There are a lot of great things in life that are free: watching a sunrise, seeing a baby smile, strolling on the beach, petting a puppy, and stargazing on a clear night—just to name a few. But, one thing you won’t ever find on this list is CEUs. That’s because free physical therapy CEUs have a reputation of being less than stellar, and that’s just not something you want in a continuing education course—especially not a course for healthcare providers who absolutely must stay at the top of their game to remain competitive in this new era of health care. Here’s why you should avoid free physical therapy CEUs (and how you can make paying for CEUs easier):

Top of Mind, Top of Search: 4 Ways to Help Patients Find Your PT Practice Online - Regular BannerTop of Mind, Top of Search: 4 Ways to Help Patients Find Your PT Practice Online - Small Banner

It’s most likely not going to be high-quality content.

Sure, a free continuing education course may satisfy your state’s requirements—and get you by in a pinch—but chances are good that it’s not going to help you provide better care to your patients, hone your business acumen, or enhance your operational prowess. So really, what’s the point? Attendees of subpar classes aren’t doing themselves or their profession any favors. As WebPT’s Heidi Jannenga explained here, the fact that “there is no clear consistency in...continuing education requirements from one state to another” is a big problem. That’s because PTs “in different states may learn different protocols or be held to different standards. And that, in turn, means patients in different states may have vastly different care experiences.” Well, those educational discrepancies occur within each state as well—especially when providers opt for quickie CEUs instead of higher-quality, evidence-based coursework.

The people putting it on may not be giving it their all.

Developing content, structuring a curriculum, and designing supplementary materials for continuing education courses is time- and resource-consuming. (We should know—we’ve done it.) There’s a lot of work that goes into creating well-researched, well-written, and well-developed educational materials. And it would be incredibly difficult to put together something of quality without proper funding. That’s because financially strapped developers of free CEUs may end up re-using content to conserve production resources (meaning the course material may not be as current as it should be) or cutting corners in other areas (which means attendees may end up being less engaged or not retaining enough information to make the program worth their while). Plus, it’s going to be significantly harder to get industry experts on board to teach without some kind of a budget. Their time is valuable—as is yours—and we are all about fair value exchange.

Quality courses may not be as expensive as you think.

There are plenty of ways to access high-quality CEUs without spending a small fortune. For starters, you can complete as many online courses as your state allows (online courses are usually quite a bit less expensive than in-person ones). While you may want to stick to in-person classes when you’re aiming to learn a new hands-on clinical technique, there are a plethora of online physical therapy CEU courses—all taught by industry experts from around the country—in a wide range of fascinating (and relevant) subjects. After all, you won’t have to limit your search to your specific geographic region—or cover the cost of travel. You may also be able to convince your employer to provide you with employee CEU benefits (hint: that’s a great thing to ask for during initial job offer negotiations or during your next performance review.) And finally, according to this resource, you may be able to deduct the cost of your CEUs when tax time rolls around: “The cost of education that maintains or improves skills you use on the job—or that is required to maintain your job—is deductible if you itemize.” And continuing education certainly meets the job-related education criteria. Just be sure to check with your tax advisor, because there are a few stipulations.

In the case of physical therapy CEUs, the best courses—in terms of knowledge exchange, engagement, and instructor expertise—cost a little money. While you don’t have to spend a lot for quality coursework, you really should be spending something. After all, you get what you pay for. And who wants to get nothing out of their CEUs?

  • 3 Reasons Why Rehab Therapy Employers Should Pay for Staff CEUs Image

    articleDec 14, 2017 | 7 min. read

    3 Reasons Why Rehab Therapy Employers Should Pay for Staff CEUs

    Whether you’re managing recent rehab therapist grads or seasoned professionals, their education is never done—nor should it be. After all, new developments in everything from evidence-based care and operational best practices to patient relationship building and referral generation are constantly coming to light. So, the very best way to ensure that your therapists are practicing at the top of their game is by providing them with access to the very best continuing education resources around. Sure, you …

  • Cloudy with a Chance of Reform: 5 Key Healthcare Forecasts for 2017 Image

    webinarJan 5, 2017

    Cloudy with a Chance of Reform: 5 Key Healthcare Forecasts for 2017

    Predicting the weather is tough—just ask any meteorologist who has called for sun on the day of a major downpour. Well, predicting the fate of the US healthcare system isn’t much easier—there’s a lot up in the air, after all. But, even without a healthcare equivalent of Doppler Radar, there are a few key trends that are sure to have a major impact on PTs, OTs, and SLPs in 2017 and beyond. And to keep your practice …

