Thursday, August 22, 2013

How do I earn CEUs?

We've started fielding additional questions from PMPs about how they are supposed to maintain CEUs. "Does (insert activity here) count? ... what about (insert different activity)?"

The Maintain my ACE page lists all of the eligible activities that can earn you CEUs. There really are a lot of options and any PMP who is earning CEUs to maintain a state license should be able to earn their 18 CEUs during the 3-year period.

All ACEs are encouraged to document their activities as they occur so that you don't need to go back and recreate them later. A small percentage of all reports will be audited (random selection) so you are strongly encouraged to maintain back-up proof of your activities.  A spreadsheet is a simple way to keep track of your CEUs. A sample sheet might look something like this:

DateDescriptionLocationHours (total)Hours to claimBackup
ExamplePurdue Pest Management Conf 2013West Lafayette, IN166Program, receipt, and name badge

For 2014 ACEs will have the option to renew for just 2014 and not submit CEUs or to renew for 2014-2016 and submit a CEU report. We cannot accept a 3-year renewal without a CEU report. Look back through your records for training you attended from 2011-2013. If you can come up with 18 hours, renew for 3 years.  Some examples of how a PMP might earn credits are below.

Example #1:
Jane Doe, ACE rarely makes it to any of the big pest management conferences, but did attend a 1-day short course one year. She attends quarterly hour-long training sessions with her firm, though was unable to attend them at all one year. Every three years her job administers a competency exam. She spends about a half hour a month reading PCT Online. Assuming nothing else, she can claim 20 CEUs:

  • Year #1 -- (4 CEUs for Training Attended) + (2 CEUs for Reading) = 6 CEUs
  • Year #2 -- (2 CEUs for Reading) + (3 CEUs for Job Related Exams) = 5 CEUs
  • Year #3 -- (4 CEUs for Training Attended) + (2 CEUs for Reading) + (3 CEUs for Professional conferences) = 9 CEUs
Training Attended is a broad category that would include inter-company training as long as it is conducted by a trained professional (ideally this would be an ACE or BCE). Reading is a little ambiguous, but ESA recognizes that a lot of good information comes out monthly in the trade publications. If you claim hours for reading, you'll want to document extensively (e.g., "What's in a Name?", Pest Control Technology, May 2013, pp 70-74, 20 minutes). Note that in many categories you can only claim a certain number of CEUs per year, regardless of how much time you spent on that activity.

Example #2:
John Doe, ACE is a regular at NPMA's PestWorld conference. Assuming nothing else, he can claim 18 CEUs.
  • Year #1 -- (3 CEUs per day for Conferences Attended) x 2 days = 6 CEUs
  • Year #2 -- (3 CEUs per day for Conferences Attended) x 2 days = 6 CEUs
  • Year #3 -- (3 CEUs per day for Conferences Attended) x 2 days = 6 CEUs
The large pest management conferences are a wealth of information and a person can learn a lot by attending. Documentation for CEUs like this should be as detailed as possible. You may want to maintain your receipt, program that indicates which sessions you attended, and perhaps your name badge.

Example #3:
Jean Doe, ACE maintains the pest management blog for her company (spending about an hour a month on it), served on the board of her state pest management association for two years (she attended 6 hour long conference calls per year), and watches the occasional hour-long pest management webinars. Assuming nothing else, she can claim 18 CEUs.
  • Year #1 -- (2 CEUs for Pest Control Blogging) +  (4 CEUs Committee Service) = 6 CEUs
  • Year #2 -- (2 CEUs for Pest Control Blogging) +  (4 CEUs Committee Service) + (1 CEU for webinars) = 7 CEUs
  • Year #3 -- (2 CEUs for Pest Control Blogging) +  (3 CEUs Webinars) = 5 CEUs
Pest management training has changed over the years and there are now lots of opportunities to earn CEUs over the internet. In addition to those listed in Example #3, a PMP could also earn ACE CEUs by taking distance learning courses toward a biology degree.

