​​By: Amanda Busby, CCC, Public Relations and Communications, Greystone Power Corporation

Becoming a Certified Cooperative Communicator (CCC) is not an easy task. It takes a lot of time, effort and hard work to complete the criteria needed to earn this special certification. By earning 1.0 continuing education units (CEUs) each year, and paying the annual professional fee (currently set at $175), the CCC designation can be maintained. Letting it lapse would mean a repeat of the entire process, including a retake of the certification test.

For many of us, this CEU requirement is met each year with our attendance to the CONNECT conference or other statewide communications conferences. This year, a small panic ensued when communicators realized they had to look elsewhere to earn their CEUs due to the cancellation of many of the conferences. Thankfully, communicators no longer have to stress, as this year's requirement has been waived due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We do, however, have to look toward the future with a plan. What are alternative ways to earn credits?

Gaining a CEU is not a hard task. In fact, it's super easy to earn credits throughout the year, perhaps without even knowing it! If we have learned anything through this pandemic, it has been flexibility and the need to look for other ways to get things done. The same can be said for earning credits. We don't know what next year holds, or the years that follow. Conflicts could arise at your individual co-ops, or with your family, that could keep you from attending workshops or conferences. Learning how to earn credits without this dependency could prove to be a stress reliever for all.

Did you know that certain functions within your job, such as creating a presentation or writing a speech, could be counted? What about the graphic design work and/or time that you volunteer to organizations within the community? Then, there are the leadership roles that you may hold throughout the community. Have you ever thought about counting any of these functions toward your CEUs? If not, perhaps it's time that you revisit the Continuing Education Guidelines to see exactly how and in what way these are covered.

There are three main categories that communicators can select CEU ideas from:

  • Education (collegiate or cooperative based)
  • Professional activities (leadership role in organizations and/or committees, presentations, instruction, published works, awards)
  • Service work (volunteer/pro-bono)

Please read the CEU guidelines to verify if your activity meets the qualifications necessary to earn a CEU. Should you have a question about an activity, course, workshop, etc., feel free to contact the CCC program staff at NRECA, Angie Hylton or (703) 907-5656. She can provide additional guidance and approval of your activity. As of 2018, CCCs no longer have to send proof of continuing education annually. Instead, NRECA will randomly select a number of CCCs to provide proof of continuing education.