Choosing Online CEUS Courses

There are many different CEUS courses you can take to renew your license.  Here are some suggestions for you to help you choose the best CEUS course.

1.  Choose a subject you are interested in.  You will enjoy the CEUS much more if it is related to a subject you have some interest in.  Try and think of things that you have thought about recently, then try and find a course that covers that topic you want to know more about.

2.  Choose a CEUS that is related to your current job and/or profession.  This may be very easy to do as most CEUS courses are specifically made for specific professions. CEUs for counselors are especially in high demand. However there are many professions that use CEUS courses, namely social workers and nurses or medical professionals. Some CEUS courses relate to both the social work field as well as the medical field.  Find one that best suits your job.

3.  Choose a CEUS subject that you are not yet an expert in.  Try to avoid taking a course on something you know everything about simply to pass the test quickly.  Choose subjects that you have an interest in, is related to your profession, and you are not well informed in.

4.  Try to learn and gain as much knowledge as possible from the CEUS.  Taking a course that you can expand your knowledge will only benefit you personally and professionally.  The more you can learn from the CEUS the more successful you will become.

5.  Make sure you take CEUS courses you have not taken before in the past.  Try something new; do not take the same tests year after year.  If you are very interested in a specific subject instead of taking the same CEUS take one that is similar but not the same. 

Hopefully these guidelines will help choosing a CEUS course easy and enjoyable.  Remember this is a learning opportunity that can help you expand your knowledge on a personal and professional basis.

What CEUS Should a MFT Take?

Suppose MFTs Elisha and Rodney (both fictional) both have 12 CEUs to make up before the end of the year when they must renew their licenses. No problem, right? It’s inexpensive and convenient these days to go online and take courses on any number of relevant topics. So the process should be pretty straightforward in both Elisha’s and Rodney’s case. Suppose you are watching over their shoulders. Which classes do you advise them to take?

That’s where it gets complicated. MFTs have virtually hundreds of choices for courses at any time, a fact which can be daunting. But let’s look more closely at Elisha and Rodney and see how we can use their experience to help make good choices when it comes to CEUs for MFTs.

Elisha is near the beginning of her career, having graduated last spring with a Master’s degree. She is in her first job, working for her state’s social services department in an office serving the inner city residents of Detroit, MI. Her duties often include elements of social work in addition to her counseling cases because the office is currently understaffed. Now do you have a better idea about how to point her in the right direction for her CEUs?

Rodney has been a MFT for thirty years, having spent the last 15 in a successful private practice in the suburbs of Washington, DC. He expects this will be the last time he renews his license because he plans to retire at the end of next year. Knowing this background, you can now be a better advisor to Rodney as he registers for his classes.

Clearly, Elisha and Rodney have different needs, and courses that make sense for one of them will not necessarily make sense for the other. The same is true for you—continuing education is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. You should think about your context—like you did for Elisha and Rodney—before making choices about which CEU classes are the best fit.

Ask Yourself...

Where are you in your career path? Courses in ethics, law, record keeping, and other administrative aspects of your work might make more sense at the beginning of your career than near its end. That is not to say ethical considerations diminish after you’ve been in the field for a while, only that you’re more likely to be well versed in that area.

Where do you work, or where do you want to work? MFTs who counsel primarily poor urban residents face different challenges and need different skills than those serving rural or wealthy clientele. Of course there’s a great deal of overlap, too, but you can fine tune your practice by tailoring your CEUs to the needs of your current cases.

Elisha, working with inner city residents, works with more families who are under stress due to poverty, unemployment, and legal trouble than does Rodney. He might have a greater number of clients struggling with divorce or adoption, dissociative identity disorders, and depression and other mood disorders.

What are your specialties, or what specializations would you like to develop? Do not make the mistake of taking courses that merely reinforce your strengths or affirm what you already know. While such courses may be easy credit, they do little to advance your personal or professional development. Instead, look for courses that allow you to add to your expertise with new methodology, theories, or instruments you may not be used to.

Core MFT CEUS Courses

Consider the questions above and others to help you narrow down the wide array of choices. Of course, no matter how you answer these questions, some skills and concepts will always be valuable to MFTs. Make sure you have a solid foundation in the following:

Substance abuse
Communication skills for spouses
Mental illnesses in children and adults
Children of divorce
Anger and stress management
Special topics for today’s families

You can learn a great deal about which CEUs you should take by paying close attention to what’s going on in your community and the country. News and current events can give advance warning about what skills you will need to serve your clients heading into the future. For example, large numbers of soldiers are returning from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan suffering from Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD); the forward-thinking therapist will take that into account and make sure she is prepared.  Here are some special topics that are increasingly important in MFT practice today:

Internet addiction. High speed internet is available in an ever-increasing percentage of American households. The inability of some people to control how much time they spend online can be a major source of pressure on families.

Online sex behaviors. Because Internet pornography, phone sex, and live webcam shows are extremely accessible and inexpensive, increasing numbers of marriages experience negative impact from these online activities.  You’re almost certain to see clients facing these challenges.

“Cutting. More formally known as self harm and increasingly prevalent in adolescent girls, this dangerous behavior is a cry for help that you as an MFT can be well qualified to answer. Learn as much as you can about it.

Elder care. As the baby boomers begin to retire, more and more families over the next decades will be taking care of elderly parents and grandparents in their homes. The extra responsibilities create stress on the entire family, not just those tasked with the everyday care. Learning about this subject and its implications for MFT is a smart career move.

