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Certification Program Continuing Education

In order to renew certification, practitioners and practitioners-in-training must engage in continuing education to stay abreast of rapidly evolving knowledge, approaches, strategies, techniques and requirements in the field of ecological restoration.

Certified Ecological Restoration Practitioners (CERPs) and Certified Ecological Restoration Practitioners in Training (CERPITs) can be recertified by earning a minimum of 50 continuing education credits (CECs) within the five-year period since they were last: certified,  recertified, or upgraded from CERPIT to CERP status. A minimum of five CECs must be earned in each year. If certificants are not able to achieve the minimum credits in any given year due to extenuating circumstances, they should notify SER so that alternate arrangements can be considered. 

There are seven broad categories of training and other professional activities with content relevant to ecological restoration for which CECs may be granted.

Training or Professional ActivityCategory

Available for pre-approval?

Assignment of Continuing Education Credit Hours

1. Completion of college-level continuing education coursework


1 hour of classroom instruction/attendance = 1 CEC

2. Attendance of specialized training (e.g., short courses, workshops, field tours, webinars)


1 hour of attendance = 1 CEC

3. Attendance at conference sessions and symposia [1]


2 hours of attendance = 1 CEC

4. Instruction of speciatlized training (e.g., short courses, workshops, field tours, webinars) [2]


1 hour of instruction = 1 CEC

5. Preparation of publications, technical documents, or educational materials


Book = 10 CECs

Book chapter = 5 CECs

Peer-reviewed publication = 5 CECs

Other educational materials = 1 CEC

6. Completion of leadership roles in SER, SER chapters, or SER/chapter activities


Board member = 5 CECs/year

Committee member [3] = 3 CECs/year

Organizing SER or SER chapter events = 2 CECs/event

7. Completion of volunteer service for a not-for-profit organization, focusing on ecological restoration-related activities [4]


4 contact hours = 1 CEC

[1] Specific sessions and symposia within larger conferences may be pre-approved for credit.

[2] Continuing education credits will only be awarded once to college or university instructors for teaching regular semester- or quarter-long courses pertaining to ecological restoration.  If courses are taught multiple times (e.g., each year), only the first time it is taught will be considered for CECs.

[3] If the certificant serves on the Board and a committee at the same SER organizational level (e.g., both for a chapter), then he/she should only count the Board service.  If the certificant serves on the Board and a committee at different organizational levels (e.g., chapter board, SER committee) then both may count toward CECs.

[4] No more than 5 CECs can be obtained through volunteer service over the 5 year period.  

Regardless of whether CEC approval is sought before or after the event, CECs will be evaluated based on a number of standards including content, structure, instructor quality, and other qualifying factors (as applicable).

Content and Structure

  • Training or instruction must meet the definition of SER continuing education: Learning opportunities that keep practitioners abreast of rapidly evolving knowledge, approaches, strategies, techniques and requirements in the field of ecological restoration.
  • The content must fall into the one or more of the categories of educational requirements for SER certification of restoration practitioners (see Society for Ecological Restoration Certification Program Educational Achievement Criteria).
  • Educational objectives must be clearly stated.
  • Contact time must be a minimum of one hour.  Time spent on breaks, meals, administrative presentations, social events and travel (unless instruction occurs during travel) does not count toward instructional time. 
  • Participants who complete the training or activity must obtain a Confirmation of Completion certificate or other documentation.  If grades are assigned, the participant must obtain a passing grade and provide documentation. 
  • For distance learning (e.g., webinars, online courses), the sponsor or instructor will provide estimated contact time and the means of attendance verification. 

Instructional Personnel

  • Instructors must meet one of the following criteria:
    • be certified by SER or
    • be certified in a discipline appropriate to the course content by an appropriate society or government entity, be employed at an accredited college or university, or possess credentials appropriate for the subject matter of the proposed training as agreed upon by a majority of the SER Continuing Education Committee.
  • Instructors will abide by the SER Code of Ethics.
  • Instructors will not promote commercial products or include proprietary information in presentations.

Other Specifications

  • Publications are not eligible for CECs until they have been accepted by the publisher.
  • Qualifying volunteer service must be at a not-for-profit organization and service must focus on ecological restoration.
  • Documentation of volunteer hours (number of hours and description of the task) must be provided by the organization’s administrator or their designee.


Apply for Pre-Approval Now:  Organizations/Sponsors seeking pre-approval can fill out the form here.


Pre-approval benefits both the program sponsors and the attendees. Pre-approved offerings provide course attendees with assurance that the offering will receive a pre-determined number of credits. In addition, pre-approval enables program sponsors to offer additional benefits to potential attendees. Requests for pre-approval of eligible activities may be made by educational institutions, government agencies, non-profit organizations, for-profit organizations, or individuals.

Activities described in Categories 1-4 (see table above) may be pre-approved for a specific number of CECs. Application for pre-approval is accomplished by completing and submitting the Application for Pre-Approval of Continuing Education Credits form.

Required information includes:

  • Sponsor and instructor names(s) and resumes
  • A course syllabus or supporting information that includes educational objectives
  • Planned offering dates(s)
  • Contact information required for registration.

Pre-approval for a period of two years may be requested for recurring courses. Currently, there is no application fee for CEC pre-approval. 

Submitted applications are reviewed by the Certification Program Coordinator and the SER Continuing Education Committee and applicants are notified of the result no later than 6 weeks after application. Successful applications are added to the Continuing Education calendar on the SER website

Sponsors who receive pre-approval must adhere to the following general procedures:

  • Confirmation of Completion: Attendance and completion of all activity requirements must be confirmed/validated by the sponsor in order for assignment of CECs. Sponsors must provide a Confirmation of Completion form or similar documentation to each participant who successfully completes the activity within 30 days of course completion. The confirmation should include the approval code provided by SER certification program. A sample Confirmation of Completion of Pre-approved Training or Activity form will be provided to sponsors, if the course is approved. It is the responsibility of the certificant to upload their Confirmation of Completion to the online certification management system ( before his/her certification renewal.
  • Record Maintenance: The sponsor must provide attendance records, grades (if assigned), and confirmation of completions for all participants (electronic or hard copy) to SER and/or maintained by the provider for at least 6 years.
  • Marketing and Use of the SER Certification Program Logo: Providers with pre-approved trainings may market their course as being eligible for SER Continuing Education credits related to the SER certification program. The SER certification program logo will be provided upon approval of the course/activity; however its use is strictly limited to the promotion of pre-approved Continuing Education offerings.
  • SER and its chapters routinely offer annual meetings, workshops, webinars, and other educational courses; however, not all workshops and webinars may be submitted for CEC pre-approval. SER and SER chapters will clearly state whether or not proposed webinars and workshops have been pre-approved for continuing education credits in association with the SER certification program.
  • Monitoring:  SER may verify the quality of offerings that are pre-approved. Therefore, SER reserves the right to monitor pre-approved training and instruction.

SER may provide warning and/or terminate pre-approval if evidence is found that providers are not meeting SER educational criteria and commitments to follow SER guidelines and the SER Code of Ethics. Terminations may be appealed to the Review and Appeals Committee within 30 days of notification. The majority decision of the Committee will be final.


Apply for Pre-Approval Now:  Organizations/Sponsors seeking pre-approval can fill out the form here.

Continuing Education activities can be submitted for pre- or post-approval at  Submitted CECs are reviewed by the Certification Program Coordinator and three members of the SER Continuing Education Committee. The applicant will be notified in writing (e.g., email) of approval or rejection of the CECs no later than 4 weeks after submittal. Once approved, the Certification Program Coordinator will update the CERP/CERPITs journal.