Ethics Continuing Education in Georgia

Licensure Renewal Cycle in Georgia and Requirements

We are in the home stretch of the licensure renewal cycle in the State of Georgia for Counselors, Social Workers and Marriage & Family Therapists. The home stretch is typically January of the even year until the renewal cycle is complete on September 30th of the even year. From October 1st of the even year to September 30th of the next even year those who are licensed by the GA Composite Board for PC’s, SW’s and MFT’s are required to obtain 35 hours of continuing education. Out of those 35 hours:

  • 5 hours must be ethics (obtained live/in person). There may be some options for live streaming from one location to a distant location where there is a proxy for the main facilitator co-facilitating and obtaining sign in signatures from attendees.
  • 15 hours must be core (or all remaining hours (as many as 30) can be core)
  • 15 hours can be related hours.

Disclaimer *Please note that I am not a member of the GA Composite Board for Licensing Counselors, Social Workers and MFT’s. I am not writing or speaking on behalf of the GA Composite Board for PC’s, SW’s and MFT’s. It is in your best interest to review the regulations regarding continuing education regularly for yourself. I am a member of the profession; a NBCC Approved CE provider; a former LPCA-GA Board member; and a former instructor in a counseling graduate program (Argosy University Atlanta) where I taught for 10 years.

Who Has to Obtain Continuing Education (CE’s)?

There are some licensees who are exempt from having to obtain the 35 CE’s. That would be anyone whose license was issued on or after October 1st in the odd year. The idea being that this newly licensed person may be at a disadvantage as it relates to obtaining the continuing education hours in a timely manner.

Still, all licensees must pay the annual renewal fee to renew their license, even if they may not be required to obtain the continuing education hours for that partial renewal cycle. Those licensees would begin obtaining CE’s during the next renewal cycle.

Approximately 10% of those renewing their license are selected for audit and must submit copies of their CE certificates and complete a chart organizing their hours to the licensing board for review. If you were not required to obtain CE’s then you would submit a letter to the board stating that you received your license on a specific date  that exempts you from obtaining CE’s.

Remember that it is unethical to renew your license and attest to obtaining 35 CE’s if you are required to get those hours and have not done so. It would be a big error in judgement to submit your renewal and then obtain additional hours to obtain the 35 total.

I highly recommend that you renew after you have obtained all 35 of your CE hours.

Obtaining Ethics CE’s…What Counts?

During this season, many of the continuing education opportunities include ethics hours. There are few helpful things to know about ethics continuing education hours.

  1. If you are a Counselor, Social Worker or MFT and you attend an ethics workshop that was approved by any of the allied professional associations, those ethics hours are universal.  In other words, if the ethics workshop was approved by the GA Society for Clinical Social Work then the ethics hours count for Counselors and MFT’s as well as Social Workers. The same applies for a workshop approved by the GA Chapter of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. If GA-AAMFT approves the ethics workshop, it counts as ethics hours for Counselors and Social Workers as well as MFT’s. The same rule applies for workshops approved by counseling organizations like LPCA-GA or NBCC.
  2. Social Work professional associations have strict approval criteria for the ethics hours they approve. They seek information from providers to determine how much of the content provided in the workshop is actually directly related to ethics. This is why some CE certificates are issued with only part of the hours being ethics. The rest of those hours would be core for social workers and related for Counselors and MFT’s.
  3. If you already have 5 ethics continuing education hours, any additional ethics hours you obtain can be used as core or related hours depending upon which type of organization approved the workshop.
  4. Remember for GA Counselors, Social Workers and MFT’s, ethics hours can only be obtained in person. If you complete an ethics CE event online, those hours can be used as core or related hours.
  5. Lastly, if you still get confused about the difference between core and related hours see my description below:
    • Core hours are continuing education hours that were approved by the professional association that serves your professional designation.
    • For Counselors: Core hours are approved by LPCA-GA, NBCC, or the Counseling department of a counseling graduate program.
    • For Social Workers: Core hours are approved by NASW-GA, GSCSW (GA Society for Clinical Social Work) or a Social Work Department at a University.
    • For MFT’s: Core hours would be issued by their national or state chapter of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. Additionally, MFT’s may obtain core hours from training institutes who specialize in Marriage and Family Therapy.
    • Workshops that are approved by other professional designations including events for Psychologists and other related professions would be related hours…hence the term “related.”

Ethics Workshops in the Community (not hosted by Development Counts)

I am honored to provide continuing education in the community at various locations each year. Below are some of the locations where I am facilitating training for this year. When I provide community events, they are open to those outside of the host organizations. You can learn about upcoming events in my weekly e-blast or on my “Community Events” page. I am thankful to the following organizations for selecting me to facilitate at their agencies and hospitals annually:

  • CHRIS 180 (formerly known as CHRIS Kids);
  • Ridgeview Institute;
  • Anchor Hospital; and
  • occasionally Lakeview Hospital, Crescent Pines and Tanner Willowbrooke.

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