Continuing education units (CEUs) help nurses stay up-to-date on the latest medical practices, techniques, and discussions. It may be helpful to think of them as a post-graduation report card, where the goal is to provide a comprehensive record of the educational accomplishments. These training opportunities provide education beyond what was required to obtain the original license, certification, or degree.

Requirements vary considerably from state to state. While most states require nurses to earn 20-30 hours of continuing education to renew their license, some states, including Arizona, Delaware, and Colorado, do not require CEU credits. But that doesn’t mean that nurses in these three states shouldn’t pursue professional development opportunities.

Acquiring CEUs can help a healthcare professional stand out amongst other qualified candidates when applying to a new job, regardless of their field or specialty. Employers prefer to hire people who have a natural desire to go the extra mile, right?

Signing up for CEU opportunities allows nurses to learn about the latest treatment techniques in the field. They also allow nurses to explore different areas that they may not focus on in their current role, such as pain management, geriatrics, hospice care or home health.

The Online Continuing Education for Healthcare Professionals maintains the AAACEUs site that details each state’s requirements.

Several organizations have listings that provide nurses easy access to a variety of free CEU courses that cover a broad range of topics:

  •– offers free continuing education for nurses across a wide variety of clinical and professional development topics, designed to help nurses meet state CEU contact hour requirements
  •– offers an online nursing CEU directory for continuing education needs
  • Intiva Health offers hundreds of premium (cost associated) and free nursing CEUs on any device, accessed simply by state, accreditation, and specialty
  • – browse hundreds of free and accredited CME/CE activities across more than 30 specialties

Nurses that are wanting to acquire CEUs should keep these fast facts in mind:

  • Only programs approved by an accrediting board can be considered for CEU credits.
          - The most well-known of these is the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). 
  • Each state’s board of nursing licensure determines what specific activities can be used to meet the education requirements in that state.

Courses, conferences, and webinars are all common sources for continuing education for nurses. Nurses have the option to choose from hundreds of CEU opportunities each year, many of which feature renowned clinical experts that attendees may not otherwise have access to.

As always, we appreciate the hard work and commitment that nurses, at every level, dedicate to their profession. From LPNs to RNs to Clinical Nurse Managers, they are all essential to help keep our communities safe, healthy and thriving.


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