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Help! I'm Hosting a CE Course!

Whenever we hear this statement, we know most of the questions that a continuing education (CE) course host wants to ask. Hosting a CE course can be stressful, because you want everything to go smoothly and you do not want to forget anything. But, the good news is that once you host a course, future programs are a piece of cake. Below are some easy steps to help any medical librarian host a CE course, gain MLA CE credit, advertise with MLA, and have a good time in the process.

Get Ready!

  • Decide on a topic
    One of the best ways to decide what to host is to know the needs of your constituents. Many chapters and groups take informal surveys of their membership using the group's email discussion list.
  • Find an instructor
    A good resource for finding an instructor to match your topic is through the MLA Educational Clearinghouse. This database lists all of the CE activities that are already approved by MLA, instructor contact information, and much more.
  • Negotiations and contracts
    Contact the instructor to ensure availability and agreement on the presentation date, honorarium, per diem, hospitality, facilities, materials, equipment requirements, cancellation policy, and other desired services. Although MLA encourages instructors to be considerate of local finances, individual situations may foster a range of stipends, depending on the instructor's reputation, experience, and travel.
  • Set the budget and the course fee
    Once you have a good estimate of instructor costs, material reproduction, and facility and AV rentals, you can set the budget. From the estimate of the total presentation costs, determine the fee and number of participants needed to generate enough revenues to host the course. Local sponsors hold full responsibility for setting and collecting fees.
  • MLA CE approval
    To find out if you can award MLA CE contact hours, go to the MLA Educational Clearinghouse and note the approval expiration date. If you already have approval, move to the "Get Set" section of this article.
  • MLA CE contact hours needed
    To gain MLA approval, the instructor or hosting organization should complete the online application. Please submit the online form at least six weeks before the presentation date.
  • Renewing a course
    If the approval date will expire before the course is taught, you will need to renew the course, allowing six weeks for processing.

Get Set!

  • MLA News listing
    To place an MLA-approved course offering in the MLA News, please your announcement to the MLA editorial assistant by the first day of the month preceding publication (e.g., if the course is to be held in April, the course announcement should reach MLA by February 1 for inclusion in the March issue of the MLA News).
  • Complete the certificates
    One of the easiest ways to prepare certificates for a MLA-approved course is with your computer and a scanner. Just take a blank copy of the official MLA certificate, scan it, fill in each registrant's name, and print out each certificate.
  • Prepare evaluation forms
    Once again, the easiest way to make enough for everyone is to scan an official MLA CE evaluation form, fill in the general course information at the top, and print enough copies for everyone. 
  • Produce the course materials
    Production of course materials is the responsibility of the instructors or the sponsoring group.
  • One last final confirmation
    About two weeks before the program, contact your instructor, the meeting planner, any facilities and AV people, etc. This will reassure you that all aspects of the course are on their way to success, and will help you catch anything that was left out.


  • Remember to relax, have fun, and enjoy the day!
  • Following the presentation, have all participants complete the MLA evaluation form. Be sure to collect all evaluation forms before awarding certificates.
  • Send a roster of attendees and a copy of the evaluation forms to MLA.

And the winner is …you! Congratulations on hosting a successful CE course!

For more information regarding hosting a CE course, gaining MLA approval, receiving blank certificates and evaluation forms, and answering all your MLA CE questions, contact Debra Cavanaugh, 312.419.9094 x32.