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CEBS Continuing Professional Education (CPE) Requirement Guidelines
Effective January 2013

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The following are the CEBS CPE Requirement Guidelines, effective January 2013. This information will assist you with earning and reporting your credits correctly. Participating in the CPE program helps you remain proficient in your area(s) of expertise and advances the CEBS designation as the gold standard in total compensation education.

If you're ready to report CPE credits, go to www.ifebp.org/myprofile, log in with your International Foundation username and password and follow the prompts to view and report your credits.

Click on a heading to read more about CPE.

Introduction and Overview
The Role of ISCEBS

Policy 1: Obligation to Meet CPE Requirements
Policy 2: Recognition of CPE Compliance
Policy 3: Calculation of CPE Credits
Policy 4: Carryover
Policy 5: Content of CEBS Activities
Policy 6: Continuing Professional Education Activities
Policy 7: Reporting CPE Activities and Supporting Documentation
Policy 8: Auditing of CPE Activities
Policy 9: Ethical Responsibility
Policy 10: How CPE Compliance Works
Policy 11: Exemptions
Policy 12: CPE Processing Fee


Introduction
Following certification and authorization to use the CEBS mark, a CEBS graduate must attest to meeting continuing professional education standards every two years. By meeting these standards of professionalism and by abiding by the CEBS Principles of Conduct, you demonstrate to employers, plan participants, government regulators, clients and the public that you are committed to staying current with legislative, judicial and regulatory requirements and pronouncements, industry trends, technological advances, marketplace innovations, professional practices and ethical behavior.

The purpose of the CEBS CPE program is in keeping with the global reputation of excellence and the high academic standards of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Compliance contributes to the integrity of the CEBS program and those who hold the designation.

The need for a formalized continuing education component for CEBS has been an ongoing dialogue since the inception of the program in the mid-1970s. Today’s increasing rate of change in employee benefits—triggered by regulatory developments, economic forces and marketplace trends— has magnified the imperative for CEBS graduates to be recognized for continually expanding their industry knowledge and updating their expertise to properly advise and/or administer the benefit plans they serve. It also aligns the CEBS designation with other respected professional credentials having a continuing education requirement.

The CPE requirement serves the public interest by acknowledging that these CEBS professionals are keeping current with changes in their rapidly evolving field. Individuals who are CPE-compliant can be confident in not only their knowledge and expertise, but also in the increased merit of their designation and the value they bring to employers and clients by advancing their knowledge. This information describes the requirements to be CPE-compliant, including information about qualified topics, program and hour requirements, reporting, recordkeeping processes and audits. You are encouraged to become familiar with this information to confirm that you are earning and reporting your credits correctly.

Continuing Professional Education (CPE) Requirement Overview

The International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans collaborating with its academic partners, the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and Dalhousie University, has instituted the Continuing Professional Education (CPE) program to recognize CEBS professionals who strive to keep their knowledge current through professional development activities. Individuals who pursue or earn the CEBS designation are expected to comply with the letter and spirit of the “CEBS Principles of Conduct,” one of which states:

“A CEBS shall continually strive to maintain and improve the knowledge and skills needed to effectively serve employee benefit plans and their participants and beneficiaries.”

The CPE requirement is a formal recognition of this principle and, more importantly, of your efforts to expand your professional knowledge and skills.

By participating in this program, you will set yourself apart as a committed, knowledgeable professional dedicated to lifelong learning. The CPE program is ideal for CEBS designees at every career level, from recent graduates to seasoned professionals.

As a CEBS graduate, you likely pursue many professional development activities from a variety of sources, either to increase your expertise or to comply with other continuing education requirements for associated professional credentials you possess.

Since these activities probably qualify for CEBS continuing professional education credit, CPE compliance is a great way to get an additional advantage from the continuing education endeavors you actively pursue as part of your ongoing professional development.

Because CEBS graduates represent diverse professional capacities, specializations and skill sets, the CPE program is designed to allow you maximum flexibility in choosing appropriate professional development activities within these requirements. The CPE program is designed to formally recognize and dovetail with these educational activities and should not be viewed as an additional required set of activities. Noncompliance will not affect your ability to use the CEBS mark.

