Nursing Continuing Education (CE) Requirements by State

25 Min Read Published December 15, 2022
Student holding books wearing scrubs studying to become a nurse

Becoming a nursing professional (whether it’s an LPN, RN, or nurse practitioner) requires a strong educational foundation. Most nurses earn a bachelor’s or advanced degree and pass the required certification exams before ever seeing their first patient. But once you’ve put on your scrubs and entered the working world, the learning doesn’t stop.

In fact, most states require nurses to complete some form of continuing education every two to three years as a condition of licensure. Even if your state board does not require any education for continuing competence for renewal, you may still be required by your employer or nursing association for job-specific certifications (i.e., nursing specialties, magnet hospitals, etc.). Specialty certifications such as medical-surgical, critical care, neonatal, etc. have specific requirements for continuing education. Make sure to check with your own hospital and any associations to which you may belong to find out if you have further requirements above and beyond that of your state nursing board.

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This guide will walk you through what you need to know about Continuing Education (CE) and the specific requirements for your state and type of license.

Nursing CE Requirements by State

STATE  RNs    NPs LPNs

ALABAMA

24 contact hours every 2 years

24 contact hours including 6 in pharmacology.

24 contact hours every 2 years. 

ALASKA

Every 2 years: 2 of the 3 are required for license renewal: 30 contact hours, OR 30 hours professional nursing activities, OR 320 hours nursing employment.

At least 30 contact hours of continuing education, including 15 contact hours of education in advanced pharmacology and clinical management of drug therapy. If you hold a current DEA registration, 2 hours of education in pain

 management and opioid use and addiction in the two-year renewal period

is required.

Every 2 years: two of the following three are required for license renewal: 30 contact hours, OR 30 hours professional nursing activities, OR 320 hours nursing employment.

ARIZONA

No CE Required.

If less than 960 hrs of practice over the past 5 years, 45 hrs of education in advanced pharmacology and 45 hrs in subjects related to the APRN role are required.

APRNs who hold an active DEA license, MUST have completed a minimum of three hours of opioid-related, substance use disorder-related or addiction-related continuing education.

No CE Required.

ARKANSAS

15 contact hours every 2 years.

15 contact hours every 2 years. Licensees with prescriptive authority are required an additional 5 contact hours in pharmacotherapeutics related to specialty.

15 contact hours every 2 years. 

CALIFORNIA

30 contact hours every two years.

30 contact hours every two years. NPs with prescriptive authority must complete 3 contact hours on Schedule II controlled substances as part of the 30 hours. CNMs must complete 2 contact hours on Schedule II controlled substances including both risks of addiction and neonatal abstinence syndrome associated with opioids.

30 contact hours every two years.

COLORADO

No CE Required.

Beginning with license renewals on or after October 1, 2022, advanced practice nurses with opioid prescriptive authority are required 2 hours of substance use prevention training, every renewal period.

No CE Required.

CONNECTICUT

Beginning with renewals after January 1, 2022, and every 6 years thereafter, 2 contact hours are required in screening for conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder, risk of suicide, depression and grief; and suicide prevention training.

50 hours of continuing education related to your area of practice every two years.

Beginning with renewals after January 1, 2022, and every 6 years thereafter, 2 contact hours are required in screening for conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder, risk of suicide, depression and grief; and suicide prevention training.

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

24 contact hours every 2 years, 3 of which must be in HIV/AIDS or Director's Topics* and 2 of which must be in LGBTQ or cultural awareness.

24 contact hours every 2 years 15 of which must be in pharmacology, 3 of which must be in HIV/AIDS or Director's Topics* and 2 of which must be in LGBTQ or cultural awareness.

18 contact hours every two years, 3 of which must be in HIV/AIDS or Director's Topics* and 2 of which must be in LGBTQ or cultural awareness.

DELAWARE

30 contact hours every 2 years, 3 hours of which must be in substance abuse.

APRNs with prescriptive authority are required 2 hours in controlled substances prescribing practices, treatment of chronic pain, or related topics per the Uniform Controlled Substances Act.

24 contact hours every 2 years, 3 hours of which must be in substance abuse.

FLORIDA


16 hours plus state mandates, including 2 hours for medical error prevention, 2 hours for nursing laws, 2 hours for human trafficking, 2 hours for workplace impairment, 1 hr for HIV/AIDS.


