CAPCE Approval Identifies Legitimate Learning Opportunities
Emergency medical service personnel are required to complete EMS continuing education hours in order to stay up to date on medical training information and maintain their certification. But how can you tell if a program is a valid CE opportunity? Look for the mark of CECBEMS approval.
What is CECBEMS approval?
The Continuing Education Coordinating Board for Emergency Medical Services (CECBEMS) grants accreditation to programs and organizations based on set criteria. The main goal of CECBEMS is to maintain consistent standards for training by identifying legitimate learning opportunities for EMS professionals.
CECBEMS approval comes in two forms:
- Course accreditation, for EMS continuing education events
- Organizational accreditation, for providers that continually offer EMS continuing education classes (accreditation lasts for three years)
How does a program get CECBEMS approval?
CECBEMS Chair Jack Allison said providers seeking accreditation for an individual course or an organization must submit applications to be reviewed by the board. Accreditation applications are reviewed by at least two people, a board member and a qualified reviewer, to see if the program meets CECBEMS’ requirements for approval.
“[For example] when you give material and you test [people on] it, one of the things we disallow is true-false questions because… true-false is a flip of a coin,” Allison said. “We really do ask people to ask appropriately constructed questions about the material that's being presented.”
If CECBEMS denies an accreditation request, the applicant is informed of what needs to be improved in order to gain approval.
Why is CECBEMS approval important?
According to Allison, CECBEMS is the leading accreditation body for EMS continuing education programs nationally. While CECBEMS-approved programs are not automatically accepted for CE credits in all 50 states, it is the most widely accepted form of accreditation in the United States.
“It gives [providers] legitimacy that their education offerings truly have been peer reviewed and that they are of a high standard,” he said.
As an example of why accreditation is important, Allison cited an incident that occurred in June 2010, in which multiple EMTs in Massachusetts and New Hampshire were suspended after they used falsified EMS continuing education credits to maintain their certification.
“Neither of those states requires CECBEMS. If they had, we feel very strongly that either there would not have been abuse or there wouldn't have been abuse at least to that scale,” Allison said. “Once [a program is] CECBEMS approved, people recognize that.”
Where can I find CECBEMS-approved classes online?
Health Ed Solutions is a CECBEMS continuing education accredited provider. For more information on CECBEMS-approved online courses offered by HES, click here.