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Understanding CEs

Measurement of CEs I CE Guidelines I Clinical Content I Non-clinical Content I CE Categories I Accrediting Bodies

BCEN® developed the Continuing Education recertification program to emphasize the use of continuing education (CE).

BCEN no longer requires candidates to log their CEs, but to attest they meet the CE guidelines. 
It is important to keep a summary log of courses and original documentation in case of an audit. This information will be required to complete the audit. 
This page contains more information about continuing education (CEs) to assist candidates with a better understanding of the CE guidelines. 

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

  • CEs should have a clear and direct application to the practice of emergency, pediatric emergency, flight/transport, or trauma nursing. 
  • 100 completed contact hours earned within your 4-year recertification period;
    • 75 of the 100 contact hours must be of Clinical content and up to 25 may be of Non-clinical content. It is acceptable to have more than 75 of the contact hours of clinical content. 
    • 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 Content

Clinical content 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."

Non-clinical Content

Non-clinical content includes any educational offerings related to the professional practice of nursing and the emergency (CEN®), pediatric emergency (CPEN®), 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 may be used. 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 Type & Description Accredited Non-Accredited
Provider Courses such as ENPC, TNCC, PALS, PEPP, or ACLS
One initial and one renewal course for each provider may only be counted one during your current recertification period.
  • 60 minutes = 1 contact hour

Ex: If the course was 4 hours in length, then you may count it as 4 contact hours. 

Presentations or Lectures
The same presentation or lecture may only be counted once during your current recertification period.
Does not count if part of an educator or faculty expected job performance.
  • 60 minutes = 1 contact hour 

If accredited CE was provided.

Academic Credit
Must have earned a “C” or higher and content must apply to emergency (CEN), pediatric emergency (CPEN), flight/transport (CFRN/CTRN), or trauma (TCRN) nursing from an accredited institution.
  • 1 Semester = 15 Contact Hours
  • 1 Trimester = 12 Contact Hours
  • 1 Quarter = 10 Contact Hours 
A maximum of 1 semester (15 contact hours) will be accepted during your current recertification period.
  • 1 Semester = 15 Contact Hours
  • 1 Trimester = 12 Contact Hours
  • 1 Quarter = 10 Contact Hours
In order to count preceptorship hours toward your renewal, the nurse(s) you precepted must have earned college credits for being precepted. 
Publication must be peer-reviewed and content must be specific to emergency (CEN), pediatric emergency (CPEN), flight/transport (CFRN/CTRN), or trauma (TCRN) nursing.
If co-authored, credit must be distributed evenly among authors.
  • Article = 5 Contact Hours
  • Chapter/module = 10 Contact Hours
  • Textbook = 50 Contact Hours 

Poster Presentation
  • 5 Contact Hours per poster developed.
  • Each poster may only be counted once during your recertification period. 

If accredited CE was provided.

Item Writing
  • 0.5 = 1 accepted exam item.
  • A maximum of 5 Contact Hours may be counted per year. 


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