Professionalism Counts is a column in Actuarial Update, the Academy's monthly newsletter.
CE DOCUMENTATION IS KEY TO COMPLIANCE
As an actuary practicing in the United States, you know you have to complete 30 hours of relevant continuing education (CE) each year to satisfy the requirements of the U.S. Qualification Standards (USQS). But did you also know that the USQS requires you to document your CE and maintain those records for six years?
Section 6.1 of the USQS requires actuaries to “keep appropriate and timely records as evidence that their continuing education requirements have been met.” Such records should contain the date of the CE, the number and type (professionalism, organized, other) of credit hours obtained, and a brief description of the subject matter. One easy way to record your CE is to use TRACE, the Academy’s online CE tracking tool. TRACE contains many pre-loaded events sponsored by the Academy. You can also enter CE earned through other events or self-study in TRACE, so that all of your CE is recorded in one place. In addition, TRACE allows you to export your information and generate a report.
The USQS also require you to be able to substantiate your compliance with the CE requirements. In the FAQs on the U.S. Qualification Standards, the Committee on Qualifications (COQ) notes that, “Actuaries may face situations where their CE qualifications are audited or reviewed by third parties, such as regulators, attorneys in litigation, the Actuarial Board for Counseling and Discipline (or other disciplinary bodies to which the actuary is subject), or other organizations of which the actuary is a member.”1
In such cases, the actuary should be prepared to provide evidence that he or she has met the requirements of the USQS. It is therefore a good idea to retain certificates of attendance, registration materials, meeting handouts, and personal notes to provide such evidence. As the FAQs state, “It is up to the actuary to use his or her judgment in determining what best exemplifies compliance with the CE requirements given the circumstances of the event.”2
As we hit the middle of the year, we encourage you to take stock of the CE you’ve earned so far and make sure that it has been properly recorded. After all, you want to ensure that you are in full compliance when it comes to your CE.
Of the 30 hours of CE required each year, 6 hours must be organized, and 3 hours must be related to professionalism. To be considered “organized,” CE must allow you to interact with professionals from outside your organization. Attending a seminar, class, or other live, in-person event would count as organized CE. Attending a live webinar—as long as there is a way to ask questions or otherwise interact with the presenters or other participants—would also count. Watching a recorded event would not, as you would not be able to ask questions or enter into a discussion with participants outside your organization.
Professionalism topics are those related specifically to actuarial professionalism—the Code of Professional Conduct, the actuarial standards of practice, or the USQS. Topics such as presentation and communication skills, project management, and personnel management do not count as professionalism under the USQS. Instead, they may be considered “business and consulting skills” and are capped at 3 hours per year.
 USQS FAQs, No. 28