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LA CES Approved Provider Guidelines

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Provider Approval

Providers must apply to receive recognition as an LA CES approved provider. Applications are reviewed for approval by the LA CES Application Review Committee.

Course Registration

Approved providers must register courses in order to represent them in marketing materials or in any other way as being listed under the Landscape Architecture Continuing Education System. Approved providers must submit a description of the course, instructor name(s), scheduled date(s), and contacts (web link, phone number) for potential participants to use to access registration information. This information becomes part of the online, searchable LA CES course database.  All LA CES approved provider courses must be evaluated and re-registered, at minimum, every two (2) years. 

Recordkeeping and Reporting

Attendance of landscape architects must be confirmed. Approved providers must issue a confirmation and verification of completion for each participant who completes a registered course. Confirmations must contain essential information such as the name of the sponsor, participant’s name, course title, date, and the number of professional development hours issued. Attendance must be reported on the LA CES website within twenty (20) business days of the event using the template provided. Approved providers must be able to provide participants with verification of their participation on request for a minimum of six (6) years. In addition, approved providers must keep copies of all course materials for a minimum of six (6) years.

Approval Criteria

Continuing professional education providers seeking LA CES approved provider status for educational course offerings must meet the following criteria:

  1. Registered courses must adhere to the LA CES definition of continuing professional education: Continuing professional education consists of learning experiences that enhance and expand the skills, knowledge, and abilities of practicing landscape architects to remain current and render competent professional service to clients and the public.

    This definition should be viewed broadly to encompass the wide range of competencies and proficiencies needed by design professionals to perform in varied practice settings.

  2. Registered courses must specify whether the primary subject matter qualifies as meeting the LA CES health, safety, and welfare (HSW) definition.

    Seventy-five (75) percent of the course material must qualify under this definition for courses to be identified as meeting the health, safety, and welfare standard. (Learn more about the determining HSW classification.)
  3. Registered courses must comply with LA CES guidelines in the assignment of professional development hours (PDH).  All courses must be at least 1 PDH in length.

    (Learn more about calculating PDH and find out more information on distance education requirements.)

  4. Registered courses must be planned in response to the learning needs of target audiences and include clear and concise written statements of learning objectives/outcomes. Providers are required to include a minimum of three learning objectives/outcomes for each course.

    Learning objectives/outcomes are written statements of what the learner is expected to accomplish as a result of the course. Following are some examples of learning objectives/outcomes:

    • Learn how to determine the major functions and components of a green roof.
    • Identify the factors that influence costs.
    • Learn how to utilize an integrated design process in your project for maximum benefit.
  5. Registered courses must use qualified instructional personnel in course development and delivery; include content and instructional methods that are appropriate for the intended learning objectives/outcomes; and use materials that do not contain proprietary information, are educational and generic in nature, and serve to reinforce the learning objectives.

    Course instructors should have experience, knowledge, and credentials relevant to the course they are teaching. The instructor should not act as a salesperson to promote any products or services.

    All course content and materials must be educational, and may not be commercial. The promotion or discussion of proprietary information is strictly forbidden during the course

    Proprietary Information Guidelines

    Product or service promotion should be limited to before or after a course. Providers may offer product demonstrations before or after the educational portion of a course; however, promotion or discussion of proprietary company information is strictly forbidden during the educational portion of the course.

    Product specific or service related questions raised by course attendees during the course should held and addressed at the conclusion of the course.

    Company, product (trademarks, patents and so on), and service information shall not be displayed or discussed during the credit portion of any LA CES approved course. Proprietary logos may be displayed only on the:

    • First and last slides of a PowerPoint or visual presentation.
    • Front or back page of handouts or other course materials.

    Product samples should not have company logos or proprietary stickers on them. You may bring materials to your course to leave as takeaways, but you may not pass around the information during the course. Once a course of at least 50 minutes in length has ended (or before it begins), you may discuss any company or product information you would like with the attendees.

    If a course is offered on the same venue as a marketing product (for example, a CDROM or website), the “for credit” portion must be clearly indicated and separate from any product, brand, or service promotion.
  6. Registered courses must include a mechanism for assessing participant attainment of the learning objectives/outcomes.

    Attainment of learning objectives/outcomes may be demonstrated in many ways such as:

    • Participant evaluation of the registered course.
    • Questions and answers.
    • Discussion, summaries, case studies.
    • Demonstrations, simulations, games, in-basket exercises.
    • Written (required for distance education) or oral examinations, written exercises, reports.
    • Projects, plans, decision-making exercises.

    Learner demonstration may be done during, on conclusion, or after the learning activity. Regardless of when it is done, learner demonstrations should be an integral part of the learning process. Whether or not scores are provided for each learner depends on the intent of the course. Participants should be advised in advance of what is to be required.

  7. Registered courses must be evaluated by participants and issue a confirmation and verification of completion for each participant who completes a course.

