What Are CEUs?Sarah Thiel
Some working professionals, such as healthcare technicians and IT specialists, have to complete competency assessments and ongoing training for their organization to maintain its accreditation and compliance. Continuing education units (CEUs), also called continuing education credits, represent the time spent in those continuing education programs. They help working professionals maintain the license their job requires.
This article will cover everything you should know about CEUs if your employer requires you to keep current certifications.
Why Is It Important To Earn CEUs?
Continuing education is required in many fields, including education, healthcare, IT, interior design, architecture, insurance, and more. With continuing education, it will be easier for you to succeed in your current employment. These programs bring you up to date on the latest best practices and new technologies in your industry and equip you with the knowledge and skills you need moving forward. If you don’t earn the necessary continuing education credits for your job, you will likely lose your certificate and have to retake your certification exam. You may also lose your membership if you are part of a licensing body or association.
What Are CE Credits? CECs vs. CEUs
Continuing education credits (CECs) and continuing education units are both used to measure professional development in continuing education programs. A CEU equates to ten hours spent participating in a continuing education program, while a CEC is equivalent to one hour of educational experience.
Why Should I Care About Earning CEUs?
Healthcare professionals are required to recertify every three years to maintain their credentials. To do so, you either need CEUs, or you need to retake and pass the certification exam every three years. To go the CEU route, you have to earn thirty continuing education credits over the course of three years.
To stand out in your field, it helps to stay current on your certifications and continuing education. It’s much easier to earn your CEUs rather than retake your certification exam every three years. Plus, earning CEUs helps you prove your competency to employers, improve the safety of your work environment, and stay on course with your career trajectory.
How to Earn CEUs
You can earn your required CEUs in several ways, many of which are free. You can:
- Join an organization
- Use an online learning module
- Attend a conference or other event
- Enroll in a college course
- Participate in a technical committee
- Use a competency-based training module
- Deliver a presentation
- Teach a course
Once you reach the required number of credits, you’re finished!
Join an Organization
It can be a good idea to join your local healthcare professionals chapter. Being a part of this kind of organization will give you an excellent opportunity to access continuing education credits nearby or over webinars. It also allows you to connect with other professionals in your area.
Online Learning Modules
Online learning modules, such as CE Zoom, are an effective way to earn your required CE credits. With an online learning platform, you can find and attend courses that you wouldn’t usually be able to attend in person. CE Zoom even stores your certificates in one place, so you don’t misplace them, and keeps track of your state-specific requirements.
Attend an Event
If you can attend a conference or workshop, you can learn a lot from the experts who take the time to present at these events. There are many of these events every year that you can attend at the local, regional, state, or national level.
Enroll in a College Course
If you choose to enroll in a college or university course, it can count for up to 50% of your CEU requirements. Every semester you enroll in a minimum of three credit hours counts for five continuing education credits.
Participate in a Technical Committee
You can also get up to 50% of your CEU requirements by participating in an industry-specific technical committee. For each year you participate in a committee, you can get five continuing education credits.
Properly documented competency-based training can also count for your continuing education credits. This training is often offered through your job and has to meet specific requirements to qualify. The instructor’s qualifications, the listed learning objectives, the application or hands-on component, and the length of time are all considered. The training has to last a minimum of 45 minutes per credit.
Deliver a Presentation
Instructing or facilitating an industry-specific course or presentation is another way to earn your credits. Delivering academic content is an excellent way to teach others and help them get credit while also furthering your own career and education. Each course or presentation of at least 45 minutes earns you two CEUs/CECs; for the dental profession, you receive one CE per hour.
Who Can I Recertify With?
Recertification is nearly always done through state boards. Recertification requirements and guidelines vary by profession and location, so check with the state in which you obtained your license(s) to find out where, when, and how often you must recertify.
The recertification process is relatively simple. Before your current certification expires, you should complete the steps below:
- Log in to the CE Zoom tracking system and enroll in the right program for you
- Complete the program to earn your CEC
- Receive credit for completed tasks by submitting them within 90 days in your CE portal
- Use the CE system to track your progress
- Obtain a transcript to submit to the state for recertification
What Is the Cost to Earn CEUs?
The cost depends on how you choose to earn your CEUs. Some CEUs don’t cost anything to earn, and some are offered through your employer. If you decide to travel or attend an event far away, it will cost you more, as will enrolling in a prestigious college course. On the other hand, you can also teach a course at no cost or take a webinar through your local organization and get a free CEU. It’s most important to focus on the quality of your CEUs, rather than the cost.
Sign Up for CE Zoom
If you need to earn CEUs and want a centralized location to find courses and track them against your state’s specific requirements, turn to CE Zoom. Our easy platform will inform you about all available continuing education opportunities in your area, help you find out what CEU is right for you, and make your recertification process as easy as possible. Sign up to get started.