How Do Continuing Education Units Work?

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Many professions require Continuing Education Units or CEUs as a measurement of continued learning in the profession. Some change the name just a bit, for example, Veterinary Continuing Education Units (VEU) or Professional Development Units (PDU). Some offer both CEUs and a Certificate of Completion like our Regulatory Affairs program. Different groups have different requirements, but for the “generic” units, it is typically 10 or 15 hours of instruction per unit, although PDUs are 1:1.

The online courses offered by faculty in CSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine (VEUs) and Biomedical Sciences (CEUs) are designed for practicing veterinarians and veterinary technicians. The topics are very practical, such as dealing with difficult clients, taking a health history in Spanish, identifying and treating the effects of poisonous plants, and swine medicine.

One example of a program that offers PDUs is the Project Management certificate. This certificate and the PDUs associated with it are a tangible way to show your understanding of a body of knowledge.

There are a number of professionals who work in industry where compliance with regulatory affairs is a must; however their education may not have covered the day-to-day processes needed to do this. Some industries have a Regulatory Affairs Officer that is responsible for monitoring compliance, but in some small locations, compliance is up to each person. While everyone knows compliance is a must, not everyone has the courses to understand the expectations. Our Regulatory Affairs certificate is an example of where CEUs show a level of learning that can be very helpful in gaining employment.

CEUs do not equate to credits in any way.

This is an extremely important point. CEUs are awarded for learning in a noncredit course. If you take a course for credit, CEUs really aren’t very valuable for the same course – you have already earned the “gold standard” with the CSU credit. If you take a course for CEUs, you will not have the option of turning that into credit at a later time. The one exception I can think of to this rule is if you earn portfolio credit, then CEUs could possibly be transitioned into credit. This does not mean that CEUs don’t represent important and vital learning; they do.

If an attorney wants to prepare income tax forms for others, he must take courses that typically carry LEUs rather than credits. Nurses and dentists may earn MEUs while learning the latest techniques in their field, just as financial consultants can.

At Colorado State, CEUs are not listed on a transcript; however, you will receive a document showing your name, the course name and number, the date of the course, and the number of CEUs earned. This is printed on paper with the CSU OnlinePlus brand so you will know where the CEUs were earned and for what should you refer back to it down the road. While there is no transcript, the information about the earned CEUs is kept on file indefinitely, and should you need proof of earning the CEUs later, you can always request that information.

Once you have earned your degree and are working in your chosen profession, remember CEUs may become very important to your lifelong learning plan. When you find you need CEUs, look to professional organizations and to Colorado State University to continue to support your educational needs.


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