Tier 1 continuing education units (CEUs) were conceived to be one of the rigorous requirements of American Board of Audiology (ABA) certification programs. ABA Certification awardees were required to earn 15 hours of Tier 1 CE credits per three-year certification cycle. The original requirements for Tier 1 offerings called for three-hour, in-depth classes with interactive learning opportunities. 

As a part of the Academy and ABA review of the ABA Certification programs and ways to make them more accessible to Academy members, changes have been made to the American Board of Audiology Certified (formerly Board Certified in Audiology) Program so that it now requires certification renewal annually with five hours of Tier 1 CEUs. 

Note: The holders of the Pediatric Audiology and Cochlear Implant Specialty Certifications remain in three-year certification cycles with a 15-hour Tier 1 CEU requirement at each renewal.

In planning the implementation of the changes to the ABA Certified Program, the ABA Board concluded that the minimum three-hour length for Tier 1 programs was an obstacle to availability. The time length of the courses was not necessarily related to the rigor and quality of the educational content and interactivity, and often did not fit into CE event agendas easily. Following extensive review and discussion, the ABA Board revised the criteria for Tier 1 to increase availability while maintaining rigor.

Tier 1 CE hours are interactive, continuing education activities that are

  • A minimum duration of one (1) hour. 
  • Focused on one subject area or various aspects of one subject.
  • Designated as having an instructional level of content that is intermediate or advanced.
    • Intermediate: Developed for participants seeking review of fundamentals with emphasis placed on new knowledge in application, skills, and/or procedures. Reviews current literature and practices for those with working knowledge and experience in the content area.
    • Advanced: Developed for participants seeking in-depth discourse of a practice area or topic. Emphasis placed on application and review of current techniques, research findings, and future directions. Participants with substantial experience in the content area will update and expand their current domain knowledge.
  • Include interactivity to make CE activities focused and active, rather than passive, and incorporate learning assessment(s) in real time. The presenter can immediately evaluate a learner’s knowledge of the material throughout the presentation. Examples of interactivity may include, but are not limited to, audience polling (hand raising/Poll Everywhere), demonstration or explanation of technique (clinical/hands-on), online programmable instructional activities, or a Tier 1 assessment. 

Program formats eligible for Tier 1 designation include the following:

  • Live interactive presentations presented either in person or online
  • Online recordings of live, in-person presentations with interactive components (the learner participates and benefits from the exchange of the information)
  • Online, on-demand presentations with an interactive component

The ABA goal for all of the changes this year is to make the ABA Certified program more accessible to Academy members and to enable more Tier 1 opportunities to all ABA certificants. ABA wants to maintain rigorous credentialing programs that elevate professional practice and advance patient care with ABA credentials earned by all leading audiologists, respected by other health-care providers, and trusted by patients.