Continuing Education at a Glance
To protect and enhance the reputation of the Certified Equity Professional designation, CEPs and ECAs are required to report 30 hours of industry-related Continuing Education (CE) every two years in order to continue using the designation.
Continuing Education Applications must be submitted online through CEPI Connect.
CEPs and ECAs can track their CE activities online through CEPI Connect. Designees must choose from courses listed in CEPI Connect under My Education. If you are looking for a course by a provider that is not listed in our portal, please encourage the course provider to contact us at email@example.com. All CE activities must be directly related to equity compensation and must address one or more of the core disciplines of equity compensation (Accounting, Corporate and Securities Law, Equity Plan Design, Analysis and Administration, and Taxation).
Activities cannot count toward a future CE cycle. For example, a conference session attended in 2022 cannot be counted toward a designee’s 2023-24 continuing education cycle.
Deadlines & Fees
New designees will be notified of their Continuing Education due dates shortly after passing the ECA or Level 3 exam. CE applications are due on December 31, but they can be submitted any time. The CEPI has a three-month grace period for submitting CE reports. If a CEP or ECA does not submit the CE hours by the due date, they will no longer be considered "active" in their designation. In addition, they should stop using the CEP or ECA designation until they have brought their CE up to date.
The following fees are associated with CE:
- $250 administrative fee for filing the CE application. This fee is waived for all CEPs who complete a minimum of 15 hours of volunteer work for the CEPI in a single (two year) reporting period
- $100 late fee is assessed for CE applications that are received after the grace period for the reporting period has expired
The Continuing Education fee of $250 includes unlimited access to the latest editions of all CEP/ECA texts for no additional cost. These materials, updated yearly, are available to all who have earned the ECA or CEP designation. For more information, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Why Continuing Education?
Continuing Education is a common practice for many professional certifications. The continued growth in numbers of CEP and ECA designees is a testament to the increasing professionalism and the respect the designation has earned within the industry. The Continuing Education requirement for CEPs and ECAs helps to ensure that:
- The CEP and ECA designations remain the preeminent symbol of knowledge and integrity for the equity professional field.
- Designees’ skills and knowledge continue to be current.
The field has become increasingly complex and the pace of change is very rapid, making it crucial that designees are committed to ongoing professional development.
All CE activities must be directly related to equity compensation and must address one or more of the core disciplines of equity compensation. The following sections describe how to determine what activities are approved for Continuing Education hours.
Types of Activities
CEPs and ECAs will choose from a range of topics and educational activities that are the most relevant to their continuing professional development. Examples include equity compensation-related courses, seminars, workshops, conferences, local and regional chapter meetings/events, and sessions attended at national conferences. Eligible courses can be found in the drop-down menus on CEPI Connect. If you do not see a course listed in the menus, please contact the course provider directly.
CEPs can receive credit by participating in any of the following volunteer committee activities designed for Certified Equity Professional Institute program maintenance:
- Item Writing (exam question writing)
- Item Review
The CEPI is always looking for volunteers. If you are interested in participating in any of the activities listed above, please submit a volunteer application through CEPI Connect under My Volunteering. Renewal administrative fees are waived for CEPs who complete a minimum of 15 volunteer credit hours. ECAs are not eligible for test development volunteering.
Click here for more information about volunteer opportunities.
Those with the ECA designation can satisfy their 30-hour continuing education requirement by sitting for the Level 2 or Level 3 CEP exam, whether they pass or fail. Both CEPs and ECAs can gain 30 hours of continuing education credit by taking the Advanced Equity Compensation Accounting (AECA) exam.
For presentations at meetings or conferences on equity compensation-related topics, the actual presentation time is continuing education. If you present the same material multiple times, you can claim continuing education credit for each time.
If your company is a CEPI-approved continuing education provider and has a formal prep-course for CEP exam candidates, please reach out to us at email@example.com to see if your participation in the program meets our requirements to qualify for CE credits. No more than 10 hours spent training people to take the CEP exams can be counted toward continuing education per 30-hour continuing education cycle.
- CEP Institute-sponsored events (Symposium, etc.)
- CEP Institute test-development volunteer activities
- Local chapter meetings of the following national organizations (non-social meetings)
- Topics from industry association events, such as:
- Defusing the AMT Bomb for ISOs
- Stock Option Plan Considerations in Mergers and Acquisitions
- Approaches for Dealing with Underwater Stock Options
- Rule 10b5-1 Trading Arrangements for Executives
- Section 16 Developments
- Online webinars or webcasts for equity compensation-related topics
- Industry conferences
- Taking a Level 2 or 3 CEP or AECA exam
- Commercial product trainings
- Software sessions
- Courses on topics such as general accounting, estate planning, leadership skills, time management, or general business practices
- College or University courses and industry-sponsored job fair and/or social gatherings
- Day-to-day job activities
CEPs and ECAs should participate in activities that support their jobs, but some of these are not considered Continuing Education for the requirement. Programs and events that provide content that is more informational than educational or is related to a product would not qualify for continuing education credits.
Activities cannot count toward a future CE cycle. For example, a conference session attended in 2022 cannot be counted toward a designee’s 2023-24 continuing education cycle. This is a policy change implemented in 2021.
