Continuing Education Units (CEU) Definition

February 27, 2024


Elearning, and course sites have many different levels of entry to the market. “Continuing Education Credits” is one formal term that operates at a higher level of engagement. In this post, Jonathan does a wonderful job of breaking down what makes an online course site eligible to be considered a “Continuing Education Credits” site. 


Continuing Education Units (CEU) Definition

Continuing Education Units: Your Essential Guide to CEUs and Professional Development

Continuing Education Units (CEUs) are crucial in professional development and maintaining certifications in various fields. As a globally recognized metric to quantify the time spent on professional education beyond an academic degree, CEUs are often required by professional organizations and regulatory boards. The International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET) sets the standard for CEUs, ensuring that institutions and individuals can measure continuing education and training efforts.

A CEU represents ten contact hours participating in an organized continuing education or training experience delivered under responsible sponsorship, capable direction, and qualified instruction. Professionals must renew their licenses or certifications periodically by earning a specific number of CEUs, which may vary depending on their profession or field. CEUs help professionals maintain or expand their knowledge and skills while demonstrating their commitment to ongoing education through earning credits via various educational programs, including workshops, conferences, and online courses.

Key Takeaways

  • Continuing Education Units (CEUs) are a globally recognized measurement of professional development and training beyond academic degrees.
  • Professionals must earn specific CEUs to maintain or renew licenses or certifications in various fields.
  • CEUs can be earned through educational programs, workshops, conferences, and online courses, ensuring ongoing education and skill development.

CEUs vs CECs and CPEs

CEUs vs CECs and CPEs

Continuing Education Units (CEUs) are a standard measurement used for non-credit purposes to quantify continuing education activities for professionals. One CEU typically represents 10 contact hours participating in an organized education or training experience. CEUs are awarded and recognized by various professional organizations like the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET).

In contrast, Continuing Education Credits (CECs) and Continuing Professional Education (CPE) credits have specialized applications in different fields. Generally, CECs are used in the health industry, whereas CPEs are often utilized in accounting or information technology fields.

  • CEUs: Standardized, non-credit measures used in several industries to quantify professional development and usually validated by international associations like IACET.
  • CECs: Specific to the health industry and awarded to health professionals, including CDC-accredited Continuing Education.
  • CPEs: Targeted toward accounting, information technology, and other fields requiring specialized professional education.

All of these continuing education methods enhance professionals’ knowledge and skills, enabling them to stay updated in their respective fields. The number of CEUs, CECs, or CPEs required per year may vary depending on the industry, profession, or organization requirements.

While earning CEUs, professionals can benefit from various opportunities such as seminars, workshops, conferences, and online learning platforms. It is essential to ensure the chosen activities are relevant to one’s profession or field and accredited by the appropriate organizations. Professionals must attend the event to receive full credits.

Goals of Professional Continuing Education

Goals of Professional Continuing Education

Professional continuing education is a crucial aspect of personal and professional growth for individuals in various fields. Continuing education’s main goal is to help professionals stay updated with the latest developments, industry trends, and technological advancements. This ensures that their skills remain relevant and competitive in the job market.

Continuing education usually includes attending conferences, participating in workshops, taking online courses, and earning Continuing Education Units (CEUs). CEUs are a nationally recognized method of quantifying the time spent participating in non-credit educational activities. They are awarded by organizations like the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET).

Another goal of professional continuing education is to help individuals maintain their professional certifications or licenses. Many professions, such as healthcare, engineering, and education, require professionals to complete a specific number of CEUs or contact hours annually to renew their license or certification. This helps them keep up with the latest best practices, ethical standards, and research findings in their respective fields.

By participating in continuing education activities, professionals can expand their professional network and connect with like-minded individuals. This provides opportunities for collaboration, knowledge sharing, and support at various stages in their careers.

Moreover, continuing education allows professionals to enhance their skills, explore new areas of interest, and pursue career advancement opportunities. Many continuing education programs offer specialization tracks and certificates showcasing competence and dedication to lifelong learning.

What Are the Goals of Professional Continuing Education and CEUs?

What Are the Goals of Professional Continuing Education and CEUs?

Continuing Education Units (CEUs) are critical in the professional development journeys of individuals across various industries. These units help achieve several key goals that cater to professionals and their respective fields.

