Do you work in an industry where you have to have special certification or licensure? Are you required to renew your certification/licensure to be able to continue working in your profession on an annual or biennial basis? Do you also have to figure out how to come up with a required amount of Continuing Education Units (CEUs) at renewal time? Racking up the CEUs can be a big pain! Especially when one waits until the last minute, or you have to pay out of pocket to attend the training, or both!
If you’re lucky, you have an employer that will cover the cost of the training for the CEUs as well as giving you their blessing to go on paid work time. Sometimes this still isn’t enough to meet the requirements of your professional license/certification and it can leave you scrambling to find those last 5 or 6 CEUs that you need.
As someone that needs CEUs with my biennial licensure renewal, I’ve had all the problems stated above. Here are some solutions that I’ve come up with:
- Scope out social media – by following local and national agencies on Linked, Twitter and Facebook, you can get oodles of information about free webinars, local events and workshops that may offer CEUs to professionals in your field. I’ve located and participated in many events this way and gotten plenty of free CEUs!
- Check in with your non-profits – I am on the mailing lists for several local non-profit agencies. Many of them have grant funding to provide community education at a reduced cost. Some are of the opportunities are geared at professionals just waiting to participate in free or cheap CEU workshops.
- Connect with the small for-profit businesses – I am also on the mailing lists for several local small businesses. Every once in a while they will do some promotional activity trying to get referrals to their business and they will provide a free CEU (or low cost)
- What’s your current work status? – Many agencies will provide a discount for registration if you’re a student, retired, or currently unemployed. If it isn’t listed on the registration form, just ask!
- Volunteer to work the event – Many times when I’ve gone to register online for workshops, I’ve seen a call for volunteers to work at the event in return for free tuition or credit for free tuition to a future workshop. This usually means that you show up early, work at the registration table, announce the speakers and tell everyone where the restrooms are.
- Don’t forget the government agencies – Our government agencies that address economic development, labor and employment issues often provide free training. Many times this is aimed at helping the unemployed but sometimes they may provide opportunities for professionals needing CEUs. Don’t forget the libraries in this category! They have many ongoing free events from computer workshops to learning how to start your own business.
- Online CEU providers – I’ve done some research and found many professions can get some of their CEUs online. Many of them are free or low cost. Check out the list below and see if any of them fit your needs!
- Pre-approval – If you want to attend a CEU that isn’t approved by your state board or licensing/certification official, run it by them first before you actually attend the CEU to make sure they will accept it.
- Documentation in the case of an audit – How long do they want you to keep the CEU verification? What type of verification (CEU certificate, name of presenter, title of training, etc)? How do you do the documentation (online, 3rd party, keep your own proofs)?
- Know the exact Continuing Education requirements – What is the exact number of CEUs? How many of them can be done online or independent study? Do some of them need to be in special areas? Also, if you’re unemployed, ask your licensing/certification agency if there is a reduced fee and/or reduced CEU requirement while you’re unemployed.
- Don’t wait until the last minute to get your CEUs! Plan ahead and avoid the unnecessary stress.
Here are some links to various professional CEU opportunities online:
- Because I am a social worker, this is my favorite one! Free State Social Work, LLC offers 1 free CEU per month. Otherwise, they’re just $2 for each CEU! ASWB and NBCC approved.
- The Philips Learning Center offers CEUs for a wide range of professionals in the health care industry including dentistry, respiratory therapy, radiography, sonography, and nursing. Search the “course finder” for access to over 50 free courses. They’re accredited with multiple organizations and boards.
- The Abbott Nutrition Health Institute is a Continuing Professional Education provider accredited with the CDR. They have free CEs for nursing and CPEUs for dieticians.
- Nurse.com offers over 40 free CEs to choose from. These are time limited with expiration dates as they’re part of a promotional agreements with various online colleges and universities. Also know that by participating for free you agree to share your info with Gannett Healthcare Group (you can opt out for a cost).
- EMTs and Paramedics can find over 10 free CEU courses online at Bound Tree University. They’re accredited with the CECBEMS for providing ALS and BLS courses.
- If you’re looking to get a big chunk of CEUs out of the way for a good cost, check out the Discounted CE Courses at OnlineCEUCredit. They have several 10 hour courses at $55.95 which means it is about $6 per CEU! Mostly applicable to psychologists, social workers, marriage and family therapists and chemical health counselors.
- The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has over 20 courses that provide CEUs for free online for medical coders.
- Speech and Language Pathologists can find free online and book based courses that are ASHA approved at Linguisystems.
- USATravMed.com offers updated links to other sites that providing free 1-2 hour CEU courses for many health care professionals. Search by various occupations including: Occupational Therapists, Physical Therapists, Social Workers, Speech Therapists, Pharmacists, Physicians and Sleep Techs.
- The National Association of Realtors has many online CE opportunities. Search CE approved products between $0-$10 and over 100 courses show up.
- The American Concrete Institute offers up to 8 Professional Development Hours per year for it’s members at no charge. Non-members can pay $25 for each 1 hour course. Approved by GBCI and AIA.
- The Associated General Contractors of America has options for safety training online. There are no free courses listed but many are priced between at $9 and $18 for courses between 5 to 180 minutes.
- For you HVAC folks, Trane provides free CE courses that are approved by the USGBC and AIA for LEED credentialing maintenance.
Teaching and Daycare
- The National Education Association has a listing of various online course providers. There are a few free courses sprinkled in there. Here is a free 4 clock hour course that is about school indoor air quality
- Texas A&M AgriLife Extension offers courses for daycare/childcare providers. All of the courses are free but there may be a small fee for the certificate depending on the course.
- WebCE offers courses for many states with a variety of insurance focus including: Life/Health, Property/Casualty, Adjuster-Public, LTC, and Annuity. Cost seemed to run about $2-$4 per CEU.
Does your job/profession require a licensure or certification? Have you found any cheap/free ways to get your required CEUs?