These quick examples should highlight that attaining the 18 required CEUs is not hard and should be a part of every PMPs training regimen. The list of CEU activities was designed by the ACE Support Committee in the Spring of 2013. The committee presented their suggestions to the ESA Certification Board and they approved the list of CEUs in June 2013

The last category in the list is "special activities" and we've had some people wondering what that might be. The truth is that we don't yet know. But we know that our ACEs are an innovative group of professionals who will continually be pushing the known boundaries. We want to have a way to recognize that effort and award CEUs as appropriate.

What doesn't count?
A rule of thumb could be this ... Does this activity help me do my job better?  If it does and is not a part of your regular daily duties, then it will likely count in at least one category. If it doesn't, then you may need to look elsewhere for more credits. This statement is overly broad, but it will mostly hold true.  Some examples of activities that may not count for hours would include

  • attending webinars that are unrelated to pest management
  • reading articles that are unrelated to pest management
  • hours spent at conferences where you are not actually in training sessions (remember that one hour of activity equates to one CEU. You won't earn CEUs by sitting in the hotel bar!)
  • standard job-related activities (filling out service reports, making calls on clients, etc) that don't meet one of the criteria on the creditable hours table.
  • community service that is not related to your job. For example, if you volunteer at your daughter's school as a playground monitor that would not count. But if you do a volunteer inspection at her school or if you give an hour-long talk for Career Day, that might be a creditable hour.

Who decides what counts?
ESA headquarters will initially review the CEU reports. Additionally, a percentage of all reports received will be randomly selected for an audit and those will be bumped up to the ACE Support Committee for a deeper review and backup documentation may be required at that time. If your report is selected for an audit, you will be notified, but there may be nothing further required of you if your report is found to be in good order. It will be up to the reviewer to determine if any additional documentation would be required.

If you have any questions about what qualifies, please first consult this list of creditable hours, and then contact if you still have questions.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Newest certified ...

Every month or so we try to list the newest BCEs and ACEs. Please join ESA in congratulating these professionals for earning their certification.
  • Daniel Kuzma, ACE, (Industrial Fumigant Company), Woodhaven, MI  USA.  Certified on 1/24/13. 
  • Ronald Dean Mann, ACE, (Mann vs Pest Inc), San Diego, CA  USA.  Certified on 1/30/13. 
  • Robert Glenn Greer, ACE, (Rove Pest Control), Woodbury, MN  USA.  Certified on 6/28/13. 
  • Ricky Roberts, ACE, (Orkin Commercial Services), Houston, TX  USA.  Certified on 7/11/13. 
  • David Lynn Rice, ACE, (EnviroCon Termite & Pest, Inc.), Hockley, TX  USA.  Certified on 7/11/13. 
  • David Lee Henderson, ACE, (Spring Independent School District), Houston, TX  USA.  Certified on 7/11/13. 
  • Scott Robert Lupo, ACE, (Batzner Pest Management, Inc.), New Berlin, WI  USA.  Certified on 7/16/13. 
  • Cindy L Lambert, ACE, (Sprays Termite Control & Insulation), Hazel Green, AL  USA.  Certified on 7/23/13. 
  • William Richard Chandler, ACE, (Ecolab Pest Elimination), Murfreesboro, TN  USA.  Certified on 7/23/13. 
  • Steven B Shepherd, ACE, (Interstate Exterminators), Pittsburg, KS  USA.  Certified on 7/23/13. 
  • John Paul Myers, ACE, (Gunter Pest Mgmt), Lees Summit, MO  USA.  Certified on 7/23/13. 
  • Jeremy Matthew Schultz, ACE, (Enviro-Tech Pest Services), Brunswick, MD  USA.  Certified on 7/23/13. 
  • Jeffry K Schnelting, ACE, (Rottler Pest and Lawn Services), Saint Charles, MO  USA.  Certified on 7/23/13. 
  • Glen Sweikata, ACE, (Massey Services), Jacksonville, FL  USA.  Certified on 7/23/13. 
  • Russell James Anderson, ACE, (Western Exterminator), Anaheim, CA  USA.  Certified on 7/30/13. 
  • Thomas R. Estill, ACE, (Ensystex), San Diego, CA  USA.  Certified on 7/31/13. 
  • Stephen Adrian Tanksley, Sr., ACE, (Pinpoint Pest Control), Oceanside, CA  USA.  Certified on 7/31/13. 
  • Shane D. Lopez, ACE, (Western Exterminator Co.), Huntington Beach, CA  USA.  Certified on 7/31/13. 
  • Jason M. Bennett, ACE, (Western Exterminator Co.), Anaheim, CA  USA.  Certified on 7/31/13. 
  • John Samuel Bell III, BCE, ACE, (Scotts Lawn Service), Orlando, FL  USA.  Certified on 7/17/13.
    (John has been ACE certified for some time and now joins a very small group of individuals who are both ACE and BCE certified)
Your co-workers are getting certified. Your competition is getting certified. Your boss is getting certified. When are YOU going to take the plunge and advance your career?

