FAQs for Applicants and Approved CE Sponsors

Please note that additional information specific to the Standards and Criteria (PDF, 149KB) is available in the Educational and Technical Assistance Sections of that document.

Q. Is there an application I can use if I only want to offer homestudy programs?

A: Yes. The Homestudy Only application should be completed by applicants intending to conduct only CE programs which do not allow for live interaction with presenters.

Q. Is there an icon/logo that APA approved sponsors can use on their websites or promotional materials to demonstrate approval?

A: Yes. APA recently designed and approved a CESA icon. The use of the icon is only permitted for currently approved APA sponsors and only in conjunction with the requisite APA CE Sponsor Approval statement: "(Name of organization) is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. (Name of organization) maintains responsibility for this program and its content." The icon does not imply approval of specific individual program content. Additional information concerning the CESA icon and its appropriate uses can be found on the CESA icon webpage.

Q: I was recently appointed as the point of contact for our APA sponsor approval by my organization, but my predecessor left no instructions. Where do I begin?

A: In order to become fully acquainted with what is required of APA approved sponsors, please review the Policies and Procedures Manual (PDF, 98KB), the Standards and Criteria for Approval of Sponsors of Continuing Education for Psychologists (PDF, 149KB) and visit the APA Office of CE Sponsor Approval's website for additional resources. If you have further questions, please call the Office of CE Sponsor Approval at (202) 336-5991, option 1, and staff will be able to assist you.

Q: Does the CE program administrator have to be a psychologist?

A: No. However, doctoral-level psychologists must be involved in all aspects of program planning and development.

Q: I want to offer a new course that was not listed on my original application. Do I need to submit this new program information for review and approval?

A: No. APA's Continuing Education Committee does not review or approve individual programs. As an approved sponsor, all programs you offer for CE to psychologists must meet the requirements as outlined in the Standards and Criteria for Approval of Sponsors of Continuing Education for Psychologists (PDF, 149KB). Acceptable programs must adhere to the definition of continuing education in that they improve service to the public and enhance contributions to the profession. The responsibility remains on the sponsor to adequately establish the bridge between program content and the elements of the criteria. The more distant a topic appears from core disciplinary knowledge, the greater the responsibility of the sponsor to demonstrate the connection to improvement of services to the public and contributions to the profession.

Q: I want to offer a new type of course that I haven’t been approved for (homestudy). Do I need to submit this new program information for review and approval?

A: Yes. If you have subsequently determined that you would like to conduct homestudy programs, then you must complete the Homestudy Supplemental application and fee for review by the Continuing Education Committee (CEC) during the next application cycle. However, if you will have an application due at the next cycle, you will need to complete both the CESA Application + Homestudy Supplemental applications to renew your current status as an approved sponsor as you apply for homestudy approval.

Q: What are the requirements for homestudy post-test questions (e.g., how many questions, passing criterion)?

A: Although there are no specific requirements, we recommend six to eight questions for every one credit and a passing criterion of at least 75 percent.

Q: Can practice and career management programs be offered for CE credit?

A: Career management programs (e.g., programs that are primarily for the purpose of career advancement) should be carefully considered to determine whether or not the content of the program can be deemed appropriate CE content for psychologists. The committee recognizes that while such programs may be beneficial to psychologists by helping them grow their businesses, advance their academic careers or otherwise increase their earnings, the content may not actually be related to the professional practice of psychology, education, administration or research (e.g., programs on how to build a more profitable fee-for-service practice or how to get tenure are usually not considered appropriate for CE). It is recommended that you review the Criteria and Processes for Determining Proposed Programs' CE-Eligibility flowchart, located within the educational and technical assistance section following Standard D of the Standards and Criteria for Approval of Sponsors of Continuing Education for Psychologists (PDF, 149KB) manual.

Q: When will my approval expire?

A. APA's Continuing Education Committee reviews applications and decides approval during their meetings that occur during the spring and fall. New sponsors may receive approval for two years; renewing sponsors may be awarded approval for up to five years. The Office of CE Sponsor Approval mails decision letters in the weeks that follow the meeting; this includes a report of the committee's comments and concerns, to which sponsors must provide a written response within 60 days. However, continued approval as a sponsor remains contingent upon the submission of an annual report and annual fees. Once both requirements have been fulfilled, a certificate of approval will be issued valid for one year.

Q: Can instructors get CE credit?

A: Yes. However, because CE regulations vary by state instructors should check with their state licensing board to see if the credits will be accepted for renewal of licensure.

Q: Is it required that instructors be psychologists?

A: It is not required that instructors be psychologists. However, they must have expertise in the content area and be competent to teach the program at a level that builds upon a completed doctoral program in psychology. Please review the educational and technical assistance section following Standard C of the Standards and Criteria for Approval of Sponsors of Continuing Education for Psychologists (PDF, 149KB) manual.

Q: The application requests the submission of a curriculum vitae (CV) for instructors and psychologists who will be involved in program planning and implementation. Can a resume, biographical sketch or summary be used to satisfy this criterion?

