What Is The Difference Between CEUs and CECs

Continuing education credits (CECs) and continuing education units (CEUs) are two separate forms of validation for learning.

CECs are used to measure the educational activities of professionals who need to document their experience, knowledge, and skills for professional development or career advancement. They are often offered in fields such as nursing, fitness training, physical therapy, engineering, massage therapy, hospitality management, social work, and accounting.

CEUs are used to measure non-credited activities that involve learning from a formally organized program. These can include workshops or seminars on topics related to personal growth or professional development such as organizational behavior or project management.

Each type of educational credential has its own set of requirements for awarding credit; CECs require at least 15-20 (or as some organizations such as NASM and ACE refer to it, .15 – 2.0) contact hours with an instructor or qualified facilitator while CEUs require at least fifteen contact hours under the same conditions. The most significant difference between CECs and CEUs is that CECs are a form of accreditation while CEUs are not.

Do CEUs actually count in the real world?

That is to say, CEUs do not count towards any type of degree or diploma but do count toward a recognition of training activities completed by an individual.

These distinctions can be helpful when considering both educational and professional advancements – CECs help to demonstrate competency in one’s field whereas CEUs reflect participation in courses designed to help enhance an individual’s skill set or knowledge base.

Depending on an individual’s profession and licensing, both types of credentials can be applied towards license or certification renewal requirements and even financial aid applications.

Understanding the differences between these two forms of validation can help you make informed decisions about your educational pursuits.

Why should Fitness Professionals get CECs?

Continuing Education Credits (CECs) can be a valuable asset for personal trainers and group fitness instructors who want to stay up-to-date on current trends and techniques in the fitness industry. By earning CECs, personal trainers can demonstrate their commitment to staying informed and developing new skills that will benefit their clients. Additionally, obtaining CECs can demonstrate expertise in the field which may lead to more opportunities for advancement. As an employed fitness professional, this can lead to higher salaries or job promotions. As a self-employed fitness professional, CEC’s can help bring more credibility when selling services to clients and potential clients.

CECs also help to ensure that personal trainers maintain their licenses and certifications, as many licensing and certification organizations require a certain number of CECs to be met every few years (in many cases every two years) in order to remain eligible. Some leading organizations also offer longer term renewal options, discounted prices, or waived fees, after a certain number of CEC’s are obtained over the course of a year (with renew for life* type recertifications).

Although things have changed over the years in the fitness industry, many reputable health and fitness clubs require a current up-to-date national certification such as ACE, ISSA, NASM, AFAA, AEA, or NASM.

Where are CECs used?

CECs are generally accepted as a form of professional development and can help individuals demonstrate their proficiency in the chosen field. They can be used to “pad out” resumes, as well as keep licenses active—they are also given more consideration when an individual is trying to move up within an organization or obtain higher-level positions. Additionally, CECs may be accepted towards licensure requirements, such as continuing education hours for certain professions.

Where/When are CEUs used?

CEUs are used mainly for non-credited activities involving special topics and personal growth that would otherwise not be accounted for when creating academic records or transcripts. In some cases, courses from CEUs may count towards scholarships, grants, and financial aid applications; however, there are no guarantees that this will always be the case.

Can Pursuing CECs and CEUs help me in other ways?

Having an abundance of Continuing Education Credits can lend value in terms of networking opportunities and collaborations with other professionals in the industry; this is especially true when looking at positions within larger fitness centers that require experience. Ultimately, obtaining as many Continuing Education Credits as possible can give personal trainers an edge by exposing them to new ideas, helping them stay ahead of their competition, and ultimately contributing to their professional success.

Can Pursuing CECs and CEUs help me in other ways?

It is important to research both CECs and CEUs before embarking on any learning activity. Make sure you know what type(s) of educational credential you’re aiming for in order to achieve your goals. Additionally, it may be helpful for you to speak with a career advisor or program coordinator. This can help you to understand what types of credits are accepted by different organizations.

Ultimately, knowing the difference between CECs and CEUs and clearly identifying your personal goals can go a long way in helping you gain recognition for your achievements and also help to further your earning potential and professional development.

Note: There are many different certifications and licenses that are offered in the fitness industry. Do your homework first. Make sure that you spend your time and money wisely. Seek a reputable organization that has been around for a long period of time. Ask yourself what specific field of fitness do you want to go into? For example, active aging? Dance? Group fitness? Aqua? Personal training? Continuing education can make the difference between landing your ideal position and/or client!

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