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A Continuing Education Unit (CEU) is a measure used in continuing education programs, particularly those required in a licensed profession in order for the professional to maintain the license. Examples of people who need CEUs include architects, engineers, educators, nurses, mental health professionals, and social workers. Generally, a CEU is defined as ten hours of participation in a recognized continuing education program, with qualified instruction and sponsorship. CEU records are widely used to provide evidence of completion of continuing education requirements mandated by certification bodies, professional societies, or governmental licensing boards. The records also provide employers with information on training pertinent to particular occupations.
The term CEU is in the public domain. Any organization may award a traditional CEU without requiring any accreditation. With a traditional CEU an employer or other organization must decide on an individual basis whether to honor the CEU from a training provider.
Due to certain CEU providers not adhering to high standards, and the lack of standards for specific fields, there is sometimes a distrust of the value of a CEU, and accrediting organizations have been created to standardize what a CEU means. The International Association for Continuing Education & Training (IACET) offers the most industry wide accreditation of CEUs. Specific industries, such as nursing, health, etc have their own accrediting processes for CEUs. Any accredited CEU generally has a preface of the accrediting body. For instance training institutions accredited by the IACET can offer IACET CEUs.
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