NELI classroom

License Continuing Education Requirements

Online vs. In-Person Explained

The PA State Board and NASW-PA distinction between an “in-person” and “online” CE training is as follows:

All of our CE trainings are considered "In-Person".

  • In-person training refers to the ability of participants to interact/converse in real time with the presenter. Training delivery methods can include synchronous (live) virtual classroom that uses video conferencing technology and physical in-person trainings.
  • Online trainings refer to self-paced/home study type programs where participants learn on their own time and schedule. Training delivery methods can include pre-recorded video trainings, trainings administered by mail, or self-paced training that uses various learning management technology.

Our delivery methods include in-person and synchronous (live) virtual classroom using the Zoom video conferencing technology and thus are categorized as “In-Person” CE trainings.

License Renewal CE Requirements

PA State Board of Social Workers, Marriage and Family Therapists and Professional Counselors licensees must renew their license on a biennial cycle using the PALS system (PALS link).

  • Current licensure cycle: March 1, 2021 - February 28, 2023
  • Next licensure cycle: March 1, 2023 - February 28, 2025

All CE credits must be complete within the cycle dates. The renewal link from the PA State Board will be open in January 2023. It takes at least 3 days for your license renewal application to process. Do NOT wait until the last day of the renewal cycle to renew your license. Always consider there may be technical issues that cannot be resolved in one day.

To renew your license, you will need 30 continuing education hours; of the 30 you need to include the following:

  • 3 CEs in Ethics,
  • 1 CE Act 74 Suicide Prevention, and
  • 2 CEs in Act 31 Child Abuse Recognition and Reporting.

Licensee must keep records of continuing education credits for at least 4 years. You cannot take a course with the same name more than once in a cycle. Live webinar and/or synchronous virtual classroom delivery method where you are able to interact with the training, trainer, and other participants count as in-person CE trainings.

Act 31 Child Abuse Training Requirement

Act 31 of 2014 states that the Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs (BPOA), in conjunction with the Department of Human Services (DHS) is required to ensure that all persons applying for issuance of an initial license as a health-related licensee shall be required to complete three hours of DHS-approved training in child abuse recognition and reporting requirements as a condition of licensure.

Additionally, effective with the first license renewal after Jan. 1, 2015, all health related licensees applying for the renewal of a license issued by the Board are required to complete at least two hours of Board-approved continuing education in child abuse recognition and reporting requirements as a condition of renewal. Act 31 applies to all health-related licensees.

Act 74 Suicide Prevention Training Requirement

Act 74 of 2016, signed by PA Governor Wolf, requires licensees of the State Board of Social Workers, Marriage and Family Therapists and Professional Counselors to complete one hour of continuing education in the assessment, treatment and management of suicide risk. Beginning with the biennial renewal cycle of March 1, 2017, through Feb. 28, 2019, licensees must complete one hour of continuing education in suicide prevention as a condition of license renewal. If the word “suicide” or a derivative of the word “suicide” is contained in the title of a suicide prevention course/program taken through an approved provider, the continuing education earned can be used towards satisfying the suicide prevention continuing education requirement. If the course/program pertains to suicide prevention and the title of the course/program does not contain the word “suicide,” the approved provider of the course/program must indicate on the certification of attendance/completion the number of hours of suicide prevention continuing education earned.

Note: The required one hour of continuing education in suicide prevention is separate from the required three hours of continuing education in ethics. The two requirements may not be combined.

Ethics Training Requirement

Three (3) of the thirty (30) hours must be specifically in the ethical practice of social work.

Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) maintains information about social work regulations and licensure requirements as a service to it's members and the public. 

For the most current information about social work licensure requirements, visit your jurisdiction’s website or review their statutes and/or administrative rules.


Center for Professional Development

Bryn Mawr College
Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research
300 Airdale Road
Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania 19010
Phone: 610-520-2614

Peggy Robinson
Center Director and Home and School Visitor Program Certifying Officer
Phone: 610-520-2602