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Tuesday, June 6, 2023

We Think About Continuing Education Credit Approval (So you don't have to)

100s of Pre-approved Online Continuing Education Courses for Personal Trainers, Physical Therapists, Athletic Trainers, Massage Therapists, Chiropractors, Occupational Therapists, and Group Exercise Instructors.,
Brent Brookbush

Brent Brookbush

DPT, PT, MS, CPT, HMS, IMT

Getting continuing education credits has never been this easy.

by Dr. Brent Brookbush DPT, PT, MS, CPT, HMS, IMT

We Wish it Were Simple

We really wish certification, accreditation, and continuing education credit approval was simple, but the truth is that accreditation/approval is a convoluted array of regulations, legislation, institutions, and bureaucracies. It is not even fair to say that accreditations are handled by a group of governing bodies, because many professions (or countries) do not have dedicated "accreditors". And, often the institutions that do exist, seem to forget who they serve (the profession), who their customers are (educators paying for review), and some seem to enjoy benefiting from the confusion and misinformation. However, you can be sure that we are trying to help all our colleagues in the movement professions (personal trainers, group fitness instructors, strength coaches, physical therapists and physical therapist assistants, athletic trainers, massage therapists, chiropractors, occupational therapists, etc.) with articles like this, and solutions like those described below.

For Additional Resources on Certification and Accreditation:

Confusing Accreditation Systems

An unfortunate biproduct of this system (or lack of systems) is that most professionals are left a bit confused on which accreditations matter, what organizations approve the credits they need to maintain certification or licensure, and what accreditation means for advanced credentials and certifications. (This is an unfortunate obstacle, as most professionals we know are just looking for high quality education on health science, clinical practice, sports performance, patient care, etc.).

A Few Examples of Confusing Accreditations/Approvals:

  • Physical Therapists: The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) DOES NOT approve credits for physical therapists (PT)? In the USA, physical therapist continuing education approval is handled by individual state chapters.
  • Massage Therapists in the USA: Massage therapists are in the opposite situation as physical therapists in the USA, as their licensed state by state; however, their continuing education approval is covered nationally by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB).
  • Athletic Trainers: Athletic training continuing education is handled nationally by the National Athletic Trainers Association (NATA), but the NATA expects the completion of continuing education units (CEUs) in various categories (e.g. category A CEUs). A few years ago, a mandatory category was added, Evidence Based Practice Credits (EBP CEUS), but this initiative was so poorly managed that they are no longer mandatory.
  • Chiropractors: Chiropractors in the US have "half of a national system" for approving courses for chiropractic continuing education hours (CE hours). How do you know if a course is approved by the chiropractic licensing board in your state? Well, the only easy answer is you have to hope the course is PACE approved, and hope your state accepts PACE credits? (and it would be a good idea to findout before the renewal period). Check out the Brookbush Institute's Pace Approval Map
  • Personal Trainers in the UK: CIMSPA (formerly REPS UK) approves continuing education credits for personal trainers in the United Kingdom, but does not accredit certification? Certification in the UK is regulated by a government agency known as OFQUAL.
  • Personal Trainers in the USA: Continuing education courses (CEC courses) for personal trainers, group fitness instructors, corrective exercise specialists, and strength coaches face the unique problem of having to apply (and pay) for each organization offering the certification, and in some cases may need to apply for each certification. (Some even differentiate between live and online course applications). For example, submitting for CEC course approval to the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) applies to the Certified Personal Trainer (CPT) and Corrective Exercise Specialist (CES) certifications, but will not apply to the Athletics and Fitness Association of America’s (AFAA) group fitness certification, even though NASM owns AFAA. If a personal trainer, strength coach, or fit pro wants to receive CE credits for the National Strength and Conditioning Association’s (NSCA) Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), well… that is another organization entirely, and the CEC course provider may need to apply and pay for that too.


