As a nursing professional, you know that learning is not over after you graduate. Continuing education for nurses is necessary throughout your career. But what exactly are nursing CEUs and how do you obtain them?
In this article, we will cover everything you need to know about nurse CEUs plus three easy ways to obtain them.
First, let’s define CEU. Continuing Education Units are also known as Continuing Education Credits. Nurse CEUs are used to measure your ongoing participation in learning activities throughout your career such as online courses or hands-on labs for example.
As a nurse, you may also see the term “CNE” which stands for Continuing Nursing Education. In some states, you may find required nursing CEU courses specifically for nurses!
Finally, you should be familiar with the acronym CE which stands for Continuing Education (though you may have figured that out already). A CE provider is an instructor or organization that provides continuing education. Part of ensuring a valuable experience is selecting only accredited and approved courses offered by CE providers.
Continuing education for nurses is important and relevant in an ever-changing profession like medicine. The most recognized provider is The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). This organization, also known as Nursing World, focuses on nursing board certification and is the benchmark standard for nursing CEUs.
In fact, ANCC courses are recognized by all state boards. This means, in part, that CEUs earned via ANCC courses are cutting edge and will help you to stay at the forefront of your profession. Another perk: employers consider nurses with ANCC CEUs to have higher earning potential.
Many boards and employers measure your involvement in the ongoing educational process by “packages” of CEUs, but it is good to know that in most states, one CEU equals 10 hours of education. Even when you take a course online, the CEU hours are referred to as “contact hours”.
Now that you have a thorough understanding of the requirements for nurses CEUs, let’s review three quick and easy ways to earn them:
1. Nursing CEUs Online
There are many classroom-based continuing education providers in the medical field thanks to the need for hands-on learning. However, not every CEU will require in-person attendance. In those cases, we recommend obtaining your nursing CEUs online to make it easy and quick.
Online learning offers many perks, such as:
- Online CEUs often cost less than in-person study.
- The convenient learning style means you can take your courses anywhere, any time. This is especially valuable for nurses with demanding, busy schedules.
- Save time with online courses; skip the commute. Save money on school supplies, gas and more.
- Group learning is fun and collaborative, but solo online learning ensures a distraction-free way to learn at your own pace.
- Enjoy the comfort of your own home and sweatpants if you need to de-stress; online courses mean you can learn in whatever way is most comfortable for you.
If you need a CEU fast, online learning is almost always the way to go. You are in charge of your learning pace. There are many excellent websites that offer nursing CEUs:
- Quantum CEUs also known as Quantum Units Education offers a wide variety of courses for health professionals. Quantum CEU credits are considered affordable and are accredited.
- CEUFast offers a beautifully organized site which is very easy to navigate. They are nationally accredited and offer more than 100 courses. What’s more, they offer a yearly subscription meaning you can take as many courses as you want for one yearly cost.
- NetCE is another valuable website with many course bundles available by state and need. In many cases, you can purchase by the number of CEUs you need which is convenient and simple.
Another notable perk of online learning is the ability to review your courses any time. In almost all cases, once you have purchased a course you can revisit it as many times as you like. Over time, you build your very own online course library with valuable information to return to should you ever need a refresher.
2. Nursing CEU Conferences and More
Because one of the most well known educational requirements for nursing is lifelong learning, obtaining CEUs has become a very popular thing. In fact, many providers have turned something that may have once been tedious into something fun and exciting.
Attending Nurse CEU Conferences
Enjoy the learning process when you choose to attend a seminar that includes CEU credits. It is possible that your employer will cover part or all of the cost for you to attend these types of conferences, making it even more desirable.
With countless nursing conferences throughout the country and world, there’s sure to be one that interests you. Oftentimes you can search for conferences by location and/or by specialty.
One perk of choosing to obtain your CEUs at a conference is that you are surrounded by like-minded professionals. The speakers are often thought leaders in the nursing field and breakout sessions are almost always interactive and highly educational.
You can always count on a conference to be an exciting break from your hectic nursing schedule. Enjoy a nice hotel and room service! Spend your day meeting new friends and reconnecting with old ones. Enjoy a great meal and fun nights in a new city, all while you earn those CEUs.
Here are a few providers of CEU accredited conferences you may like to learn more about:
- MedSeminars is a well-known organization that provides CEUs in both conference, seminar and online formats. With over 30 years in the business, MED-ED “leads the industry in providing nurses with continuing education that elevates their practice by focusing on evidence-based practice and the development of competence and critical thinking skills.”
- MER has a great website that organizes their conference offerings by month. In one month alone they have over 10 conferences in states like Florida, South Carolina and California to name a few.
- Nursing Network provides more than just conference information, but it is a great resource for nursing-specific CEU details. They offer online courses as well, so this site can serve as a one-stop-shop.
Nurse CEU Vacations
Want to take the fun up a notch? Yes, there is such a thing as Nursing Continuing Education Cruises! University at Sea is one of a few organizations that run accredited CEU cruises so you can vacation while you fulfill your required nurse CEUs.
Though you may not initially want to mix your downtime with required learning, you may find that vacations are the perfect time to knock out a few courses. (Or, a good excuse to take an extra vacation!)
If you opt into the aforementioned online learning, you can do a little bit each day while soaking up the sun by the pool, for example.
Whether it’s at a huge conference, a professional seminar, or on the high seas, pairing learning with fun is always a good idea.
3. Free CEUs for Nurses
It may seem too good to be true, but you actually can find a number of free CEUs for nurses! Before you get started with any type of CEU course – free or paid – be sure to check out your state requirements.
Use this free resource to make sure you choose the right nursing CEU courses by state.
Though many courses will cost money, we recommend seeking out free courses to make the process a bit easier. Some of the best places to find free CEUs for nurses are:
Did You Know? Continuing education may be a perk of the job for nurses who are employed at very large hospital systems. If you aren’t sure, simply ask your supervisor or HR about nursing CEU opportunities within your organization.
Because you will need CEUs throughout your nursing career, it pays (literally!) to check on sites like those listed above to see if any courses you need are currently being offered free of charge.
Oftentimes these sites rotate their offerings of free CEUs for nurses so we recommend checking each time you plan to register for a course. And remember, even when you do have to pay for your CEUs, they can be written off as a tax deduction.
It’s worth mentioning again that in order for your nursing CEUs to count, you must ensure you obtain them from an accredited or approved provider. It pays to understand what your state’s specific requirements are so that you do not accidentally take a course that won’t count.
Once you’re comfortable selecting approved courses, use these tips to earn a nursing CEU fast!
- Choose free courses whenever possible or have your employer help with the cost.
- Take online courses for ease and flexibility.
- Attend nursing CEU conferences, seminars and vacations.
Do you have other recommendations for easy ways to obtain your required nursing CEUs?
Share with us in the comments below!