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Continuing education courses in psychology are crucial for practicing therapists. Continuing education is a return to formal learning activities with the goal of increasing your knowledge or clinical skills. Many state licensing boards require psychologists, psychiatrists, counselors, and social workers to attend continuing education in order to maintain or renew their license. Additionally, mental health professionals may choose to take a continuing education course based on their individual needs and interests. Common benefits of continuing education programs include:
Continuing education classes for therapists may cover a wide range of mental health topics such as anxiety and depression, addiction, evaluation and assessment, ethics, neuropsychology, gender and sexuality, trauma, families and couples, research methodology, cultural competency, and specific treatment modalities. Continuing education programs are offered in a variety of formats and may include online courses, videos on demand, book-based exams, newsletter-based exams, article-based exams, or in-person workshops or conferences.
Depending on the continuing education course you choose, you may earn continuing education units (CEUs), continuing education credits (CEs), or continuing education credit hours. Before you start a program, it is recommended you first check with your state licensing board to find out how many credits you need, and ensure the credits offered by the continuing education program are approved and/or accepted.
While the advantages of taking continuing education courses in psychology are clear, there are some factors you should consider before finalizing your plans. For example, the financial and social costs of these programs may be high due to travel expenses, time spent away from your practice or loved ones, and scheduling conflicts. However, you may be able to minimize these costs by participating in online continuing education courses offered by accredited organizations.