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Understanding CEs

Measurement of CEs I CE Guidelines I Clinical Category I Other Category I CE Categories I Accrediting Bodies

BCEN® developed the Continuing Education recertification program to emphasize the use of continuing education (CE). CEs can be described as educational experiences beyond initial licensure, based on recognized teaching and learning principles.

Measurement of Continuing Education Hours

Different terminology is used for continuing education credit. BCEN uses the measurement of contact hours in which one contact hour equals 60 minutes. Following are some guidelines to assist in determining contact hours:
  • 1 contact hour equals
    • 1 Continuing Education Contact Hour (CECH)
    • 1 Continuing Education Recognition Program (CERP)
    • 1 Continuing Education Accredited Recognition Program (CEARP), or
    • 1 Continuing Medical Education (CME)
  • 1 CEU or continuing education unit equals 10 contact hours

 CE Guidelines

  • CE should have a clear and direct application to the practice of emergency nursing, flight/transport, or trauma care nursing. 
  • A minimum of 100 contact hours must be submitted;
    • At least 75 of the 100 contact hours must be in the Clinical category and up to 25 may be in the Other category. It is acceptable to have more than 75 of the contact hours in the clinical category. 
    • 50 of the 100 contact hours must come from an accredited source.
  • For continuing education to be eligible to use for recertification, it must have occurred during the four-year period of certification. For example, if your certification expired March 31, 2010, your four-year period of certification was from April 1, 2006 until March 31, 2010. Therefore, you could use contact hours that you accrued since April 1 of 2006.
  • All national accrediting agencies are accepted for your renewal. These include, but are not limited to, American Association of Critical Care Nurses (AACN), American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), Emergency Nurses Association (ENA) and State Nurses Associations/State Boards of Nursing (SNA/SBN).
  • Candidates who successfully meet all program requirements will have their certification credential renewed for the following four years. Candidates who do not meet the program requirements must register and pass the appropriate certification exam to renew or reinstate their credential.

Clinical Category

This category includes any educational offerings that primarily contain information applicable to direct practice in the clinical area. The program content must be primarily focused on knowledge the nurse can apply in providing direct care to an individual patient or community.

Examples include topics such as: "Care of the Patient with a Temporary Pacemaker," Flight Physiology," Teaching Diabetic Patients," "Management of the Trauma Patient," or "Toxicology."

Acceptable accredited college courses include educational offerings that have a clinical focus. Examples: Nursing 410: "Care of the Adult Patient," Nursing 601: "Trauma Nursing," or "Pathophysiology."

Other Category

This category includes any educational offerings related to the professional practice of nursing and the emergency (CEN®), flight/transport (CFRN®/CTRN®), or trauma (TCRN®) care system.

Examples include topics such as "Developing a Quality Improvement System," "Legal Aspects of Emergency or Flight Care," or "Public Relations in Healthcare."

Accredited college courses that focus on the nonclinical aspects of nursing must be categorized under OTHER. Examples would include: "Medical Ethics," and "Leadership and Management."

BCEN recognizes there are accredited CE programs, which consist of multiple lectures, such as national/regional symposiums, or review courses.

CE Categories and how they apply to your Recertification

Provider Courses

      One initial course and one renewal course for each provider may be counted as accredited
      CE, one time each, during each certification renewal period.

      Type: Accredited CE

Presentation/Lecture or Teaching an Accredited Nursing Course
      The same presentation or lecture may only be submitted once during the recertification

      Type: Accredited, (if accredited CE was awarded), or Non-Accredited.

Academic Credit
Must have earned a “C” or higher and content must apply to emergency (CEN),
       flight/transport (CFRN/CTRN), or trauma (TCRN) care nursing from an accredited institution.
  • 1 Semester = 15 Contact Hours
  • 1 Trimester = 12 Contact Hours

  • 1 Quarter = 10 Contact Hours
​​Type: Accredited, (if accredited CE was awarded), or Non-Accredited. 

        The nurse that you precepted must have earned academic credits for the precepting for it
        to be used toward your recertification. 

        A maximum of 1 semester credit hour/15 Contact  Hours will be accepted in a
        recertification period. 

​        Type: Accredited CE

Publication must be peer-reviewed and content must be specific to emergency (CEN), flight/transport (CFRN/CTRN), or trauma (TCRN) care nursing. *Co-authorship credit is distributed evenly among all authors. 
  • Article = 5 contact hours
  • Chapter/module=10 contact hours
Textbook regardless of page number=50 contact hours

Type: Accredited CE

Poster Presentations
5 Contact Hours per poster developed. Each poster may only be submitted only
during your recertification period.

Type: Accredited, (if accredited CE  awarded), or  Non-Accredited 


Item Writing
           0.5 = 1 accepted exam item written and a maximum of 5 Contact Hours are
           accepted per year. 

           Type: Non-accredited CE

Accrediting Bodies

Please note that BCEN is not an accrediting body. If you have questions related to the number of contact hours approved for a particular educational course or seminar or to have a course approved, contact an accrediting organization.


Accreditation Board for Specialty Nursing Certification

BCEN's Certified Emergency Nurse (CEN®), Certified Flight Registered Nurse (CFRN®) and Certified Pediatric Emergency Nurse (CPEN®) credential have been accredited by the Accreditation Board for Specialty Nursing Certification (ABSNC).

Air & Surface Transport Nurses Association