Continuing Education for Operators

For many years, Operators in BC and elsewhere across North America have taken training courses and workshops to increase their knowledge and abilities to do their jobs. Many Operators have worked in their field(s) for many years without having had the opportunity to study before they entered the workforce and short courses have become the only practical means of gaining the knowledge they need to better do their job.

In order to recognize this valuable training within the certification programs, Continuing Education Units (CEU’s) were adopted by the certification programs, based on the definitions and criteria developed by the International Association of Continuing Education and Training. Basically, a CEU is credited for each ten (10) hours of instruction in an organized program of study, under responsible supervision, and presented by qualified instructors.

For the past thirty years, certification programs affiliated with the Association of Boards of Certification (ABC) have recognized CEU’s as a means for Operators to gain credit equivalent to a formal, post-secondary program of study. On the basis of forty-five (45) CEU’s being equivalent to one year of post-secondary study, ninety (90) CEU’s and one hundred eighty (180) CEU’s have been recognized as satisfying the post-secondary education requirements for Level III and IV certificates respectively (commonly known as Advancement).

Most jurisdictions began implementing a continuing education requirement for all Operators to renew their certificates (usually on a two year basis). The BC program first mentioned this as a probable requirement many years ago but waited until they carried out a detailed study of the situation throughout North America in 2003 before they announced such a requirement for Operators in the province and Yukon.

The basic requirement of twenty-four (24) hours of instruction (2.4 CEU’s) every two years is consistent with virtually all states in the US and most of the provinces in Canada (most of whom are implementing the requirements at the same time as BC). Alberta has exactly the same requirement as BC while Ontario has done it slightly differently by tying the training requirement to the Class of facility in which the Operator works. In Ontario an Operator in a Class I facility must take thirteen (13) hours of training per year while an Operator in a Class IV facility must complete fifty (50) hours per year (a portion of this training can be on-the-job training but it must be clearly documented).

In BC and Yukon, the mandatory Continuing Education Requirement is per Operator, not per certificate. For Operators who hold more than one certificate there is a further requirement that a minimum of 25% of the training must be directly applicable to each certificate. The balance of the training should be generally applicable to each of the certificates.

While all jurisdictions have similar requirements with respect to what is acceptable for CEU’s for Advancement they also recognize that many of the topics that are accepted for that purpose are not suitable for the Continuing Education Requirement – intended to keep the Operator current in his/her field. Considerable effort is being expended at present to develop a definition or series of definitions that will be used by all jurisdictions to determine “Relevancy” for the Continuing Education Requirement.

ABC expects to have a final document ready by early in 2007 that each jurisdiction will have to review and make its own decisions on implementation. It can reasonably be expected that the list of courses approved for the Continuing Education Requirement will be shorter than the list of courses approved for Advancement.

EOCP's Training Registry: Please click here to access EOCP's Training Registry

Please confirm with the EOCP office whether or not a course you have taken or propose to take will satisfy the Continuing Education Requirement for one or more of the certificates you hold.