Remember Your Credentials May Need Maintenance!

Did you know that many certifications and licenses require annual maintenance (fees and/or additional training) to keep them current and valid?

To keep your civilian certification current, you may need to pay an annual or routine maintenance fee and/or complete a minimum number of related continuing education activities (such as attend conferences, participate in courses or training, earn additional certifications, read books or guides, etc.). These activities may be referred to as Continuing Education Units (CEUs), Continuing Maintenance Units (CMUs), or something similar. If you do not maintain your credential per the certification agency's guidance, your credential may expire. At that point you might have to re-take the credentialing exam and pay any fees due to be able to recertify.

For active duty Marines who meet the eligibility requirements, Marine Corps COOL provides funding for renewals and maintenance fees for credentials that have a COOL Bucks icon.

Credential maintenance may be required for a Marine-specific position or initial/continued employment as a civilian—keeping your credentials up to date is as important as earning them in the first place.

Some examples of certifications that require annual maintenance (not a complete list):

  • CompTIA A+ ce – requires 20 CEUs over a 3-year period + $25 due annually
  • CompTIA Security+ ce – requires 50 CEUs over a 3-year period + $50 due annually
  • (ISC)2 CISSP – requires 120 CPE credits over a 3-year period (40/year) + $85 due annually
  • GIAC certifications – require 36 CPE credits over a 4-year period + $429 due once every four years

Following are some common questions related to CEUs:

1. What are Continuing Education Units?

CEU is a unit of credit equal up to 10 hours of participation in an accredited program designed for professionals with certifications or licenses. In most cases CEUs are used to maintain certification requirements relevant to the field in which the certification applies.

2. Why Complete CEUs?

Many certifying agencies and certain professions require that practitioners earn a specific number of CEUs per year to ensure that they are up-to-date with current practices in their field. Proof of credits earned is necessary to renew a certification or license. The number of credits required varies by certifying agencies, industry and state. Please check with the certifying agency for CEU requirements for your certification.

3. How to earn CEUs?

CEUs can be earned by attending conferences, completing online courses, completing a college course, passing a related certification exam, attending various certifying agency events and writing a paper or journal article relevant to certification. In most cases training must meet the requirements of the certifying agency; most certifying agencies will have a listing of recommended CEU training located on their website under the general heading of something similar to 'Continuing Education.'