications   ABCSW extends 10 CE credits to BCD clinicians who in the last 24 months prior to the date of BCD renewal have published as primary author, investigator, or editor  a peer-reviewed article, journal, research paper in a social work or related journal or book. 

Documentation of Activities   Up to 5% of BCD holders annually will be asked to furnish documentation of continuing education activities. For those individuals audited, BCD renewal will be contingent upon compliance with submission of verification of required CEUs.  

For formal activities, ABCSW requires electronic or hard copies of a certificate or a letter from the event's sponsor or instructor (including your name, date, CE hours attained, and, if needed, the course syllabus or conference brochure), or a description of the activity (with participants, date, topics, and duration) signed by the coordinator or group leader. 

For informal activities, provide a document that summarizes the activity and its clinical social work content, with date, duration, name/title of leader/coordinator, mention of participants (e.g., clinical staff of Acme Hospital), indication of your attendance, and signature of person responsible. For teaching, provide the course syllabus documenting the course as a BSW or MSW social work course of a clinical or practice nature. 

Documentation of continuing education should only be sent to ABCSW only upon request. Retention of CE materials follows your state boards requirement.
Revised Mar. 2022

Earn CEUs through the ABCSW!!