Firstly, CEUs enable professionals to maintain and update their knowledge and skills. As industries continuously evolve, it becomes essential for individuals to stay up-to-date with the latest trends, techniques, and technologies. By participating in continuing education programs, professionals can ensure they remain competent and adaptable in their respective fields.

Another objective behind CEUs is to ensure that licensed and certified professionals meet the requirements for their profession. Many fields mandate a specific number of cues or contact hours of participation in continuing education activities to renew a license or maintain professional certification. CEUs help standardize and quantify ongoing education, providing a reliable measure for licensing boards and employers.

CEUs also facilitate career advancement and growth. By actively participating in professional development programs (for example, college credit), individuals demonstrate their commitment to learning and staying current in their field. Employers often recognize and appreciate such dedication, leading to potential promotions or job opportunities.

Lastly, pursuing continuing education and CEUs promotes networking and collaboration among professionals. Education programs such as workshops, seminars, and conferences offer platforms for individuals to interact, exchange ideas, and forge valuable connections. These networking opportunities often result in lasting professional relationships and the potential for future collaborations.

Requirements for CEUs

Requirements for CEUs

Continuing Education Units (CEUs) are a nationally recognized method of quantifying the time spent on professional development and training activities. Professionals with a state-issued license or professional certification often require them. To earn CEUs, individuals must complete activities relevant to their profession or field and meet specific requirements set by the accrediting organization.

Professionals earn CEUs through various channels, such as attending workshops, conferences, online courses, or participating in other education programs. One CEU typically equals ten contact hours of participation in organized continuing education activities by a qualified instructor. It is essential to note that not all CEUs are created equal. Some organizations, such as the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET), have more rigorous standards for awarding CEUs.

When selecting CEU courses or activities, it’s essential to ensure that a recognized professional organization or association accredits them. Depending on the organization, specific criteria must be met for the continuing education activities to qualify for CEUs. For example, CompTIA requires that at least 50% of the course content relate to one or more exam objectives for the certification to be renewed.

Professionals must keep track of the number of CEUs they have earned and provide proof of credits to their certifying or licensing body. The required number of CEUs for maintaining licensure or certification varies by profession, field, and the accrediting organization’s guidelines. As these requirements can change over time, it is crucial to remain up-to-date with your profession’s latest CEU requirements.

Who Must Take CEUs, and Who Needs Them?

Who Must Take CEUs, and Who Needs Them?

Continuing Education Units (CEUs) are often required for professionals in various fields to maintain their licenses, certifications, or professional standing. The International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET) is responsible for establishing the official standard for CEUs to ensure a consistent, high-quality continuing education experience.

Professionals in various industries must take CEUs to keep their skills up-to-date and stay informed about the latest field developments. These professionals may include, but are not limited to, healthcare professionals, educators, engineers, architects, and technology specialists. By participating in continuing education programs, they can earn CEUs and meet the requirements mandated by their professional organizations or licensing boards.

Depending on the profession, the number of required CEUs and the frequency at which they must be renewed may vary. To earn one CEU, the professional must complete 10 hours of instructional time in approved continuing education activities. These activities may include seminars, workshops, conferences, or online courses. It’s essential to understand that not all CEUs are equal. IACET CEUs are recognized by a wide range of organizations, making them more valuable for professionals when transferring or renewing credentials.

Professionals must ensure that their courses or activities to earn CEUs are accredited, relevant to their fields, and aligned with their professional development goals. Many educational institutions and organizations offer CEU opportunities, but verifying the legitimacy and accreditation of these programs before investing time and money is crucial.

What Is the Price of CEUs?

What Is the Price of CEUs?

The price of Continuing Education Units (CEUs) varies depending on several factors, including the provider, the type of course or event, the duration, and the profession or industry. Some educational institutions, such as the College Board, are authorized to offer CEUs, while others are not. The price of CEUs may range from free to several hundred dollars.

Many professional organizations and regulatory agencies only accept CEUs from recognized providers such as the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET) or regionally accredited colleges or universities. When searching for CEU opportunities, you must ensure that the provider is reputable and that your profession’s certifying organization will likely accept their CEUs.

There are numerous ways to earn CEUs, including attending conferences, taking courses or workshops, and participating in online learning platforms. All of these options may have different price structures. For example, a three-day conference can cost significantly more than an online course or a local workshop.

