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 current licensure cycle.
Do I need CEUs for my renewal?
If this is your first time renewing your LSW or LCSW: you do not need to accumulate 30 CEUs for licensure, but you will still need to apply for renewal.
If this is your second or subsequent time renewing: you will need to accumulate CEUs for renewal.
If you are renewing your LCSW for the first time AND want to keep your LSW: you will need to accumulate CEUs for your LSW renewal. NOTE: We do not recommend maintaining your LSW if you have an LCSW.
Need more CEUs? Check out our latest live and on-demand CEU offerings!
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.
CEU Requirements for 2021–2023 Licensure
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 JULY 2023! The requirement that at least 15 CEUs had to be in-person has been removed. Effective July 18, 2023, there is no requirement that CEUs be obtained via live, in-person education. You can now earn CEUs for licensure renewal via any method (i.e., in-person or virtual). Read here for more.
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 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, with the signing of Senate Bill 1079) unless you are an employee of one (i.e., self-employed)—see below for more details about the sexual harassment prevention training requirement.
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.. 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 unless you are unable to obtain a sexual harassment prevention training through an Illinois employer)
Ethical practice of social work (Three hours minimum)
Cultural competence in the practice of social work (Three hours minimum)
Need more CEUs or courses that fulfill one of the specialty CEU requirements?
Check out our Events page for a complete list of upcoming live events (both in-person and virtual) as well as our recorded trainings which fulfill CE requirements in ethics, cultural competency, implicit bias awareness, mandated reporter training with implicit bias section, Alzheimer's disease and other dementia, and sexual harassment prevention.
If you're not already an NASW member, you can also sign up to receive our monthly News & Events e-mails which recap the month's latest news as well as provides a list of our current event offerings.
CE Worksheet & FAQ
Note: This form has been updated to reflect the recent change that removes the in-person requirement for CEUs.
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 (check out our recorded Interrupting Bias: A Mandated Reporter's Responsibility to Act course); or an organization approved by the Department (DCFS) to provide mandated reporter training including a section on implicit bias.
A mandated reporter training with implicit bias section can be used to fulfill the implicit bias training requirement ONLY if the section on implicit bias lasts a minimum of one hour. The NASW-Illinois Chapter Interrupting Bias: A Mandated Reporter's Responsibility to Act course does not have an hour of education devoted to the topic of implicit and therefore, does not fulfill both requirements for a mandated reporter training with implicit bias section AND one-hour minimum on a training on implicit bias.
>>Check out NASW-IL recorded training, Interrupting Bias: A Mandated Reporter's Responsibility to Act.
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
>>Check out NASW-IL recorded training, Social Work with Persons Living with Dementia and Their Families: Challenges and Opportunities.
Sexual Harassment Prevention Training:
Did you take a sexual harassment prevention training through your Illinois employer which fulfills
requirements as stated by Section 2-109 of the Illinois Human Rights Act (IHRA)?
If YES: Sexual harassment prevention trainings that fulfill IHRA requirements will additionally fulfill the
IDFPR requirement for a sexual harassment prevention training for social work licensure renewal. This employer-provided training may: utilize the Department of Human Rights training; be created by your employer utilizing the requirements specified in Section 2-109 of IHRA; or may utilize a provider of education that covers the required content (such as NASW-IL's recorded Sexual Harassment Prevention Training). No timed element is required of the employee-provided sexual harassment prevention training, but there are still content requirements for this scenario as per Section 1130.400(c) of the Administrative Code.
If NO: If you are self-employed (i.e., employee of one) or live in another state but are looking to maintain your license in Illinois and as such, you are unable to obtain a sexual harassment prevention training through an Illinois employer, you will need to take a sexual harassment prevention training course spanning at least one hour in length. This training may be provided by 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 for any profession as well as other approved providers as listed in Section 1130.400(b) of the Administrative Code as long as the content complies with Section 2-109 of IHRA. NOTE: As of January 26, 2023, the NASW-Illinois Chapter is in communication with the department to try to address this discrepancy.
>>Check out NASW-IL recorded training, Sexual Harassment Prevention Training.
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. Please note that the NASW-Illinos Chapter/NASW is not the licensing board and does not review and approve coursework and education providers for the state of Illinois. To find out if another provider is an approved CEU provider for the state of Illinois, check with IDFPR.
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.
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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.