CEU, PDU, CAU – What Do They All Mean?
CEUs, PDUs, CAUs... When it comes to your continuing competency, sometimes it's hard to understand the alphabet soup. NBCOT breaks it down for you.
- Published: July 19, 2021
We get a lot of questions regarding professional development units, especially when it comes to the different terminology used in the industry. Here, we will provide answers to the most common questions.
A professional development unit (PDU) is the term NBCOT utilizes with its renewal program. A continuing education unit (CEU) is what other organizations may use to indicate the value of a professional development activity.
- 0.1 CEU = 1 PDU
Example: A certificant attends a workshop and earns 1 CEU. This would equal 10 PDUs. It is recommended to go by the number of hours in attendance since some providers use the term CEU incorrectly.
*Please note: NBCOT adheres to the CEU definition defined by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET) of 1 CEU = 10 contact hours.
A competency assessment unit (CAU) is awarded for activities completed through NBCOT’s Navigator platform. Those activities include the following:
- Mini practice quizzes
- Case simulations
- OT Knowledge Library
- Management Challenge
- Orthotic Builder
Forty-three states and the District of Columbia accept our CAUs for licensure renewal to satisfy, in part, the state’s requirements. If your state is not listed, contact them to encourage acceptance of the Navigator.
You can also earn CAUs by completing the following activities:
- Certificant Self-Assessments
- Professional Development Continuing-Competency Plan (See the Certification Renewal Activities Chart for details.)
No, 1 CEU equals 10 contact hours. Contact hours and PDUs are equivalent, so 36 CEUs equal 360 contact hours or 360 PDUs.
0.1 CEU equals 1 PDU. Please refer to the conversion chart below, which is also included in the Certification Renewal Handbook.
|Unit Type||PDU Equivalent|
|1 contact hour (not to include meals or breaks)||1 PDU|
|1 clock hour (not to include meals or breaks)||1 PDU|
|0.1 continuing education unit (CEU)||1 PDU|
|1 contact hour earned through successfully completed education (workshops, seminars, online courses, or conferences) with an assessment component at the end of the program (scored test, project, paper) provided by AOTA; AOTA-approved providers; IACET-authorized providers; or regionally accredited colleges or universities||1.25 PDUs|
|1 competency assessment unit (CAU)||1 PDU (or 1 contact hour)|
You must have 36 units to renew. All your units can be PDUs or a mixture of CAUs and PDUs. The Certification Renewal Activities Chart provides nine different ways to earn CAUs and 23 ways to earn PDUs. It is important to remember that you can earn CAUs though your MyNBCOT account at no additional cost to you.
If the activity relates to occupational therapy and/or your practice area and it fits into one of the categories listed on our Certification Renewal Activities Chart, you can count the units toward your renewal requirements. NBCOT does not preapprove or accredit any specific courses or providers.
Yes, you can earn all 36 units online.
Yes, CPR counts toward your renewal requirements. Your CPR course may be used once per 3-year renewal period. You would need to confirm the length of the course with the provider to determine the number of units you can apply toward your renewal requirements.
Yes, you do not need to duplicate effort. You can use the professional development from your license renewal for your NBCOT certification renewal and vice versa.
Yes, you can take all seven self-assessments in one renewal cycle.
We recommend keeping your documentation for at least one year after you renew. NBCOT conducts a random audit during the renewal season, and you would need to provide documentation if you were selected for audit.