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Beginner’s Guide to Continuing Education Units (CEUs) for Clinical Research

Many organizations require their employees to complete continuing education requirements in order to stay current in their industry. CEUs are a great way to have a record of your ongoing educational accomplishments. Certified CEUs are also a mark of quality in continuing education and training programs, ensuring a program was reviewed and approved to comply with recognized standards. Professional development and education are required in a vast array of industries, including clinical research.

What is a CEU?

CEU stands for continuing education unit. A CEU is equal to 10 hours of participation in an accredited program. These programs are designed for professionals in various industries who need to participate in a certain number of continuing education opportunities in order to maintain certificates and licenses. The amount of CEUs required depends on the individual’s state and industry. CEUs provide a permanent record of an individuals completed educational experiences for employer reference.

CEUs for Clinical Research Professionals

The clinical research industry is just one industry that utilizes CEUs. Some of the regulatory bodies in clinical research who approve official CEUs include, for example, the Society of Clinical Research Associates (SoCRA), the Association of Clinical Research Professionals (ACRP) and the California Board of Registered Nursing (CBRN). Advarra works with these organizations in particular to put together CEUs for their webinar series and the biannual Onsemble Conference.

Organizations in the medical field all have different requirements for institution-specific technologies and workflows, and CEUs can help accomplish these in specific roles within an organization. Some of the more popular topics in trainings and continuing education for clinical research center around ethics in human subjects research, roles and responsibilities of the investigator and institution, regulatory issues, and clinical investigators.

Who can provide official CEUs?

Universities and organizations may award official CEU credits as long as they meet standards set for their particular industry. Following these standards allows an organization to become accredited. Make sure the program is properly accredited to offer official CEUs and beware of fake certificates. Many continuing education programs offered online will use the term CEU but is not an accredited organization/program. Some of these non-accredited programs will not be accepted as valid continuing education credit in certain organizations and for many licenses/certification.

ACRP offers a comprehensive list of acceptable providers of accredited continuing education credits in order to maintain their certification. This list is an excellent source for credible, high-quality education in the clinical research industry, including all state and national nursing associations, industry associations such as SoCRA, Society for Clinical Data Management (SCDM), Public Responsibility in Medicine and Research (PRIM&R), ACRP , and more. In particular, ACRP, along with other certification bodies, typically point out what doesn’t qualify for CEU credits. These lists are equally important to review prior to registering for continuing education courses.

Official, accredited CEUs are an important part of supporting a clinical research career. Online and in-person trainings that help complete education requirements are offered by a wide array of accredited organizations. Forte’s biannual customer conference, Onsemble, offers several CEUs for clinical research professionals.

Explore valuable articles, eBooks, infographics and educational webinars (which may qualify for internal continuing education requirements) by visiting the educational clinical research resources section of our website.

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