We could go on, but the unfortunate result is that only a few education companies, with a vested interest in being accredited, have developed an understanding of the accreditation industry. We even get calls from employers asking us to explain accreditation, because they need to ensure their hiring decisions are within the scope of their liability insurance coverage, and they cannot figure out where to start looking for answers. All of this makes you wonder how professionals are expected to know the difference between an accredited and non-accredited course.

Myth: It's Easy to Get Certifications Accredited and/or CEC Courses Approved

Before we discuss our current solution, we do want to address a couple of myths. Not all organizations accrediting certifications and approving CEC courses are bad; good accreditors/approvals due more than collect fees, and although the current environment is not ideal, they serve a purpose.

  • When accreditation is done right, it enforces a minimum standard of education quality.

Admittedly, some accreditations have laughable requirements that are barely more than providing the course title(s) and paying a fee (This may be especially true online courses in the fitness industry). And, we would argue that most of the work involved in applying for any one accreditation has little to do with the quality of education, after a minimum standard of quality has been reached. But, in that statement is the purpose of accreditation. We find accreditation annoying because of the incredibly high standards we have for content creation, leaving us with a bunch of busy work to get through when we begin a new accreditation or CEC course approval application process. If a company does not have high standards for content creation, they will have to rewrite large portions of their curriculum, before they can be as annoyed as we are with the busy work. Many accreditors have immensely challenging requirements. For example, the AOTA expects research demonstrating the effects on functional outcomes for any course involving an assessment or intervention, the California State Board of Education (Physical Therapy) has stringent standards for instructional design processes, CIMSPA expects detailed lesson plan mapping for every accredited course, and the BOC of the NATA expects detailed processes for continuous evaluation and improvement. These are great examples of how accreditation should be done. Further, when acquiring multiple accreditations as the Brookbush Institute has, you end up with a challenging gauntlet of requirements because each accreditation has their particular focuses. We have acquired more than 20 accreditations, which has resulted in us having to maintain the highest quality assurance for every conceivable portion of our education program, and from what we can tell, an unparalleled level of quality. This would analogous to researchers having to submit to the peer-review process of several journals, just to get a single research study published.

How We Are Working to Fix This for Our Colleagues:

Currently, the only solution we are aware of to reduce the accreditation confusion problem, and help our colleagues with their continuing education and certification needs, is to build a massive accreditation portfolio. That is, we do the research to determine which accreditations are necessary, acquire as many accreditations as we can to ensure everyone is covered, and ensure that our colleagues can demonstrate continuing education and certification completion with documentation that is accreditor compliant. We can assure you that we continue to add accreditations, modify certificates to appease accreditors, make it easy to locate and gather certificates, and we continue to take suggestions for adding new accreditations, countries, etc. Further, we take many additional steps to improve your education experience. We try to ensure that every course you take with the Brookbush Institute counts toward both continuing education credits (CECs) and certification. Each course is just 1-4 hours long to enhance flexibility and convenience, and we do our best to get each course approved for as many continuing education credits as possible (generally, 1 credit/hour). You do not need to finish an entire certification to get credit for individual courses, and we generate a CEC certificate in your dashboard for every course you complete including the necessary accreditation logo/course # information on the certificate. We have more than 160 courses and nearly 400 credits available for a Netflix-like, low-cost monthly (or yearly) membership, ensuring you can take whatever course you want, whenever you want, and you will never be penalized for starting, stopping, or changing your mind about what courses you want to take. We have enough credits and courses to keep you certified or licensed for life, and because we have are accredited for so many professions, so many certifications, and multiple countries, you can be assured that we have more of our colleagues covered than any other education provider in the industry. We are currently pre-approved by more than 20 accreditors offering CECs for the following professions, with many covered in the USA, Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, and Ireland.