A: No. A biographical sketch is an overview of the most important highlights of a person's education, work and other relevant experience. A CV provides a complete and lengthy account of one's professional background and includes academic, research and fellowship information.

Q: If I have not offered any CE programs in the past year, do I still need to submit an annual report to the Office of CE Sponsor Approval?

A: Yes. In years in which an annual report is due, you still need to return the form indicating that no activities have been offered that year. In years in which a renewal application is due, sponsors are required to submit an application if they wish to continue their approval. If a sponsor has no programs planned for an upcoming year they may request inactive status, which will require them to pay only half of the usual annual fee. If a sponsor wishes to regain active status during that year, the remainder of the annual fee must be paid.

Q: I noticed that there are no longer criteria related to co-sponsorship. Does this mean I can't collaborate with other organizations?

A: No. In fact, the co-sponsorship criteria were eliminated in order to make collaboration between organizations easier. While collaboration is encouraged, please be aware that the sponsor is still required to maintain responsibility for all programs offered under the auspices of its approval. Although a written co-sponsorship agreement is no longer required, it is recommended that you have one in order to delineate the responsibilities of each organization. If collaboration is between two or more approved sponsors, only one sponsor should maintain responsibility for the program (i.e., only one sponsor's approval statement appears on promotional materials, only one sponsor issues certificates, only one sponsor reports the program in the annual report or application, etc.).

Q: Do you have any sample evaluation forms I can use to revise my own documents?

A: Yes. Sample documents such as evaluation forms, grievance procedure forms and documentation of attendance are available under Resources for Sponsors of CE Programming.

Q: Do other professions accept credit earned from APA-approved sponsors?

A: There are some professions that accept credit from APA-approved sponsors. However, it is the individual's responsibility to confirm this with his/her licensing board.

Q: Are teleconferences considered homestudy?

A: Homestudy is defined as any program where there is no ability for live interaction with the presenter. If participants in the course can interact with the instructor and ask questions in real time, it is considered a live program. However, if the course is not in real time (e.g., prerecorded) then it is considered a homestudy program and requires a post-test.

Q: What if I can't fit all the required promotional material information into my brochure?

A: We understand that you might not be able to include all required information in your brochures. However, this information must be made available to potential participants. If it does not appear in brochures, you must clearly provide a mechanism for obtaining this information (e.g., contact information, website, etc.).

Q: My organization did not have plans to offer homestudy programs at the time of the last application, but now we would like to offer these types of programs. Do I need to submit a new application? 

A: Yes. You will need to submit the Homestudy Supplemental application and receive approval before homestudy programs can be offered. However, if you will have an application due at the next cycle, you will need to complete BOTH the CESA Application + Homestudy Supplemental to renew your current status as an approved sponsor as you apply to receive approval for homestudy. Effective June 1, 2014, homestudy applications will only be accepted and reviewed during the two regularly scheduled review cycles. You must answer all applicable questions, submit all the necessary attachments along with the $100 application fee, and this material will be sent to APA's Continuing Education Committee for review. If the material appears to meet the criteria, Homestudy Supplemental will become a part of your existing approval. Upcoming application dates and a copy of the homestudy application are available online.

Q: Does the APA Sponsor Approval System have a statement for use by organizations whose approval is pending?

A: No, we do not have an approved statement for use by organizations who have submitted applications to become approved sponsors. Your organization may state that an application is pending. However, keep in mind that not all applications are approved.

Q: Can I still get approved if I have not yet offered a CE program?

A: It is possible to become approved without having offered a CE program. However, you must be able to provide as much information as possible about the programs you plan to offer in the future so that the committee will be able to determine your compliance with the standards and criteria. Although the application specifically asks for information about programs offered in the past year, you should instead provide information for programs you intend to offer in the future if there have been no past programs. New applicants that intend to offer homestudy programs must submit both the CESA Application + Homestudy Supplemental and all program components must be fully developed before the organization being considered for APA approval.

Q: Is it possible to submit a draft application for review?

A: Yes, you may submit one draft application for review at the staff level. Draft applications must be received at least one month prior to the application deadline. Review by staff does not guarantee approval by the committee.

Q: Is it acceptable to provide certificates of attendance to participants who are non-psychologists?

A: Yes. All participants attending the full length of your program may request a certificate of attendance. However, it is recommended that participants check with their respective state board to ensure that credits obtained will be accepted.

Q: Is it correct that I would be seeking APA approval to sponsor continuing education for psychologists (is that the formal designation?)

A: Yes. APA's Continuing Education Committee does not approve individual continuing education programs; approval is at the organizational level. As such, the application focuses on the capacity of the organization to deliver continuing education consistent with the standards and criteria.

Q: Once I get approved to become an APA approved sponsor, does that mean that I am also approved in my local state?

A: Requirements set by APA may differ from state requirements. We strongly recommend that you contact your state board to determine if any programming offered by an APA approved sponsor is accepted.