What Sponsors Need to Know
HAVE YOU EVER WONDERED HOW TO DETERMINE WHAT INCREMENT OF CONTINUING PROFESSIONAL EDUCATION (CPE) CREDITS TO USE WHEN PROVIDING THESE CREDITS TO YOUR LEARNERS?
The National Registry team regularly receives questions from Sponsors regarding the breakdown of CPE and how they offer incremental CPE for their programs. Many Sponsors assume that a combination of incremental credits can be used when offering CPE. However, the Standards do not allow for such combinations. CPE credits have always been calculated based on a 50-minute hour. To calculate CPE credits, the total number of minutes are divided by 50 to determine the recommended number of credits. For example, a CPE course that consists of content equal to 100 minutes would offer two CPE credits. Moreover, when the total number of minutes of a CPE course are greater than 50, but are not equally divisible by 50, Sponsors must round down to the nearest credit depending on the delivery method of the program.
The 2019 Statement on Standards for Continuing Professional Education (CPE) Programs (Standards) allows for the number of CPE credits to be rounded down to the nearest one-half or one-fifth credit after the first full credit has been earned for the Group Live, Group Internet Based, and Blended Learning delivery methods. In addition, CPE credits can be allocated to the fields of study based on the actual content time. For example, a CPE course offering a total of 140 minutes of learning activities would be granted two and four-fifths credit if using one-fifth increments or two and one-half credits if using one-half increments. This would also apply to courses that offer more than one field of study. However, the Standards do not allow for the breakdown of the number of CPE credits and fields of study in combinations of one-half and one-fifth. The clarification of how to manage the breakdown of CPE credits and multiple fields of study is the focus of this article.
Standard No. 16, specifically, states that credits may be awarded in one-fifth or in one-half increments. The Standards give the option to the sponsor to choose between the one-fifth increment or the one-half increment, but not the use of both increments within a CPE program. Also, paragraph S16-01 of Standard 16 also addresses how to classify courses that offer multiple fields of study. The total number of CPE credits for the course should be calculated first based on the content time. Then, the CPE credits need to be allocated to the fields of study based on the content time for each field of study. There would be occasions in which the breakdown of CPE credits does not fit mathematically within each field of study that is equivalent to the total number of credits. When this occurs, Standard No. 16 requires that the difference should be assigned to the primary field of study for the program.
To summarize, Sponsors need to be consistent in the breakdown of CPE credits and when there are multiple fields of study. In practical terms, for a course containing content of 140 minutes in more than one field of study, the Sponsor must first determine to offer two and four-fifths credit, or two and one-half credit. Next, if the course has more than one field of study, that breakdown must be consistent with the use of the one-fifth or one-half increment and any overage of CPE credit that does not fit correctly using the breakdown that can be moved to the primary field of study.