Continuing Professional Education courses are delivered in a variety of formats including seminars, conferences, resort events (even on cruises!), webcasts, and self-study. As in all things CPE related, each state Board of Accountancy sets the rules for what format they will accept from licensees.

And of course, each professional has a personal preference on how they like to learn. For many CPAs, self-study has long been a favorite way to earn credit hours. It’s convenient. You can study anytime, at your own pace and there are many providers offering self-study products at relatively low prices. In many states CPAs are allowed to earn 100% of their required hours using the self-study format.

Recently, however there has been a movement by state Boards of Accountancy to require at least a portion of the hours earned to involve live instruction.

• The Arizona Board of Accountancy now requires licenses to complete a minimum of 16 hours “in a classroom setting or through an interactive webinar.”

• New Jersey requires licensees to take a minimum of 60 credit hours of through “didactic instruction,” Meaning? By their definition: “in-person instruction including interactive telephone or electronic instruction.”

• South Carolina now allows: “Not more than fifty (50%) percent (20 hours) of the required hours may be in self study programs.”

When these states’ regulations changed, CPE Link started receiving calls from practitioners who had been used to taking all their hours using self-study and were now forced to find live CPE.

For this group of learners who prefer to stay home and get their education, webcasts can be a good alternative to self-study. They can meet the new “live” CPE requirement, while still enjoying the convenience of being at home (or the office). Webcasts qualify as live CPE because participants can interact with the instructor, ask and answer questions and their attendance is verified throughout the program.

And the good news is, with live webcasting, there is no test required as there is with a self-study course!