16 hours plus state mandates, including 2 hours for medical error prevention, 2 hours for nursing laws, 2 hours for human trafficking, 2 hours for workplace impairment, 1 hr for HIV/AIDS.  APRNs authorized to prescribe controlled substances also need 3 hours in Safe and Effective Prescription of Controlled Substances every renewal.


16 hours plus state mandates, including 2 hours for medical error prevention, 2 hours for nursing laws, 2 hours for human trafficking, 2 hours for workplace impairment, 1 hr for HIV/AIDS.

GEORGIA

30 contact hours of continuing education every two years.

30 contact hours of continuing education every two years.

20 hours every 2 years

HAWAII

Every 2 years, 30 CEs or 9 other options

30 hours of continuing education, of which at least 8 hours in pharmacology and 22 hours in your practice specialty every 2 years.

Every 2 years, 30 CEs or 9 other options - See State Board website.

IDAHO

15 contact hours of continuing education every 2 years.

30 contact hours every two years, 10 of which must be in pharmacology if the nurse has prescriptive authority.

15 contact hours of continuing education every two years.

ILLINOIS

20 contact hours every two years.

80 contact hours every 2 years. 50 hours must be in the area of practice, 20 hours in pharmacotherapeutics, and 10 hours must be in safe opioid prescribing. APRNs with Schedule II included in their Controlled Substances Registration must complete 3 hours annually in pharmacology.

20 contact hours every two years.

INDIANA

No CE Required.

APNs with prescriptive authority must obtain 30 contact hours, 8 of which must be in pharmacology every two years.

No CE Required.

IOWA

36 contact hours every 3 years and mandatory Dependent Adult Abuse Mandatory Reporter Training and DS 169 Child Abuse Mandatory Reporter Training.

36 contact hours every 3 years and maintain current certification in specialty. ARNPs who regularly examine, attend, counsel or treat dependent adults or children must also complete 2 contact hours of training related to child/dependent adult abuse.ARNPs who prescribed opioids during the renewal cycle are required to complete 2 hours every three years regarding the CDC guidelines for prescribing opioids for chronic pain.

36 contact hours every 3 years. LPNs who regularly examine, attend, counsel or treat dependent adults or children must complete 2 contact hours of training related to child/dependent adult abuse.

KANSAS

30 contact hours every 2 years

30 contact hours every 2 years

30 contact hours every 2 years

KENTUCKY

14 contact hours every year 

14 contact hours every year including 5 contact hours in pharmacology.

14 contact hours every year.

LOUISIANA

A minimum of 30 hours OR a minimum of 900 practice hours every two years

Every year 30 hours at the advanced level and directly related to the full

scope of the advanced practice role and population focus for APRN whose role and population focus does not provide for  certification/recertification and 6 hours in pharmacotherapeutics for APRN with prescriptive authority.

No continuing education requried at this time

MAINE

CE not required.

50 hours of continuing education every two years - advanced practice registered nurses with prescriptive authority and must complete 3 contact hours of Category I continuing education on the prescribing of opioid medication.

No CE Required.

MARYLAND

Complete one of the following for license renewal:


1,000 hours of active nursing practice within the 5 previous years; or

Board-approved nursing education program within the 5 previous years; or

30 CEUs within the 2 years immediately preceding renewal.

No CE is required, but must maintain national certification.

Complete one of the following for license renewal:


1,000 hours of active nursing practice within the 5 previous years; or

Board-approved nursing education program within the 5 previous years; or

30 CEUs within the 2 years immediately preceding renewal.

MASSACHUSETTS

15 contact hours every 2 years.

15 contact hours every 2 years and maintain current certification through a national certifying organization.

15 contact hours every 2 years.

MICHIGAN

25 contact hours every 2 years including 2 hours on pain and symptom management and 1 hour on human trafficking.

25 contact hours every 2 years including 2 hours on pain and symptom management and one hour on human trafficking.

25 contact hours every 2 years including 2 hours on pain and symptom management and 1 hour on human trafficking.

MINNESOTA

24 contact hours every 2 years.

24 contact hours every 2 years (for RN licensure) and maintain licensure as an APRN through a national certifying body.

