Understanding Continuing Education Units (CEUs)
Continuing Education Units are more usually referred to by the abbreviation, CEUs. In wider adult education, a CEU is a unit of credit generally equal to 1 hour of participation in an accredited programme of study which may be a taught, self-study or online course.
In certain jurisdictions - and for certain professions such as medicine, pharmacy, law, architecture, engineering, teaching or nursing and midwifery - the achievement of CEUs may be a condition of licensing or continuing registration to practise every year.
In Ireland, nurses and midwives are required to continuously develop their knowledge and skills through Continuing Professional Development (CPD). Gaining CEUs as evidence of CPD is not as yet a condition for nurses and midwives to maintain their annual registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI). Nevertheless, many CPD courses award CEU points for completion of a course of study, with a specified amount of learning activity equating to one CEU.
NMBI awards one CEU for 40-60 minutes of contact or participation in teaching and learning activity during a recognised and approved CPD or in-service training course of study. CEUs may be awarded for clinical skills training sessions but are not awarded for clinical placement elements within a course.
A minimum of 1 CEU and a maximum of 35 CEUs may be awarded by NMBI for a particular course of study depending on its duration and complexity.
NMBI considers that programmes of study that require more significant learning than a short course should be developed within an academic award. Such programmes would be accredited as postgraduate programmes to reflect the study, assessment workload, participation and engagement required.