The goal in writing this article is to educate present and future students about the difference between approved schools vs. non-approved. In particular, this article will focus on distance learning or online courses, workshops and seminars offered by various organizations and institutions in the field of Companion Animal Behavior.
A student's goal, whether online or ground-based, is to maximize the monies spent on tuition, get the best education and, receive a diploma or certificate from a school or institute in good standing. Good standing as recognized by whom?
Many Behavior Counselors and Dog Instructors belong to one or more organizations or associations. Some of these associations have requirements to maintain a certain number of CEU's to continue membership.
While almost any organization or institution can say they are offering credits or CEU's for their courses or workshops, if the credit or CEU is not recognized by an official organization, these credits or CEU's will not bear legitimized recognition and may not be transferable or recognized by other organizations, associations or institutions. They are only good for the issuing organization.
A good place to start is with terminology. Let's clear up the meaning of accredited, CEU, and clock hours.
To ascribe or attribute to; to credit with. To certify as meeting a prescribed standard.
The granting of approval to an institution of learning by an official review board after the school has met specific requirements.
1American Heritage Dictionary, 2nd Ed., Houghton Miffin Co., Boston
There are 4 recognized national official review boards that will qualify school or institution curriculums and instructional staff. All four of the boards follow the same state and federal governed guidelines and formulae for certification requirements. This is important to know as, for example, English in a school on the east coast bears the same credential as any other approved school or institution in the USA. When some says, "I took English 101 at the University of Delaware", everyone knows what was learned in that course and that it bears the recognition of a 3 credit course.
CEU - Continuing Education Unit
Usually awarded for workshops and seminars as the time & content does not comply the requirements for an accredited course.
As per the national official review boards' requirements, 1 CEU is equal to 10 contact hours, (60 clock minutes), of participation offered by a capable responsible and qualified instructor. Its purpose is to provide a permanent record of an individual's educational accomplishments. An organization or institution that offers CEU's to their participants should be reviewed and approved by recognized standards.
While almost any organization or institution can say they are offering CEU's for taking their courses or workshops many of these CEU's are not transferable or recognized by other organizations, associations or institutions. They are only good for that organization.
Clock hours are also approved by governed standards. Clock hours are allowed for organizations that do not satisfy the guidelines for accreditation. If the school, institute, organization or association has not met the guidelines for accreditation, which is reserved for 2 & 4 year colleges & universities that provide undergraduate curriculums, clock hours are used to determine the number of actual classroom time spent.
Reasons why a perspective student would/should attend a licensed/registered school
2N.Y. State Department of Ed.
- The school or institution has an approved curriculum and equipment that has been reviewed by experts in the field.
- Recognized licensed schools are quality institutions.
- The student is protected financially and educationally.
Collecting CEU's, clock hours or credits is not the name of the game. These days, with our declining economic status, high unemployment statistics and fierce market competition it is wise to thoroughly understand what you are getting for your money. Why would you want to spend your precious hard earned dollars to attend a workshop, conference, or school that is not offering recognized credits, clock hours or CEU's or has not been approved and licensed to operate as a teaching body. Your education is an investment. It is up to you to research the institution and make sure that when they say they are offering credits, clock hours or CEU's, that it is valid.
There is great controversy in our profession as well as in others regarding techniques, skills, educational backgrounds, etc. When a company or a client hires an English teacher, graduated from the University of Delaware or from Cornell University, that person's educational background is based on that school's approved standards. The standards are the same for our profession. And, wouldn't you want to charge more for your services because you can prove you earned your knowledge from an approved school, institute or organization?
Joanne M. Coyle