12 contact hours every 2 years.

MISSISSIPPI

CE not required. 20 contact hours if out of practice for greater than five 5 years.

5 contact hours directly related to prescribing of controlled substances and maintain national certification.

No CE Required. 20 contact hours if out of practice for greater than five 5 years.

MISSOURI

CE not required.

No CE Required.

No CE Required.

MONTANA

24 contact hours every 2 years.

24 hours of continuing education and 12 hours in the area of pharmacotherapeutics for APRN with prescriptive authority every two years.

24 contact hours every 2 years.

NEBRASKA

20 contact hours every 2 years

20 contact hours every two years (to maintain RN licensure). Licensees who prescribe controlled substances shall include at least 3 hours on prescribing opiates. 

20 contact hours every two years.

NEVADA

30 hours every two years. including the state-required bioterrorism course. Beginning with renewals on or after January 1, 2022, all licensees are also required 2 hours relating to cultural competency and diversity, equity, and inclusion. These hours count toward the 30 hours.

45 contact hours every two years, 15 of which must be related to the area of practice and are required 2 hours of training in evidence-based suicide prevention and awareness. There is a one-time requirement of 4 contact hours in Bioterrorism.

Beginning with renewals on or after January 1, 2024, APRNs are required at least 2 hours related to substance use disorder every renewal.

30 contact hours every two years. including the state-required bioterrorism course. Beginning with renewals on or after January 1, 2022, all licensees are also required 2 hours relating to cultural competency and diversity, equity, and inclusion. These hours count toward the 30 hours.

NEW HAMPSHIRE

30 contact hours every 2 years.

60 contact hours including 30 hours in specialty certification and, 30 hours to maintain RN licensure, and 5 hours of Pharmacology.

30 contact hours every 2 years.

NEW JERSEY

30 contact hours every 2 years, including 1 hour on prescription opioid drugs, alternatives to opioids for managing and treating pain and the risks of opioid abuse, addiction, and diversion 

30 contact hours every 2 years and 1 hour concerning prescription opioid drugs, including alternatives to opioids for managing and treating pain, and the risks and signs of opioid abuse, addiction, and diversion. The 30 hours for APN renewal must also include 2 hours related to end-of-life care. There is a one-time requirement of 1 contact hour of education on Organ and Tissue Donation and Recovery.

30 contact hours every 2 years, including 1 hour on prescription opioid drugs, alternatives to opioids for managing and treating pain and the risks of opioid abuse, addiction, and diversion 

NEW MEXICO

30 contact hours every 2 years.

30 contact hours every two years plus 20 additional contact hours in the following: 5 hours in the scope of practice, 10 hours in pharmacology, and 5 hours in non-cancer pain management. 

30 contact hours every two years.

NEW YORK

Must complete course work or training in Infection Control at initial licensure and every four years thereafter. In addition, there is a one-time requirement of 2 hours in Child Abuse Identification and Reporting..

Must complete course work or training in Infection Control at initial licensure and every four years thereafter. In addition, there is a one-time requirement of 2 hours in Child Abuse Identification and Reporting. 

Must complete course work or training in Infection Control at initial licensure and every four years thereafter.

NORTH CAROLINA

One of the following every two years: national certification or recertification, 30 contact hours of continuing education, a board-approved refresher course, 2 semester hours of post-licensure education related to nursing practice, 15 CEU contact hours and completion of a nursing project, or 15 hours on CEU education and 640 hours of active practice within the previous two years. See website for further details.

One of the following every two years: national certification or recertification, 30 contact hours of continuing education, a board-approved refresher course, 2 semester hours of post-lecnsure education related to nursing practice, 15 CEU contact hours and completion of a nursing project, or 15 hours on CEU education and 640 hours of active practice within the previous two years.

APRN-NPs must also maintain national certification which requires 50 contact hours, and one hour in controlled substances.,

 See website for further details.

One of the following every two years: national certification or recertification, 30 contact hours of continuing education, a board-approved refresher course,  2 semester hours of post-lecnsure education related to nursing practice, 15 CEU contact hours and completion of a nursing project, or 15 hours on CEU education and 640 hours of active practice within the previous two years. See website for further details.

NORTH DAKOTA

12 contact hours every two years.