  • Internet or In-Person: The Pros and Cons of Online CEU Courses Image

    articleNov 14, 2017 | 6 min. read

    Internet or In-Person: The Pros and Cons of Online CEU Courses

    If you’ve got a professional license, then continuing competency requirements in the form of continuing education units (CEUs) or contact hours are a fact of life—if you’d like to keep that license of yours, that is. Because so many professionals are required to complete CEUs—healthcare providers, psychologists, and lawyers, to name a few—the debate as to whether to take those courses online or in-person is alive and well. While there’s no across-the-board right answer as to which …

  • Founder Letter: The Con Ed Conundrum: What's Wrong with PT CEUs Image

    articleNov 6, 2017 | 7 min. read

    Founder Letter: The Con Ed Conundrum: What's Wrong with PT CEUs

    Change is uncomfortable—however necessary it may be. And that uneasiness prevents many individuals and groups from seeking the kind of change that is vital to growth. This trend of paralysis is all too common in the physical therapy space, and in my mind, one glaring example of something desperately ripe for change is our lack of standardization—in terms of brand perception, patient experience, and clinical outcomes. And one way we can begin bridging that gap is to …

  • How to Select the Right Physical Therapy CEUs Image

    articleAug 15, 2016 | 5 min. read

    How to Select the Right Physical Therapy CEUs

    For practicing PTs, physical therapy continuing education courses (CEUs) are a fact of life. After all, most states require PTs to complete a certain number of CEUs each year in order to retain a license to practice. But just because these courses are mandatory doesn’t mean they also have to be a drag. Good physical therapy CEUs can be both educational and interesting; they also can be really great for your career and your clinic. But the …

  • Physical Therapist CEU Requirements by State Image

    articleDec 29, 2017 | 7 min. read

    Physical Therapist CEU Requirements by State

    Recently, WebPT president and co-founder Heidi Jannenga, PT, DPT, ATC/L, published an article discussing the discrepancies between continuing education unit (CEU) requirements from state to state—as well as the importance of standardizing physical therapist CEU requirements (and developing better CEU delivery platforms ) to move the entire industry forward. Well, we decided to dig deeper into the differences in physical therapy CEU requirements by state. And it turns out that some states require a whopping 40 hours …

  • 8 Reasons You Should Attend Ascend 2017 Image

    articleJun 15, 2017 | 5 min. read

    8 Reasons You Should Attend Ascend 2017

      Great news! Ascend— the ultimate business summit for rehab therapists —is back. Last year, the third-annual event hit Fort Worth, Texas, for two incredibly educational (and incredibly fun) days. This year—September 29 and 30, to be exact—Ascend is heading to our nation’s capital. As we all know, DC is full of movers, shakers, and changemakers, and Ascend will keep that tradition alive—minus the political drama. This two-day conference is a can’t-miss affair. Here’s why: 1.) You’ll …

  • Common Questions from our Cloudy with a Chance of Reform Webinar Image

    articleFeb 13, 2017 | 13 min. read

    Common Questions from our Cloudy with a Chance of Reform Webinar

    In our first webinar of 2017 , WebPT’s co-founder and president, Heidi Jannenga, teamed up with CEO Nancy Ham to discuss the current and future healthcare trends that will impact PTs, OTs, and SLPs. (Missed it? No worries; you can view the complete recording here .) As always, we received quite a few questions during the presentation—way more than we could address live. So, we’ve put them all here, in one handy Q&A doc. Scroll through and …

  • 5 Reasons You Should Attend Ascend 2015 Image

    articleApr 28, 2015 | 4 min. read

    5 Reasons You Should Attend Ascend 2015

    Have you heard? Ascend— the ultimate business summit for rehab therapists —is back. Last year, the inaugural event took Dallas—or at least, Dallas physical therapists and private practice owners—by storm for one jam-packed day . This year, Ascend is upping the ante—big time. For starters, our 2015 event will run for two days instead of one—and trust us, you don’t want to miss it. Here are five reasons you should attend Ascend 2015: 1. You’ll earn CEUs. …

Achieve greatness in practice with the ultimate EMR for PTs, OTs, and SLPs.