Choosing the Correct Continuing Education Program
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December 13, 2016
By Brian Bradley, MS, LAT, ATC, CSCS
Obtaining continuing education units (CEUs) can be a frustrating task, but it can also be very rewarding if done correctly. Start by changing your attitude about continuing education (CE). Don’t think about CE as an annoying, time-consuming tasks you are required to do in order to maintain your certification. Try to think of CE as an opportunity to improve your skills and become a better Athletic Trainer (AT).
1. Know what specific CEs you need for your certification and license
If you are an AT who was certified in 2015 or before, 50 CEUs (including at least 10 CEUs from the EBP category) are required by December 31, 2017. If you were certified in 2016, 25 CEUs (including at least 5 CEUs from the EBP category) are required by December 31, 2017Some states also require CEs with each license renewal, sometimes those including medical errors programs or attending live events. Make sure you account for these when scheduling your CE programs.
2. Find CEs that are aligned with your interests or position
For example: If you work with athletes who have prolonged symptoms after concussions, it may be beneficial to attend a seminar in which they cover sub-maximal graded treadmill exercise.
3. Look for CEs that may make you more marketable in the future
Consider taking CE programs that add to your resume and clinical tool kit. Not only may it make you a better clinician, but it may help you land a job in the future.
4. Look for CEs that may satisfy requirements for multiple certifications
If you are an AT certified as a strength and conditioning specialist, look for a class you can use for both certifications.
5. Don’t wait until the December 2017 of a reporting period to get your CEs
Don’t wait to get your CE completed. The danger of waiting until this last minute is that there may not be any classes that fit into your schedule.
6. Look for CEs your employer will reimburse
Paying for CEs can get expensive but sometimes employers will provide their employees a CE budget.
7. Use CEs as a chance to network
Think about attending a seminar that offers CEs for multiple professions (RN, PT, EMT, etc.). This will help other professionals get to know the athletic training profession.
8. Attend a National or Local Athletic Training Meeting
Get to know other ATs in your state or district. Usually these meetings offer a lot of CEs and cover topics that directly impact you.
9. Use CE Course as an Excuse to Travel
Attend a seminar or course in someplace you have never been. Plan your trip to add a day or 2 to sightsee and experience a new location.
If you’re struggling with CEUs, remember the BOC website has a list of live events and home study programs to help you meet your CE requirements. Find CEUs on the BOC website at www.bocatc.org/findCE. You can also check the career education section of the NATA website at https://www.nata.org/career-education/education/online-ceu-opportunities.
About the Author
Brian Bradley has been a BOC Certified Athletic Trainer since 2008. He is originally from Lawrence, Massachusetts but now live in Orlando, Florida. Bradley earned his undergraduate degree at Merrimack College in North Andover, Massachusetts and his master’s degree at the University of Florida. Bradley has worked in a variety of settings including professional, collegiate and secondary schools and in a physical therapy clinic. He currently works at Orlando Orthopaedic Center in the durable medical equipment (DME) department. In his spare time, Bradley spends time with his wife, Izzy, and his daughter, Abigail. He is also a big Boston/New England fan and enjoys running.