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The Skinny on Continuing Education Units (CEUs)
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The Skinny on Continuing Education Units (CEUs)
by Gail Malm Armstrong, CER, CET

 

“The capacity to learn is a gift;
The ability to learn is a skill;
The willingness to learn is a choice.”
Brian Herbert

How does the balance sheet look for your Continuing Education Units? This is an appropriate time of year to take stock of your CEU account. Do you have a healthy total or does the credit column look slim? From time to time I receive or read concerns about the high cost of obtaining AAERT CEUs to maintain certification. It is obvious that there is a price involved. Realistically, how can an AAERT-certified member acquire CEUs while juggling daily expenses, child care, medical insurance, car repairs, and other unexpected expenses that arise in our lives and still have a few dollars left for coffee?

BEYOND THE BASICS: WHY CONTINUING EDUCATION UNITS?

A CEU is a Continuing Education Unit. It is a method used to assist a professional to maintain his or her license in their vocation. The units are measured by points or fractions of points. Most valid professional organizations require CEUs to maintain certification including hair stylists, manicurists, plumbers, architects, doctors, lawyers, transcriptionists, and many others. “At its most basic level, continuing education is defined as the education of an individual beyond the basic preparation for his or her profession.”1

Why does AAERT require Continuing Education Units or CEUs? AAERT requires CEUs “To promote the highest possible standards in the court reporting and/or transcription fields. The CEU requirement assists the certified members to keep up-to-date with the tools, technology, knowledge and skills of court reporting and transcription. It is the goal of the AAERT Education Committee to encourage growth as a professional, to broaden perspective and approach toward the responsibilities and functions of the profession in a professional educational setting."1

Thus, education leads to testing and certification to assure a universal and standard level of skill and excellence. CEUs are in place to encourage professional growth beyond the basics required for certification and to assure a continuing level of skill and expertise in the field.

HOW TO ACQUIRE CEUs WITHOUT BREAKING THE BANK

AAERT requires that 30 hours or 3.0 CEU credits of approved training must be earned every three years to maintain certification. See Earn Continuing Education Units as you Increase Your Skills for some examples of how hours are credited.2

 

There are a number of very economical and reasonable ways to obtain CEUs over the required period of time. Here are a few:

● Writing an article for the AAERT newsletter
● Actively holding an AAERT Committee position
● CPR and First Aid courses
● Distance learning courses and Industry Webinars

ADDING UP THE MINUTES

The AAERT newsletter is published on a monthly basis. If a member wrote 4 articles during the course of a year, he or she could earn 1 CEU. That is a totally free activity. It requires some time and effort. Working as a volunteer for an AAERT committee would earn .25 CEUs per year. Over the course of 3 years, that would total .75 CEUs. This activity is free but involves your time. Between writing some articles and volunteering for committee work, 1.75 CEUs can be accumulated. A First Aid or CPR course will earn .10 CEUs. Many communities offer CPR courses free of charge.

SELECT YOUR FAVORITE

The AAERT Learning Management System or LMS is designed to provide CEUs to maintain your certification. LMS offers multiple online continuing educational sessions covering electronic reporting, transcribing, grammar, and business practices. The online offerings include selections from past conferences. These offerings give you the ability to earn CEUs in the comfort of your office or home without the cost of having to travel to conferences or other seminars. No plane tickets, shuttle fares, daily food allowance, or hotel reservations are needed.

These links provide information about other CEU opportunities:
Suggestions on Ways to Earn CEUs
Earn Continuing Education Units as you Increase Your Skills

Feel free to contact AAERT Administration and ask if other selections are approved. Please email Membership Liaison Maria Tannen at maria@aaert.org if you have questions about AAERT’s LMS or email Certification Liaison Sherry Simmons at sherry@aaert.org if you have questions about certification. You may also reach out to the Education Committee Chair, Betsy Ertel, at betsy.ertel@aaert.org.


ESTABLISH YOUR SAVINGS JAR

There are many ways to accumulate CEUs little by little that are economical and considerate of our membership as well as financially reasonable. I can sympathize with concerns over cost. Very few of us are millionaires. If the goal of obtaining CEUs is approached with the attitude of earning a bit here and there, the CEU jar can be filled at a relatively minor cost. It can be done. A friend and fellow Court Reporter gave me an intelligent suggestion a few years ago of keeping a jar to save one-dollar bills. I tried her method, and it works amazingly well. A one-dollar bill may not buy much, but the amount adds up over time.


NOT A RUBBER STAMP OR COUNTERFEIT

AAERT is a nonprofit organization. However, there is a tremendous amount of work done by our Directors and other volunteers that most members do not see. These activities include regular Board meetings, maintaining our website, planning the annual conference, revising our study and training materials, and government relations activities. Paying dues and fees are part of maintaining a transcription or reporting business. Requiring CEUs assures that our standards and skills are kept at a professional level. The requirement also guarantees that AAERT certification has meaning and is not merely a rubber stamp, mail-order certificate.

By all means, learn all you can whenever you can. Decide what method is best for you to fill up your CEU jar bit by bit.

REFERENCES CITED
1AAERT Continuing Education Program Rules
2Earn Continuing Education Units as you Increase Your Skills

 

Gail Malm Armstrong, is a AAERT Certified Reporter and Transcriber. She currently serves as the Chair of the AAERT Communications Committee and is Editor-in-Chief of the AAERT monthly newsletter.


Gail Malm Armstrong, CER, CET

newsletter@aaert.org


 

 

 

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