FAQ: Continuing Competency Requirements

See the appropriate section below that applies to the type of continuing competency question you have.  The sections include:


Audit Earning Providers Records Domestic Violence
Pediatric Abusive Head Trauma HIV/AIDS Pharmacology




Q:  I was selected for the CE audit last year.  I have friends that have been in nursing for many years but have never been selected.  Why did I receive an audit letter, and they did not?
A:  Nurses receiving CE audit letters are chosen by random selection.  The number of years one has been in nursing has nothing to do with the selection process.

Q:  What will happen if I am audited, and I do not have the required contact hours?
A:  You will be asked to earn the required hours and submit copies of the CE certificates to KBN along with a letter of explanation as to why these hours were earned late.  Once this documentation is received and accepted by KBN, you will be allowed to enter into a Consent Decree Agreement with KBN and pay the required fine.  If you refuse to earn the late hours and/or pay the fine, your records and audit response will be forwarded to the Investigation and Discipline Section of the Consumer Protection Branch for initiation of disciplinary action

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Q:  What are the dates of the CE earning period for renewal of my nursing license?
  Nurses are required to earn 14 contact hours or the equivalent within the yearly earning period of November 1 through October 31.  You may wish to view the CE Brochure [PDF Format - 271KB] for additional earning information.

Q:  My friend refers to the continuing education hours she earns as CEUs.  I notice that you refer to them as contact hours.  What is the difference in a CEU and a contact hour?
A:  For years there has been great confusion between the uses of the terms “CEU” and “Contact Hour”. Contact hours refer to the stated amount of time an individual was present during a course. One contact hour is equal to 50 minutes of clock time. Continuing Education Unit (CEU) is the term used as the unit of measurement by colleges and university to designate 10 contact hours. The term contact hour and CEU cannot be used interchangeably. Kentucky and most nursing continuing education providers require offerings to be determined in contact hours.

Q:  Is it true that I can use an employment evaluation for part of my CE hours?
A:  Yes.  A satisfactory employment evaluation or competency validation for your position as a nurse, that covers at least 6 months of the earning period, can be used for seven contact hours.  You must earn the other seven hours.  Other acceptable ways to earn your CE hours can be found on the CE/Competency page under "Licensure Renewal Requirements." 

Q:  Do college courses count as CE hours? 
A:  Academic courses in nursing and health care, or social or physical sciences, will count toward your CE requirement.  One semester credit hour equals 15 contact hours.  One quarter credit hour equals 12 contact hours.  These courses count as CE for the earning period in which the course was completed. 

Q:  I have attended a CE course that is not offered by an approved CE provider.  How can I get credit for these hours?
A:  You may wish to submit an Individual Request for Review of CE Activities  [PDF Format - 108KB] to KBN requesting contact hours for this course.  There is a non-refundable charge of $10 for the review.  You can also request an application form by contacting the KBN office at 800-305-2042, ext. 7191.  Once submitted, your application will be reviewed and, if approved, the appropriate number of contact hours will be awarded.  Applications must be submitted no later than November 30 of the licensure year.

Q:  Are CE hours earned on the Internet acceptable for licensure in Kentucky?  If so, how many of the required 14 hours can be earned on the Internet?
A:  Internet CE courses are acceptable if offered by an approved CE provider.  All 14 hours or any combination of the hours may be from Internet providers.

Q:  I understand that I can use my nursing certification for the required 14 contact hours of CE.  Is this correct?
A:  If you have a national nursing certification or recertification related to your practice role, and in effect the whole earning period or earned initially this period, it will count for the required 14 contact hours for Kentucky licensure.

Please note:  In addition to the national nursing certification, APRNs are required to earn 5 approved contact hours in pharmacology each earning period.  APRNs with a CAPA-CS are required to earn 1.5 approved CE contact hours on the use of KASPER, pain management, or addiction disorders. These hours may count as part of the required pharmacology hours. SANE-credentialed nurses must earn 5 contact hours of approved sexual assault CE.

Q:  I am required to take a class in CPR where I work.  Will this CPR class count toward my CE requirement?
A:  No.  CPR and BLS classes, as well as in-service education and nurse aide training, do not count as CE hours.

Q:  Will ACLS and PALS courses count toward my CE requirement?
A:  If an approved provider offers the ACLS or PALS courses, the hours earned will be accepted by KBN.

