What is CPE, exactly?
CPE stands for Continuing Professional Education. It’s a type of training that aims to help professionals in the education system stay up-to-date with new laws in their field, develop their skills, and apply these skills effectively in their daily work.
For teachers, CPE is a way of ensuring that they keep developing and honing their skills to better serve the needs of their students. The goals of Continuing Professional Education are to reinforce existing skills, develop new skills or evolve to the next professional level, and obtain new skills and knowledge.
CPE classes can be provided internally by institutions, like school districts or school administrations, by independent coaches, by commercial, certified training providers, or they can be pursued individually online. Teachers and education professionals in the U.S. need to accumulate 150 to 200 hours of CPE training every five years, when their CPE certificate expires.
Why is CPE important for teachers and tutors?
CPE is very important for teachers, because education is a constantly-evolving field, and it’s crucial to always be up-to-date on new teaching methods, tools, technology, and any other new developments. We’ve seen the importance of this during the pandemic, when so many schools had to shut down and teachers and students had to adapt to remote learning and teaching. Unfortunately, many of these teachers and students were not prepared, and not aware of all the tools and technologies that can be used for effective remote classes and lessons. Making sure that, as a teacher or an educator, you’re always up to speed with new developments, and are ready to tackle unforeseen events can be extremely beneficial, and can help you better serve the needs of your students.
What’s more, through CPE training, teachers and educators can learn new ways and methods to teach children of different backgrounds, or children who suffer from different learning disabilities. Being able to offer the right support to children with learning disabilities or special educational needs can help teachers address the individual needs of each student, creating what we call inclusive classrooms.
Is CPE mandatory for teachers?
CPE is usually required by institutions or companies in the education field, and each school or institution will have its own policy regarding how CPE hours can be earned, and through which providers. However, the Department of Education does list a few crucial expectations that all teachers should achieve as part of their continuing education efforts.
The number of hours and the specific requirements will vary from state to state, but usually there is a required number of hours of CPE that teachers need to complete every five years – usually around 150 hours. These hours need to be completed by all educators with a standard certificate, including superintendents, counselors, principals, reading specialists, master teachers, educational diagnosticians, and even school librarians.
What types of activities are accepted for CPE hours?
There are various ways in which teachers and educators can accumulate the required CPE hours they need to renew their CPE certificates. These activities can include:
- Workshops, conferences (in-person or online), seminars
- in-service/staff development activities provided by a certified sponsor
- Completing undergraduate courses or graduate courses related to the education field
- Interactive distance learning, video conferencing, other online courses
- Developing CPE training materials or curriculum
- Mentoring or providing guidance to a fellow educator
- Authoring or co-authoring a published work covering relevant education subjects
- individual /independent study of books, journals, periodicals, and so on.
Some of these activities should not exceed a specific number of hours. For instance, independent learning should not exceed 20% of the required CPE clock hours, and mentoring another educator can’t exceed 30% of the required CPE hours. It’s important that at least 80% of CPE activities are related to the certificate, or certificates that are being renewed. The focus should be on skill development, knowledge, district priorities, classroom management, diversity and inclusivity, integrating technology and interactive teaching methods, and child development. The goal is for these CPE hours and activities to ultimately help you, as a teacher, become better at your job and better serve the specific, unique needs of each one of your students.