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 SANE Refresher Courses


Q:  I have friends that have been in nursing for many years but have never been selected for the CE audit. 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 explaining why these hours were earned late. Once this documentation is received and accepted by KBN, you may be allowed to enter into a Consent Decree agreement with KBN. A Consent Decree is not considered disciplinary action, but there is a fine assessed with it. If you refuse to earn the late hours and/or pay the fine, your audit records will be forwarded to the Investigation Branch for initiation of a complaint.

Back to Top


Q:  What are the dates of the CE earning period for renewal of my nursing license?
  November 1 through October 31. You may view the ​​​​​CE Brochure 2020-2021​​​​​ renewal for additional earning information.

Q:  What is the difference between a CEU and a contact hour? Which is correct?
A:  Kentucky and most nursing continuing education providers require offerings to be determined in contact hours. 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 universities to designate 10 contact hours. The terms contact hour and CEU cannot be used interchangeably.

Q:  How many continuing education contact hours do I need to earn?

A:  LPNs and RNs must earn 14 contact hours (or the equivalent) of approved continuing education each year to renew their license.  APRNs and SANE nurses have additional CE requirements.  Refer to the   CE Brochure 2020-2021 for additional information.

Q:  Am I exempt from earning CE contact hours for my first renewal? 

A:  No. There is no exemption for a first time renewal.  

Q:  Do college courses count as CE hours? 

A:  Yes, but the course must be:

   •  a nursing course, designated by a nursing course number, or an academic course that is applicable to the nurse’s role;

   •  beyond the prelicensure curriculum of the license; and

   •  successfully completed (a grade of “C” or better or a “pass” on an pass-fail grading system) during the earning period.

One semester credit hour equals 15 contact hours. One quarter credit hour equals 12 contact hours.   

Q:  Can an LPN or RN substitute CME credits for nursing contact hours? 

A:  Not automatically. CME credits are Continuing Medical Education activities geared towards physicians. A nurse can have the hours reviewed for possible conversion into nursing continuing education hours by submitting an Individual Request for Review of CE Activities. There is a non-refundable fee of $10.00 and the application, with all supporting documentation, must be received no later than November 30.    

Q:  I have attended a CE course that is not offered by an approved or accepted CE provider. How can I get credit for these hours? 

A:  You can have the hours reviewed for possible conversion into nursing continuing education contact hours by submitting an Individual Request for Review of CE Activities. There is a non-refundable fee of $10.00 and the application, with all supporting documentation, must be received no later than November 30.     

Q:  Is online/home study CE accepted by KBN? 

A:  Yes, if offered by an approved CE provider. All, or any combination of, contact hours can be online or home study.

Q:  Can CPR be counted as CE?
A:  No. Basic cardiopulmonary resuscitation (BLS/CPR) and activities that are part of an employing agency's staff development program designed to provide information related to the work setting, such as on-the-job training, orientation, or equipment demonstrations, do not meet the requirements for continuing competency and CANNOT be accepted.   

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. If audited, you must provide the certificate of completion awarding contact hours; the certification card alone is not sufficient.

Q:  Can I use an employment evaluation for part of my CE hours?
A:  Yes. A satisfactory employment evaluation and seven (7) contact hours can be one method for validating continuing competency.  The evaluation must be satisfactory for continued employment and be signed by your supervisor.  The evaluation must include the employer's name, address, and phone number and cover at least six (6) months of the earning period  (November 1 - October 31).

Q:  Can I use my national nursing certification for the required 14 contact hours of CE?
A:  Yes. if it was in effect during the whole earning period, initially earned during the earning period, or renewed during the earning period.

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 current earning period.    

Q:  If I am no longer employed as a nurse and do not plan to work as a nurse, but want to renew my nursing license, do I need to complete nursing CE?
A:  Yes. Continuing education is required to renew a license, regardless of employment status.

Back to Top


Q:  Where can I earn approved CE?                        

