Common Continuing Education Credit Types

  • Updated

There are differences in continuing education (CE) acronyms, how they are used and who can use them. Please see below for some additional information on some of the standard CE acronyms you might commonly see or use:

  • CME stands for continuing medical education. In general, CME refers to credits for physicians and others with a medical license. Nurse practitioners (NPs) cannot claim pharmacology from a CME activity.
  • CE stands for continuing education for NPs. NPs can claim pharmacology credit from a CE activity.
  • CNE stands for continuing nursing education.
  • CEU stands for continuing education unit for licensed practical nurses, licensed vocational nurses, registered nurses and other health professions.


When calculating actual values and time associated with the different types of CE acronyms, there are subtle differences that are important to make note of. See below:

  • CE = approximately 60 minutes of educational instruction (not to be confused with CEU).
  • CEU = 10 hours of education (1 CEU = 10 contact hours).
  • Contact Hour = one clock hour (60 minutes) of an organized learning activity.


If you have completed a CE activity that has awarded CE credit that is anything other than CE/pharmacology and have any questions related to whether that activity can be used towards your recertification, you will need to contact your licensing board for additional information and guidance.

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