To protect and enhance the reputation of the Certified Equity Professional designation, CEP and ECAs are required to report 30 hours of industry-related Continuing Education (CE) every two years in order to continue using the designation.
Please note that as of December 2019, the Continuing Education fee was raised to $250, in keeping with industry standards. This new pricing structure also includes unlimited access to all CEP/ECA texts and materials offered through the CEPI for no additional cost. These materials, updated yearly, are available to all who have earned the CEP designation. For more information, please contact us at email@example.com.
CEP and ECAs can submit a Continuing Education Application online through CEPICONNECT.
Why Continuing Education?
Continuing Education is a common practice for many professional certifications. The continued growth in numbers of CEP and ECA designees is a testament to the increasing professionalism and the respect the designation has earned within the industry. The CE requirement is a logical step for ensuring that the CEP and ECA designations remain the preeminent symbol of knowledge and integrity for the equity professional field. The field has become increasingly complex and the pace of change is very rapid. The CE requirement helps to ensure that CEP and ECA's skills and knowledge continue to be current, and that both are viewed as committed to ongoing professional development.
Continuing Education at a Glance
CEPs and ECAs are required to report 30 hours of qualifying Continuing Education activities every two years. They will be notified of their Continuing Education due dates shortly after passing the Level 3 exam. CE applications are due on December 31 but they can be submitted any time.
CEPs and ECAs can track their CE activities online through MyCEP. At the end of every two year reporting period, both are required to submit a Continuing Education application.
CEPs and ECAs are given some latitude in selecting qualifying CE activities in order to fulfill the requirements. However, all CE activities must be directly related to equity compensation and must address one or more of the core disciplines of equity compensation (Accounting, Corporate and Securities Law, Equity Plan Design, Analysis and Administration, and Taxation). If you are unsure if an activity would be acceptable for Continuing Education credit, please contact the CEPI before submitting the activity.
If a CEP or ECA does not submit the CE hours by the due date, their name will no longer be listed on the Active Designees page on the CEPI website, and they will no longer be considered "active" in their designation. In addition, they should no longer use the CEP/ECA designation.
What Activities Count?
CEP and ECAs can choose from a range of topics and educational activities that are the most relevant to their continuing professional development. Examples include equity compensation related courses, seminars, workshops, conferences, local and regional chapter meetings/events, sessions attended at national conferences, and a portion of related university courses. The topics and content of these courses and meetings must be directly related to equity compensation and must address one or more of the core disciplines (Accounting, Corporate and Securities Law, Equity Plan Design, Analysis and Administration, and Taxation).
Certified Equity Professional Institute volunteer activities
CEPs can receive credit by participating in any of the following volunteer committee activities designed for Certiified Equity Professional Institute program maintenance:
- Item Writing (exam question writing)
- Item Review
- Standard Setting
The CEPI is always looking for volunteers. If you are interested in participating in any of the activities listed above, please submit a volunteer application through MyCEP.
Items listed on the Continuing Education Calendar.
Examples of Activities That Qualify
- CEP Institute sponsored events (Symposium, GPS Training, etc.)
- CEP Institute volunteer activities
- Local Chapter meetings of the following national organizations (Non-Social meetings)
- Topics from Industry Association Events, such as:
- Defusing the AMT Bomb for ISOs
- Stock Option Plan Considerations in Mergers and Acquisitions
- Approaches for Dealing with Underwater Stock Options
- Rule 10b5-1 Trading Arrangements for Executives
- Section 16 Developments
- Online webinars or webcasts for equity compensation related topics
- Industry Conferences
- PORTIONS of University courses* such as:
- Business ethics (maximum of 2 hours per reporting period )
- *ONLY THE PERCENTAGE OF THE UNIVERSITY COURSE THAT IS DIRECTLY APPLICABLE TO EQUITY COMPENSATION WILL COUNT AS CONTINUING EDUCATION. To determine the number of hours of CE, please see the formula in the Quantifying CE Hours Earned section.
In the event that an activity is not qualified for CE credit, you will receive a notice via email. Decisions on credits can be appealed by submitting a written request to the CEP Institute.