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The Role of ISCEBS
The International Society of Certified Employee Benefit Specialists (ISCEBS) endorses the CEBS CPE program. ISCEBS was founded on the principle of providing professional development avenues for CEBS graduates. The CPE program reflects the Society’s core value of sponsoring highly rated educational activities for benefits professionals, including the annual continuing education courses and the Employee Benefits Symposium.

As an affiliated organization to the International Foundation, ISCEBS participated in the development process of the CPE program but is not responsible for the program’s policies, administration or compliance recognition.

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Policy 1: Obligation to Meet CPE Requirements
CPE credits are accumulated in a two-year period.

All CEBS graduates, regardless of when the CEBS designation was attained, are required to earn a minimum of 30 (thirty) hours of CPE credits for each two-year reporting period. The first reporting period is January 1, 2013 to December 31, 2014.

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Policy 2: Recognition of CPE Compliance
CPE plays a vital role in the CEBS designee’s pursuit of ongoing professional knowledge. Recognizing the importance of staying proficient and updated in an ever-changing industry, CEBS is committed to public recognition of those who are CPE-compliant. CPE-compliant graduates will be listed and recognized on
www.cebscpe.org, a publicly available and searchable listing of all graduates whose CPE compliance is current.

This listing will be available (starting in 2015) for employers, clients, government regulators and other interested parties who are interested in or rely upon the professional currency that CPE compliance signifies.

Once you attest to meeting the 30 hours of CPE credits, you are welcome and encouraged to highlight your compliant status on stationery, social media profiles, employer websites, etc. In addition to being listed as CPE-compliant, you will receive a certificate signifying your accomplishment. Other recognition events may be held in conjunction with the annual ISCEBS Symposium or at local ISCEBS chapter events.

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Policy 3: Calculation of CPE Credits

When calculating CPE credits, the following guidelines are in effect:

  • To be considered a qualifying activity, the activity’s content must relate to one or more of the CEBS content domains.
  • One CPE credit hour is equal to 50 minutes of qualifying activity. CPE credit is calculated as total minutes ÷ 50, rounded down to the nearest half credit.

    Example: Six hours (360 minutes) of content equals 7 CPE credits.
    360 ÷ 50 =  7.2 Round down to the nearest half for a total of 7 CPE credits.
  • Only activities comprised of educational content are eligible. Meals, refreshment breaks and other noneducational activities do not qualify.
  • If an activity begins in one calendar year and ends during the following calendar year and spans two reporting periods (a formal course is the most common example of this), the CPE credits should be claimed for the reporting period in which the activity is completed.

Note: Although a sponsor or provider of an activity may advertise a certain number of continuing education credits, it remains your responsibility to use the guidelines described in the CEBS Continuing Professional Education (CPE) Guidelines to determine the activity’s applicable content and calculate CPE credit.

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Policy 4: Carryover
Credit carryover is not permitted. Credits earned in excess of the 30 required credits are not applicable to a subsequent reporting period.

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Policy 5: Content of CPE Activities

The topics listed below reflect the existing body of knowledge and applications covered in the CEBS curriculum and provide the educational framework for qualifying activities for CPE credit. The first five topics cover the breadth of the subject matter while the remaining topics focus on applications and industry practices. CPE activities must relate to one or more elements of the body of knowledge as delineated in these content areas.

  • Group Benefits Management
  • Retirement Plans Management
  • Human Resources Management
  • Compensation Management
  • Wealth Management/Personal Financial Planning
  • Governance/Integration/Coordination of Private, Group and Public Plans
  • Plan Design
  • Plan Funding and Finance
  • Plan Administration/Claims
  • Plan Communication
  • Compliance Practices
  • Resource and Cost-Containment Practices
  • Technology, Service and Support Practices
  • Regulatory, Legislative and Marketplace Developments
  • Ethics and Professional/Fiduciary Responsibility

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Policy 6: Continuing Professional Education Activities
A variety of educational activities may qualify for CPE credit. Documentation must be maintained for three years after the reporting period closes. Examples of such records include:

  • Certificate of attendance
  • Personalized attendance letter from the sponsoring provider
  • Educational transcripts/grade results
  • Teaching or writing contracts
  • Registration receipt
  • Confirmation letter/e-mail.

Following are some of the most common CPE activities that many CEBS professionals pursue. This list is not exhaustive and other activities may qualify. Given the nearly limitless spectrum of educational courses and programs available, each CEBS graduate remains responsible for ensuring that any CPE activities chosen relate to the CEBS content areas.


