Update on CEU Requirements from the State – February 2014


The following unedited questions pertaining to the Pennsylvania Landscape Architecture Registration Board’s Continuing Education Units (CEU) requirements were submitted to the Chapter during its Annual Business meeting in April 2005. Initial responses to the questions have also been provided; however, we want to emphasize that the ASLA does not regulate or administer the CEU requirements in any way. That is the responsibility of the Registration Board. Due to the number of questions that we have received, and due to the enforcement of the requirements being relatively new, the Chapter is simply trying to be a resource for its members when trying to interpret or understand the requirements.

Where there are questions of similar scope or topic, they have been grouped together based on the applicable Section of Chapter 15 of the Rules and Regulations for the Pennsylvania State Board of Landscape Architects.

View the Rules and Regulations in Their Entirety

Yes.  Since LACES is provided by ASLA and ASLA is a pre-approved provider, all LACES courses meeting the Health, Safety and Welfare criteria of LACES should be accepted by the PA Board.

To be a landscape architect, one has to pass the licensure examination, which is meant to test the minimum level of knowledge and competency to protect the public health, safety and welfare. Due to the expansive scope of the profession, and due to the ever-changing factors affecting our profession, the need for continuing education units has been determined to be an effective method for continuing to educate professionals to insure the protection of the public health, safety and welfare. CEU’s are not intended in any way to increase or decrease the number of landscape architects or to encourage or discourage anyone from being a landscape architect.

Section 15.34(c) states that a landscape architect who has allowed his certificate of licensure to lapse by failing to pay a biennial renewal fee, may activate a certificate by submitting to the Registration Board a new application and any past due biennial renewal fees.

Full question: I am a retired landscape architect who desires to maintain licensure so that I can (legally) practice by taking the occasional small job. I have almost 190 college credits (relevant) and have been to about 20 national annual meetings. Frankly, I have “heard it all before” and I find most of the continuing educational opportunities elementary or superficial – or not relevant to my potential opportunities for practice.
Has there been any thought to eliminating the CEU requirement for retirees? After four decades (almost) of practice I have become expert in certain L.A. areas and inadequate in others. I know my capabilities and limitations and can guide my remaining career accordingly. I do not need and will not benefit from 20 hrs. of fatuous, baby-basic training.

All landscape architects actively practicing landscape architecture are required to be registered and to comply with the continuing education provisions of the Registration Board. However, Section 15.34(b) provides for a landscape architect who is not engaged in the practice of landscape architecture to be placed on inactive status, subject to the approval of the Board. If the inactive landscape architect later desires to become active again, he must comply with the requirements for renewal at that time, but there will be no penalty for preceding biennial periods when the landscape architect was inactive.

This section is currently somewhat unclear; however, it is our understanding the Board is amending the wording of Section 15.36 to clearly indicate that a firm does not have to have a landscape architect as one of its principals in order to advertise landscape architectural services. This is consistent with the current policies of the Board.

To our knowledge, continuing education programs by the various state differs considerably in many ways, including the time period in which CEU’s are to be tallied. To try to match one state, you will most likely be creating a program inconsistent with a number of other states. Currently, the Pennsylvania Board defines “Biennium” as “the period from June 1 of an odd-numbered year to May 31 of the next odd-numbered year.”

There is no provision within Section 15.71 to permit or suggest that CEU’s from one biennium can be carried over to another biennium. In addition, there is no grace period mentioned for not attaining the required CEU’s within each biennium.

The Pennsylvania/Delaware Chapter of ASLA lists on its website those programs that are brought to its attention that qualify or potentially qualify for CEU’s. However, the Registration Board is the official clearinghouse for determining CEU opportunities and the number of CEU’s attributed to each course or seminar.

There is nothing to prevent an individual designing his own continuing education course as long as the content of the course is found to be acceptable to the Registration Board as set forth in Section 15.73 and provided the provider follows the process for having the course qualified by the Board as set forth in Section 15.74.

Full question: How do companies/consultants become qualified as CEU providers? (i.e., my company provides in-house training on relevant landscape architecture topics) (i.e., private educational providers also provide relevant seminars) I would appreciate making CEU credits easier to obtain – currently the system seems difficult.

