Continuing education (CE) is education mental health professionals receive after obtaining their academic degree and professional license. Psychology is a dynamic, scientific field, and research and best practices can change over time. Thus continuing education serves the important purpose of ensuring clinicians are up-to-date on developments in their field, so they can provide the best services possible to their clients.
Continuing Education Requirements
Each state has a licensing board that establishes continuing education requirements for mental health professionals. Boards often require that continuing education include training for a certain number of hours in several areas. For example, the state of Georgia requires that professional counselors, clinical social workers, and marriage and family therapists renew their licenses in even-numbered years. To be eligible for license renewal in the state of Georgia, therapists must complete 35 hours of continuing education. Five of these hours must be dedicated to professional ethics, and 15 of these hours must be core hours. Other states have similar requirements.
Mental health professionals who do not meet their continuing education requirements may have their licenses temporarily revoked or receive other sanctions.
Examples of Continuing Education
Numerous organizations offer continuing education classes for mental health professionals, including GoodTherapy.org. These classes must generally be approved by a licensing agency to count toward continuing education requirements. While various psychological organizations and educational organizations offer many classes, interest groups may also offer classes. For example, a homeless rights organization might offer classes on counseling homeless veterans.
While therapists can take any continuing education classes that meet their state’s requirements, most professionals focus on classes in their areas of interest and expertise. A forensic psychologist, for example, might take classes on evaluating competency before trial, while a trauma specialist might take classes discussing the latest research on rape, war, and other trauma-intensive topics.
Benefits of Continuing Education
Continuing education classes do not just offer new knowledge; they offer therapists an opportunity to network with other people in their field. This provides them with a wealth of knowledge they might not otherwise have, and gives them other professionals they can rely on when they have a question.
- Georgia board of professional counselors, social workers, marriage and family therapists requirements. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.continuingeducation.com/social-work/state-ce-requirements/georgia
Last Updated: 08-21-2015
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