Background Information

Definition: The Continuing Education Unit (CEU) is a nationally recognized method of quantifying the time spent in the classroom during non-credit learning. Ten hours of instruction equal one (1) CEU.

Purpose: The primary purpose of the CEU is to provide a permanent record of the educational accomplishments of an individual who has completed significant non-credit educational and career enhancement experiences.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Continuing Education?
Continuing education is structured educational and/or training experiences or personal or professional development in which participants are assumed to have previously attained a basic level of education, training, or experience. It is also described as education/training beyond the basic information required of the license, certification, degree, or beyond the entry-level position of a job.

Who is eligible to use the CEU?
 Any organization that offers educational programs can potentially award CEU. Adoption and use of the CEU is voluntary. The decision by an organization to award CEU is entirely the decision of the sponsor organization and does not require the approval of another agency.

When should CEU be awarded?
 Only for those programs that are rigorous enough and long enough to be a significant educational experience, and for which a permanent record will be meaningful. CEU should only be awarded to individuals taking part in group training. Individual or self-directed study that is not planned, directed and supervised by an instructor or sponsor does not meet criteria established by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training.

How many CEUs should be awarded for a program?
 One-tenth (0.1) of a CEU is awarded for each clock hour (50-60 minutes) of instruction. Instructional hours do not include time involved in coffee breaks, meals, social activities or business and committee meetings.

Who keeps the permanent records of CEU?
The maintenance of permanent records is the responsibility of the institution or organization presenting (sponsoring) an educational program and awarding CEU. The American Public Works Association maintains a record of CEUs awarded for APWA-sponsored programs only, which may include select APWA chapter-sponsored events that have been approved by APWA National. The Association does not accept transfer of, nor will it maintain records of CEUs awarded for participation in non-APWA sponsored programs (programs presented or sponsored by other organizations).

Which colleges give credit for CEUs?
 Since by definition the CEU relates only to non-credit continuing education, it is not appropriate to consider CEU in connection with academic credit.

Why do I need CEUs?
Many states require engineers to provide evidence of Continuing Professional Competency (CPC) as a condition for renewal of their professional license. Typically, each licensee is required to obtain 15 (30 if biennial) Professional Development Hours (PDH units) during the renewal period year. (Visit the National Society of Professional Engineers to view a summary of CPC status in each state.) CEUs are interchangeable with PDH units and may be used to satisfy Continuing Professional Competency requirements.

What is the exchange rate between CEUs and PDH units?
One CEU is equivalent to 10 PDH units. Likewise, 0.1 CEU is equivalent to 1 PDH unit.

How do I obtain CEUs?
If an APWA-sponsored program has been approved for CEUs, request forms will be made available to participants at the event/activity. The request form must be validated by staff at the conclusion of the event/activity. (CEUs are only awarded to individuals who attend the entire event, and may not be given when an individual leaves the event early.) The validated request form should then be sent to APWA National, along with the appropriate CEU registration fee. After processing the request form, APWA will send you a confirmation via e-mail (usually 2-3 weeks).

Are the CEUs awarded by APWA recognized by the state board of registration for Professional Engineers?
In the states that currently have mandatory Continuing Professional Competency (CPC) requirements, it is generally the responsibility of the engineers to select courses that meet the state guidelines. The typical state guidelines define a qualified course as one whose purpose and objective are clear with a content that will "maintain, improve, or expand the skills and knowledge of the licensee's field of practice".

The American Public Works Association has been reviewed and approved as an Accredited Provider by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET).

How can I obtain a record of the CEUs I have earned?
As a continuing education provider, APWA maintains a permanent record of approved programs. Our records include the name of the attendee, type of event/activity, date of event/activity, and the CEU credits earned. Copies of these records may be requested by sending an e-mail to

I'm missing some CEUs earned at an APWA event.  How can I have these added to my transcript?
APlease send an e-mail to our staff at listing as much of the following information as you know: your name and contact information, the event name, date(s) and location of event, and the names of the education sessions that are missing from your transcript.  Sending a copy of your original CEU request form is helpful as well.  Our staff will review the missing CEUs and contact you with any questions.

How can APWA chapters get their events approved to have CEUs awarded to participants?
APWA chapters may receive permission to award CEUs for chapter-sponsored events/activities when events/activities meet specific criteria that ensures quality and integrity. Chapters may submit a Chapter CEU Application Form to obtain approval from APWA National. A non-refundable application fee is required for each event/activity that a chapter wishes to have considered.

Upon approval, the chapter will be sent complete instructions on how to provide participants with CEUs. For approved chapter events/activities, APWA National will record participants’ attendance, maintain permanent records of CEUs, and provide participants with documentation of CEUs earned.

If you have questions about CEUs or the process of applying for CEUs, please contact

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