Applying to become an ACE is easy.

Monday, August 12, 2013

What is a Content Outline?

The ACE exam is being updated with a new content outline.  Which begs the question, perhaps, what is a content outline (CO)?  

The ACE exam (indeed, all of the ESA Certification exams) are all based on a pre-determined set of topics. For ACE, these were originally established back in 2004 when the program was initiated. The current CO is online here and will be the testable subject matter until December 31, 2013 at which point it will expire (and this link will be no longer valid). The new CO to debut on January 1, 2014 is here.

The process of developing the new CO was very regimented so as to be certain that the ACE exam is testing on knowledge that a trained PMP should have to perform their daily jobs at the highest levels. 

In April of 2012 and working with a certification consultant, the ESA convened a panel of experts to review the existing CO. This group essentially tore apart the current CO, examined it in minute detail, and then reassembled parts of it. What emerged were four key areas of knowledge that a PMP should have. We call these the CO Domains.
  • Inspection and Identification
  • Monitoring
  • Selection and Implementation of Control Methods
  • Evaluation
Within each of these Domains there are abilities that a PMP needs to have in order to demonstrate mastery of the Domain knowledge. These we call Skills and they are an integral part of the CO.

Following the April 2012 meeting, our consultant developed the new material into a survey that we then emailed to many hundreds of professionals across the country. For each skill identified on the CO, we asked them (a) how often they performed this task and (b) how critical it was to their job.  The results of that survey are what is going to form the basis of the new exam.

As for the insects covered in the exam, they fall into these categories:
  • Biting and Stinging pests
  • Flies (Order Diptera)
  • Ants (Family Formicidae)
  • Cockroaches (Order Dictyoptera; Alt. Blattaria)
  • Stored product and fabric pests
  • Wood destroying insects
  • Occasional invaders and general household pests
  • Common Commensal pests*
The specific pests that could be found on the exam are listed on the CO in order of descending importance. For example, under the biting and stinging insects section, bed bugs are listed at the top and chiggers are listed at the bottom. So while it is possible that an ACE applicant could get a question on both arthropods on the exam, it is far more likely that a question on bed bugs would appear. 

Speaking of questions, in exam-writing parlance, a question is usually referred to as an Item. Just last week we brought another group of experts to Annapolis to the ESA HQ. They went through all of the existing Items on the current ACE Exam to determine if they fit into the new CO as-is, with some modifications, or if the Items simply did not fit the exam any longer. 

The experts chosen were all BCEs from a variety of personal and professional expertise. They all signed documents of confidentiality which precludes them discussing the exam and Items with anyone outside of the group. On a personal note, I have seldom worked with a more professional group of people. ESA, the Certification programs, and I personally all owe them a debt of gratitude. 

The result is a new question bank where the Items upon which the new ACE exam will be based have been verified to be of high frequency and importance to practicing PMPs. Over the next few months the refined, tested, and then edited again until we launch the new exam on January 1.

So all you prospective ACEs out there ... start studying the new content.  Your testing matter has been vetted against the best in the business.

* I've received some questions about what kinds of questions are apt to be found on the ACE Exam for vertebrate pests. Watch for a future blog post about this topic.