Activities That Do Not Qualify
CEPs and ECAs should participate in activities that support their jobs, but some of these are not considered Continuing Education for the requirement. Programs and events that provide content that is more informational than educational or is related to a product would not qualify for Continuing Education credits. Examples include:
- A commercial product training
- A software session
- Courses on topics such as general accounting, estate planning, leadership skills, time management, or general business practices
- College or University courses in non-equity compensation topics. Examples of courses that do NOT qualify are: math, general business, marketing, and business plan development
- An industry-sponsored job fair and/or social gatherings
Day-to-day job activities do not qualify as Continuing Education. If your job includes training or presentations to employees on equity compensation related topics, the actual training time or presentation time is not Continuing Education. However, the work that you performed to create the training material or the presentation may be counted as Continuing Education in some cases. Please contact the CEPI if you are involved in this type of work and want to apply your preparation work towards your continuing education. If you are not sure if an activity can be considered as Continuing Education, contact the CEPI at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Quick Check List for Continuing Education
The two primary criteria for qualification are that the activity must (1) have educational content on an equity compensation-related topic and have an industry focus; and (2) be relevant to equity compensation professionals and further the successful functioning as a CEP or ECA designee. You can use the following guidelines to help evaluate an activity:
- Is the activity educational in content?
- Is the activity directly related to equity compensation?
- Does the activity address one (or more) of the core disciplines of equity compensation (Accounting, Corporate and Securities Law, Equity Plan Design, Analysis and Administration, and Taxation)?
- Is the activity targeted to equity compensation professionals?
- Does the activity meet standards of rigor encouraged by the CEP Institute?
- Does the activity provide information that is beneficial and usable?
- Is the activity similar to the qualifying examples previously listed?
If you are not sure if an activity can be considered as Continuing Education, contact the CEPI at email@example.com.
Quantifying Hours Earned
1 CE unit is equal to 1 hour of educational activity. Credit hours can be earned in ¼ hour increments (rounded up to the nearest quarter-hour).
For CE, an hour is defined as 60 minutes of educational activity. Note this is NOT the same as CPE hours for other designations such as CFP or CPA. More information on this can be found in the CPE Hours Versus CE Hours section below.
CE credit is given for the amount of time spent in an educational activity, excluding meals and breaks. For example, an equity compensation-related conference begins at 9 a.m. on a Monday and ends at noon on Wednesday. Tuesday afternoon is a social event, so there are no qualifying hours from that segment. Excluding breaks, there are 5 hours of educational content in a full day and 2.5 in a half-day. Any person can obtain a maximum of 10 CE credits for this conference (5 hours on Monday, 2.5 on Tuesday, 2.5 on Wednesday).
For University & College courses, a portion of the course may count as continuing education. The hours will depend on the length of the course and how much of the course is applicable to equity compensation. Keep in mind that in most cases, only 10 - 50% of the content of University and College courses is applicable to equity compensation. To calculate the amount of credit, use the following formulas:
- Semester based courses: Calculations are based on 15 continuing education hours for each credit hour of a one-semester course. For example, the base for a 3 credit-hour semester course would be 15 X 3 or 45 hours. The total amount of CE is therefore:
- (15 hours X number of credit hours) X % applicable.
- Example: A 3 credit hour semester course on Accounting has content that is 20% applicable to equity compensation. (15 hrs X 3 credit hours) X 20% = 9 hours of continuing education.
- Quarter based courses: Calculations are based on 12 continuing education hours for each credit hour of a one-quarter course. For example, the base for a 2 credit-hour quarter would be 12 X 2 or 24 hours. The total amount of CE is therefore:
- (12 hours X number of credit hours) X % applicable
- Example: A 2 credit hour quarter course on Tax has content that is 25% applicable to equity compensation. (12 hrs X 2 credit-hours) X 25% = 6 hours of continuing education.
- You may be asked to submit the course syllabus or course description with your CE report to determine if the amount of hours has been properly calculated.
CEP Institute volunteer hours can be documented and applied towards continuing education credit. It is possible to earn up to one credit hour for every hour volunteered, depending upon the nature of the volunteer activity. For more information about volunteering for the CEPI, click here.
Is Continuing Professional Education Different?
