Healthcare is constantly evolving. Shifting best practices, new technologies, and new medical discoveries requires healthcare professionals to stay on their toes and constantly learn. HCPs also need to keep their skills sharp at all times. In a field like healthcare, the most marginal mistakes can have massive consequences. To ensure that all HCPs are up-to-date and sharp, most states require HCPs to complete Continuing Education Units (CEUs), to renew their licenses. One CEU is equivalent to one contact hour, and each state has its contact hour requirements.
Where can you get these contact hours? Just how many do you have to complete? This article will go over all this and more.
What is Continuing Education?
As was mentioned earlier, the medical field is constantly changing thanks to technological advancements and brand-new discoveries. Continuing Education Courses are made with the most up-to-date medical information, and are designed to keep HCPs informed and in-the-know, regarding the current state of healthcare.
Different courses have different focuses. Some lectures are designed to test you on your academic medical knowledge. Other courses were made to help you hone and practice your clinical skills. Some lectures are even centered around more “soft” HCP skills like communication and leadership. When you complete a course, you earn “contact hours” for each hour spent. You will need a certain amount of “contact hours,” to renew your HCP license.
Where can I find Continuing Education Courses?
You can find CE Courses from a variety of providers and formats. CEUs can be found in nursing schools, healthcare associations, and/or peer-reviewed publications. Traditionally, these courses are held in person. Although the skills portions still have to be completed on-site, the academic lectures themselves can now be done remotely. A bevy of legitimate online CE Courses is available for HCPs across the country.
How do I know if a Continuing Education Course is legitimate?
Regardless of whether it is remote or on-site, you have to be sure that the CEUs are accredited. If the providers are not approved by your state’s Board of Nursing, then your contact hours will not be recognized when you apply for licensure renewal. Check on the site of the provider if they are accredited and recognized in your home state. If not, contact your state’s nursing board directly for a list of approved programs
How many kinds of Continuing Education Courses are there?
At the time of writing, Continuing Education Courses come in all kinds of formats. HCPs can still avail themselves of in-person conferences and academic lectures. With the dawn of remote learning, however, the list of options has begun to expand. Students can join online lectures and webinars. They can either join them live or watch an archive as a part of a self-paced learning scheme. On that note, entire self-study courses are provided, complete with the relevant course material which is conveniently archived.
What are the Continuing Education requirements?
As was mentioned earlier, different states have different CEU requirements. On top of contact hours, some states will require you to pick up specific kinds of Continuing Education Courses, as part of their renewal policy.
As an example, we can look at the current RN CEU requirements, state by state. Not included are the states with no CEU requirements.
Alabama: 24 contact hours every two years. Can include 12 hours of self-study courses.
Alaska: 30 contact hours every two years.
Arkansas: 15 contact hours every two years.
California: 30 contact hours every two years.
District of Columbia: 30 contact hours eerie two years. 3 hours on AIDS/HIV Training and 2 hours on cultural/LGBTQ+ sensitivity.
Delaware: 30 contact hours every two years. 3 hours on dealing with substance abuse.
Florida: 24 contact hours every two years. 2 hours on the nursing laws of Florida and 2 hours on human trafficking.
Georgia: 30 contact hours every two years.
Hawaii: 30 contact hours every two years.
Idaho: 15 contact hours every two years.
Illinois: 20 contact hours every two years.
Iowa: 36 contact hours every 3 years. 2 hours on addressing child abuse.
Kansas: 30 contact hours every 2 years.
Kentucky: 14 contact hours every year. One time 3-hour courses on domestic violence and 2 hours of HIV/AIDS lectures.
Louisiana: 5 contact hours every year.
Maryland: 30 contact hours every two years.
Massachusetts: 15 contact hours every two years.
Michigan: 25 contact hours every two years.
Minnesota: 24 contact hours every two years.
Mississippi: 20 contact hours every two years.
Montana: 24 contact hours every two years.
Nebraska: 20 contact hours every two years.
Nevada: 30 contact hours every two years. 2 hours on cultural competency, and a one-time 4-hour bioterrorism course.
New Hampshire: 30 contact hours every year.
New Jersey: 30 contact hours every two years. 1 hour on donating organ tissue.
New Mexico: 30 contact hours every two years.
New York: 2 contact hours on recognizing child abuse (every 3 years) and 3 hours on controlling infections (every 4 years.)
North Carolina: 30 contact hours every two years. Can be reduced to 15 contact hours, if submitted with extra requirements.
North Dakota: 12 contact hours every year.
Ohio: 24 hours every two years. 1 hour on Ohio’s nurse laws.
Oklahoma: 24 hours every two years.
Oregon:: 20 or 30 contact hours every two years, depending on how many practice hours you have logged. If 600 practice hours, the former. If 800, the latter. 2 hours on cultural competence. There is also a one-time 7 hour pain management course.
Pennsylvania: 30 contact hours every two years. 3-hours on recognizing and reporting child abuse.
Rhode Island: 10 contact hours every two years. 3-hours on substance abuse.
South Carolina: 30 contact hours every two years.
Texas: 20 contact hours every two years. 2-hours on bioterrorism.
Utah: 15 or 30 contact hours every two years, depending on how many practice hours you have logged. If 400 practice hours, the former. If 200, the latter.
Virginia: 30 contact hours every two years OR teaching 30 contact hours.
Washington: 45 contact hours every 3-years.
West Virginia: 12 contact hours every year. Two hours on mental health and one hour on safe prescription and drug diversion training.
Wyoming: 20 Contact Hours every two years.
Keep in mind that CEU renewal requirements are always changing. Be sure to check the official Board of Nursing websites, or contact your local Board of Nursing directly, before you proceed with fulfilling your continuing education requirements.