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  • NASW-IL Staff

Social Work Rule Changes for Social Work Professionals Coming Soon

Updated: Apr 19


The following changes were proposed to the Administrative Code sections that apply to social work (Social Work “Rules”). These changes were proposed by the Illinois Department of Financial & Professional Regulation (IDFPR) and will have significant implications for new and existing social workers.


NASW-IL members get real-time notices about these changes as announced by IDFPR. To get these alerts which save YOU time and money, join/rejoin NASW today!

 

The following highlights the most significant changes as proposed by IDFPR:


IDFPR Rule Change: “Professional clinical experience obtained while an applicant is located in Illinois must be supervised by an Illinois licensed Clinical Social Worker.”

 

What this means: If you are working towards earning your LCSW while living in Illinois and currently collecting your initial 3,000 hours of supervised clinical experience, after rules are codified, those hours MUST be supervised by an LCSW licensed in Illinois.

 

Scenario 1: You are seeing clients in located outside of Illinois via telehealth, and your supervisor does not hold an LCSW from Illinois.

 

After the rules are codified, your supervision hours acquired from this supervisor would not qualify for supervised clinical experience toward your LCSW. If this scenario applies to you, we strongly recommend having your current supervisor complete the VE-SW form (Supporting document for LCSW licensure application) now, then contracting with an Illinois LCSW immediately for all future hours.

 

Scenario 2: You are seeing clients in Illinois, and your supervisor has a clinical social work license in another state but not in Illinois.

 

Your hours would not count.

 

IDFPR Rule Change: “Beginning with the renewal period ending November 30, 2027, for all currently licensed clinical social workers, and the second renewal after initial licensure of a clinical social worker, 6 of the required 30 hours of CE shall be in clinical supervision training. This is a one-time (lifetime) requirement.”


What this means: If you hold an LCSW in Illinois, you are now required to obtain a total of 6 hours of continuing education on a clinical supervision during your lifetime. This must be acquired before November 30, 2027, for 1) all current existing LCSWs, and 2) all new LCSWs licensed before December 1, 2025. This new requirement aligns the social work profession with current requirements for other mental health professions in Illinois. The department will allow you to show proof of prior trainings to satisfy this requirement as long as you have a valid certificate from an authorized provider. There are currently no specific requirements regarding content of the training, just that the training is on clinical supervision.

 

  • For existing LCSWs or LCSWs who were licensed before December 1, 2025: Your 6 hours may be split between the 2023–2025 and 2025–2027 licensure cycles—you just have to obtain a total of 6 hours before November 30, 2027.

  • For all LCSWs licensed after November 30, 2025: You will need to acquire 6 hours of clinical supervision training for your second renewal. This is a one-time requirement as once you have acquired your 6 hours, you will need no additional hours.

 

Scenario 1: You have obtained 6 or more hours of continuing education on clinical supervision in another state or here in Illinois from an approved CE provider (like the NASW-Illinois Chapter or an NASW affiliate), and you have a copy of your CEU certificate.

 

You do not need to acquire new continuing education hours on clinical supervision, but if your previous hours were acquired before the current licensure cycle, you cannot count these hours toward the 30 CE hours required for licensure renewal.

 

Scenario 2: You took trainings on clinical supervision in the past, but you are unable to find a certificate and/or it was held by a non-approved provider.

 

You would need to acquire 6 new hours of clinical supervision training before November 30, 2027.

 

Scenario 3: You have an LSW but have not yet acquired your LCSW.

 

You do not have to fulfill this requirement until after you acquire your LCSW.

 

IDFPR Rule Change: “One CE hour shall equal 50 minutes.”


What this means: This change from IDFPR aligns social work profession requirements with those of other Illinois professions. To acquire one continuing education (CE) hour, a course must last for at least 50 minutes.

 

Scenario 1: A class you were attending ended a few minutes early. Under this new change, as long as the educational content of the course lasted for at least 50 minutes, the CE provider can issue 1 CE hour.

 

Scenario 2: A class you attend runs a full 60 minutes. The NASW-Illinois Chapter will still recognize this as 1 CE hour as we do not prorate courses for less than half-hour increments.

