SACSCOC Compliance

The UAH Office of Professional and Continuing Education (OPCE) processes all noncredit course registrations, related accounts receivables, and official CEU transcript records through UAH Noncredit Registration in compliance with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

Continuing Education Units (CEUs)

The University of Alabama in Huntsville maintains two types of continuing education records: (1) documentation of each noncredit program and activity and (2) documentation of each participant awarded Individual CEUs.

These records are used to provide internal reports for University administration, externally for organizations such as the Alabama Commission on Higher Education and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), and to produce Individual CEU record transcripts for eligible participants.

A transcript is available for $10 through the Noncredit Registration Office.

The guidelines for awarding CEUs are based on SACSCOC The Continuing Education Unit: Guidelines. These guidelines are drawn from CEU criteria disseminated by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET) and other continuing education authorities (

Successful course completion requires participants to attend 80% of scheduled class meetings (and complete associated exams or projects, if applicable). The noncredit course grading system is Pass/Fail. Participants receive a certificate or letter of completion indicating the number of CEUs earned.

To determine whether CEUs may be applied toward professional certification, licensing requirements, or other required training or continuing education hours, consult your training department or licensing authority.


Use of the Continuing Education Unit (CEU)

The CEU is a uniform unit that measures individual participation in noncredit continuing education. All significant post-secondary level learning experiences for which degree credit is not earned should be recognized through the use of the CEU, reserving the term "credit" for those learning activities which generally lead to a degree or diploma.

Individuals may use personal records reported in CEUs to meet requirements for:

  • Maintenance or improvement of professional competencies;
  • Documentation of continuing qualifications for licensure, certification or registration;
  • Evidence of personal and vocational growth and adjustment to meet changing career demands; and/or
  • Demonstration of a conscious and persistent effort toward personal development.
Awarding of the Continuing Education Unit

Universities must adhere to the SACSCOC guidelines to award Individual and Institutional CEUs. The CEU is used to recognize adult participation in non-credit courses, workshops, and programs. One CEU is defined as 10-contact hours of participation in an organized continuing education experience under responsible sponsorship, capable direction and qualified instruction. The number of contact hours and appropriate CEUs must be determined and approved prior to the beginning of the program, but only after the objectives, content, format, methods of instruction and program schedule have been established.

Calculating Contact Hours

The contact hour is defined as a typical 60 minute classroom instructional session or its equivalent. In informal formats, the clock hour should be used. When the appropriate number of instructional or contact hours has been determined, CEUs are assigned on the basis of one unit for each 10 contact hours and one-tenth unit for each additional full contact hour. Fractions of 50 minutes or greater may be rounded up. Fractions from 30-49 minutes round down to 30, and fractions less than thirty minutes are discarded.

When activities have been approved for the awarding of CEUs and the number of units for the activity has been determined, those individuals who satisfactorily complete the activity will receive CEUs. Satisfactory completion is determined by the program director or instructor on the basis of criteria for completion developed by the planning group for the program or activity and in compliance with CEU standards.

In calculating the contact hours, the following factors may be included:

  • Classroom or meeting session hours with direct participation between the learner and instructor or discussion leader are counted as contact hours.
  • Laboratory sessions, clinical experiences, field trips and activities using non-traditional methods of instruction may be awarded CEUs, but the contact hours must be based on the equivalent instructional class hours.
  • For correspondence or self-study courses, the number of CEUs to be applied should be based on the time that the sponsor estimates is required by students to complete the course at a satisfactory level.

Time devoted to the following and similar activities may not be included when calculating contact hours for CEUs:

  • Meeting time devoted to business or committee activities;
  • Meeting time devoted to announcements, welcoming speeches, or organizational reports;
  • Time for study, assigned reading, reports, written assignments, and other related activities outside of the class meeting schedule;
  • Scheduled time allocated to social activities, entertainment, coffee breaks, luncheons, dinner, etc. (Luncheon or dinner presentations which are an integral part of the educational experience may be included).
Alternatives to the CEU

National CEU guidelines were first disseminated in 1968 by the Council on the Continuing Education Unit, the original entity which became the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET), and is regarded as the national caretaker of the CEU. The CEU continues in general use by institutions of higher education as the standard measure of continuing education.

In the intervening years, many professional organizations, state professional regulatory agencies, and other entities have created additional requirements or alternative measures (CLEs, CFEs, PDUs, etc.) for their constituent members in completing requisite professional development. Many of these accept the standard CEU at face value; others require a program-by-program review process, and even approval as a "certified CE provider."

UAH's CEU is generally accepted across the professions because of its conformance to national guidelines and the good academic reputation of the University. However, individuals are responsible to research the licensure or continuing education requirements of their specific professional area to determine if there are additional requirements.

Please note the following conversion rates into Professional Development Hours (PDH), Continuous Learning Points (CLP), Professional Development Units (PDU), and Certified Professional Education Units (CPE).

  • One CEU = 10 clock/contact hours of instruction
  • One PDH, CLP, PDU, or CPE = one contact hour of instruction
  • One CEU = 10 PDH, CLP, PDU, or CPE