CEs, CEUs, and Contact Hours Explained

Continuing education is an essential aspect of professional growth and development, but navigating the terminology surrounding it can be a daunting task. The terms Continuing Education (CE), Continuing Education Units (CEUs), and Contact Hours often leave individuals puzzled due to variations in their definitions in requirements across states, regions, and provinces.. Let's unravel the complexity and gain a clearer understanding of these terms.


CE, or Continuing Education, serves as a comprehensive umbrella term encompassing various types of training and events that contribute to an individual's professional development. In some states or fields, CE is utilized as a formal measurement to ensure ongoing learning and skill enhancement. For instance, individuals might find themselves mandated to complete a specific number of CEs within a designated timeframe, such as 40 CEs every two or three years. The flexibility of the term allows for a diverse range of learning experiences to be counted as credits, promoting a well-rounded approach to continuing education. At AATBS, we refer to the credit our courses offer as CE hours, an hour-for hour credit.


CEU, or Continuing Education Unit, introduces a standardized measurement system that simplifies accounting for licensing boards. This term is commonly utilized by regulatory bodies to streamline the tracking and reporting of continuing education activities. CEUs may have additional standards depending on the industry, ensuring that the education received meets specific criteria. Notably, CEUs often have an exchange rate for credits, adding another layer of complexity to the system. For example, in some states or regions, one CEU might be equivalent to 10 CE credits, providing a standardized conversion for reporting purposes.

Contact Hours

In certain states, the term Contact Hours is employed to quantify the time spent on training or educational activities. The concept is straightforward – one hour of training equals one contact hour. This method provides a transparent and easily understandable way to track an individual's commitment to continuous learning based on the time invested. Contact Hours are particularly common in professions where time spent on education is a critical factor in assessing compliance with ongoing learning requirements.


Understanding the differences between CEs, Contact Hours, and CEUs is crucial for professionals navigating the intricate landscape of continuing education requirements. The variations in terminology highlight the diverse approaches taken by different states and industries to measure and regulate ongoing learning. Whether you're accumulating CEs, tracking Contact Hours, or earning CEUs, rest assured that each contributes to your continuous professional growth.