Current Professions Covered:

  • Fitness (Personal Trainers, Group Exercise, Yoga)
  • Physical/Physio Therapy & Assistants
  • Athletic Trainers
  • Chiropractors
  • Massage Therapists
  • Occupational Therapists

We believe in total transparency, and know that accreditation is complicated! So if you have suggestions for additional accreditations, countries, or just have question, feel free to reach out to our accreditation manager. All you have to do is submit your request through our "Support " page which can be accessed anytime using the "Support " link in the top bar (right hand "burger menu" on mobile), or following this link - Contact Us .

Above is an example of a CEC certificate generated for every course you complete. This certificate was for a fitness and clinical professional, taking Deadlift Progressions , and this particular course also counts toward the Fully Accredited Certified Personal Trainer (CPT) certification. Note, the accreditations on your certificate will be auto-populated to match your profession.

List of professions, countries, and organizations the Brookbush Institute provides continuing education for:

Approved and College-credit Worthy Certified Personal Trainer (CPT) Certification

Approved by the American Council of Education and Nationally Registered:

The proud and very few:

  • The Brookbush Institute’s CPT is one of only 2 organizations to have completed comprehensive, systematic review, by a panel of 3rd party, subject matter experts (peer-review), and who’s course material has been matched to college curriculum and worthy of 3 college credits.

For more information on accreditation check out:

  • What is an Accredited Personal Trainer Certification?

Certified Personal Trainers (CPT) and Registered Exercise Professional (REP)

United States and International Brands:

Canada

United Kingdom

Ireland

Australia

Yoga

United States

Yoga Alliance  approved to offer non-contact hours in Anatomy and Physiology from the Yoga Alliance.

  • 1 credit = 1 non-contact hour

Group Exercise

United States

Athletic Fitness Association of America (AFAA) approved provide r of continuing education credits (CECs)

  • 1 credit = 1 non-contact hour

Chiropractic (DC) Accreditations

United States

The Brookbush Institute is recognized by PACE (Providers of Approved Continuing Education), the signature program of the Federation of Chiropractic Licensing Board (FCLB). The Brookbush Institute offers more than 160 pre-approved online courses, worth more than 400 continuing education hours. View our "coverage map to determine if your state accepts PACE approved courses.

United Kingdom and Australia

No pre-approval required; however, proof of approval in other countries may aid in defending a portfolio. Chiropractors in the United Kingdom and Australia are required to keep their skills and knowledge current. Per the General Chiropractic Council of the United Kingdom and the Chiropractor Board of Australia, chiropractors must maintain records of their continuing professional development and take courses that meet their individual needs. Note, every completed course with BrookbushInstitute.com generates a certificate that is easily accessed from the member dashboard, making portfolio creation as simple as possible.

Canada

Physical Therapists (PT), Physiotherapists (PT) & Physical Therapy Assistants (PTA)

United States

Pre-approved in 45 states (accepted in all 50 states): The Brookbush Institute is accredited to offer Continuing Competence Units (CCU's) for licensed Physical Therapists (PT's) and Physical Therapy Assistants (PTA's) in 45 of 50 states. The 5 remaining states will accept courses with a petition. Realistically, this means we are covered in 50 states, and if you were audited, you may need to reach out to us for additional information. For a detailed coverage map and links to information about states that may require a petition if audited, follow the link below. Note, the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) DOES NOT approve continuing education credits and has no role in reporting CCUs. Continuing education courses and CCU reporting by state chapters.

Australia

No pre-approval is required; however, proof of approval in other countries may aid in defending a portfolio. Physiotherapists in Australia are required to keep their skills and knowledge current. Per the Australian Physiotherapy Associatio n (APA), all practicing physiotherapists should complete at least 20 hours of continuing professional development annually to maintain the currency of their skills. Note, that every completed course with BrookbushInstitute.com generates a certificate that is easily accessed from the member dashboard, making portfolio creation as simple as possible.