A:  KBN accepts CE offerings from three types of providers:

   •  Those approved by KBN. They are assigned a KBN approval number formatted as X-XXXX and an approval expiration date. 

   •  Those approved by recognized national nursing organizations. They should make their approval/accreditation information available to nurses prior to registering, and this information must be included on the certificate to be accepted. KBN will accept these courses for the same number of contact hours awarded. 

   •  Those approved by any state board of nursing

Q:  Where can I find a list of approved CE providers?                        

A:  You can view and/or print the KBN-approved CE Provider List. 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 individual courses; instead KBN approves the providers of the courses. If you would like to become a KBN-approved CE provider, you will need to submit a completed Application for Initial Provider Approval to KBN for review. 

Back to Top


Q:  Do I need to send in my CE hours?
A:   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. 

Q:  Does KBN have my CE records and how do I submit my CE completion certificates/documents?
A:    The KBN does not receive continuing education records directly from providers.  KBN is partnering with CE Broker, to be the official CE tracking system for nurses.  Individual nurses can access CE Broker at https://cebroker.com/ky/plans to create a Basic Account for free and report and upload their documents within the program.  CE Broker offers accounts with additional features for a fee.  The only account needed to report and upload continuing education documents is the Free Basic Account.  Nurses are required to complete their continuing education requirements as outlined in 201 KAR 20:215 and maintain all records for at least five (5) years.

Back to Top

Domestic Violence

Q:  Is there a requirement to earn CE in Domestic Violence?
A:  There is a one-time requirement for all nurses to earn 3 CE contact hours in Domestic Violence within 3 years of their initial licensure date. This course was included in the curriculum for graduates of Kentucky Programs of Nursing as of May 1998, meaning that Kentucky graduates after this date are not required to take additional CE on the subject.

Back to Top

Pediatric Abusive Head Trauma

Q:  Is there a requirement to earn CE in Pediatric Abusive Head Trauma?
A: There is a one-time requirement for all nurses to earn 1.5 CE contact hours in Pediatric Abusive Head Trauma (Shaken Baby Syndrome) within 3 years of their initial licensure date. This course was included in the curriculum for graduates of Kentucky Programs of Nursing as of December 2011, meaning that Kentucky graduates after this date are not ​required to take additional CE on the subject. 

Back to Top


Q:  Is there a requirement to earn CE in HIV/AIDS?
A:  No. This requirement was removed effective June 24, 2015.

Back to Top


Q:  What are the specific CE requirements for an APRN license renewal?
A:   Five contact hours of approved CE 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 five pharmacology contact hours. APRNs must be able to identify to the KBN the unique controlled substance contact hours.

Q:  So, does an APRN have to complete a total of 19 contact hours of CE?
A:   No. APRNs may use their national nursing certification to satisfy the fourteen (14) CE contact hours needed for RN licensure renewal each year, as long as the certification was initially attained during the licensure period, has been in effect during the entire licensure period, or has been renewed during the licensure period. If these requirements are met, APRNs do not need to earn 14 contact hours of CE to renew their RN licenses.

Q:  Can an APRN use CME credits for pharmacology contact hours?
A:   Yes. APRNs may use Continuing Medical Education (CME) credits geared towards physicians to complete their pharmacology CE requirement, if the provider offering the course is recognized by their national certifying organization. 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.

Back to Top


Q:  What are the specific CE requirements for a SANE credential renewal?
A:  Five contact hours of approved sexual assault CE, which can include forensic medicine or domestic violence. These hours may count as part of the required 14 contact hours for RN renewal.

Back to Top 

Refresher Courses

Q:  Where can I find an approved refresher course?                        

A:  KBN no longer approves nor requires refresher courses; therefore, the Board no longer receives current information from providers offering refresher courses. An informational listing of refresher courses of which KBN is aware at this time is provided here. You may earn continuing education contact hours from any refresher course, as long is it is from an accepted provider.