Continuing Education Requirements for Georgia LPC SW and MFT are:
Pursuant to GA Law § 43-10A-16
• 35 clock hours completed by September 30 of even numbered years.
‣ Five face-to-face ethics hours
‣ Minimum 15 core cours.
‣ Maximum 10 online.
‣ Maximum 5 hours of independent study.
This information is accurate as of 2/15/2019.
Contained in rule chapter 135-9, continuing education requirements have not changed in many years. However, the rule limiting to 10 online hours was amended when distance and internet education courses began to grow rapidly.
The rule also defines “not more than 15 shall be related hours”, but in practical terms, that phrase is unnecessary. For example, you can obtain 100 related hours during a licensing cycle– provided you complete 15 Core Hours and 5 face-to-face ethics. Therefore, there is no maximum number of related hours.
Purpose of Professional Continuing Education
Innovations and changes occur in all trades. Remember when dentists recommended you brush your teeth in a certain manner? Innovations necessitated a change in these recommendations. The same applies to mental health professionals.
Patients are treated with new psychotherapies. Knowledge of brain function has advanced. It is important your counseling is based upon the most current research. Licensing boards are mandated by state governments to protect the public and ensuring competent professionals is included in that mandate.
You also don’t want to become a dinosaur in your profession. There are emerging issues in counseling practice. The modern counselor or social worker should be competent in working with trends in sexual behavior and addictions. What constitutes ethical practice has therefore also changed. Ethics is the only content area that Georgia’s Composite Board specifically requires of every licensee each renewal period.
Background and History of Continuing Education Rules in Georgia
Chapter 135-9 was written shortly after the law creating the Composite Board and the original board members were appointed on September 1 1985. The rule provides more detail to the law at GA Code § 43-10A-16. This law simply states:
‣ The board shall adopt continuing education requirements.
‣ The number of required continuing education hours would be limited to what is practical and realistic for licensees.
Telemental Health and Diagnose Educational Requirements
These requirements are technically not continuing education. Why?
‣ They are only required once.
‣ They are defined differently than CE hours.
If you are interested, you can read the board meeting minutes passing the telemental health rule. The board voted unanimously to pass the rule on September 11 2015 and it became officially effective October 7 2015.
Disclaimer: I will do my best to keep you current, but I can’t guarantee this information will not change. Second, the board does it’s best to apply all rules uniformly but having personally performed hundreds of audits there are other factors in evaluating CE certificates. What are CE requirements for GA LPC social workers and MFT? Here it is in detail:
Find the Continuing Education Rules
For LAPC’s it helps to have a competent clinical supervisor to assist you understanding, but you are responsible for abiding by all board rules. Tap on this link to the 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?
GA LPC SW and MFT are required to obtain 35 CE hours each even numbered year . If you have been issued any type of license by the Composite Board you must fulfill CE requirements as stated in rule Chapter 135-9 . I will provide examples of different scenarios and you will see there are many different ways of meeting continuing education requirements in Georgia.
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. Regardless of your license type, ethics hours are accepted by the board IF they are approved by ONE of those licensing specialties. They can also be counted as core hours. For example, if you are a LMSW who takes 5 ethics hours approved by NBCC (National Board for Certified Counselors) the board will accept the hours.
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.
Core CE Hours
Core Hours can be face-to-face but may also be completed online. They must be approved by a state or national professional association that represents your licensing specialty e.g. LCSW, LMFT and so on. There are other non-professional association courses that are acceptable to the board primarily graduate courses through an academic institution.
Related Hours can be face to face or online. They can be approved by a professional association or academic institution but not necessarily. There are many many other sources and types of education that qualify as Related Hours. Related Hours provide opportunities to obtain education in other healthcare topics.
Just what it says: independent study. Delivering a presentation, personal academic study and similar activities. You are allowed 5. Prepare an affidavit if you are audited. As of this writing it does not need to be notarized.
What is the difference between online and independent study?
They are entirely different. We are constantly engaged in professional development activities–general reading and study. This qualifies as independent study. Document the number of hours. Online courses can count 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 6 hours supervision ethics approved by NBCC, 5 hours ethics and boundaries approved by GSCSW, 5 hours ethics and the board complaints process approved by LPCA of Georgia, 10 hours of online approved by NBCC for Core Hours, 4 hours in medication management provided through Emory University Nursing Department and 5 Hours of Independent Study. Why is this acceptable? You met your 5 ethics via the GSCSW approved program. The remaining 11 ethics hours can be applied to core since they are approved by a professional counseling association. The 10 online are also approved for Core Hours. That gives her a total of 21 Core Hours. You have 4 related hours via the Emory Nursing Department. 5 hours independent study: 21 Core + 4 Related + 5 ethics + 5 Independent study= 35 hours. *The strategy in this instance is to use the GSCSW hours for your 5 hours ethics and “save” the professional counseling approved hours for your core.*
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 and Diagnose
Technically these are not CEs since they are not required at each license renewal. You only need to complete them once. The Georgia composite board created two new chapters to accommodate these new requirements. Chapter 135-11 Telemental health and Chapter 135-12 Testing and Assessment. The composite board wrote diagnose rules that echo the wording in board law. There is no telemental health law–only rules. However, both of these one-time requirements hours may be applied to the biennial licensing renewal period.
Telemental Health and Telesupervision
You only need these if you are delivering telemental health or telesupervision. In short, 6 hours of telemental health training. Still read Chapter 135-11 thouroughly.
LPC SW and MFT Diagnose Rules and Law
In short, 5 or 3 academic clock hours in quarters or semesters respectively. You likely completed these in your graduate program. The course curriculum should include DSM or Psychopathology. The board at it’s discretion can choose to accept other courses.
An organized training acceptable to the board.
“As of April 26, 2016, persons licensed under this chapter with at least ten years of experience as a professional counselor, clinical social worker, or marriage and family therapist working with people with mental illness, developmental disabilities, or substance abuse and in good standing with the Board are exempt from this requirement.”
Read Chapter 135-12 thoroughly. If you wish, you can inquire directly with the board for further clarification.
Summary: What are CE requirements for GA LPC Social Workers and MFT ?
You have many options for meeting CE requirements for GA LPC social workers and MFT. For example, you could obtain all 35 hours in ethics provided 10 hours are approved by your licensing specialty. Understanding the Art of Reading Board Rules will be helpful. Complete your minimum 15 Core and 5 ethics. It’s not as complicated as you thought, right?