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4 Steps to Finding Relevant and Affordable (sometimes free) CPEs

It is essential for business professionals to obtain and  maintain sufficient knowledge to perform their job.  Many have obtained certifications that demonstrate proficiency in specific areas.  To ensure practitioners’ skillsets  remain current, many of these certifications require the completion of some sort of continuing education.

1.  Join Professional Associations and Attend Meetings (1 to 12 CPE Credits)

Professional organizations have local chapters that provide monthly 1 hour training and networking opportunities.  There is typically a small fee to attend, however, depending on the topic attendance may be worthwhile.  Organizations also periodically offer longer (4 or 8 hour) training sessions.  Many organizations post information concerning meeting topics, dates and times on their websites and advertise through member newsletters.

2.  Actively Participate in Associations (Up to 40 CPE Credits)

Professional associations need good people to manage the operations.  Serving as the President, Secretary, Treasurer, Event Planner, etc can not only expand your network, but you can rack up valuable CPE’s.

3.  Take Advantage of Free Webinars (1 to 3 CPE Credits/Course)

Many professional associations offer free webinars to members.  Additionally, professional services firms, such as Deloitte and Baker Tilly, offer free webinars to advertise their products or services.

4.  Trade Association Journal Quizzes (1 to 3 CPE Credits)

Professional organizations oftentimes offer free or low cost CPE for reading their trade journals and responding to quiz questions.

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Bonus – Take a College Course or Teach a Course

Taking a college course can yield up 40 hours of CPE credit.  Your company may reimburse the cost of a college course.  Check with your human resources department.

Also, teaching a course, class or seminar is a great way to get CPE credit.  Presenters and instructors oftentimes receive credit for not only classroom time but also prep time.

With either option, check with your professional association for specifics regarding required course content and the number credit hours.

Conclusion

There are many affordable or free CPE options.  Using one or a combination of the steps above can assist you in finding training that not only meets your knowledge need but your economic reality.  During 2011, I was able to obtain over 40 hours of CPE for less than $200 using some of the steps listed above.

The table below shows displays select professional organizations and their free or low cost CPE offerings.

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OrganizationLocal Chapters*WebinarsJournal Quizzes
The Institute of Internal AuditorsYesYesYes
Association of Certified Fraud ExaminersYes**YesYes
Information Systems Audit & Control AssociationYesYesYes
SCCEYesYesYes

*Free to members

**CPEs offered for Recorded and live webinars.  All others offer CPE for live webinars only.

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Robert Berry (88)

Robert (That Audit Guy) Berry is a risk, compliance and auditing advocate, educator and innovator. He helps good professionals become better by creating articles, web services and training that allow them to expand their knowledge network.

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