ISCEBS Continuing Education Course/Exam
The ISCEBS continuing education course/exam is comprised of two tracks: health and retirement. Successfully completing one track by passing its exam qualifies for 15 credits, while the combined course and exam (both tracks) qualifies for 30 credits.

In addition to earning CPE credit, ISCEBS members can be awarded fellowship status. The ISCEBS fellowship program is not affected by the new CPE program. The requirements for fellowship remain the same. ISCEBS fellowship is earned by completing one or both tracks of the ISCEBS continuing education course (one track equals one year of fellowship). Since the full course (both tracks) qualifies for 30 CPE credits, any graduate who completes the full continuing education course during a reporting period meets the CPE requirement for that reporting period.

Conferences
Related educational session attendance at a conference is eligible for CPE credit. One 50-minute hour of education equals one CPE credit. Meals, breaks and other noneducational events (receptions, exhibitor/vendor events, etc.) do not qualify. Examples of conferences include:


Programs and Courses
Successful completion of related educational programs and courses is eligible for CPE credit. Activities must be designed and conducted by persons qualified in the subject and must relate to the CEBS content domain areas.

Many CEBS graduates are involved in continuing education requirements for other professional designations or licenses, and these activities are likely to qualify for CEBS CPE credit. Examples of such programs and courses may include those sponsored by:

  • Colleges and universities
  • Professional organizations (national or local level)
  • Organizations that offer professional designations or licenses relating to the CEBS content areas
  • State or provincial/territorial licensing boards.

Here are some examples of common programs and courses that can qualify for CPE credit.

CEBS Courses
Completing a CEBS course in either the United States or Canadian curriculum beyond the courses originally completed to earn the designation is eligible for 30 hours of credit per course.

Undergraduate or Graduate Course Work
Completion of a relevant full-semester undergraduate or graduate course from an accredited college or university is eligible for up to 30 hours. Generally, the CPE credit hours per course can be determined by applying the academic institution’s published credit hour (or credit unit) allocation to the number of weeks in the semester. For example, a three-credit-hour course offered over a 12-week semester equals 36 credit hours. Courses may exceed 30 hours per course, but only 30 hours of credit are allowable. Courses must relate to the CEBS content domain areas.

Licenses or Professional Designations
Courses taken to earn or maintain a professional designation or license that relates to the CEBS content domain areas are eligible for one credit per one 50-minute hour of education, up to 30 hours of credit per course. Courses must relate to the CEBS content areas.

Local, Short or Online Programs
Other courses and programs, such as seated, in-person programs sponsored by local chapters of national organizations, e-learning courses and Webinars are eligible for one credit per 50-minute hour of education. Courses must relate to the CEBS content areas.

Teaching/Presenting
Teaching or presenting to health, retirement or other employee benefits and compensation professionals or students in an online, classroom or conference setting are eligible for CPE credits. All topics must relate to the CEBS content areas.

When reporting teaching/presenting credits, two credits per hour of actual teaching/presenting time can be claimed for the first time the class or seminar is conducted. For second and subsequent offerings of the same course or session, one credit per hour of actual teaching/presenting time can be claimed.

Credit awarded for teaching shall not exceed 15 hours within a reporting period even if multiple courses are taught/presented. Presentations designed for an audience unrelated to health, retirement employee benefits or compensation professionals (such as those for marketing purposes, media interviews, etc.) do not qualify.

Authorship
CPE credits are awarded for authorship, provided the content of a written work directly relates to the CEBS content areas  and the work is written for a health, retirement or other employee benefits or compensation audience. In order for a written work to qualify for credit, the work must treat the topic at a level commensurate with the professional knowledge and expertise of those possessing the CEBS designation. CPE credit for authorship will be awarded for the time required to research and write the work. Authorship credit awarded shall not exceed 15 hours within a reporting period.

Examples of appropriate forums for written works would include published books, book chapters, peer-reviewed scholarly journals, publications targeting a professional audience and other comparable published works.

Short news articles, company newsletter articles for clients and informational question-and-answer (Q&A) pieces are not acceptable for authorship credit.

