In the realm of licensed mental health professionals, the reality of license renewal and accruing continuing education credit hours is nearly universal. While it may not be the most glamorous facet of mental health, it stands as an indispensable and vital component for maintaining licensure status and staying abreast of evolving trends, treatments, ethics, and field expectations. Drawing from our 12+ years of experience as a continuing education company, this article aims to offer valuable guidance and insights into optimal strategies for tracking your CE Credit Hours, ensuring a seamless and stress-free license renewal.
1. Paper Trails:
For those who prefer the tactile feel of pen and paper, consider maintaining a dedicated CE Credit hour notebook. Jot down essential details like the workshop title, date, and provider. This method is straightforward and provides a quick, tangible reference when needed. Just make sure that you remember where you have stashed your notebook, so you don't find yourself scrambling at the last minute.
2. Embrace the Spreadsheet:
In the digital age, spreadsheets are invaluable tools. Create a simple Excel or Google Sheets document to log your CE Credit hours systematically. Include columns for date, workshop name, provider, and credit hours. This method is efficient, easily sortable, and can be backed up electronically. We suggest creating any digital files on a home/personal computer or online account (such as a personal google account). Jobs can change from time-to-time, and you don't want to find that your tracking sheet got left behind at your old workplace.
3. Online Platforms:
Explore specialized apps and platforms designed for tracking CE Credit hours. Many platforms offer features like automatic updates, reminders, and secure storage for your certificates. Find one that aligns with your workflow to streamline the tracking process.
4. File and Forget Not:
As you accrue certificates, establish a secure filing system. Create both physical and digital folders organized by date or category. This ensures you can swiftly locate certificates during the license renewal process, if needed.
Pro tip: often people reach out to us because they can’t find a certificate that they received by email. Sometimes they no longer have access to an old work email, or it can just be difficult to find things in a crowded email inbox. Don’t leave your certificates in your email with the plan to go back and find them later! Download or print your certificates right away to avoid this common issue.
5. Consistency is Key:
Whichever method you choose, consistency is paramount. Regularly update your tracking system immediately after completing a workshop. This minimizes the risk of overlooking crucial details and eliminates last-minute scrambles. Keep track of your total hours and any special topic requirements you need to fulfill. If you struggle with procrastinating, make a goal for yourself to complete all of your credit hours at least one month before the renewal deadline. We often hear from people who are worried and stressed as their renewal deadline approaches. Check your hours often, and don't be afraid to go over your required hours. It is better to have more hours than less!
While the method of tracking CE Credit hours is a matter of personal preference, the importance of doing so cannot be overstated. It's not merely a box to check; it's a proactive approach to your professional growth. By implementing a system that aligns with your preferences, you'll be happier and less stressed when renewal season comes around. The licensing boards don't mess around when it comes to CE Credit requirements, and neither should you!