12 contact hours every two years. APRNs authorized to prescribe are required an additional 15 contact hours in pharmacology.

12 contact hours every two years.

OHIO

24 contact hours every two years, 1 of which must be directly related to the laws and rules of the Ohio Nurse Practice Act..

24 hours of continuing education every two years for each APRN license held including at least 12 of the 24 contact hours must include CE in advanced pharmacology  for APRN-CNP, APRN-CNS, or APRN-CNM.

24 contact hours every two years, 1 of which must be directly related to the laws and rules of the Ohio Nurse Practice Act.

OKLAHOMA

RNs are required one of the following every two years: verify 520 hours of employment a year, complete 24 hours of continuing education, verify or complete current certification in a nursing specialty area, or complete 6 academic semester credits hours of coursework.

Every two years 15 hours of continuing education in pharmacotherapeutics, clinical application, and use of pharmacological agents in the prevention of illness, and in the restoration and maintenance of health, for those with prescriptive authority including  2 hours of education in pain management or 2 hours of education in opioid use or addiction, unless the APRN does not currently hold a valid federal DEA registration number.

RNs are required one of the following every two years: verify 520 hours of employment a year, complete 24 hours of continuing education, verify or complete current certification in a nursing specialty area, or complete 6 academic semester credits hours of coursework.

OREGON

2 hours of cultural competency education, a one-time requirement of 6 hours in pain management and/or treatment of the terminally ill and dying patients, plus an additional one-hour course specific to Oregon provided by the Pain Management Commission of the Department of Human Services.

Active certification required. APRN-NPs licensed prior to January 1, 2011, are required 45 contact hours of CE in population foci instead of national certification. 

2 hours of cultural competency education, a one-time requirement of 6 hours in pain management and/or treatment of the terminally ill and dying patients, plus an additional one-hour course specific to Oregon provided by the Pain Management Commission of the Department of Human Services.

PENNSYLVANIA

30 contact hours every two years, including 2 hours of approved child abuse recognition and reporting training.

Non-prescribing NPs are required 30 CE hours related to specialty every two years, including 2 hours of approved child abuse recognition and reporting training.

 NPs with prescriptive or dispensing authority are required 30 hours related to specialty every two years, 16 of which must be in advanced pharmacology, including 2 hours of child abuse recognition and reporting training and a minimum of 2 hours in pain management, identification of addiction, or the practices of prescribing or dispensing opioids.

2 hours of approved child abuse recognition and reporting training every two years.*

RHODE ISLAND

10 contact hours every 2 years including 2 hours of substance abuse CE.

10 contact hours every 2 years including 2 hours of substance abuse CE. Licensees authorized to prescribe are required to submit evidence of 30 hours in pharmacology every 6 years.

10 contact hours every 2 years including 2 hours of substance abuse CE.

SOUTH CAROLINA

30 contact hours every 2 years. May also show proof of competence by maintenance of certification by a national certifying body, completion of an academic program, or employer certification.

30 contact hours every 2 years. A minimum of 20 of the required 30 contact hours to be in pharmacotherapeutics related to specialty, including 2 hours specific to prescribing controlled substances if authorized to prescribe controlled substances.

30 contact hours every 2 years. May also show proof of competence by maintenance of certification by a national certifying body, completion of an academic program, or employer certification.

SOUTH DAKOTA

CE not required.

Required to maintain national certification. No CE Required.

No CE Required.

TENNESSEE

5 contact hours every year for practicing nurses. Must be accompanied by two documents verifying competence or 10 contact hours annually for those not practicing and one additional document verifying competence. See website for more details.

Every two years - 5 hours of continuing education (10 hours if not currently practicing) and 2 hours of continuing education to address controlled substance prescribing practices, including the Tennessee Chronic Pain Guidelines, for APRN with Certificate of Fitness.

5 contact hours for practicing nurses accompanied by two documents verifying competence or 10 contact hours for those not practicing and one additional document verifying competence. See website for more details.

TEXAS

20 contact hours every 2 years. Mandatory CE requirements including

Forensic Evidence Collection for Nurses and Nursing Jurisprudence and Ethics for Texas Nurses.

20 contact hours every 2 years. APRNs with prescriptive authority must complete an additional 5 contact hours of pharmacotherapeutics every two years.

