CEU Requirements

Looking for online CEUs? 

For the latest updates on licensure due to the COVID-19 pandemic, click here.

The next deadline for licensure renewal is November 30, 2021!
What follows is a thorough description of the policies of the Illinois Department of Financial & Professional Regulation (IDFPR) on continuing education (CE) for social workers. 

  • If this is your FIRST TIME renewing your LSW or LCSW: you do not need to accumulate 30 CEs for licensure; however, you must still apply for licensure renewal with IDFPR (see Apply/Renew). 

  • ​If this is NOT YOUR FIRST TIME renewing your LSW or LCSW: you do need to accumulate 30 CEs for licensure (see below) and to reapply for licensure renewal with IDFPR. 

For (not first time) LSW and LCSW renewal, you must complete 30 hours of continuing education (CE) relevant to the practice of social work or clinical social work. Of those 30 hours, the below requirements are required for renewal:

  • At least 3 of the 30 hours must include content related to the ethical practice of social work. 

  • At least 3 of the 30 hours must include content related to cultural competence in the practice of social work (Effective December 1, 2013).

  • NEW! At least 1 of the 30 hours must include a sexual harassment prevention training.

NEW! Mandated reporter training is required for licensure renewal (Effective January 1, 2020).

For more about the new sexual harassment prevention and mandated reporter training requirements, click here.

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 (Effective December 1, 2013). According to IDFPR, live-virtual workshops do not qualify as face-to-face, in-person instruction. UPDATED 05/13/2020: See FAQ below for information about the in-person CEU requirements in light of social distancing efforts in Illinois.

CEs must be from a licensed provider in Illinois. The NASW-Illinois Chapter and all of our affiliates, the NASW Online portal, and the ASWB are approved providers in Illinois. Don't know if an educational program/conference will qualify for CEs? See "Does this class I took qualify for CEUs?" below.

Trainings only apply to the licensure cycle in the year which they are taken (i.e., a course taken before December 1, 2019, cannot be applied toward the 2019–2021 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 'Advertising' and click on #4 Co-Sponsorship. Otherwise, contact IDFPR for more information on applying to become an approved provider of CEUs. 

NOTE: The Illinois Department of Financial & Professional Regulation (IDFPR) does not recognize provider numbers from other states unless it is specifically stated in the social work rules (like an NASW affiliate). If you have a CEU certificate issued by a provider in another state, it may not be applicable to your CEU requirement in Illinois.

  •  If a licensee has earned CE hours offered in another state or territory not given by an approved sponsor for which the licensee will be claiming credit toward full compliance in Illinois, the applicant shall submit an out-of-state continuing education approval form, along with a $25 processing fee, prior to participation in the program or at least 90 days prior to expiration of the license.  The Board shall review and recommend approval or disapproval of the program using the criteria set forth in subsection (c)(3).

  •  If a licensee fails to submit an out-of-state CE approval form within the required time frame, late approval may be obtained by submitting the approval form with the $25 processing fee, plus a $10 per hour late fee, not to exceed $150.  The Board shall review and recommend approval or disapproval of the program using the criteria set forth in subsection (c)(3).

Source: Clinical Social Work and Social Work Practice Act, section 1470.95. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I seek a waiver of CE requirements? What if I can't accumulate 30 CEUs or 15 in-person CEUs?

In the event that you have extenuating circumstances which have kept you from accumulating the required CEs or make it impossible to accumulate 15 hours of in-person CEs, IDFPR allows you to apply for a waiver of the continuing education requirements. If you request a waiver, you must pay a fee and apply for it before the end of the licensure period. IDFPR then examines your request and determines whether you meet the qualifications for a waiver (listed below). You are considered in good standing until the Social Work Licensing and Disciplinary Board makes its final ruling on your request.
A waiver may be granted because of:

  • Full-time service in the armed forces of the US during a substantial part of the prerenewal period;
  • An incapacitating illness documented by a statement from a currently licensed physician;
  • A physical inability to travel to the sites of approved programs documented by a currently licensed physician;
  • Any other similarly extenuating circumstances.
Obviously, that last category makes the law ambiguous since almost anything could potentially be considered an extenuating circumstance. However, there is no way you can know if you qualify until you pay the fee and file the application. NASW strongly recommends not applying for a waiver if you are unsure whether you qualify. Remember that you are dealing with a government agency not accustomed to making exceptions, and if they do not decide in your favor, you could lose your license. Get your CEUs if at all possible—better to be safe than sorry. For details on a waiver of CE requirements, see the Clinical Social Work and Social Work Practice Act, section 1470.95.

Does this class I took qualify for CEUs?

The NASW-Illinois Chapter and all of our affiliates are approved CEU providers for the state of Illinois. If you are considering taking a course that you are not sure offers CEUs, contact the sponsor of the course prior to attending and make sure they have one of the following two things:

  • A certified provider number issued by the IDFPR—this number will be a 9-digit number beginning with 159.
  • A co-sponsorship with an organization that has a certified provider number.

If you take a course from an organization that is not a certified provider of CEUs at the time of the event, you may not claim CEUs after the fact.

I took a class with NASW-IL and can't find my CEU certificate. How can I request a duplicate copy?

Please submit our Request for Duplicate CEU Certificate form here.

Is IDFPR going to waive the in-person CEU requirement for licensure renewal due to COVID-19 and social distancing efforts in Illinois?

IDFPR has informed us that during the COVID-19 pandemic, while they are issuing a live attendance continuing education variance for professions in renewal periods from March 1, 2020, through July 31, 2020, this variance DOES NOT apply to Illinois social workers as the LSW or LCSW renewal date falls on November 30, 2021. More information about the variance can be found at: https://www.idfpr.com/COVID-19.asp. Consider lending your voice to our advocacy efforts to waive this requirement for the current 2019–2021 licensure cycle by becoming a member today: https://www.socialworkers.org/nasw/join

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