CE Provider Certification Checklist
There is currently no cost to become a continuing education provider for the CEP Institute. Approved providers receive log-in credentials to the CEPI Connect system, where they can upload courses that qualify for credit. Providers are asked to self-certify that all sessions submitted meet the following criteria.
The two primary criteria for qualification are that the activity must (1) have educational content on an equity compensation-related topic and have an industry focus, and (2) be relevant to equity compensation professionals and further their successful functioning as CEP or ECA designees. You can use the following guidelines to help evaluate an activity:
- Is it educational in content?
- Is it directly related to equity compensation?
- Does it address one (or more) of the core disciplines of equity compensation (accounting; corporate and securities law; equity plan design, analysis and administration; or taxation)?
- Is it targeted to equity compensation professionals?
- Does it meet standards of rigor encouraged by the CEP Institute?
- Does it provide information that is beneficial and usable?
- Is it similar to the qualifying examples previously listed?
Training that is related to a product or investment strategy does not count toward continuing education. Financial wellness sessions do not qualify as continuing education.
If you are a continuing education provider and are not sure if an activity can be considered as continuing education, please contact the CEPI at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tracking & Submitting Hours
CEPs and ECAs can track and submit their approved CE activities online through CEPI Connect. A total of 30 hours of industry-related Continuing Education (CE) is required every two years in order to continue using the CEP and ECA designations.
Quantifying Hours Earned
1 CE unit is equal to 1 hour of educational activity. Credit hours can be earned in ¼ hour increments (rounded up to the nearest quarter-hour).
For CE, an hour is defined as 60 minutes of educational activity. Note this is NOT the same as CPE hours for other designations such as CFP or CPA. More information on this can be found in the CPE Hours Versus CE Hours section below.
CE credit is given for the amount of time spent in an educational activity, excluding meals and breaks. For example, an equity compensation-related conference begins at 9 a.m. on a Monday and ends at noon on Wednesday. Tuesday afternoon is a social event, so there are no qualifying hours from that segment. Excluding breaks, there are 5 hours of educational content in a full day and 2.5 in a half day. Any person can obtain a maximum of 10 CE credits for this conference (5 hours on Monday, 2.5 on Tuesday, 2.5 on Wednesday).
Is "Continuing Professional Education" Different?
Many organizations offer sessions that are eligible for CPE credit that may also be eligible for CE credit through the CEPI. However, they may qualify for different amounts of credit. CPE credit hours are based on a 50-minute hour, and CE credit is awarded for a 60-minute hour. Therefore, if a CEP or ECA submits an activity for CE that has been awarded 4 hours of CPE credit, they can count 3.5 hours of CE for that activity. The formula for conversion is:
(hours of CPE credit X 50 minutes)/60 minutes = CE hours
In this example it would be (4 CPE credit X 50 minutes)/60 minutes = 3.33333 CE hours, rounded up to the nearest quarter hour is 3.5 hours.
Not all activities that earn CPE credit can be applied to the CE requirement for CEPs/ECAs.
Submitting Continuing Education Hours
The Continuing Education reporting process makes complying easy and straightforward. Simply record your activities in your CEPI Connect account. Once you have accumulated 30 hours, you can submit the application online. There is a $250 administrative fee for filing the application. This fee is waived if the application includes 15 or more volunteer hours for the CEP Institute.
The following are step-by-step instructions on how to track and submit CE hours through CEPI Connect:
- Go to CEPI Connect:
- Enter your login ID (email address) and your password. If you have forgotten your password, select the “Forgot password/Reset Password” option. A new password will be emailed to you. If you do not receive the password reset email, please check your Junk folder. If you do not remember the email address associated with your account, please contact the CEPI at (408) 554-2187 or email@example.com
- DO NOT CREATE A NEW ACCOUNT in CEPI Connect. A new account will not contain your exam history and will not recognize you as a CEP/ECA.
- Once you have accessed your account, click Certification Details, then CE. There, you will see how much CE you have earned, and how many hours you still have remaining.
- To add activities, click Add CE and select sessions from the dropdown menus.
- Test takers: CE credit for taking exams will appear on your application automatically.
- Test development volunteers: The CEPI will add your volunteer hours shortly after each activity.
- Once your application is complete, click Submit Recertification. This step is required even if your hours are entirely related to test taking or volunteer activities.
All courses will be subject to audit, so please retain attendance information and be prepared to submit verification.
Failure to Submit CE Hours
CEPs and ECAs who fail to submit the CE requirement will be considered inactive. Please refer to your CEPI Connect account for your current CE credit requirement.
To be reinstated, if you have been inactive for fewer than three years you must submit all past due Continuing Education hours and pay the $250 renewal fee, in addition to a $100 late fee if processed in the first two years or a $150 late fee if processed in the third year.
If you are reactivating your CEP designation, you must retake and pass the Level III exam to return to active status if more than three years have passed since your most recent renewal deadline.
If you are reactivating your ECA designation, you may retake and pass the ECA exam, or pass the Level II or the AECA exam, to return to active status if more than three years have passed since your most recent renewal deadline.
Candidates registering for any exam to reinstate their designations will be required to pay the full enrollment fee.