20 contact hours every 2 years. Several mandatory CE requirements such as Nursing Jurisprudence, Ethics, Geriatric Care, and Forensic Collection.

UTAH

One of the following every 2 years: 30 contact hours, OR 200 practice hours and 15 contact hours, OR 400 practice hours.

APRNs are required the following every two years: Must maintain national certification, and be currently certified in specialty area, or complete 30 hours of CE (if licensed prior to 7/1/92) and 400 hours of practice each year.

One of the following every 2 years: 30 contact hours, OR 200 practice hours and 15 contact hours, OR 400 practice hours.

VERMONT

No CE Required.

Required to maintain national certification. APRNs who prescribe or dispense controlled substances must complete 2 hours on controlled substances every two years..

No CE Required.

VIRGINIA

15 contact hours of continuing education and 640 hours of active practice within the previous two 2 years, or one of nine other options. See website for more details.

APRNs are required to maintain national certification, or 40 contact hours in specialty areas approved by certifying agency every two years. Licensees authorized to prescribe are required an additional 8 hours in pharmacology.

15 contact hours of continuing education and 640 hours of active practice within the previous two 2 years, or one of nine other options. See website for more details.

WASHINGTON

8 contact hours every year. There is a one-time requirement of 6 hours of suicide prevention training at initial licensure.

Every two years - 30 hours of continuing education in specialty area and 15 hours of continuing education in pharmacology for ARNP with prescriptive authority.

8 contact hours every year. There is a one-time requirement of 6 hours of suicide prevention training at initial licensure.

WEST VIRGINIA

12 contact hours every year. Must include best prescribing and drug diversion training if licensee prescribes, administers, or dispenses controlled substances. Also mandatory training for mental health conditions common to veterans and their families.

24 hours every two years with 12 hours in pharmacotherapeutics and 12 hours in the clinical management of patients. 12 of these hours may count toward CE requirement for RN license.

24 contact hours every two years, 3 of which must be in chemical dependence/substance abuse disorders and 2 must be related to mental health conditions common to veterans and family members of veterans.

WISCONSIN

CE not required.

Every two years - 16 hours of continuing education in clinical pharmacology or therapeutics relevant to the advanced practice nurse prescriber's area of practice, including at least 2 contact hours in responsible prescribing of controlled substances.

No CE Required.

WYOMING

One of the following every two years: 

400 hours of active nursing practice, or

200 hours of active nursing practice, and 15 hours of continuing education, or

if less than 200 hours of active nursing practice, 30 hours of continuing education..

One of the following: Current National Certification OR 60 contact hours every 2 years AND 400 hours of employment as an APRN in specialty of advanced practice Prescriptive Authority: 5 contact hours every 2 years in pharmacology, pharmacotherapeutics, or drug therapy.

One of the following every two years: 

400 hours of active nursing practice, or

200 hours of active nursing practice, and 15 hours of continuing education, or

if less than 200 hours of active nursing practice, 30 hours of continuing education.

CE, CNE, and CEUs Explained

Let’s start with a quick explanation of what all those acronyms mean since you might be wondering if those terms can be used interchangeably.

CE stands for Continuing Education. Most licensed professions require some form of continuing education.

CNE is Continuing Nursing Education and refers to courses specifically for nursing professionals.

CEUS or Continuing Education Units are also known as Continuing Education Credits. They reflect the time spent participating in educational courses or approved activities. One CEU is equal to 10 hours of instruction. The hours of instruction are called ‘contact hours’. *

* Contact hours refer to the stated amount of time an individual is present during a course. One contact hour can equal 50-60 minutes of class time depending on the state.

What Are the Requirements for CEUs in My State?

Some states expect some portion of your continuing education to be on specific topics. The remaining hours can often be decided by you.

For instance, in New York, nurses must take an Identifying and Reporting Child Abuse course and an Infection Control course as part of their hours. In Michigan, one hour of Pain Management education must be completed.

The other thing to keep in mind is that CEUs must be earned within a specific renewal period as identified by your state. So if you need to earn a certain number of CEUs every two years, you can’t double up and apply extra hours to the following two years. They do not carry over.

