Continuing Education Units (CEUs) are earned by professionals to stay current in their fields. Doctors, lawyers, nurses and engineers are just a few of the professionals who take regular continuing education courses to stay current in their respective fields. CEUs are required by states and certifying organizations to ensure professional compliance and status. For instance, in Michigan a teacher who wants to renew her Professional Education Certificate must earn 6 semester credits or 18 State Board Continuing Education Credits within 5 years of submitting her renewal application. In Washington, D.C., the state requires doctors to earn 50 CEUs every 2 years in order to stay licensed. CEUs may be offered by schools, colleges, organizations and companies as long as they are approved as Authorized Providers by the International Association for Continuing Education & Training (IACET), which is part of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). One CEU is earned for every 10 hours of class time with an Authorized Provider (AP).
An Authorized Provider may be a government organization or a legally recognized business. You should have been in business for at least a year, have a plan for business operations and the ability to conduct the training required to award the CEUs. You must have a targeted individual or group to teach the training. The course of study or curriculum you offer must meet the IACET Standard for Continuing Education and Training.
Fill out an IACET standard Inquiry form, found on its website, before you purchase and download the IACET 1-2007 Standard and application. As of August 2010, the cost to purchase an application is $450. The cost for submitting the application for review, which includes a site visit and other costs, is $2,800. The application review usually takes 3 to 4 months. The IACET Commission will ensure that your organization's systems, strategies and practices demonstrate compliance with IACET standards.
The site visit is performed by an IACET representative after your application has been reviewed. The representative will review and validate your business documents. She will confirm that your organization is a legal business and determine how long your business has been operating. She will verify whether your calculation of CEUs is accurate for the respective courses you intend to provide. She will also inspect your strategic plan of action for carrying out the training by reviewing your schedule of training for the past 12 months and your course material samples for three separate programs. She will look at course outlines, instructor credentials, a summary of assessment needs and evidence of satisfactory completion of learners. The reviewer may need to see a sample instructor guide containing target audience, prerequisites, learning outcomes, instructional strategies and general advice to the instructor. She may also need evidence of your record keeping system and your system for protecting the students' privacy.
The site visit representative makes a final recommendation, and you will either be approved as an Authorized Provider or denied. If you are denied, if your approval is withdrawn or if you are put on probation, you have 30 days to ask for reconsideration. Send a letter to the IACET Commission to prove an error, an oversight or present new material indicating your compliance.
- school accessories image by Alexey Bannykh from Fotolia.com