Many organizations offer CPE credit that may be considered for CE credit. However, CPE credit hours are based on a 50 minute hour, and CE credit is awarded for a 60 minute hour. Therefore, if a CEP or ECA submits an activity for CE that has been awarded 4 hours of CPE credit, they can count 3.5 hours of CE for that activity. The formula for conversion is:
(hours of CPE credit X 50 minutes)/60 minutes = CE hours
In this example it would be (4 CPE credit X 50 minutes)/60 minutes = 3.33333 CE hours, rounded up to the nearest quarter hour is 3.5 hours.
Not all activities that earn CPE credit can be applied to the CE requirement for CEPs/ECAs. If you are uncertain about a particular activity, please contact the CEPI before submitting the activity for credit.
How to Submit Continuing Education
The Continuing Education reporting process makes complying easy and straightforward. Simply record your activities in your CEPICONNECT account. Once you have accumulated 30 hours, you can submit the application online. There is a $250 administrative fee for filing the application.
- Go to CEPICONNECT:
- Enter your login ID (email address) and your password. If you have forgotten your password, select the “Forgot password/Reset Password” option. A new password will be emailed to you. If you do not remember the email address associated with your account, please contact the CEPI at (408) 554-2187 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- DO NOT CREATE A NEW ACCOUNT in CEPICONNECT. A new account will not contain your exam history and will not recognize you as a CEP/ECA.
- Once you have accessed your account, you will see how much CE you have earned, and how many hours you still have remaining.
All courses will be subject to audit, so please retain attendance information and be prepared to submit verification.
Continuing Education Due Date
CEP and ECA designees are required to report 30 hours of qualifying continuing education activities every two years. If you received your designation in 2018, your first 30 hours of CE will be due on December 31, 2020, and your next 30 hours will be due December 31, 2022. If you receive your designation in 2019, your first 30 hours will be due December 31, 2021, and your next 30 hours will be due on December 31, 2023. If you are unsure of your due date, contact the CEPI. It is the responsibility of the CEP designee to submit the CE report before the due date.
The following table gives some examples of due dates for CEP designees:
|Date of CEP Designation*||Initial CE Units Due||Next Due Date||Next Due Date|
|2014||DEC 31, 2016||DEC 31, 2018||DEC 31, 2020|
|2015||DEC 31, 2017||DEC 31, 2019||DEC 31, 2021|
|2016||DEC 31, 2018||DEC 31, 2020||DEC 31, 2022|
|2017||DEC 31, 2019||DEC 31, 2021||DEC 31, 2023|
|2018||DEC 31, 2020||DEC 31, 2022||DEC 31, 2024|
|2019||DEC 31, 2021||DEC 31, 2023||DEC 31, 2025|
The CEPI has a three month grace period for submitting CE reports. For example, if a designee has a due date of December 31, 2019, he/she can submit the report by March 31, 2020 and still be considered on time.
CEP and ECAs who fail to submit the CE requirement will be considered "inactive" and will be placed in the Inactive Designees list on the website. In addition, designees may opt to go on inactive status at any time.
If a designee has been inactive for less than three years, to be reinstated he/she may submit the "past due" Continuing Education requirements and the appropriate filing fees. If the CEP/ECA cannot submit the past due hours, or if he or she wishes to discuss alternatives to reactivating the designation, he or she must contact the CEPI.
If a designee has been inactive for over 3 years, he or she must retake and pass the Level Three exam to return to active status. Please contact the CEPI for information on how to register for the retest.
The following table illustrates when an inactive CEP can submit past due hours to become active and when they must retake the Level Three exam. The table is for 2020 only:
|Year Hours Were Due||Can Past Due
Hours be Submitted?
|How Many Hours Are
Due by 12/31/2021 to Become Active
|Fees and Late Fees||New CE Due Date|
|2017 and earlier||No - must retake and pass Level 3 exam|
|2018||Yes||30 hours due 2018 AND 30 hours due 2020||$400||2022|
|2019||Yes||30 hours due 2019. An additional 30 hours will be due 12/31/2021.||$350||2021|
|2020||Yes||30 hours due 2020.||$350||2022|
Administrative Costs for Continuing Education
The following fees are associated with CE:
- $250 administrative fee for filing the CE application. This fee is waived for all CEPs who complete a minimum of 15 hours of volunteer work for the CEPI in a single (two year) reporting period
- $100 late fee is assessed for CE applications that are received after the grace period for the reporting period has expired
For any questions on CE requirements, please contact the CEP Institute at email@example.com.