Continuing education requirements to maintain certification status through a professional association are usually separate from the state board’s requirements. In order for licensed nurses to maintain their certification status, most certifying organizations require that a portion of their CE program requirements receive approval through a specific peer review process. Check with the organization that provides your certification for additional information.

What is ANCC Approved CE?

As mentioned briefly in Part One, CEUs refer to a unit of credit equal to 10 hours of participation in an educational course or approved activity. The key here is choosing approved or accredited programs. In order for a CEU to count toward your required hours, it must be administered by an approved CE provider. Usually, if it’s nursing CE coursework from a college or university or a nursing school, you should have no issues with having such credits approved. However, the study hours must be related to nursing in some way, so taking a liberal arts course, for example, wouldn’t count.

The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) is the organization that sets the standards for nursing board certification and is recognized by all state boards of nursing. Taking ANCC-approved courses not only boosts your earning potential, it also ensures that you’re able to stay on top of the latest advances in the profession and provide your patients with the best care.

Directory of State Nursing Boards

State State Board Homepage Phone
ALABAMA Alabama Board of Nursing (334) 242-4060
ALASKA Alaska Board of Nursing (907) 269-8160
ARIZONA Arizona Board of Nursing (602) 771-7800
ARKANSAS Arkansas State Boarding of Nursing (501) 686-2700
CALIFORNIA California Board of Registered Nursing (916) 322-3350
COLORADO Colorado Board of Nursing (303) 894-2430
CONNECTICUT Connecticut Nursing Licensure (860) 509-7603
DC DC Board of Nursing (202) 724-4900
DELAWARE Delaware Board of Nursing (302) 744-4516
FLORIDA Florida Board of Nursing (850) 488-0595
GEORGIA Georgia Board of Nursing (478) 207-1300
HAWAII Hawaii Board of Nursing (808) 586-2695
IDAHO Idaho Board of Nursing (208) 334-3110
ILLINOIS Illinois Center for Nursing (888) 687-7307
INDIANA Indiana State Board of Nursing (317) 234-2043
IOWA Iowa Board of Nursing (515) 281-3255
KANSAS Kansas Board of Nursing (785) 296-4929
KENTUCKY Kentucky Board of Nursing (502) 429-3300
LOUISIANA Louisiana State Board of Nursing (504) 838-5332
MAINE Maine State Board of Nursing (207) 287-1133
MARYLAND Maryland Board of Nursing (410) 585-1900
MASSACHUSETTS Massachusetts Board of Nursing (617) 727-3074
MICHIGAN Michigan Board of Nursing (517) 335-0918
MINNESOTA Minnesota Board of Nursing (612) 617-2270
MISSISSIPPI Mississippi Board of Nursing (601) 987-4188
MISSOURI Missouri Board of Nursing (406) 841-2340
MONTANA Montana Board of Nursing (406) 444-2071
NEBRASKA Nebraska Board of Nursing (402) 471-4376
NEVADA Nevada State Board of Nursing (702) 486-5800
NEW HAMPSHIRE New Hampshire Board of Nursing (603) 271-2323
NEW JERSEY New Jersey Board of Nursing (973) 504-6430
NEW MEXICO New Mexico Board of Nursing (505) 841-8340
NEW YORK New York Board of Nursing (518) 474-3817 Ext 390
NORTH CAROLINA North Carolina Board of Nursing (919) 782-3211
NORTH DAKOTA North Dakota Board of Nursing (701) 328-9778
OHIO Ohio Board of Nursing (614) 466-3947
OKLAHOMA Oklahoma Board of Nursing (405) 962-1800
OREGON Oregon State Board of Nursing (971) 673-0685
PENNSYLVANIA Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing (717) 783-7142
RHODE ISLAND Rhode Island Nursing Licensure (401) 222-5960
SOUTH CAROLINA South Carolina Board of Nursing (803) 896-4550
SOUTH DAKOTA South Dakota Board of Nursing (605) 362-2760
TENNESSEE Tennessee Board of Nursing (615) 532-5166
TEXAS Texas Board of Nursing (512) 305-7400
UTAH Utah Nursing Licensure (801) 530-6628
VERMONT Vermont Nursing Licensure (802) 828-2396
VIRGINIA Virginia Board of Nursing (804) 662-9909
WASHINGTON Washington Board of Nursing (360) 236-4700
WEST VIRGINIA West Virginia Board of Nursing (304) 558-3596
WISCONSIN Wisconsin Nursing Licensure (608) 266-2112
WYOMING Wyoming State Board of Nursing (307) 777-7601

What is the Easiest Way to Fulfill My CE Requirements?

