The Continuing Education Unit
Accreditation For The Continuing Education UnitThe Continuing Education Unit
A Brief Explanation of the CEU: the Nationally Recognized Unit for Recording Participation in Non-Credit Educational Programs


The Continuing Education Unit (CEU)is a uniform unit of measurement to record participation in non-credit academic, professional and vocational programs. It is based upon attendance at short courses and other non-credit continuing educational programs sponsored by organizations following the guidelines established by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET) on the CEU. It is intended to serve a variety of interests in non-credit continuing education including both public and private organizations and is used without regard to age, educational background, course subject matter, program format or method of instruction.

The CEU serves a number of purposes:

  • a uniform unit of measure for continuing education and training
  • a nationally recognized unit of measure
  • a concept that can be used by different sponsors
  • a concept useful in a variety of learning formats
  • criteria by which the quality of learning activities are judged
  • a systematic means for program development and delivery criteria by which educational sponsors are evaluated
  • a requirement for the documentation of learning experiences

An organization which follows the guidelines of the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET) may award CEU.

One Continuing Education Unit is defined as: 10 contact hours of participation, in an organized continuing education experience, under responsible sponsorship, capable direction, and under qualified instruction.

For organizations to award CEU, they must follow the criteria and guidelines developed by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET). A copy of these guidelines may be purchased from the International Association for Continuing Education and Training, 1620 I Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20006.

to be used or awarded for any program or course carrying any academic credit at any level.

  • The CEU is not to be awarded for activities such as attendance at orientation, internal organization, on-the-job methods, employee procedures or rights and other such company-specific programs regardless of their educational merit.

  • Meetings dealing with policy making, committee activity, delegate assemblies,conferences, professional societies or other such activities do not qualify for the CEU.

  • Programs in which mass media (radio, TV) are used as the instructional method do not qualify for the CEU unless they are an integral part of a program that otherwise qualifies.

  • On-the-job training, apprenticeships, work experience, individual scholarship or self-directed study do not qualify unless they are part of an otherwise qualified program.

  • Non-educational activities connected with professional societies or associations which may be used to qualify for group membership or certification do not warrant CEU assignment.

The International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET) has provided the following administrative and program criteria as a minimum to meet the essential requirements for awarding CEU.

Administrative Criteria for Program Sponsors

Organization -- The sponsoring organization must have an identifiable educational arm with professional staff to administer and coordinate an organized schedule of continuing educational programs.
Responsibility and Control -- The sponsoring organization must maintain administrative control to ensure that the educational objectives are met.
Facilities -- The sponsoring organization must provide or arrange for appropriate education facilities and a library or reference materials sufficient for the specified educational activity.
Records -- A permanent record of each individual's participation (based on time attendance) must be maintained and be made available to the individual on request.

Criteria for Each New Program or Course

Definition -- Each program or course must meet the definitions described in IACET's Criteria and Guidelines.
Planning -- The programs or courses must be planned in response to the educational needs of a specific group. Inputs must be available from the target group as well as from experts in the field.
Purpose -- A clear statement of the program or course purpose and goals must be prepared before initiating the program.
Instruction -- Qualified instructors must be used for all aspects of the courses or programs.
Performance -- Specific performance requirements for awarding CEU must be established prior to the start of the course.
Registration -- Sufficient detail must be kept to certify that individuals have participated in substantially all of the course for which the CEU are being awarded and that there is adequate information for a permanent record.
Evaluation -- Procedures should be implemented during the planning stages which can be used to evaluate the effectiveness of the program. The IACET indicates that group indices usually suffice, but that provisions for individual evaluations should be made wherever appropriate.
Records -- Within the program there must be a system for verification of satisfactory completion of courses for programs attended by individuals and for the transmittal of such data to the office maintaining permanent records.

How CFPA Assigns CEU

Most of the short courses and workshops given by CfPA are assigned CEU in accordance with guidelines of the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET). Since most courses run six hours per day, typical assignments are: two-day courses, 1.2 units; three-day courses, 1.8 units; four-day courses, 2.4 units; and five-day courses, 3.0 units. The number of CEU are registered on the Certificate of Completion presented to each person who fully completes a course.

CfPA maintains a computerized list of past participants by name, and a list of all attendees at courses so that anyone who has completed a course can have a Transcript (including the course title, date, instructor's name and title, location and number of CEU assigned) on request. Such requests must be in writing and replies will be sent to individuals or their sponsoring organization.