Canada and the United Kingdom

No pre-approval is required; however, proof of approval in other countries may aid in defending a portfolio. Physiotherapists in Canada and the United Kingdom are required to keep their skills and knowledge up to date; however, there is no organization responsible for "pre-approving" continuing professional development courses. Physiotherapists are expected to complete courses that contribute to their professional development, and they must maintain records (portfolios) of their continuing education. Note that every completed course with BrookbushInstitute.com generates a certificate that is easily accessed from the member dashboard, making portfolio creation as simple as possible.

Certified Athletic Trainers (ATC)

United States

The Brookbush Institute is recognized as an approved provider (# P10038 ) by the National Athletic Trainers Association's - Board of Certification (NATA-BOC). The Brookbush Institute offers more than 180 BOC approved online courses for category A credits, worth more than 500 continuing education hours. That's more than enough credits to keep your certification current for life!. Note, as of 2022, the NATA-BOC discontinued the mandate, forcing ATCs to complete "EBP Credits". The credits offered by the Brookbush Institute are sufficient to fulfill all of ATC's continuing education requirements.

Canada

This logo certifies that this course is recognized by the Canadian Athletic Therapists Association (CATA) for continuing education for Certified Athletic Therapists (CAT(C)s). Note: 1 course contact hour is worth 0.4 CATA CEUs.

The Brookbush Institute is recognized as a CATA accredited provider by the Canadian Athletic Therapists Association (CATA). The Brookbush Institute offers more than 160 CATA approved online courses.



Canadian Athletic Therapists Association

  • 1 course contact hour = 0.4 CATA CEUs

United Kingdom

No pre-approval is required; however, proof of approval in other countries may aid in defending a portfolio. Athletic Trainers in the United Kingdom are required to keep their skills and knowledge current. Members of The Society of Sports Therapists are responsible for ensuring that continuing education courses are within their scope, and that they are fully insured to apply any skills or therapeutic modalities taught. Based on the criteria described by the Society of Sports Therapists website the Brookbush Institute likely would be categorized as “Short courses, workshops and seminars, or similar events relevant to Sports Therapy where there is an active contribution or the opportunity to question the course presenters.” Note, every completed course with BrookbushInstitute.com generates a certificate that is easily accessed from the member dashboard, making portfolio creation as simple as possible.

Massage Therapists (LMT, RMT)

United States

More than 140 pre-approved courses by the National Certification Board of Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB) for continuing education (CE).

Australia

There are 5 organizations in Australia governing continuing education for massage therapists. Applicable courses have been approved by Massage Association Australia (MAA). The Association of Massage Therapists Australia (AMT) does not formally accredit continuing professional development courses; however, professionals are expected to complete and maintain records of 20 hours of relevant continuing education each year. Note, every completed course with BrookbushInstitute.com generates a certificate that is easily accessed from the member dashboard, making portfolio creation as simple as possible.

Canada

Applicable courses have been approved by the Massage Therapy Associations of Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia and Manitoba. New Brunswick, British Columbia and Prince Edward Island do not have organizations that pre-approve courses. Ontario and Newfoundland also do not have organizations that pre-approve courses; however, massage therapists are expected to acquire relevant continuing education and report credits/hours via the Strive Program. Quebec currently does not have standards or requirements for continuing education. Our courses are not approved in Alberta.

Occupational Therapist (OT) Accreditation

United States

The Brookbush Institute is an American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) Approved Provider (# 00463) of professional development. The Brookbush Institute offers more than 140 AOTA approved online courses, worth more than 300 professional development hours.

Canada, United Kingdom and Australia

No pre-approval required; however, proof of approval in other countries may aid in defending a portfolio. OTs are required to keep their skills and knowledge current; however, continuing professional development courses for occupational therapists are not pre-approved by any organization. Each country expects OTs to complete courses that contribute to their professional development, and maintain records (portfolio) of their continuing education. Note, every completed course with BrookbushInstitute.com generates a certificate that is easily accessed from the member dashboard, making portfolio creation as simple as possible.

© 2022 Brent Brookbush (B2C Fitness, LLC d.b.a. Brookbush Institute )

Comments, critiques, and questions are welcome!

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