Most professions that require accreditation or certification also require that individuals take classes to keep their skills current. These continuing professional units of instruction may be labeled as CPE or CEU. A continuing professional education unit (CPE ) is recognized by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) as 50 “contact” minutes of instruction provided by individuals qualified in the subject matter who provide instruction consistent with the education, experience and advanced preparation of the participant. A continuing education unit (CEU) is defined by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET) as “10 contact hours of participation in an organized continuing education experience under responsible sponsorship, capable direction, and qualified instruction.”

Get a list of your state's requirements needed to re-certify or upgrade your license or certification. This can be done by contacting the state agency that issued the license, the school where you were trained, a professional association, or the human resource division of your employer.

Find experienced providers. CPE and CEU credit can be provided by individuals, colleges, universities or professional organizations. Each state has its own requirements for these providers. Providers should be recognized as experienced experts in their field of learning. Many professional organizations recommend specific programs, classes or individuals for continuing education.

Use accredited trainers. ANSI is a clearing house for standards, rules, procedures or specifications used in the United States. Using suggestions offered by this agency, groups offering CPE credit are able to keep professional recognition and give a high standard of training. Conversely, IACET developed an international standard for CEU instruction. Today, these two agencies work together to keep continuing professional training programs at a high level of quality.

Learn how to convert your units of credit. Since one CPE unit is 50 minutes of “contact” instruction and one CEU unit is 10 hours of “contact” instruction, units can be converted using the following formula. Multiply 10 contact hours of instruction (a CEU unit) times 60 minutes. This equals 600 minutes. Divide the 600 minutes by 50 minutes of instruction (a CPE unit) and you get 12. Therefore, one CEU unit equals 12 CPE units.


Make sure you have the most up-to-date information on keeping certification current. Check to see if your employer will pay for your classes.


Be sure to get written proof that your provider is licensed by your state to provide CEU or CPE credit. In Illinois, for example, when you are accepted by the Illinois State Board of Education as a CEU provider, you are issued a provider number and have access to a site where you download pre-numbered provider sheets to give the seminar participants.

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