The Registry team has identified the top 5 application errors that we hope you will avoid:
1. Miss-matched documentation
The initial application requires submission of one program. Requested documentation should relate to the submitted program. For example, course ABC was submitted. Therefore, the promotional material, evaluation and certificate of completion should reflect information from course ABC.
2. Omission of biographical data for program instructor(s) and reviewer(s)
The Standards require learning activities to be developed and reviewed by subject matter experts. This could be met by individual instructor(s)/reviewer(s) or through a team of subject matter experts. The application requires organizations to submit separate biographical data for the instructors/developers and the reviewers. Why have a separate reviewer? The reviewer provides assurance that the program is technically accurate and that the learning activities support the program’s stated learning objectives.
3. Omission of content development information
The program content development section covers program content development policies which include details on how the sponsor determines course learning objectives, program knowledge level, the qualifications of subject matter experts and other matters related to content development. These policies are an overview of course development policies for all programs offered for NASBA-approved CPE credits.
4. Inappropriate program knowledge level classifications
The Standards specify five program knowledge levels: basic, intermediate, advanced, update and overview. Properly assigned program levels allow the participant to determine if he or she has the appropriate background to take the course. Let’s review an example of an improperly assigned program level.
A sponsor classified a program as intermediate and listed the following details: “There are no prerequisites for this course. However, participants are expected to have a foundation of accounting skills through prior education or relevant work experience.”
Why is this an improperly assigned program level? Intermediate, advanced and update program levels inherently build upon a previous knowledge or skill; this means sponsors must clearly state that previous knowledge or skill in precise terms in promotional material.
5. Calculating CPE credits incorrectly
Sponsored learning activities are measured by actual program length, with one 50-minute period equal to one CPE credit. Only learning content portions of programs qualify toward eligible credit amounts. Time for activities outside of actual learning content including, for example, welcome and introductions, housekeeping instructions, and breaks is not accepted toward credit.
Sponsors may round down CPE credits awarded to the nearest one-fifth, one-half, or whole credit at their discretion and as appropriate for the instructional delivery method; however, the CPA claiming CPE credits should refer to respective state board requirements regarding acceptability of one-fifth and one-half CPE credits.
What’s the best way to calculate the CPE credits? Add up all of the minutes that comprise learning content of a program and then divide by 50. For learning activities in which segments are classified in multiple fields of study, the CPE credits granted should first be computed based on the content time of the total program. Next, the CPE credits granted should be allocated to the fields of study based on the field of study content time. If the sum of the individual segments by field of study content time does not equal the CPE credits computed based on the content time for the total program, then the difference should be allocated to the primary field of study for the program.