Continuous learning is important for personal development, but many professional industries require it, too. Continuing Professional Education (CPE) credits are credits that professionals in certain industries can earn for specialized training. CPE credits are similar to Continuing Education Units (CEUs), though they usually apply to different fields.
CPEs often apply to CPAs or those in the IT field. You can earn CPEs to maintain credentials or to advance them. Often, they are required to ensure that workers stay current with the most recent information, trends, and tools in their field.
We’ve put together a comprehensive guide to help you understand how CPE credits may apply to you.
Who Can Earn CPE Credits?
CPE credits are designed primarily for professionals who must maintain a specific knowledge level or skill set in their profession. This might include accountants, lawyers, educators, nurses, IT professionals, and many other professions.
These credits ensure that professionals stay up-to-date with developments in their field, adhere to best practices, and continuously improve their expertise.
What Qualifies as a CPE Credit?
You can earn CPE credits by participating in various educational activities related to your profession. Activities might include:
- Attending conferences, seminars, or workshops.
- Completing online courses or webinars.
- Publishing articles or books in your professional area.
- Engaging in formal study under an educator or mentor.
When registering for events or workshops, be sure you understand the criteria for earning CPE credits and that the event is CPE-eligible.
How Do I Earn CPE Credits?
There are various ways to earn these credits. While requirements may vary, this is a good course of action to follow:
Identify Qualifying Activities: Look for conferences, seminars, workshops, or online courses that are relevant to your field and qualify for earning CPE credits.
Participate: Choose an activity that suits you and register, attend, or complete the activity. This could be attending sessions, completing course modules, or submitting assessments.
Document: Always make sure you receive a certificate or some documentation as proof of your participation. This will be crucial when reporting your CPE hours.
Report Your Credits: Most professional organizations or regulatory bodies will have a formal process where you must report your earned CPE credits. Make sure you follow their guidelines and reporting periods.
What Else Should I Know About CPE Credits?
There are a few things to keep in mind as you continue your education. Consider the following as you pursue credits to make sure you make the most of your education:
- Calculating CPE Credits: Credit hours versus actual hours do not always translate one-to-one. Always check with the certifying body to understand the conversion rates for each activity.
- Carry Over: Some professions allow you to carry over excess CPE credits to the next reporting period. However, this is often limited or capped, so be sure to understand the rules.
- Audits: Be prepared to provide evidence of your CPE credits if asked. Some organizations randomly audit members to ensure compliance.
Be proud of yourself for continuing your education. While it may be required in your field, it’s always a great way to grow personally and make sure you stay updated on the trends in your profession.
Whether you’re a seasoned expert or new to your field, staying proactive is best. Keep track of your activities and enjoy the process of continuous learning!