Practice & Professional Development

NASW views professional development as an essential activity for ensuring quality social work services. Professional development is a self-directed process, which requires social workers to assume responsibility for the growth of their own professional knowledge base. Regardless of career stage, social workers are ethically required to keep informed of current research, theory, and techniques that guide social work practice to better serve clients and constituents.

NASW is committed to helping social workers meet their professional development needs. This strong dedication has led to the creation of multiple professional development programs and products such as credentials, education and training courses, newsletters, employment information, resources, and publications.

NASW members receive both free CEs and CEs at discounted rates to fill their licensing or credentialing requirements when they participate in our professional development programs.

NASW Professional Development services for the Professional Education and Training Program and the Credentialing Center are participating programs with the Military Spouse Career Advancement Accounts (MyCAA).


Social work practice consists of the professional application of social work values, principles, and techniques to one or more of the following ends: helping people obtain tangible services; counseling and psychotherapy with individuals, families, and groups; helping communities or groups provide or improve social and health services; and participating in legislative processes. The practice of social work requires knowledge of human development and behavior; of social and economic, and cultural institutions; and of the interaction of all these factors.

Credentialing Center

NASW’s Credentialing Center establishes and promotes NASW Professional Credentials (member only), Advanced Practice Specialty Credentials (open to all qualified candidates), and the Continuing Education Portal required for excellence in the practice of social work.

A professional credential is a voluntary process for the dedicated careerist seeking differentiation from the usual or the average.  Because most credentials include the word “certified,” many times you will see the terms intermingled. A certificate is given for the successful completion of training. A credential is earned through the transfer of that learning; The credentialing process seeks to capture the incorporation of specialized knowledge, skills, and abilities as applied to the practice area.

The Continuing Education Portal is a searchable database of NASW approved state and national CE programs that give you the information, skills, training, continuing education contact hours, and networking opportunities you need for professional and personal development.

NASW’s Professional Education and Training Center

NASW has just launched a new online continuing education resource for social workers, the Professional Education and Training Center. Available at your convenience 24 hours a day, the Center offers NASW courses in a variety of formats—webinars, webcasts, podcasts, presentations, etc. Courses will continue to be added to the Center’s initial offerings to cover numerous practice areas.

NASW’s new Center is an excellent continuing education resource. All courses offered are NASW accredited and members receive discounted prices on CEs. Click here to access the Center’s start up course catalog.

NASW’s Specialty Practice Sections (SPS)

NASW Specialty Practice Sections link you to customized information, news, resources, expertise, and the CEs you need to stay at the forefront of your practice specialty.

NASW currently offers the following specialty practice sections: Administration and Supervision, Aging; Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drugs (ATOD); Child Welfare; Children, Adolescents & Young Adults (CAYA); Health; Mental Health; Private Practice; School Social Work; and Social and Economic Justice & Peace; and Social Worker and the Courts.

Social Work Career Center

The Social Work Career Center is a career website where social workers can search national job listings and find professional development and career resources that span across the duration of a social worker’s professional career.

Begin utilizing our Career Center today by setting up your personal profile, posting your rĂ©sumĂ©, and searching for social work jobs. If you don’t have a rĂ©sumĂ© or cover letter, use our social worker rĂ©sumĂ© and cover letter reference page to help you to create a professional and marketable rĂ©sumĂ© and cover letter. Keep your career options open, and post your rĂ©sumĂ© online to see what employers may be interested in you.  The Social Work Career Center provides additional resources, including social work salary trends, interview tips, publications, and information on the various social work practice areas.

NASW’s Award Winning Publications

NASW Press is a leading scholarly press in the social sciences. It serves faculty, practitioners, agencies, libraries, clinicians, and researchers throughout the United States and abroad. Known for attracting expert authors, the NASW Press delivers professional information to hundreds of thousands of readers through its scholarly journals, books, and reference works.

Lunchtime Series

The NASW Lunchtime Series consists of a monthly hour long webinar exclusively for NASW members. The Lunchtime Series highlights the latest social work issues being addressed by NASW. Besides a live webinar, members can access the transcripts and audio/pod cast component of the teleconference 24/7 through NASW’s Web site. Members may also earn free continuing education units (CEUs) upon successful completion of an online test following select webinars.

Leadership Series

Leadership SeriesSocial work can be a very rewarding profession.  However, transforming passion for your profession into a vibrant and satisfying career is not always easy. The NASW Leadership Ladders series is designed to assist social workers with successfully navigating their careers.  Whether you are new to the profession, a second-career professional or a mid-career professional, these tips will help you broaden your sphere of influence and take on the challenges that can catapult you to the next level in your career!
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