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Effective January 1, 2015, New York State Education Law requires each licensed master social worker (LMSW) and licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) to complete 36 hours of acceptable formal continuing education during each three-year registration period. However, there is a phase-in period for this requirement for licensees whose next registration period starts during the first three years after January 1, 2015. These licensees will have to complete one hour of acceptable formal continuing education for each month in their registration period after January 1, 2015. Please refer to the chart below (see the 8 question) for the continuing education hours required during this initial phase-in period.

The statute and regulations that apply to these requirements are available on this site.

This document is designed to respond to frequently asked questions regarding the mandatory continuing education requirements. It is not a substitute for reading the relevant provisions of law, rule or regulation.

Recordkeeping and Reporting
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The Department randomly audits a percentage of licensees each month, as well as those licensees who applied for a conditional registration and those who previously failed an audit. You must provide the Department with your Certificates of Completion for each approved continuing education course or records for other educational activities, when requested. In no cases will self-reporting forms be acceptable.

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You may be subject to disciplinary proceedings for professional misconduct. According to Section 29.1 of the Rules of the Board of Regents, willfully making or filing a false report constitutes unprofessional conduct. Penalties for such misconduct may include censure and reprimand, fine, and/or suspension or revocation of your license.

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The Department, at its discretion, may issue you a conditional registration if you request one. The conditional registration is valid for one year only and is not renewable. To be granted a conditional registration you would have to:

  • agree to complete the required hours of continuing education from the previous registration period during the period of conditional registration,
  • complete the regular continuing education requirement at a rate of one hour per month for the one-year conditional registration period,
  • complete any additional education which the Department may require,
  • complete and submit the Registration Remittance Addendum, and
  • pay the fee for the conditional registration, which is equal to the amount of the regular registration fee ($179) and the continuing education fee ($45) for a total fee of $224.

At the end of the conditional registration period, you must submit your Certificates of Completion to the Department, certifying that you have completed the required continuing education and pay the regular registration fee ($179) and the continuing education fee ($45) for a total of $224.

Conditional registrations are valid for no more than one year and are not renewable. This means you MUST meet the requirements by the end of the conditional period. You will not be issued a registration for the remaining two years until you meet the requirements. Remember - if you are not registered you may not practice your profession in New York.

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Yes. You may have a third-party, such as a professional association, maintain your continuing education records. In the event of a Department audit or at the end of a conditional registration period, you would have to request that the third-party provide you with Certificates of Completion for the courses or educational activities that were completed during the time period in question.

Please note: if the third-party cannot provide you with such documentation, you could face charges of unprofessional conduct for failure to maintain and produce continuing education records.

Further Information
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Please contact the Office of the State Board for Social Work, New York State Education Department, Office of the Professions, State Education Building - 2nd Floor East Wing, 89 Washington Ave., Albany, New York, 12234, by phone 518-474-3817 ext. 450, by fax 518-486-2981, or by e-mail