In March, the College distributed their 2023 Member Survey. I would like to say a personal thank you to everyone that took the time to complete the survey this year. We read every comment and the responses are used to help improve our processes and procedures. Year after year, we receive similar trends in the comments and this year there was a focus on the Continuing Competence (CC) program. I would like to take some time to address those and clarify some confusion. In this article, I will be touching only on areas of confusion or common questions. Last year, we published an article on Understanding the CC Program Requirements which can be referenced for any questions about the program structure.
In the recent survey we asked, ‘Did you have any difficulties meeting the CC requirements?.’ 75% of respondents did not have any difficulties meeting the CC requirements while 25% indicated they did have difficulties. Of the 25% that indicated they had difficulties; the following were some of the barriers reported:
Self-Direct vs Continuing Education
The credit categories are an area of confusion for many. The previous CC program involved completing a self-evaluation and a developing learning plan of self-directed (SD) activities; however, when the Competence Committee was evaluating the program, the majority of feedback from members was that they wanted to have more direction on the courses they needed to take.
This is where the Continuing Education (CE) category came into place. The CE activities are College-approved courses that can be found on the CE Activity List. These courses are reviewed by the Competence Committee and must meet specific criteria. One rule for CE activities is they must be inclusive and available to all members which is why many employer training opportunities are not approved for CE credits (this includes the AHS employee training courses).
The SD activities remain part of the CC program, but they cannot be used for more than half (30) of the required 60 credits. This allows members to claim courses or activities that do not have the same degree of rigor or those which are not available to all members. A great example of this is precepting a student – did you know that precepting a student is worth 30 credits? Not only are you helping advance the future of your profession, but you are also awarded half of the credits needed to complete your yearly continuing competence program requirements!
Not Enough Continuing Education Opportunities
The approved list of CE courses has over a thousand training opportunities. This list can be used to meet all your credit requirements or the minimum of 30 credits. We are always looking for new training opportunities and if there is a course you think meets all the CE Requirements for Approval, you can submit the Program Approval Application to be reviewed by the Competence Committee.
Not Enough Time to Complete Requirements
We receive many comments from members voicing their concern about the time it takes to meet the credit requirement. Regulated members are required to complete 60 CC credits per registration cycle, 30 of which must be Continuing Education. The credit categories are broken down the following way:
CE activities can be used to meet the full 60 credit requirement and since they are weighted more per hour, they can also be used to meet the credit requirement while occupying the least amount of time. If utilizing only CE credits, the minimum time requirement is 20 hours over the course of the whole registration cycle (12 months): 3 (credits) x 20 (hours) = 60 credits
The maximum amount of time spent on Continuing Competence throughout the registration cycle is 40 hours. This would come from completing the minimum CE requirement of 30 credits (10 hours) and fulfilling the rest of the credits using Self-Directed activities for 30 credits (30 hours).
The Courses Cost Too Much
We recognize that some of the approved courses cost more than others and that courses can be expensive. We acknowledge that some courses, such as ACLS or NRP, may be more expensive, however they are widely recognized and may be required in some practice settings. We believe these courses clearly meet the requirements for CE credits, which is why they are listed.
For those looking for less expensive options, we keep an up-to-date list of free online courses and activities that are also approved for CE credits. This list can be found here. You will see that these free courses vary in their hour requirements/CE credits and they all can be used to complete all the 60 credits required.
Alternatively, there are approved providers that offer their services at a subscription-based payment which helps keep costs lower. These providers are:
- 10-8 CME: $60 per year = one year of access to full course library
- 24/7 EMS: $65 per year = access to 100+ courses
- Action Training: Various yearly subscriptions
- Med Mastery: $47 per month = access to 100+ courses
- Vector Solutions: $89 per year = access to 200+ courses
The Continuing Competence Audit
In February, we wrapped up the Continuing Competence Audit. This year we selected 320 members to participate and had a 91% success rate. I am proud to see this is an increase from the last audit and I am hopeful it will continue to increase year after year. The next audit is planned for November 2023 and the Competence Committee will be increasing participants to 500 members for the next audit.
In closing, I would like to thank everyone again for participating in the member survey. We take your feedback to heart and use it to guide our decision making where we can. Also, to those who have participated in our CC audit and for those that do in the future – Thank you for your diligence and for helping us meet this important regulatory requirement.
Take care and stay safe,
Tim A. Ford