Section 15.74 describes the process for having a course approved by the Board for CEUs. At this time, it is widely agreed that the process is too long and tedious. The Registration Board is looking at ways to streamline the process. On behalf of its membership, ASLA hopes to work with the Board in this matter to make the qualifying of courses for CEU’s more user friendly.

These are not pre-qualified course providers per Section 15.76; therefore, you will need to have their courses qualified by the Board as set forth in Section 15.74. It is noted that it is not the responsibility of this ASLA Chapter to determine if courses are qualified.

Not necessarily. Using New Jersey as an example, if the New Jersey Chapter of ASLA provides a course, then it would be acceptable per Section 15.76 which lists all affiliates of ASLA as being a pre-qualified course provider. If a course was provided by another entity, but approved for CEU credit by the New Jersey Chapter, the providing entity would also have to have the course approved by the Pennsylvania Registration Board to offer CEU’s to those registered in Pennsylvania. One exception is that Pennsylvania specifically excludes “Office Management” courses from being acceptable for CEU’s. Office Management is defined as an “activity supportive of administrative or business activities and not related to professional practice, including bookkeeping, business development, finance, marketing, taxes, human resources and the use of office equipment”.

If someone happens to be near the end of the biennium and recognizes that he needs a few more CEU’s, it would be advisable for that person to attend a course offered by one of the pre-qualified course providers listed in Section 15.76. The time needed to have another course provider qualified would probably take too long.

The Registration Board is currently in the process of expanding the list of pre-approved providers.

Full question: Will CEU’s from PRPS, PA Recreation & Parks Society, be accepted? They offer some excellent DCNR partnered/led educational sessions. Parks & Recreation Planning / Master Plans; Greenways & Trails planning & development; Fundraising; Grantsmanship; Conservation Development (Ed McMahon, ULI)

The National Recreation and Parks Association (NRPA) and its affiliates are approved providers by the Board. The Pennsylvania Recreation and Parks Society (PRPS) is listed as an affiliate of the NRPA on the NRPA website. Therefore, the PRPS is an approved provider.

We agree courses provided by CLARB (Council of Landscape Architectural Review Boards), CELA (Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture), and EDRA (Environmental Design Research Association) should be added by the Registration Board to the list of pre-qualified providers. LAF (Landscape Architectural Foundation) should also be added to that list. Technically, none of these entities is an affiliate of ASLA. The Chapter will urge the Board to make these changes.

Again, it is the position of the Registration Board, not this ASLA Chapter, to determine whether a program is qualified for CEU’s.

It is hoped that landscape architects would use the CEU program as incentive to further their educational value in a manner that will benefit their clients. We also feel there is an ample variety of programs available from which to choose.

We would hope so, but there is no guarantee that they know.

For most of those listed, there is a reference to “and its affiliates”. This should encompass those providers whose name has been technically changes over time.

Typically, ASLA will provide a certificate that includes all pertinent information required by the Registration Board to confirm participation of a licensee in the courses attended at the conference

The individual licensee is ultimately responsible for tracking and documenting his CEU’s to the Registration Board. For each course, the Board requires the date attended, the clock hours claimed, the title of the course, the course provider and the location of the course. A “certificate” is not specifically required.

The licensee is responsible for retaining copies of licensure renewal forms, and the certificates, transcripts or other acceptable documentation of completion of CEU courses for 4 years following completion of the course. The provider of an approved course is required to retain records for 4 years following the presentation of the course. Such records should include the successful completion of the course by the licensee and the number of clock hours granted.

The Chapter lists courses and, when provided, the CEU’s attributed to each course as a service to its membership. However, it is the ultimate responsibility of each state Registration Board to determine the actual number of CEU’s assigned to each course.

Full question: In order to make us pro’s more responsible & responsive to new ideas & inclined to seek better solutions – how can we spur more active check-ups & post-involvement with projects we have done? Would it be motivating to have designers’ names more indelibly & prominently associated with the projects? Somehow to do a retrospective evaluation of our projects? We could learn so much!

Construction management is a great way of insuring a project is developed per your plans, and post-construction evaluation is a great method for landscape architects to evaluate how both the design and the design process can be improved. However, the CEU program does not directly affect these matters.