 

Scenario 3: A full day lecture without breaks runs for 6 full hours. Under this change, the CEU provider could provide 7 CEUs

 

IDFPR Rule Change: “CE completed remotely whether live or asynchronous (e.g., self-study. book-study, or computer/online-based course) is not eligible for out-of-state CE credit. Such programs must be provided by an approved CE provider.”


What this means: When you take an in-person course from a non-approved CE provider, you may apply to have the department review the content of that course and potentially give approval to have that course count for CEs toward your license renewal. This would entail completing a form and paying a fee to the department. Under this new department change, if that course was not attended in person (i.e., the course was completed remotely), it will no longer be eligible for CEUs.

 

Scenario 1: You take an online course offered in another state from an approved CE provider (like the NASW-Illinois Chapter or an NASW affiliate).

 

This course would be accepted by IDFPR for CEs toward your Illinois licensure renewal—nothing changes with this rules amendment so long as the provider is an IDFPR-approved, licensed CE provider.

 

Scenario 2: You attend a mental health conference in another state in-person that is hosted by an entity who is not a licensed CE provider in Illinois.

 

Under this new rule change, you may apply to IDFPR, pay a fee, and have this conference considered for approval by IDFPR for CEUs in Illinois.

 

Scenario 3: You attend remotely a mental health conference in another state hosted by an entity who is not a licensed provider in Illinois.

 

Under this new rule change, IDFPR will not consider this course for CEUs in Illinois. 

 

IDFPR Rule Change: “A temporary incapacitating illness documented by a licensed physician. A second, consecutive request for a CE waiver pursuant to this subsection (g)(2)(B) shall be prima facie proof that the renewal applicant has a physical or mental illness, including, but not limited to, deterioration through the aging process or loss of cognitive or motor skills that results in the licensee's inability to practice social work or clinical social work with reasonable judgment, skill, or safety, in violation of subsection 19(1)(r) of the Act, and shall be grounds for denial of the renewal application or other disciplinary or non-disciplinary action.”


What this means: IDFPR allows several waiver options for social workers who are unable to complete their required CEUs for licensure. One of those waiver options is for a “temporary incapacitating illness.” With this change, the department may take action against your license if you apply for this waiver twice consecutively.

 

IDFPR Rule Change: Rules were updated to reference the most current versions of the NASW Code of Ethics and the Clinical Social Work Association Code of Ethics.


What this means: Social workers should review both codes of ethics for changes as adherence to the most current version is now linked to licensure requirements. Current editions include 2021 for NASW and 2016 for CSWA; previously they were linked to a 1999 edition for NASW and 1997 edition for CSWA.

 

NEW! Clarification on Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementias Training Requirement

Effective January 1, 2023, with the signing of Public Act 102-0399, the department requires a one-hour (minimum) training on the diagnosis, treatment, and care of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias for 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 Department of Professional Regulation Law of the Civil Administrative Code of Illinois. A health care professional may count this one hour for completion of this course toward meeting the minimum credit hours required for continuing education.


Additionally, effective January 1, 2025, with the signing of Public Act 103-0531, Illinois legislators decided to flex out the cycle in which the Alzheimer's disease and other dementias training is required. This was done to alleviate some of the CE requirements on health care professionals. As each individual will vary on when they have completed the training, it is up to the individual to keep track to ensure they are fulfilling the department’s requirements.


What this means: For those for whom the Alzheimer’s training is required:

  • If you are renewing your social work license for the FIRST time: You must complete the course sometime before the end of that first license renewal period, and thereafter once in every three licensure cycles (i.e., 6 years).

  • If you are renewing your license NOT for the first time: You must take and complete the course once every three licensure cycles (i.e., 6 years); it will subsequently need to be retaken every six years.

 

To help clarify which licensure cycle applies to you, check out the handy chart in the “More About the Specialty CEU Training Requirements” section on our CEU Requirements page which lists out exact licensure cycle years and when you’ll need to plan to take your next Alzheimer’s training.

 

Other IDFPR Updates:

 

Have More Questions?

Please note that 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, CEU requirements, supervision requirements, the licensing process, testing procedures, and more. Go to the NASW-IL Licensure page to read more.


>> One of the biggest benefits of NASW membership is consultation access for questions relating to the social work profession. Become a member today! https://www.socialworkers.org/nasw/join


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