A continuing education unit, or CEU, acts as the standard for continued education and professional training. It was created in 1970 by the U.S. Department of Education and the International Association for Continued Education and Training, a standards body that accredits continuing education providers. This accreditation process provides the necessary structure to ensure a superior learning experience.
Many professions, such as teaching, architecture, engineering, nursing, social work and mental health professions, require CEUs to renew or maintain licenses or certifications. If you are in a profession that requires CEUs, you may want to learn more about them, how they’re calculated and why it’s important to find an accredited provider through the IACET.
The term “CEU” is in the public domain and can be defined differently by various organizations. One CEU, as defined by the IACET, equals 10 contact hours in an education program; however, another organization may define it differently. As a result, you may want to verify whether the organization delivering training is IACET-accredited so that you don’t encounter problems using your earned CEUs to renew or maintain your certification or license. Use the IACET How to Calculate CEUs guide to learn how to count your CEU hours.
The CEU establishes your record of educational accomplishments and shows you’ve completed one or more significant noncredit educational experiences.
The CEU differs from college credit because it is designed for professionals who have achieved a certain level of education and are required to take a certain amount of continuing education and training per year to renew their license or certification. Most colleges will not directly accept CEUs for college or graduate credit; however, some colleges will consider your work experience plus continuing education and training offerings measured by CEUs.
It’s important that you check with your specific regulatory boards, employer or other agencies to confirm that courses taken from IACET Accredited Providers and courses taken for IACET CEUs will be accepted.
Locating accredited organizations
The IACET puts providers through a rigorous accreditation process before they’re approved as accredited providers. Refer to the complete list of IACET Accredited Providers when scouting out potential CEU-providing organizations. You can filter providers by name, industry, country and event training format to find the right organization for your specific needs.
For more information on CEUs and how the IACET accreditation process can benefit you, call 800-342-9647 to speak with a career coach.