Finding Low-Cost CEUs In this economy, is there anybody who’s not scrutinizing every expenditure? That scrutiny extends to professional as well as personal expenses, leading many certified speech-language pathologists and audiologists to search for the best ways to satisfy the professional development requirement for certification maintenance on a shoestring budget. The requirement—30 hours ... ASHA News
Free
ASHA News  |   April 01, 2009
Finding Low-Cost CEUs
Author Notes
  • Karen Niles, director of ASHA professional development, can be reached at kniles@asha.org.
    Karen Niles, director of ASHA professional development, can be reached at kniles@asha.org.×
Article Information
Professional Issues & Training / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / ASHA News
ASHA News   |   April 01, 2009
Finding Low-Cost CEUs
The ASHA Leader, April 2009, Vol. 14, 9. doi:10.1044/leader.AN3.14052009.9
The ASHA Leader, April 2009, Vol. 14, 9. doi:10.1044/leader.AN3.14052009.9
In this economy, is there anybody who’s not scrutinizing every expenditure? That scrutiny extends to professional as well as personal expenses, leading many certified speech-language pathologists and audiologists to search for the best ways to satisfy the professional development requirement for certification maintenance on a shoestring budget.
The requirement—30 hours of qualifying professional development activities over a three-year period—works out to just 10 hours a year. Here are four strategies you can use to maximize the benefit and minimize the cost of these activities.
1. Plan ahead. If your motto is “slow and steady,” you’ll be better able to find courses that are convenient, low-cost, and professionally relevant. ASHA’s course search function lets you search by topic, keyword, or date from a database of courses offered by the 530-plus ASHA-approved providers. You have thousands of CEU activities to choose from, including live events, online learning, and local and national events. In contrast, those who find themselves on Dec. 29 needing 12 hours by midnight on Dec. 31 have fewer options.
2. Consider the full range of activities you can apply to certification maintenance. In addition to courses carrying ASHA CEUs, other qualifying activities include employer-sponsored in-service training, university coursework, and continuing education programs of other professional organizations, whether or not the providers are ASHA-approved. What matters is whether the content is professionally relevant to you. You can find information on activities that count (and those that don’t), along with record-keeping requirements, on the ASHA Web site.
3. Share the cost. Organize group learning activities with colleagues, sharing the cost among you. Planning your continuing education with other colleagues is not only financially beneficial—group activities can also greatly enrich the educational experience.
If your group wants to earn ASHA CEUs for your learning activity and you are not affiliated with an ASHA-approved CE provider, explore teaming up with an ASHA-approved CE provider to earn those CEUs. Or identify larger-scale activities such as conferences or the annual ASHA convention, where you can accrue 20 or more hours at one time.
4. Consider distance learning. Travel and lodging costs often equal or exceed registration fees for in-person training. Distance-learning courses—whether delivered over the Web, on a CD or DVD, or in print—save travel costs and often offer on-demand access as well. Be aware of a caveat: some states limit the number of hours of distance learning they will accept for licensure renewal. There is, however, no limit on distance-learning hours for ASHA certification maintenance.
“Free” CEUs
What about “free” CEUs? In reality, there are costs associated with providing high-quality continuing education programs, which is why almost all providers (including ASHA) charge fees. Watch the ASHA Web site for opportunities to earn free ASHA CEUs through service activities such as pilot-testing CEU programs in development, peer reviewing manuscripts for ASHA’s scholarly journals, or participating in legislative issue briefings and Capitol Hill visits. Examine offers of “free” CEUs carefully; some actually require the purchase of a book or other product.
Finally, make sure that your professional development dollars are well spent by being a discerning participant (see sidebar). The point of continuing professional education, after all, is to improve your professional practice—not merely to accumulate hours.
What to Look For in CEU Offerings

SLPs and audiologists seeking CEUs to maintain professional licensure or certification should be discerning consumers. Make sure you spend your professional development dollars on programs that incorporate:

  • Principles of evidence-based practice. Speakers should always describe the evidence base for any recommended devices, programs, protocols, or approaches.

  • Disclosure of proprietary interests. Speakers should always reveal whether they stand to benefit financially or in other ways from your purchase or adoption of a product or technique. This disclosure includes the source of funding for relevant research.

  • Balanced descriptions. Speakers should always describe limitations or drawbacks as well as advantages of techniques, devices, procedures, or protocols.

  • Defined learning outcomes. What new skills or knowledge will you take from this program?

  • Opportunities to ask questions. You’ll benefit more if you can get answers to real questions related to your practice.

0 Comments
Submit a Comment
Submit A Comment
Name
Comment Title
Comment


This feature is available to Subscribers Only
Sign In or Create an Account ×
FROM THIS ISSUE
April 2009
Volume 14, Issue 5