It’s essential to consider the price of CEUs and the benefits they can provide. CEUs can help professionals maintain certifications, renew licenses, and develop new knowledge and skills. In addition, CEUs can be essential for maintaining the currency and credibility of professionals in their respective fields.

Here’s a basic breakdown of CEU costs per type of activity:

  • Conferences and workshops: Prices vary greatly depending on the event, venue, and the hosting organization. Some events may charge a nominal fee, while more prestigious conferences can be quite expensive.

  • Online courses: Online learning platforms offer a range of prices, from free courses to subscription-based platforms or one-time fees for access to specific classes.

  • Local workshops or seminars: These may be more affordable than attending conferences, depending on the subject matter and the hosting organization.

CEU Pricing

Continuing Education Units (CEUs) can be essential to maintaining professional certifications and enhancing one’s skills in their chosen field. Regarding pricing, various factors can affect the cost of obtaining CEUs, such as the organization offering the CEU program, the depth of the course content, and the mode of delivery (in-person, online, or hybrid learning).

For example, academic institutions like College Board and organizations like the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET) offer CEU courses with varying price points. When comparing different options for CEUs, it’s essential to consider the costs and the organization’s reputation, the relevance of the course content, and the overall quality of the learning experience.

Typically, CEU pricing can be broken down as follows:

  • Per Course Fees: The cost associated with individual courses that offer CEUs. This may include course materials, resources, instructor fees, and other administrative costs.
  • Membership Fees: Some organizations require membership to access their CEU offerings. These fees can vary based on the type and level of membership. Still, they may offer additional benefits like discounts on courses, access to exclusive networking events, and other professional development resources.
  • Conference or Workshop Fees: CEUs may also be obtained by attending conferences or workshops, which can have separate registration costs. These events often provide attendees valuable networking opportunities and industry experts and thought leaders exposure.

Aside from direct costs, it’s crucial to consider the time investment required for completing CEU courses and activities. For instance, one CEU typically equals ten contact hours of participation in an organized continuing education program. Balancing the costs and value of CEU opportunities can help professionals decide which ones are most suitable for their career advancement needs.

CEU Course Sponsorship


Continuing Education Units (CEUs) are a nationally recognized method of quantifying the time spent on professional training activities. CEU courses are essential for professionals to maintain certifications, licenses, and knowledge in their respective fields. The International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET) sets the standard for CEUs, ensuring the quality of continuing education programs.

CEU course sponsorship is an important aspect of offering continuing education credits. A responsible sponsoring organization must meet specific criteria, such as adhering to the ANSI/IACET 1-2018 Standard for Continuing Education and Training. This ensures that the professional development provided through CEU courses is high quality, properly directed, and delivered under qualified instruction.

To earn CEUs, professionals must participate in an organized continuing education experience accredited by an established organization such as IACET. Generally, one CEU is equivalent to 10 hours of instruction. Professionals must be involved in the entire course to receive the appropriate CEUs, often required to maintain or renew licensure in their respective fields.

While selecting CEU courses, professionals must ensure that the course is relevant to their profession or field and the credits earned are recognized by their specific licensing or certification organizations. CEU opportunities can be found in various formats, such as traditional classroom courses, workshops, webinars, and online learning platforms. Some professional organizations may also offer their members exclusive access to CEU courses.

Is There a CEU Course Provider? How May a Course Be Sponsored?

Yes, several organizations act as Continuing Education Unit (CEU) course providers. One notable example is the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET), an internationally recognized organization offering IACET CEUs. Another well-known organization is the College Board, an authorized provider approved by the International Accreditors for Continuing Education and Training (IACET).

Courses may be sponsored by various organizations or institutions that seek to provide continuing education opportunities to professionals in different fields. For instance, the AHIMA Approved Continuing Education Program® (ACEP) for third-party providers allows organizations and individuals to issue AHIMA-qualified CEUs. By becoming an approved provider and submitting educational content for review and approval, organizations can enter a partnership with AHIMA to deliver continuing education programs.

Courses can be sponsored through partnerships with professional organizations, universities, and institutions to ensure courses meet the needs of various professions while maintaining high-quality standards. Sponsorship opportunities may include hosting on-site seminars, workshops, online courses, or other educational events.

When choosing a CEU course provider, ensuring that the organization meets the necessary standards and provides relevant information and opportunities tailored to the specific profession or field is essential. Professionals must also consider the number of CEUs required to maintain or renew their certification or license and select appropriate courses that fulfill their needs.