    Evaluations should capture specific information for providers to use to improve courses/programs. (Download a model evaluation form.)

    Confirmations should contain essential information such as the name of the sponsor; participant’s name; course title; date; whether the course meets the health, safety, and welfare criterion; a brief descriptive statement of content; and the number of professional development hours issued.(Download a sample certification of completion.)

  8. Registered courses must maintain complete attendance records that are available to participants on request for a minimum of six (6) years and have a review process in operation that ensures that LA CES criteria are met. In addition, approved providers must keep copies of all course materials for a minimum of six (6) years.

    Attendance records must be reported on the LA CES website within twenty (20) days of the completion of the event using the template provided. In jointly sponsored programs the responsibility for attendance records, ensuring the criteria are met, and retention of course materials rests with the organization issuing the professional development hours.

Application Process

To qualify for application, providers must be constituted as follows:

  1. Organizations such as manufacturers, service groups, and firms.
  2. Schools, colleges, or universities that are regionally or nationally accredited by an agency recognized by the US Department of Education or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (as appropriate for the institution).
  3. Professional associations or other not-for-profit or nonprofit organizations.
  4. Federal, state, or local government agencies.

Application forms are accepted for review throughout the year. Applications must be complete and accompanied by provider fees. The following steps will help guide organizations through the application process for LA CES approval:

  1. Check to make sure your organization meets the application qualifications for becoming an LA CES approved provider.
  2. Study the approval criteria for a complete understanding of what each criterion statement means. Seek guidance from LA CES if necessary.
  3. Review each of your responses on the application against the criteria to identify potential weaknesses of your processes.
  4. Work to strengthen those weaknesses until your organization is satisfied that it fully meets each criterion. Seek guidance from LA CES if necessary.
  5. File a formal application, supporting materials, and pay provider fee

Applications are forwarded to the LA CES Application Review Committee for evaluation. Applicants are contacted if clarification of information is needed and notified of acceptance, deferral, or denial within thirty (30) days of receipt. When applications are deferred or denied, specific written causes for the action are provided to the applicant. In most cases, applications would be deferred or denied because the application is incomplete or it is clear that at least one of the qualifying criteria has not been met. Applicants may reapply at any time once the cause for deferral or denial has been addressed.

Monitoring Process

LA CES has a responsibility to maintain the integrity and quality of programs offered by approved providers; therefore, LA CES reserves the right to:

  • Monitor registered courses and operations as part of periodic random samplings of approved providers.
  • Terminate use of the LA CES designation when there is ample evidence that approved providers are not upholding LA CES education criteria and commitments to follow LA CES guidelines.

The LA CES Monitoring Committee annually reviews a minimum of ten (10) percent of approved providers to determine compliance with LA CES guidelines and procedures. LA CES recognition is withdrawn for failure to comply with the criteria and the conditions of qualification. Approved providers are notified in writing of any failure to comply and have a probationary period of thirty (30) days from receipt of notification to demonstrate compliance. If approved providers fail to comply with conditions for acceptance by the end of the thirty (30) day probationary period, registration is withdrawn and providers are removed from the LA CES program.

Withdrawal of LA CES approved provider status may be appealed to the LA CES Administrative Committee within thirty (30) days of receipt of notification. The cost of such appeals is borne by the provider. Appeals consist of a presentation to a three (3) member panel chosen from among the LA CES participating organizations and other approved providers; one panel member must be from an approved provider that is not one of the LA CES participating organizations. Appeal panel decisions are binding and final.

Organizations that have had approved provider status withdrawn by LA CES may apply for reinstatement. Such organizations must wait for a period of one (1) year from the date of withdrawal before submitting an application.

Approved Provider Benefits and Fees

The annual fee for LA CES approved providers is three hundred fifty ($350) dollars. Approved providers may deliver educational courses or programs to learners through direct contact and/or distance learning formats. Direct contact formats include seminars, panels, debates, demonstrations, site tours, workshops, or any activity in which the learner is not separated from the instructor, other learners, or instructional resources. Distance learning formats include courses or programs on the Internet, CD-ROM, audio conference, audio/video tape, or self-study materials that use any combination of print and electronic media. Approved provider benefits include: authorization to publicize the organization as an LA CES recognized provider; and license to use the LA CES designation in promotion of related educational programs.

LA CES Approved Provider Logo/Designation

The LA CES logo/designation may be used only by LA CES approved providers in marketing educational programs registered with LA CES. The logo/designation is available for download in the approved provider section of the LA CES website and must be used on all educational and promotional materials produced by the approved provider for the length of the provider’s registration period. Educational and promotional materials must also identify courses that meet the LA CES health, safety, and welfare definition. Use of the LA CES approved provider logo/designation is effective for a period of one (1) year from the date of qualification. Thirty (30) days prior to expiration, a renewal notice will be sent to approved providers.

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