Families of gay and lesbian youth. Perhaps because of the visibility of support groups and school clubs such as the Gay-Straight Alliance, homosexual youth are “coming out earlier than in the past. While American society is increasingly accepting of homosexuals, it can be a difficult situation for even the most loving families. Learn how to help your clients cope in healthy ways.

Eating disorders. While this topic is not new, it is gaining new attention because of the current controversy over “skinny models. You can learn to turn this new attention into open dialogue in your clients’ families, increasing early detection of potential problems.

Learn all you can as a MFT

Remember that continuing education is a plan that unfolds over the course of your career—you don’t have to be all things to all clients right now. Choose a manageable course load and set the others aside for later, knowing that you’ll have plenty of time to learn about other things. And don’t forget to take care of yourself. Look for “therapy for the therapist courses such as stress and grief management, professional detachment, and balancing work and home life.

With careful thought and planning fulfilling your CEU requirements can be an enjoyable and rewarding part of your career. So take a look at yourself, your context, and the professional and cultural trends you observe, and then look at our comprehensive list of available courses. It’s a great day to sign up.

What LCSW courses should I take?

As an LCSW, you have a lot of choices when it comes to CEUs—so many choices, in fact, that it may be a daunting task to choose the best ones. You’ve come to the right place. This article will help you narrow down those choices so that you can make effective decisions when it comes to your continuing education.

LCSWs' choose wisely...

If you look at the possible courses without any selection criteria in mind, your decision process will be more difficult and less likely to lead to CEUs that are rewarding for you personally and professionally. So before you look at the course offerings, consider these suggestions on how to make the best choices possible:

  1. Think about your career goals and area(s) of specialty as a LCSW. Are you happy in your current job, or do you plan a change? Is self-employment in your future? Simply thinking about these and other questions related to your career path can be useful guideposts as you plan your courses.
  2. Consider your current or target job market. If you want to work in an inner-city environment, you will likely need different skills and training than if your job serves a rural population. Social workers’ clients and their needs can vary widely based on their location and socioeconomic status.
  3. Ask colleagues. Whether you have decades of experience or are just beginning your career, other social workers can help you identify useful courses. Ask them about their cases and what training they wish they’d had in difficult situations.
  4. Expand your horizons. LCSWs sometimes make the mistake of taking courses that play to their strengths just for the sake of easy credit. Consider taking courses in areas you’ve avoided or that have been difficult for you in the past. Present and future employers will appreciate the breadth of your training and you’ll likely develop new talents you wouldn’t have discovered otherwise.
  5. Keep up with social and professional trends. What topics do you see repeatedly in professional literature? What kinds of skills do job descriptions ask for? Keeping an eye on where the field in general is headed can help you make decisions. Watching social trends can, as well. For instance, if you learn that gay and lesbian teens are coming out earlier now than in the past, that fact has important implications for social workers. Courses in how to support those teens and their families will probably be relevant for years to come.

Basic Foundation CEUS for a LCSW

With these guidelines in mind, you are more prepared to confront the large list of CEU courses and to make well-reasoned decisions about your training.

Regardless of how the criteria above apply in your case, some courses are foundational to many aspects of your job as an LCSW. You should have and maintain a solid grounding in these subjects:

LCSW and the law. You work intensely with people during some of the most contentious and legally fraught areas of their lives. You simply cannot know too much about family law, custody law, and other legal areas that intersect with your cases.

Assessment and treatment of sexual abuse. You are often the “first responders�? for women and children who are victims of sexual abuse. Keep your skills in this area sharp and up-to-date.

Chemical dependency. Drug and alcohol addiction show no signs of abating, so training in this area will be relevant throughout your career no matter where you work.

Mood disorders. Depression, anxiety disorders, and other mental illnesses are present in large numbers of the cases LCSWs face. Stay abreast of the latest treatments and diagnostic tools.

Special topics for today’s LCSW

When you’re ready to diversify your training and add to these foundational concepts and skills, consider courses in the current trends in social work. Remember, potential employers and supervisors read the same professional literature you do, and if they see that your CEU choices respond to advances in the field, you’ll be well positioned for career advancement. More importantly, though, you’ll have a wide array of skills to bring to your caseload to better serve your clients. Here are some suggestions based on what’s “hot�? in the field right now:

Play therapy. Children and social workers alike enjoy this methodology, and its benefits are increasingly appreciated.

Theory. It’s important to broaden your theoretical base to include more than those theorists you read in college. Adherence to a single theoretical school is no longer viable in our age of rapid change. Look for courses that add to your grounding in diverse theories.

Gay and lesbian support. Sexuality is no longer a hidden aspect of human life. As people become more comfortable talking about it homosexuality, more people, especially adolescents, will benefit from counseling in this area. 

Group therapy theory and practice. In addition to its clinical benefits, group therapy has the added advantage of generating multiple billables for a single work period. Broaden your experience in this therapeutic methodology. Some popular specific applications of group therapy include:

Anger management
Substance abuse
Social skills development
Play group skills for children
Life skills development

And don’t overlook courses that will help you take care of yourself. Stress management, balancing home and work life, and exercise and nutrition classes are all important topics that can help you work at peak performance.

As you make your choices and earn your CEUs, avoid the attitude traps that your more jaded colleagues may have stepped in. State licensing board do not require continuing education because they are in league with the schools that provide them; they are not determined to make your life miserable by filling it with busy work and useless red tape. CEU requirements are intended to make sure that LCSWs continue to perform the highest quality work of which they are capable. They protect you, your clients, and the profession in general, and when you approach your CEUs with careful thought and planning, they can be extremely useful in your personal and professional development.

Here is a List of our CEUS Courses