Why you need CPE credits
If you’ve earned a CPA or CISSP certification, you certainly want to maintain it! If you aspire to become a CPA or certified IT security expert, you have to become educated. If you work in any position in finance, accounting, IT, or other operations departments within a company, broader learning makes you a more effective employee and increases your chances of promotion. You need CPE credits.
What are CPE credits?
CPE is short for Continued Professional Education. Certain professions – accounting and IT security, for example – formally certify the most knowledgeable individuals in their field once that person has passed a rigorous examination to verify their knowledge. You can become a CPA, or a CISSP, for example. But it’s not one-and-done.
To retain your certification you have to participate in a formalized program of continuous learning, which varies by field. If you’re a CPA, you must earn at least 40 CPE hours per year, but your state licensing entity defines how often you have to report – annually, or every two or three years. If you’re a CISSP, you also have to earn a minimum number of CPE credits. Each approved learning session earns you a specific amount of credit toward your goal.
You may think you’re at the top of your game now, but things change – within your profession as well as with technology, business management best practices, the marketplace, and your own organization. Maybe even your career goals. By earning CPE credits, you can stay at the top of your game and help your company do the same. That’s why approved CPE credits cover a wide range of topics.
Primary CPE courses are geared directly toward the work you do every day. But, because you need to understand overall business operations as well as your own job, you can also take CPE courses in a wide range of related fields. If you’re a CPA, your state board may have some guidelines that govern this, but mostly what you take is up to you. CISSP CPE credits are divided into two categories. Group A includes IT and Infosec topics. Group B includes non-security but professionally-relevant topics such as business management, accounting, team development, interviewing skills, and project planning.
How to earn CPE credits
You can get further training by attending seminars, workshops, or conferences in person. You can also take advantage of online live or on-demand webinars, podcasts, and self-study curricula. There are distinct pros and cons to every type of learning opportunity. In general, self-study enables you to learn at your pace, fitting it in around your work and personal schedules. You can do it from home.
On the other hand, there is a lot to be said for attending seminars and conferences in person. You can make new professional friends and engage in face-to-face conversations with peers around the subject matter or your own work-related challenges. Also, live events tend to be worth significantly more CPE credits because they are live and, usually, longer duration. For example, our upcoming Lola.com Agile Operations Summit offers a full day of learning, with six CPE credits.
Budget time as well as money
Continuing education takes time, one reason self-study is so popular. Most continuing education options cost money, too. Some employers offer tuition reimbursement (all or part) as a benefit, otherwise the cost will be on you. That said, there are numerous high-quality sources that offer free CPE credits for CPAs and CISSPs.
Life-long learning benefits everyone
Many companies deliberately cross-train employees because there is proven value in understanding co-workers’ responsibilities and challenges. Your travel program is good example. You have to control costs, forecast and budget appropriately, negotiate with suppliers, keep your travelers electronically and personally safe, and communicate effectively among all the players.
Obtaining CPE credits not only supports your professional certification, it can help keep you up-to-date on trends and challenges outside your specific field.