Making Sense of CE Approval and Where You Can Get Your CEs

By: Beth Biggs, Continuing Education Provider Approval (CEPA) Program Coordinator

CAMFT has received a lot of feedback in response to the article “Have You Completed All of Your CEs? ” by Dave Jensen, JD that was published in the May/June 2017 issue of The Therapist magazine. The article generated further questions from our membership regarding the new continuing education (“CE”) requirements, which this article aims to address. CAMFT understands it is a great concern for BBS licensees to ensure the CE courses they are taking do, in fact, qualify towards their continuing education renewal requirements. We want you to have the knowledge and tools to properly evaluate whether a course is appropriate for fulfilling your CE requirements.

Continuing Education Providers

There are a few pieces to understanding the BBS Regulations and who is eligible to be a CE Provider.

Let’s start with the basics from the regulations:

1887.4.3. CONTINUING EDUCATION PROVIDER RESPONSIBILITIES

OPERATIVE July 1, 2015

  1. A continuing education provider shall be either: 
  1. An accredited or approved postsecondary institution that meets the requirements set forth in Sections 4980.54(f)(1), 4989.34, 4996.22(d)(1), or 4999.76(d) of the Code;
  2. A board-recognized approval agency or a continuing education provider that has been approved or registered by a board-recognized approval agency for continuing education; or
  3. An organization, institution, association, or other entity that is recognized by the board as a continuing education provider.

“An accredited or approved postsecondary institution that meets the requirements set forth in Sections 4980.54(f)(1), 4989.34, 4996.22(d)(1), or 4999.76(d) of the Code” means that you can take a course offered by an accredited or approved postsecondary institution for CE credit. This is any institution that has an MFT, CSW, PCC or LEP program and has been approved the BBS. The complete list of schools approved by the BBS can be found by visiting the BBS at this link: http://www.bbs.ca.gov/applicants/lmft.html. Click on Schools with MFT Programs.

“A board-recognized approval agency or a continuing education provider that has been approved or registered by a board-recognized approval agency for continuing education” means that you can take a course that is offered by an approval agency or a CE provider who has been approved by any one of the 7 approval agencies. The caveat here is that you will need to do the homework to make sure that the provider offering the course you want to take is, in fact a currently approved provider by one of these agencies. Providers are required to list their approval agency on the course completion certificate. We suggest asking the CE provider the name of their approval agency and then visiting the approval agency website or calling to verify the approval. There is no central list of approved CE Providers. Each approval agency houses their own list of approved providers. For CAMFT’s list of Approved CE Providers please visit: www.camft.org/FindaCEProvider . Here are the list of seven approval agencies that can approve CE providers:

  •  American Psychological Association (APA)
  •  Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB)
  •  California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT)
  •  California Psychological Association (CPA)
  •  National Association of Social Workers (NASW)
  •  National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC)
  •  National Association of School Psychologists (NASP)

”An organization, institution, association, or other entity that is recognized by the board as a continuing education provider” are organizations specifically designated by the BBS, as authorized to offer CE courses that will be accepted by the BBS for licensure renewal. These organizations do not have an active PCE number, however if they are on this list it means they have been vetted and approved by the BBS to offer CE courses. If you take a CE courses from an organization on this list, rest assured it will count toward your renewal.

(A) American Association for Marriage and Family Therapists (AAMFT)
(B) American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy- California Division (AAMFT-CA)
(C) California Association for Licensed Professional Clinical Counselors (CALPCC)
(D) California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT)
(E) National Association of Social Workers- California Chapter (NASW-CA)
(F) California Society for Clinical Social Work (CSCSW)
(G) California Association of School Psychologists (CASP)
(H) California Psychological Association (CPA)
(I) California Counseling Association (CCA)
(J) American Counseling Association (ACA)

Continuing Education Courses

The responsibility of researching and ensuring that your CE Provider is approved now rests on your shoulders. In order to ensure the course you desire to take counts toward your licensure continuing education requirements, you should always verify that the provider has been approved by an approval agency. It is the responsibility of the CE Provider to ensure the course content meets the BBS Regulations and is within the scope of practice of your license. However before taking a course, CAMFT recommends to review the course content and learning objectives, and ask yourself if the content is related to scope of practice for your license type and meets the following requirements from 1887. 4.0 CONTINUING EDUCATION COURSE CONTENT:

  1. Courses shall meet the requirements, relevant to each practice, as set forth in Sections 4980.54, 4989.34, 4996.22 and 4999.76 of the Code.  
  2. The content of the course shall be based upon a methodological, theoretical, research, or practice knowledge base, and;
    1. Demonstrate credibility through the involvement of the broader mental health practices, education, and science communities in studying or applying the findings, procedures, practices or theoretical concepts; or
    2. Be related to ethical, legal, statutory or regulatory policies, guidelines, and standards that impact each respective practice.

These regulations on course content were written to ensure that courses are not based on unproven, unethical, irrelevant or discriminatory content. Course content should be based on a method, theory, research or practical clinical experience.

CAMFT and CE

CAMFT is more than happy to answer any lingering questions that you may have about the regulations or approval of a CE provider. It is important to keep in mind however that CAMFT only has a list of CEPA- approved providers. We are hopeful that the BBS will create links to other approval agencies’ lists of their approved CE providers. Until then, you will need to check with the approval agency of the provider from whom you took- or plan to take - the course. And, remember that CAMFT offers a variety of live and online courses that qualify for BBS CE!