Credit vs. Clock Hours – The Whole Story

What is the difference between credit and clock hours? How do I know if I need credit? What are clock hours? Does it really work to use just the hours to renew my teaching certificate?

These are just a sampling of the questions I’ve been asked in this age-old dilemma in the credit vs. clock hour controversy. It can get a little convoluted so I’ll try to explain in a side-by-side chart to help clear up the confusion.

• Offered through a college or university
• Fee based
• Official registration required
• Attendance at class required
• Outcome project/paper a requirement
• Grade issued at conclusion
• Transcript sent to registrant at conclusion
• Can be used to renew teaching license
• School districts accept for moving
ahead on the pay scale

Clock Hours
• Offered through RMC
• Free
• Fill out an easy form
• Earn hours every time you attend a workshop
• No project/paper required
• Certificate issued at conclusion
• Not eligible for inclusion on official transcript
• Can be used to renew teaching license
• Not usually accepted for district pay increase

To make things more difficult, clock hours can be referred to with other names, such as Professional Development Education (PDE) or Continuing Education Units (CEU). Credit is only referred to as credit. Phew!

Please email me anytime with questions at

Barbara Pierpoint
RMC-AOSA Credit Coordinator