CEU Availability

Continuing Education Units (CEUs) are essential for professionals who must maintain their certifications or licenses in specific industries, such as nursing, counseling, social work, and teaching. A Continuing Education Unit (CEU) is a nationally recognized method of quantifying the time spent in non-credit continuing education activities. One CEU is equivalent to ten contact hours participating in organized continuing education classes or training a qualified instructor conducts.

Several professional organizations, like the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET), accredit CEU providers following specific standards, ensuring the quality of education offered. The College Board, for instance, offers Continuing Education Unit credits for their AP workshops. These courses and programs help professionals enhance their knowledge, skills, and overall competencies in their respective fields.

Professionals must understand the CEU requirements in their industry, as the number of CEUs needed for license or certification renewals can vary. To earn CEUs, professionals can participate in various approved activities, such as:

  • Attending conferences or workshops
  • Completing online courses or webinars
  • Taking part in on-the-job training programs

These activities must be relevant to their profession or field and should be conducted through recognized and accredited providers. Upon completing the continuing education activity, participants typically receive a certificate of completion as proof of the credits earned.

Where Are CEUs for Your Line of Work Available?

Continuing Education Units (CEUs) are essential to professional development for many professions. They help individuals maintain their knowledge and skills, renew licenses, and stay up-to-date with industry trends. Many fields offer opportunities to earn CEUs through various education programs and activities. Let’s explore some of the key avenues where CEUs are available.

Professional Organizations and Associations often provide CEUs for their members. These organizations may offer in-person or online seminars, workshops, and conferences on relevant topics. The International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET) is one such organization that awards CEUs for accredited courses. Professional organizations covering specific fields may also offer CEUs tailored to the unique needs of those professions.

Colleges and Universities sometimes offer non-credit and CEU certification courses, workshops, and seminars. These programs may be available through the institution’s continuing education departments, typically focusing on specialized knowledge or skills targeted toward professionals.

Online Learning Platforms have become increasingly popular in recent years and provide professionals with numerous opportunities to earn CEUs. These platforms host various courses relevant to different professions or fields. On top of being easily accessible, online learning platforms allow learners to take self-paced courses and complete them at their convenience, increasing flexibility.

Industry Events such as conferences, workshops, and seminars may also provide CEUs for those attending. Hosting organizations often offer certificates of completion, indicating the number of contact hours or CEUs earned.

When seeking CEU opportunities, verifying that the course or activity is accredited by a recognized organization like IACET or a regionally accredited college or university is essential. This ensures that the CEUs obtained are valid and will be recognized by professional organizations or licensing boards. Participation in accredited programs also helps to maintain the quality and value of continuing education experiences.

Creating CEU Courses

When developing Continuing Education Unit (CEU) courses, it’s essential to consider the requirements of the specific profession, the goals of the course, and the guidelines set forth by accrediting organizations such as the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET). Here are some essential steps for creating practical CEU courses.

First, identify the target audience and their professional needs. Understanding the learners’ background, skills, and knowledge gaps will help tailor the course content to serve the participants better. Ensuring that the CEU course is relevant to their profession or field is crucial to maintaining their interest and fulfilling their development requirements.

Next, set clear learning objectives for the course. Defining specific goals helps to structure the course content and measure its effectiveness. Be sure to include various learning materials, such as lectures, case studies, hands-on activities, and interactive discussions to accommodate diverse learning styles.

Incorporating assessment methods into the course design is another crucial aspect. Measuring the participants’ progress throughout the course ensures that learning outcomes are met. Examples of assessment methods include quizzes, assignments, and group projects.

Adhering to the guidelines and regulations established by the accrediting organization is necessary. For instance, IACET requires that each CEU course include at least 10 contact hours of participation. Ensuring compliance with these standards helps maintain the credibility and integrity of the CEU course.

Lastly, evaluate and update the course regularly. Continuously seeking feedback from participants and industry professionals keeps the course relevant and up-to-date. Identifying areas for improvement and making necessary adjustments contributes to the overall success of the CEU course.

By following these steps, it is possible to create effective CEU courses that cater to the professional development and ongoing education needs of individuals in various professions.

How Can I Make a Course for the CEU Certification Online?

Creating a Continuing Education Unit (CEU) certified course online requires a systematic approach, ensuring all essentials are satisfied and the course aligns with professional development standards for your target audience.