With a busy nursing work schedule, fitting in CNE might seem like quite the challenge. However, you generally have a reasonable period of time to complete your requirements, so you can space out the hours in a manageable way.

If you’re employed by a large hospital and are part of a union, it’s quite possible that your employer will offer free continuing education courses at your facility. Check with your employer to see if any such opportunities are offered.

If you’re completing your CEUs independently, there are many options for completing CE hours online or at your own pace. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing and the Commission on Nurse Certification lists nationally accredited CE providers on its website.

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Fun Ways to Complete Your CEUs

Before you start dreading the idea of having to take classes for the rest of your career, you should know that CE classes can also be a lot of fun. Some smart nurses combine their CE hours with their vacations in order to get the most out of the time they spend away from the hospital. There are also a handful of CE providers that offer their CE seminars in the form of cruises or tropical getaways.

Seminars and other professional development events are also a great way to network or scope out travel nursing locations and opportunities.

Again, just be sure to double check with your state board before you sign up for courses from an unfamiliar provider. The few minutes it will take to confirm that a course is accepted is worth the time and money you save on one that doesn’t count towards fulfilling your CE requirement.

Paying for CEs

Large hospitals and unions know that it is in their best interests to make sure their nurses are up-to-date on the latest therapies and technologies. Therefore, your employer may pay to send you to conferences and training sessions that can help fulfill your CEU requirements. Check with your employer to see if these benefits are offered.

Even if your hospital does not pay for your CEUs, they can usually be completed without having to spend a large sum of money. Some hours can be completed at no cost, or for nominal fees (under $50). Some providers offer the option to pay a flat fee to take as many courses as you’d like.

Remember though, you often get what you pay for and many of the best learning experiences can be expensive. It should be noted that no matter how much you spend, CEUs can usually be written off as a tax-deduction when you file your tax returns. See IRS Publication 970 for detailed information on claiming this deduction.

In the end, if you’re still having trouble getting funding for a continuing education course, consider applying for various continuing education or professional development scholarships.

How Do I Get Credit for My Work?

After completing CE hours, you want to be sure that your time and effort will be recorded properly. Usually, the provider will give you a certificate of attendance. If it’s done online, you will likely receive an electronic notification that you completed the course, but you can request a hard copy as well. In most cases, the acronym BRN should appear on the completion certificate, signifying that it is an approved “Board of Registered Nursing” continuing education provider.

Be sure to keep paperwork or digital copies of your CE completion records for a few years in case your credentials are ever audited.

Keeping your RN and specialty nursing licenses up to date is something that all nurses have to do in order to keep working in the field. However, don’t overlook the other benefits that CEUs can provide, namely staying on the cutting edge of new innovations in the industry so you can thrive professionally. In other words, choose your CE hours carefully so that you can get the most out of the experience, whether it’s networking with fellow RNs at a conference or learning a new skill that can be directly applied in your day-to-day job.

Continuing Education Requirements for Nurses FAQs

  • How many continuing education credits do nurses need?

    • The exact number of continuing education credits (CEUs) is specific on the state of licensure. For those that hold a compact license, the number of hours is based on the state of primary residence. Some states require specific courses as part of the CEUs. For example, Michigan requires one hour of Pain Management education.
  • How do nurses get continuing education credits?

    • CEUs can be obtained through a variety of ways including from a nurse’s employer. CEUs are generally offered online for a small nominal fee. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing and the Commission on Nurse Certification lists nationally accredited CE providers on their websites.
  • How do nurses check their CEU hours?

    • It is important for nurses to maintain a record of their CEU hours. Nurses will often have to report these hours to their place of employment. Individual state boards of nursing will often audit nursing licenses on a regular basis. During renewal, individuals are certifying that the required CEUs were completed. 
  • Why is it important for nurses to be lifelong learners?

    • Healthcare is an ever-changing field and there are always new policies and procedures based on evidence-based research. Through CEUs, nurses are able to stay up to date on relevant information to the profession. 
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