What are LPN/LVN Continuing Education Units?

But first, what is the difference between an LPN and an LVN?

Passing the NCLEX-PN is required for licensure of both LPNs and LVNs. The biggest difference between a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) and a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) is actually the name. The term LVN is used in California and Texas, while LPN is used throughout the rest of the United States.

What Are CEUs?

Continuing education units (CEUs) are educational credits for licensed professionals to complete them to maintain and renew state licensure. In nursing, the licensed practical/vocational nurse, registered nurse, and nurse practitioner are required to complete CEUs if their state mandates it.

The amount CEUs required for license renewal for LPNs/LVNs may vary by state.

CEUs are usually in the form of an article, webinars, video, class, seminar, or other educational venue that are created and taught by industry professionals and are required to be reviewed and approved by each state to be accepted by the state nursing board. After completing  a CEU course, a quiz is usually required to complete the course and obtain the credit. 

In states which require CEUs, they may either be accepted in any area of study or in different areas. For example, completing CEUs in pain management or infectious disease topics may be required by one state while another state may be satisfied with CEUs in any subject. Some states allow nursing employment hours, projects, authoring books or articles, and other nursing activities instead of CEUs.

Where can I obtain CEUs?

The easiest place to find CEUs is online. Some websites offer free CEUs while others charge per CEU activity or offer a subscription service. Many websites offer subscriptions for a fee and the LPN can complete unlimited  CEUs after signing up. The cost for the subscription can vary from $29 up to $99 a year depending on the website. Different topics and specialty areas are usually offered.

Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS), Basic Life Support (BLS), Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) among others are oftentimes accepted by the nursing state board for CEU credits. These certifications may be required for nursing employment depending on the LPNs specialty. The state board usually accepts recertification as well as certification for these classes.

After completing the CEU course, a Certificate of Completion is issued as proof of completion. It’s ideal to take a picture of the certification and email it to yourself. Create a computer file of CEUs and store all of them in it to help stay organized. It’s also ideal to keep physical copies in a safe place. Make sure that the CEU applies to your state of licensure before completing it as some CEUs are not accredited for all states.

What happens if I have incomplete CEUs for license renewal?

Each state has different license renewal guidelines and requirements about proving CEUs were completed for each renewal period. California, for example, randomly chooses license renewal applicants for audit by requiring the applicant to enter each completed CEU when they use the online renewal process. The selection of applicants is random so the nurse won’t know if he or she is required to prove CEU completion. Other states may require copies of the CEU Certification of Completion with each renewal period while others may choose to audit nurses by sending a letter requesting proof of CEU completion. You may have your license suspended until the CEUs are completed which would prevent you from working.

How long does it take to complete a CEU course?

Usually the more credits offered for the course, the longer it will take to complete the course. The length of the course depends on the topic and activities required.

Most online courses involve reading on a particular topic and then taking a short quiz. If you are able to answer enough questions correctly, you pass the course and receive your Certificate of Completion.

ACLS and PALS classes usually last for two eight-hour days while BLS classes takes one eight-hour day.

LVN/LPN CEU Requirements by State

CEU requirements vary by state. Some states require of CEUs and nursing employment, other states do not require any CEUs at all. Some states also offer certain options to completing CEUs, such as projects, national certifications, and academic courses.

Below is a simple list of CEU requirements for LPNs by state, however please consult your state board of nursing for additional information

  1. Alabama: 24 CEUs every 2 years
  2. Alaska: 2 or 3 are required for license renewal: 30 CEUs OR 30 hours of professional nurse activities OR 320 hours of nursing employment every 2 years
  3. Arizona: Not required
  4. Arkansas: 15 CEUs OR certification or recertification by a national certification board OR completion of an academic nursing course every 2 years
  5. California: 30 CEUs every 2 years
  6. Colorado: Not required
  7. Connecticut: Not required
  8. Delaware: 24 CEUs every 2 years
  9. District of Columbia: 18 CEUs every 2 years
  10. Florida: 24 CEUs every 2 years
  11. Georgia: 20 CEUs annually
  12. Hawaii: Not required
  13. Idaho: Not required
  14. Illinois: 20 CEUs every 2 years
  15. Indiana: Not required
  16. Iowa: 24 CEUs OR 36 CEUs, depending on the length of time the LPN has been licensed
  17. Kansas: 30 CEUs every 2 years
  18. Kentucky: 14 CEUs annually
  19. Louisiana: From 5 to 15 CEUs annually based on employment status
  20. Maine: Not required
  21. Maryland: Not required
  22. Massachusetts: 15 CEUs every 2 years
  23. Michigan: 25 CEUs every 2 years
  24. Minnesota: 12 CEUs every 2 years
  25. Mississippi: Not required
  26. Missouri: Not required
  27. Montana: 24 CEUs by December 31 annually
  28. Nebraska: 20 CEUs every 2 years
  29. Nevada: 30 CEUs every 2 years
  30. New Hampshire: 30 CEUs every 2 years
  31. New Jersey: 30 CEUs every 2 years
  32. New Mexico: 30 CEUs every 2 years
  33. New York: 3 CEUs in the subject of infection control every 4 years
  34. North Carolina: One of these three options every 2 years: 30 CEUs OR national certification or recertification OR completion of a board approved nursing refresher course OR 2 semesters of academic nursing education
  35. Or alternatively: 15 CEUs AND completion of nursing project meeting board specified guidelines or authoring nursing-related piece of writing or developing a nursing CEU course OR 640 nursing employment hours
  36. North Dakota: 0-12 CEUs annually depending on method of licensure
  37. Ohio: 24 CEUs every 2 years
  38. Oklahoma: 24 CEUs every 2 years
  39. Oregon: a one-time 7 CEU pain management course is required then no additional CEUs are required for renewal
  40. Pennsylvania: Not required
  41. Rhode Island: 10 CEUs every 2 years
  42. South Carolina: 30 CEUs OR national certification or recertification OR completion of an academic nursing program OR verification of employment hours every 2 years
  43. South Dakota: Not required
  44. Tennessee: Not required, however the LPN must demonstrate nursing competency by being employed as a nurse within the last 5 years
  45. Texas: 20 CEUs every 2 years within the LPNs area of practice
  46. Utah: 30 CEUs OR 200 practice hours and 15 CEUs OR 400 practice hours every 2 years
  47. Vermont: Not required
  48. Virginia: One of these must be completed: Certification in the LPNs specialty by national organization OR completion of 3 academic credit hours in nursing OR board-approved refresher course in nursing OR completion of nursing research study or publication OR teaching a nursing educational course OR teaching a CEU course OR 15 contact hours in nursing workshops, seminars, conferences or courses and 640 hours of nursing employment OR 30 contact hours in nursing workshops, seminars, conferences or course
  49. Washington: 45 CEUs and 531 nursing employment hours
  50. West Virginia: 24 CEUs and 400 nursing employment hours
  51. Wisconsin: Not required
  52. Wyoming: 20 CEUs every 2 years OR 1600 nursing employment hours within 5 years OR 500 nursing employment within 2 years OR passing NCLEX within 5 years OR national certification within last 5 years OR completion of nursing refresher program within last 5 years
  53. Puerto Rico: 21 CEUs every licensing period
  54. US Virgin Islands: 2 of the 3 are required-15 CEUs OR 15 contact hours of nursing activities OR 320 nursing employment hours