CEU Requirements for 2021–2023 Licensure
What follows is a thorough description of the policies of the Illinois Department of Financial & Professional Regulation (IDFPR) on continuing education units (CEUs) for social workers. The below CEU requirements pertain to the licensure cycle beginning on December 1, 2021, and ending on November 30, 2023.
As a result of delays at the Illinois Department of Financial & Professional Regulation (IDFPR), the previous 2019 licensure cycle (beginning December 1, 2019) had its deadline extended to the February 28, 2022, deadline date. While this deadline extension allowed for licensed social worker (LSW) and licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) licensees to submit their renewal applications as well as obtain continuing education units (CEUs) through February 28, 2022, the 2021 licensure cycle still begins on December 1, 2021, and will end on November 30, 2023. Due to this three-month overlap into the 2021 cycle, licensees must make sure the classes they attend between December 1, 2021, through February 28, 2022, are clearly identified as applying for either the 2019 or 2021 licensure cycles. You may not use CEUs obtained during this period for the renewal cycle ending November 30, 2023, if you also used them to renew your licenses ending on February 28, 2022.
For the new 2021 licensure renewal cycle starting on December 1, 2021, and ending November 30, 2023, Illinois LSWs and LCSWs will have 3 additional/amended requirements for licensure renewal as required by the Illinois Department of Financial & Professional Regulation (IDFPR).
NEW! One-hour (minimum) of a training on implicit bias awareness. Effective January 1, 2022, with the signing of Public Act 102-0004.
A mandated reporter training with (NEW!) a section on implicit bias. Effective January 1, 2022, with the signing of Public Act 102-0604.
NEW! One-hour (minimum) of a training on the diagnosis, treatment, and care of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. Applies to health care professionals who provide health care services to, and have direct patient interactions with, adult populations age 26 or older in the practice of their profession ONLY. Effective January 1, 2023, with the signing of Public Act 102-0399.
The above requirements are in addition to pre-existing LSW/LCSW licensure renewal requirements:
A minimum of 30 hours of continuing education (CE) relevant to the practice of social work or clinical social work of which:
At least 3 of the 30 hours must include content related to the ethical practice of social work, and
At least 3 of the 30 hours must include content related to cultural competence in the practice of social work (Effective December 1, 2013).
A minimum of 50% of the total CE hours required must be obtained by a method that includes face-to-face, in-person instruction or experience. According to IDFPR, live-virtual workshops do not qualify as face-to-face, in-person instruction (Effective December 1, 2013). For questions about whether IDFPR will waive the in-person requirement again, see our FAQ below.
A sexual harassment prevention training will be required for licensure renewal. There is no timed element (e.g., one hour of CEUs) to fulfill this training requirement, nor does it have to be a CEU (Effective August 6, 2021).
CE Worksheet & FAQ
To help social workers better keep track of their CEs for 2021–2023 LSW/LCSW licensure renewal, the NASW-Illinois Chapter has created this CE Worksheet. Please note this worksheet is NOT an IDFPR-required document but rather a roadmap to help you fulfill all CE requirements. The requirements in this document are subject to change. Check with the IDFPR website and NASW-IL for any changes as they are announced.
More About the Specialty CEU Training Requirements:
Implicit Bias Awareness Training: All health care professionals must obtain at least one hour of training
on implicit bias awareness. As of this printing, the department has not yet released rules for this training
requirement. If (and when) such rules are written by the department, this article will be updated
Mandated Reporter Training with Implicit Bias Section: In an update to the previous mandated
reporter training requirement, all LSW and LCSWs must complete a mandated reporter training that
includes a section on implicit bias. There is no timed element (e.g., one hour of CEUs) to fulfill this
training requirement; however, there are content-related requirements as listed in the Act. The new
implicit bias section shall provide tools to adjust automatic patterns of thinking and ultimately eliminate
discriminatory behaviors. The training shall be provided through the Department (DCFS); an entity authorized to provide continuing education for professionals licensed through the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) such as NASW-IL; or an organization approved by the Department (DCFS) to provide mandated reporter training including a section on implicit bias.
Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementias Training: This requirement shall only apply to health care
professionals who provide health care services to, and have direct patient interactions with, adult
populations age 26 or older in the practice of their profession. This training must be at least one hour in
length and fulfill content-related requirements as listed in the Act. A health care professional may count
this one hour for completion of this course toward meeting the minimum credit hours required for
Sexual Harassment Prevention Training: The training may be provided by the licensee's employer, the
Department of Human Rights, or any continuing education provider (such as NASW-IL's recorded
Sexual Harassment Prevention Training) authorized to provide continuing education under an Act
administered by the Department in accordance with Section 2-109 of the Illinois Human Rights Act.
Effective August 6, 2021, with the signing of Senate Bill 1079.
Looking for Specialty CEU Trainings?
The NASW-Illinois Chapter is currently at work scheduling courses for the next licensure cycle. To add yourself to a waitlist to receive notification when we announce one of the specialty CEU training courses required for 2021–2023 licensure, click here. You can also check with the NASW-Illinois Chapter Events page to see all upcoming chapter and recorded CEU events.
Summary of Requirements:
LSW and LCSW licensees must obtain 30 CEUs for the 2021 licensure cycle starting on December 1, 2021, and ending on November 30, 2023. Of those 30 CEUs, 50 percent of the total CE hours (i.e., 15 CEUs) must be obtained via face-to-face, in-person instruction. Additionally, licensees must also obtain trainings on the following topics:
Implicit bias awareness (One hour minimum)
Mandated reporter training with implicit bias section (No timed requirement)
Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias (One hour minimum)—applies ONLY to health care professionals who provide health care services to, and have direct patient interactions with, adult populations age 26 or older in the practice of their profession
Sexual harassment prevention (No timed requirement)
Ethical practice of social work (Three hours minimum)
Cultural competence in the practice of social work (Three hours minimum)
More About CEUs
CEs must be from a licensed provider in Illinois. The NASW-Illinois Chapter and all of our NASW Chapter affiliates as well as the NASW Social Work Online CE Institute are approved providers in Illinois.
Trainings only apply to the licensure cycle in the year which they are taken (i.e., a course taken before December 1, 2021, cannot be applied toward the 2021–2023 licensure cycle).
If you accumulate more than 30 CEs in one two-year cycle, the extras do not carry over to the next period.
Keep records of your CEs on file for at least five years. You don’t need to send proof of your CEUs in with your renewal form unless (1) you are applying after the deadline or (2) IDFPR requests it.
For additional information on approved continuing education, see the Clinical Social Work and Social Work Practice Act, section 1470.95.
Looking to Provide CEUs?
The NASW-Illinois Chapter has developed a procedure to approve programs for continuing education units (CEUs). Go to our Advertising page and click on #4 Co-Sponsorship. Otherwise, contact IDFPR for more information on applying to become an approved provider of CEUs.
Have More Questions?
All specific questions concerning licensure and individual licenses or a particular license application needs to be properly directed to IDFPR as they are ultimately the licensing board who approve of licenses for Illinois. The NASW-Illinois Chapter website also has a plethora of information relating to licensure, from supervision requirements, the licensing process, testing procedures, and more. Go to the NASW-IL Licensure page to read more.