In almost every industry, you are bound to hear someone mention “CEUs” (short for “continuing education units). You may have heard of them before, but perhaps you aren’t entirely sure what it is. If you have been trying to figure out the purpose of a CEU, then this short explanation should certainly help.
What is a Continuing Education Unit?
The continuing education unit is a “currency” of sorts that helps to measure a person’s participation in formal education programs, mostly for training that is related to professional advancement.
These programs may include (but certainly are not limited to):
- Industry workshops presented by experts
- Seminars and other “meetings of the mind”
- Online or off-line tutorials or other coursework
- Self-study work that follows a specific (and detailed) curriculum
Not to be confused with a PDH (which is known as a professional development hour), getting enough CEU credits can help you to streamline your education, prove professional competency, and even provide you leverages during salary discussions at your current employer.
Can a PDH be converted into a CEU?
If you have accumulated a tremendous amount of PDH credits, you can turn them into CEU credits at a rate of 10 to 1 (PDH/CEU). This may be advantageous for you depending upon your educational track record and how you wish to pursue your career. In fact, it is quite common for people to make this PDH to CEU conversion across a number of different educational opportunities.
What is the major difference between them?
Though these two types of credits (the CEU and the PDH) share some similarities, they are different and distinct credits. Some industries put more emphasis on PDH while others are dedicated more to the CEU.
Generally, a PDH credit is “a contact hour of instruction or presentation”. On the other hand, a CEU credit is generally used for continuing educational courses that are provided at higher educational organizations like colleges, universities, and other groups.
That said, the two terms are starting to become interchangeable. The institution behind the CEU has growing influence across a variety of industries. It also is more readily recognized, which makes the acronym more advantageous for organizations that sell continuing education courses (because of name recognition).
If you are interested in learning more about the CEU, head on over to the International Association for Continuing Education and Training website.