Q:  Can a nurse substitute CME credits for nursing contact hours?
A:  CME credits do not automatically transfer to contact hours.  If you wish to earn contact hours for a course that awarded CME credit, you will need to submit an Individual Request for Review of CE Activities [PDF Format - 108KB]

See response to FAQ “I have attended a CE course that is not offered by an approved CE provider.  How can I get credit for these hours?”

APRNs are allowed to use CME credits for pharmacology continuing education if the provider offering the course is recognized by their national certifying organization.

Q:  I have earned more CE hours this earning period than I need.  Can these hours be used for my next renewal?
A:  No.  CE hours cannot be carried over to the next earning period.  All 14 hours must be earned within the specified earning period.

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Q:  Where can I find a list of approved CE providers?                       
A:  You can view and/or print the CE Provider List [PDF Format - 94k], or you may request a copy of the list by contacting the KBN office.  A list of National Nursing Organizations recognized by KBN for CE is provided here.  If a provider that is approved by one of these organizations offers a course you wish to take, that course will be accepted by KBN for the same number of contact hours.

Q:  I would like to offer CE courses to other nurses and award contact hours for these classes.  What must I do to get KBN approval for these courses?
A:  KBN does not offer approval of each individual course, instead KBN approves the providers of the courses.  If you would like to become a KBN-approved CE provider, you will need to submit an Application for Initial Provider Approval [PDF Format - 862KB] to KBN.  A copy of the application can also be obtained by contacting the KBN office.

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Q:  Do I need to send in my CE hours?
A:  KBN does not keep track of each nurse’s CE hours – that responsibility falls on the individual nurse.  It is the responsibility of the CE provider to see that the nurse receives a certificate of completion, but the provider does not send a copy of the certificate to KBN.  You are not required to submit CE certificates to KBN unless requested to do so through the CE audit.   Nurses must retain records of their CE/competency for at least 5 years following a licensure period.

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Domestic Violence

Q:  I completed a domestic violence course a few years ago.  How often must I repeat this course?
A:  Nurses seeking reinstatement, licensure by endorsement from another state, and examination candidates educated outside of Kentucky must earn three contact hours of KBN-approved domestic violence CE within three years of licensure into Kentucky.  This is a one-time requirement.  Do not submit a copy to KBN unless requested to do so. 

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Pediatric Abusive Head Trauma

Q:  I understand Kentucky nurses are now required to complete a CE course in pediatric abusive head trauma. Please give me information about this requirement.
A: All nurses licensed as of July 15,2010 were required to have earned 1.5 CE contact hours in pediatric abusive head trauma (shaken baby syndrome) by December 31, 2013. Nurses licensed after July 15, 2010 must complete this earning within 3 years of their initial licensure date. This one-time only requirement is included as part of the nursing curriculum for nurses graduating from a Kentucky Program of Nursing after December 2011.

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Q:  I understand there have been some changes in the HIV/AIDS CE requirements.  How many HIV/AIDS contact hours must I earn, and what is the earning period?
A:  As of June 24, 2015 HIV/AIDS continuing education (CE) requirements have changed. HIV/AIDS CE is no longer mandatory. Nurses completing approved CE courses for HIV/AIDS will be allowed to use those hours to meet their requirement to complete 14 CE contact hours for renewal of their license. 

Documentation of earning contact hours of HIV/AIDS CE should be retained for at least 5 years, just the same as any other CE course. Do NOT submit a copy to KBN unless requested to do so.

HIV/AIDS, as well as any other CE courses must be offered by an approved CE provider. 

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Q:  I am an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) in Kentucky.  Are there any specific CE requirements for my registration renewal?
A:   APRNs are required to earn five contact hours of approved CE in pharmacology each earning period.  The licensure period is November 1 through October 31 of the renewal year.  In 2008, the regulation was amended to reflect that pharmacology CE hours can be earned from any provider that is recognized by your APRN accrediting body.  It is the responsibility of the individual APRN to contact the certifying body for a complete and up-to-date list of recognized providers for their organization. 

APRNs with a CAPA-CS are required to earn 1.5 approved CE contact hours on the use of KASPER, pain management, or addiction disorders. These hours may count as part of the required pharmacology hours.

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Q:  Are SANE-credentialed nurses required to earn specific CE hours in addition to the required 14 contact hours for RN renewal?
A:  SANE-credentialed nurses are required to earn 5 contact hours of approved sexual assault CE (forensic medicine or domestic violence CE will meet this requirement).  These hours count as part of the required 14 hours for RN renewal.

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