Creating CEU classes for the security industry

Nov. 8, 2011
Creating CEU classes for the security industry

QUESTION: Do you know to whom and how I would submit a training program to be approved for CEU credits? [We received this question via email, and decided to answer in this blog post since the answer was something valuable for our entire industry. You can email your questions to me directly.]

ANSWER: That's a great question, because we have a lot of really knowledgeable people in our industry, but they aren't all working as trainers, so some of this industry knowledge is only shared if you get to know that person. Mostly, these speakers only get a chance to share their information at the big industry trade shows, but there are actually many more seminars around the industry that are offered throughout the year, in the form of webinars, as small on-site seminars, at the lesser trade events.

But back to the original question of how to submit a training program to be approved for CEU credits, the answer depends. I know, no one wants to hear "it depends," so let me quality that. That answer depends on who is issuing the CEU credits. The reality is that the training and certification offerings in our industry are really fragmented. But let's run through them.

ASIS International offers credits toward its certifications (they call them CPE credits, continuing professional education), and they apply to the CPP, PSP and PCI certifications. ASIS has it such that you receive one CPE for each instruction hour. You can find out a lot about ASIS education on their webpage, and you can email the ASIS education coordinator at

SIA, the Security Industry Association, is an organization designed to promote the manufacturers in our industry, and they actually offer training as well because the organization has expanded to serving the systems integration community. They're best known for the Certified Security Project Manager course, which costs $1,850 and which comes with certification that lasts three years. Over those three years, the recipient must complete obtain 30 CEU credits and pay $100/$150 to renew the CSPM certification. SIA does a great job explaining how the re-certification works, and they also have a form to be used to submit credit requests. CEUs for the CSPM can be obtained through a variety of methods, including volunteering, writing articles for publications like this one, attending seminars (1 hour = 1 credit), speaking and even your regular work experience.

NICET offers a number of well-recommended certifications in the industry, but by-and-large, they don't use a formalized CEU model, but prefer to continue certifications for "active practitioners" -- the folks actually still working in that area. That said, they do have a great form for tracking Continuing Professional Development (CPD). They do recognize other CEUs in this, but don't preapprove CPDs for educational seminars. Here's how NICET explains it in their bylaws: "NICET will not pre-approve courses, seminars or other training efforts for CPD points. It is the responsibility of the certificant to assure that such activities meet the NICET requirements, particularly the requirement that the additional education constitutes professional development for that individual; in other words, it must increase the certificant's knowledge -- not merely cover what should already be known."

The Electronic Security Association offers industry certifications through its training arm known as the National Training School (NTS). You can find the NTS certifications listed here, and the CEU process is such that anyone wanting re-certification needs 12 hours of continuing education each year (Each hour of training is equal to 1/10th of a CEU, so certificate holders need 1.2 CEUs per year). The National Training School does allow organizations to pre-certify their seminars, and there is a cost to this. The NTS is very specific that course content be specific to their attendees' needs and roles in the industry. They do a great job sharing the information for speakers about developing CEU-approved classes, and you should take the time to read it if you're thinking of developing seminar content.

I'll stop with those organizations (although there are plenty more organizations that offer certification and which could be included here), because they seem to be the dominant certifying groups. If you have any clarifications on CEU credits or want to share your own insights about earning CEUs from these or other relevant organizations, by all means do so in the comments below.