Professional Ethics and Standards for Social Workers

Professional Ethics and Standards for Social Workers 

The goal of this educational program is to provide social workers in health and human services settings with information and tools to make ethical decisions in their professional practice. This course does not address every aspect of the NASW Code of Ethics, federal and local laws, or state board regulations but focuses on some of the most common ethical issues and decisions social workers face.


Hours: 1.50


Certificates provided by accrediting body (5 Match)

Florida Board of Clinical Social Work, Marriage and Family Therapy and Mental Health Counseling


Provider #50-290 This activity is approved for 1.50 contact hours.

Ohio Social Worker Board


Provider # RST050401 290 This activity is approved for 1.50 contact hours.

Association of Social Work Boards


Relias, LLC, #1273, is approved to offer social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) Approved Continuing Education (ACE) program. Organizations, not individual courses, are approved as ACE providers. State and provincial regulatory boards have the final authority to determine whether an individual course may be accepted for continuing education credit. Relias LLC maintains responsibility for this course. ACE provider approval period: 02/10/2018-02/10/2021.

Course Delivery Format: Asynchronous Distance Learning-interaction includes quizzes with questions and answers, post-tests. This module is Reading-based.

Social workers completing this course receive 1.50 Ethics continuing education clock hours.

New York State Education Department, Office of the Professions, Division of Professional Licensing Services, Social Work Unit


Relias, LLC is recognized by the New York State Education Department's State Board for Social Work as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed social workers #SW-0009.

Materials that are included in this course may include interventions and modalities that are beyond the authorized practice of licensed master social work and licensed clinical social work in New York. As a licensed professional, you are responsible for reviewing the scope of practice, including activities that are defined in law as beyond the boundaries of practice for an LMSW and LCSW. A licensee who practices beyond the authorized scope of practice could be charged with unprofessional conduct under the Education Law and Regents Rules.

As a provider of online, asynchronous education, some courses offered by Relias Learning are considered “self-study” under section 74.10(c)(2)(ii)(b)(4) of the Commissioner’s Regulations. The regulations limit self-study activities taken from a provider approved by the Education Department to no more than 12 hours in the 36-month registration period or one-third of the hours in a registration period other than 36 months.

Social workers will receive 1.50 continuing education hours for participating in this course. This activity is approved for 1.50 contact hours.

South Carolina Board of Social Work Examiners


South Carolina Board of Social Work Examiners (CEBroker Provider 50-290)

Course Details

Course Code: REL-BHC-0-PESSW
Hours: 1.5
Type: Online Course
Content Expiration Date: 2/28/2023
Learning Objectives:
Identify at least 3 sources of ethical guidance for social workers.
Identify 3 common ethical dilemmas social workers face.
List the steps to take in ethical decision making.
Determine appropriate responses to ethical dilemmas in case examples.
Explain at least 3 ways to advocate for clients and communities.


Section 1: Introduction

About This Course

Learning Objectives

Section 2: Overview of Professional Ethics

Meet Tamica

Why Professional Ethics are Important

NASW Code of Ethics

Other Sources of Ethical Guidance

Ethical Standards



Section 3: Ethical Mistakes and Dilemmas

A Failure to Report

Common Ethical Mistakes

What is An Ethical Dilemma?

Common Ethical Dilemmas

Dual Relationships

Confidentiality and Minors

Electronic Communication and Privacy

Impaired Colleagues

The Ethics of Self-Care



Section 4: Ethical Decision Making

When There is No Simple Answer

Personal Value Conflicts

Steps to Take in Ethical Decision Making

Risk Tolerance

Six-Stage Model of Personal Values and Ethics

The ETHICS Model



Section 5: Ethical Responsibilities in Advocacy and Social Justice

For All Social Workers

Challenging Social Injustice and Addressing Social Problems

An Ethical Dilemma in Advocacy



Section 6: Conclusion


Course Contributor(s)




Instructor: Stephanie L. Furness, MSW, LCSW

Stephanie received a Master of Social Work degree from Rutgers University in 2007. The majority of Stephanie's experience has been providing mental health counseling and case management in private practice, inpatient behavioral health, community, and medical settings. She served as part of the National Health Service Corps from 2016-2018, providing outpatient counseling to underserved populations including military service members and their families. Stephanie has designed and delivered workshops on relevant topics such as LGBTQIA+ sensitivity, youth suicide prevention, and how to provide in-community services to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Disclosure: Stephanie L. Furness, MSW, LCSW has declared that no conflict of interest, Relevant Financial Relationship or Relevant Non-Financial Relationship exists.
Target Audience:
The target audience for this course is: Intermediate level Social Workers; in the following settings: Health and Human Services.
Relias will be transparent in disclosing if any commercial support, sponsorship or co-providership is present prior to the learner completing the course.
Course Delivery Method and Format
Asynchronous/Online Distance Learning; please see certificate details for specifics on delivery format.
Relias has a grievance policy in place to facilitate reports of dissatisfaction. Relias will make every effort to resolve each grievance in a mutually satisfactory manner. In order to report a complaint or grievance please contact Relias.
If you require special accommodations to complete this module, please contact Relias Support by completing the web form ( or by using the chat functionality.
All courses offered by Relias, LLC are developed from a foundation of diversity, inclusiveness, and a multicultural perspective. Knowledge, values and awareness related to cultural competency are infused throughout the course content.
Reference herein to any specific commercial product, process, or service by trade name, trademark, service mark, manufacturer or otherwise does not constitute or imply any endorsement, recommendation, or favoring of, or affiliation with, Relias, LLC.
All characteristics and organizations referenced in the following training are fictional. Any resemblance to any actual organizations or persons living or dead, is purely coincidental.
To earn continuing education credit for this course you must achieve a passing score of 80% on the post-test and complete the course evaluation.
If you require special accommodations to complete this module, please contact Relias Customer Support here.