Continuing Ed FAQs

I know: you read those GA LPC SW and MFT CEU requirements until you were blue in the face. Here they are–simplified for you. What you need to know as of 8/14/17.

Continuing Education Requirements for LPC Social Workers and Marriage and Family Therapists in Georgia

I know: you read those GA LPC SW and MFT CEU requirements until you were blue in the face. You’re confused about the 2017 law and rule change. I’ll try to make them simple as possible. As April/May of 2017 approaches, I’ll repost at that time, but they will likely be modified and reinterpreted by the board over time. I will do my best to keep you current. Disclaimer: The board does it’s best to apply all rules uniformly and consistently but since there are many variables involved in evaluating CEU certificates, there are exceptions to the information below.

First, tap on this link to the CEU rules–it will open in a new window. Attest to the copyright notice. Examine the index. Scroll down to Chapter 135-9 and open it. Here are the main points to remember:

How many hours do I need and who needs them?

Thirty five (35).  If you have been issued any type of license by the Composite Board you must fulfill CEU requirements as stated in rule Chapter 135-9. I will provide examples of different scenarios so you can see there are many different ways of meeting continuing education requirements in Georgia.

Face-to-face Ethics

Ethics continuing ed must be face-to-face. Their focus must be ethics. They must be professional association approved ethics workshops. LPCAGA, NBCC, NASW, AAMFT and so on. They can also be counted as core hours. Theoretically, you could get all 35 of your hours in ethics and meet renewal requirements. Why? Because you have eliminated the questions of who approved the courses and whether they are online core or related classes or independent study. Think of them as the grandfather of all continuing education.

Georgia’s Composite Board does not require continuing education in specific content areas (there are exceptions but I will discuss that later in this post). Not true for some other states. For example Florida’s Licensing Board requires HIV/AIDS related training regardless of whether you have HIV positive clients.

Core CEU Hours

Core Hours can be face-to-face but may also be completed online. They can be approved by professional associations, but there are other non-professional association courses that are acceptable to the board primarily graduate courses through an academic institution. Think of Core Hours as a subset of ethics hours: they can but don’t have to be face-to-face. They don’t necessarily have to be approved by a professional association.

Related Hours

Related Hours are the “daddy” of continuing education: they can be face to face but don’t have to be. They can be approved by a professional association or academic institution but don’t have to be. There are many many other sources and types of education that qualify as Related Hours. Related hours are a subset of Core and Ethics Hours. Related Hours provide opportunities to obtain education in related topics. An example of Related Hours is a 3 hour employee training on “The Impact of Isolation on the Elderly” offered for professionals through a hospital.

The little “grandbaby” of CEUs: Independent Study

Just what it says: independent study. You can’t use them for any other type of hours. You are allowed 5.

What is the difference between online and independent study?

They are entirely different. We are constantly engaged georgia-board-ceu-requirementsin professional development activities–general reading and study. This qualifies as independent study. Document the number of hours. Online courses are more ‘valuable’ than independent study because they can be used as core hours if approved as such. **Remember that online is limited to 10 hours.**

Examples of 35 Hours that Meet Requirements

1) Social Worker: Obtained 20 hours at the NASW Georgia Chapter Conference. 5 of those hours were ethics. You also were a presenter of a 5 hour workshop at the same conference. You completed 10 hours sponsored by the University of Alabama School of Family Studies. Why is this acceptable? 15 Core + 5 ethics from the conference. 5 independent study from the conference for preparation time of their presentation + 10 related from U of Alabama = 35.
2) Professional Counselor: You obtained six hours supervision ethics, 5 hours ethics and boundaries, 5 hours ethics and the board complaints process, 10 hours of online approved by NBCC for Core Hours, 4 hours in medication management provided through Emory University School of Medicine and 5 Hours of Independent Study. Why is this acceptable? 11 of the 16 ethics she can apply to her core hours, the 10 online are also approved for Core Hours. That gives her a total of 21 Core Hours. She gets 4 related hours and 5 hours independent study: 21 Core + 4 Related + 5 ethics + 5 Independent study= 35 hours.
3) Marriage and Family Therapist: 20 Hours from GAMFT conference. 20 Hours at the National AAMFT Conference which included 5 Ethics. Why is this acceptable? She actually exceeded the requirements by completing a total of 40 Core Hours of which 5 were ethics.

Are Related Hours Required?

No. You must have 1) minimum 5 face-to-face-ethics and 2) minimum 15 Core hours. You can configure the remaining hours however you like provided online does not exceed 10 and independent study does not exceed 5.

Telemental Health CEUS

You need these if you are delivering telemental health or need supervision hours for telemental health. The hours can be used to fill the general CEU requirements. So if you take a 20 hour telemental health workshop 5 of which are ethics, you can complete 10 related hours online, research your favorite mental health topic for 5 independent study hours and you’re done!

Diagnose Training and Continuing Education

In 2016, GA Senate Bill 319 was passed requiring the composite board to ensure that it’s licensees are adequately trained and experienced in diagnosing mental disorders. Some licensees may soon be required to complete a comprehensive continuing education program in diagnosing. This will not be known until at least May 2017.


Complete your minimum 15 Core and 5 ethics. You have many options for completing those remaining 15 hours. All of them could be either Ethics Workshops, Core or Related. Or you could obtain 10 related hours online and 5 through independent study. It’s not as complicated as you thought, right?? eric-