Step 1: Know the Learning Objectives: Identify the learning objectives, addressing the intended audience’s needs and the desired outcomes of completing the course. These objectives will guide the course’s design, development, and assessment.

Step 2: Design the Course Structure Create a detailed outline, breaking the course into modules or lessons. Each module should cover a specific topic and comprise activities, quizzes, or discussions to engage participants. Remember that 1 CEU equals 10 hours of instruction, enabling you to estimate the total number of CEUs for your course.

Step 3: Obtain Accreditation For your course to provide CEUs, it needs to receive accreditation from recognized organizations like the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET). They set standards and quality assurance for CEUs, based on which organizations like the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) accredit courses.

Step 4: Develop Content Develop informative and engaging content using a mix of formats like text, images, videos, and interactive elements. As you create content, focus on conveying information clearly while addressing various learning styles. Consider online platforms like Wharton Online, Coursera, or edX for distributing your course.

Step 5: Implement Assessment and Feedback Mechanisms Ensure participants can measure their learning progress throughout the course. This can be achieved using quizzes, assignments, or case studies. Feedback mechanisms should be in place for learners, allowing them to ask questions or clarify doubts from course instructors or peer learners.

Step 6: Monitor and Update the Course An essential part of providing CEUs involves continuous updates and improvements to maintain the course’s relevance and alignment with industry changes. Assessments and course evaluations from participants are invaluable to making the necessary updates.

Marketing Training and Ongoing Education

In the ever-evolving marketing world, professionals must keep up with industry trends and gain new skills. One way to do this is through Continuing Education Units (CEUs), which provide a standard and measurable means of engaging in professional development. IACET recognizes CEUs as an official industry benchmark for continuing education and training.

To earn CEUs, marketing professionals can attend various education programs and activities catering to their needs. Many of these programs are offered by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET), an organization globally acknowledged for setting the standard in continuing education.

It is important to note that one CEU generally equates to ten hours of participation in an education program. CEUs can be earned through a diverse range of education formats, such as:

  • In-person workshops
  • Webinars
  • Online courses
  • Conferences

These activities can vary in duration, accessibility, and cost. In addition, some organizations may offer marketing certifications, which professionals can earn upon completing a structured program and assessment. In many cases, CEUs can be a part of these certification programs.

Moreover, CEUs can help marketing professionals satisfy the ongoing education requirements set by their profession’s licensing or certification boards. This is particularly essential for those who need to renew their professional licenses or maintain their membership in international associations.

Apart from gaining new skills and knowledge, earning CEUs can demonstrate a marketing professional’s commitment to staying up-to-date. This helps build credibility with clients and gain a competitive edge in the industry. Employers may also appreciate the initiative for continuous learning, opening doors for career growth and opportunities.

To find relevant CEU opportunities, marketing professionals can start by researching their field’s professional organizations, industry-specific conferences, and online learning platforms. This proactive approach to ongoing education ensures they stay informed and competent in their ever-changing profession.

Final Thoughts

Continuing Education Units (CEUs) are crucial in maintaining professional competence and credentialing in various professions. CEUs help professionals earn credit and demonstrate their commitment to staying updated with the latest industry practices.

One CEU generally equals ten contact hours of organized continuing education, which can be obtained through various educational programs. Organizations such as the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET) may offer these programs. Many professions have specific CEU requirements to renew their certifications or licenses. The number of CEUs required will depend on the profession, and obtaining CEUs can ensure that professionals remain knowledgeable in their respective fields.

Several options for earning CEUs include online courses, workshops, and conferences. Professionals need to attend opportunities accredited by relevant organizations in their profession. For instance, healthcare professionals can earn CEUs through CAPCE Education. The International Association for Continuing Education, college boards, and professional organizations are other credible sources for continuing education programs.

Earning CEUs can bring numerous benefits, such as improving one’s professional reputation, enhancing job opportunities, and proving commitment to ongoing growth and learning. The value of CEUs can be measured through the acquired new skills, increased knowledge, and recognition from fellow professionals and employers.

Whether it’s a MedBridge online learning platform or a course from Georgia Tech, professionals need to assess the relevance of each CEU opportunity to advance their careers and meet the requirements of their organizations.

Ultimately, CEUs are crucial in most professional industries as they maintain a high level of expertise and ensure the best possible experience for clients and customers.

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