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Policy 7: Reporting CPE Activities and Supporting Documentation

CEBS graduates are required to attest to the completion of 30 hours of CPE every two years.

All CPE credits must be reported online at www.ifebp.org/myprofile, using your existing International Foundation profile to report credits and keep track of previously reported credits.

There will be a 60-day grace period following the close of the reporting period, and all CPE activities must be reported no later than the close of the grace period. For a reporting period that ends on December 31, CEBS designees have until March 1 of the following year to report CPE activities for the preceding reporting period.

Supporting documentation is not required at the time of attesting. CEBS graduates must retain supporting documentation for at least three years after the reporting period closes as it will be required if selected for audit.

How to Report CPE Activities
Log in at www.ifebp.org/myprofile, using your Foundation ID number and password. Click "Manage Your CPE Credits" to the right of your name. (Refresh the screen if you don't see it right away.) From the main CPE screen, you can view, add, edit or remove activities. The credit total adjusts with each activity entered. Use the "edit" tab or link to make changes; use the "remove" link to delete an activity (this cannot be undone).

CPE Reporting Fee
If you are a current member of ISCEBS, the $75 reporting fee is waived for the 2013-2014 reporting period. You can enter and edit your CPE activities immediately.

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Policy 8: Auditing of CPE Activities
In the interest of maintaining the integrity of the CEBS CPE program, CEBS reserves the right to audit the documentation of any graduate regarding fulfillment of the CEBS CPE program requirements for any reason. CEBS will randomly audit a small percentage of designees who have attested compliance at the end of each reporting period. If you are selected for audit, you should be prepared to submit supporting documentation of your CPE activities. No fee will be assessed for an audit.

A reasonable amount of time (up to 90 days) will be granted to fulfill the audit requirements, including clarification of any CPE activities determined to be outside the content domain included in the CEBS program body of knowledge or to substitute other permissible CPE activities for disallowed activities. The Wharton School or Dalhousie University has final determination of whether a given activity meets the content requirements.

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Policy 9: Ethical Responsibility
The intention of the CEBS CPE program is to enhance the knowledge and skills of those who have earned the CEBS designation. Therefore, it is each designee’s obligation to choose continuing education activities that will legitimately further his or her own professional development while continuing to enhance the expectations of the expertise for those possessing the CEBS designation. It is also each
designee’s ethical responsibility to avoid falsification, circumvention or evasion of the spirit or procedures of the CPE program.

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Policy 10: How CPE Compliance Works

All CEBS graduates are subject to the CPE requirements when the program starts in January 2013. Graduates will have two years to earn 30 CPE credits and be recognized as CPE-compliant when the recognition period starts on January 1, 2015. CEBS graduates who are not CPE-compliant on January 1, 2015 can be recognized as CPE-compliant upon earning and reporting 30 credits.

Graduates who earned the CEBS designation on or before December 31, 2012
All CEBS graduates are subject to the CPE requirements. You are required to earn 30 hours of CPE credit during the 2013-2014 reporting period and will be recognized as CPE-compliant beginning January 1, 2015 through December 31, 2016. To maintain compliance you will then need to earn 30 CPE credits during each two-year reporting period.

New graduates who earn the designation in 2013 or 2014
If you earn the CEBS designation at any time during the 2013-2014 reporting period, you will be recognized as CPE-compliant beginning January 1, 2015 through December 31, 2016. To maintain compliance, you will then need to earn 30 CPE credits during each reporting period.

New graduates who earn the designation in 2015 or 2016
If you earn the CEBS designation at any time during the 2015-2016 reporting period, you will be deemed compliant from the date of CEBS completion through December 31, 2018. To maintain compliance, you will then need to earn 30 CPE credits during each reporting period.

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Policy 11: Exemptions
Exemptions are not available. If you are unable to meet the requirements during a reporting period, you will be recognized as CPE-compliant upon reporting 30 CPE credits. There is no need to wait until a new reporting period begins.

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Policy 12: CPE Processing Fee
A $75 CPE processing fee will be assessed each reporting period, payable with the first reported activity. Reporting your credits online helps you keep track of what activities you have reported, how many credits you have accumulated and how many credits you still may need. The $75 (payable in U.S. or CDN funds) is separate and distinct and does not cover any fees payable to IFEBP or ISCEBS to obtain CE credit for insurance licensure or other professional designations.

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