Free Online CEUs for Nurses

Free online nursing CEUs let nurses complete required continuing education units from home. Learn about some of the best resources for online CEUs.
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  • Many states require nurses to complete a certain number of CEUs to retain licensure.
  • CEU stands for "continuing education unit."
  • You can earn free nursing CEUS online in the comfort of your home.

Nurses are the backbone of any healthcare team. Their jobs require dedication, tolerance, and knowledge of the advancements in medicine and nursing.

And that's where continuing education units (CEUs) come in. CEUs enable nurses to continue learning, explore areas of interest, and retain their state licensure. is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Ready to Start Your Journey?

Why CEUs for Nurses?

Online nursing CEUs allow nurses to increase their knowledge and skills. Continuing education enhances patient care, leads to increased earnings, and allows nurses to grow in their roles.

While state licensing requirements vary, many require nurses to complete some form of continuing education. One CEU equals 10 hours of coursework or contact hours. Plus, if you hold a job-specific or specialty certification, such as in neonatal nursing, you may have specific continuing education requirements.

On top of certification requirements, some states also require mandatory courses, such as in domestic violence.

How Can Nurses Earn CEUs?

First, make sure your state board of nursing approves the course you plan to take to ensure you will earn a CEU. Most boards require course accreditation by professional organizations, like the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC).

You can find free and low-cost CEUs online and in person. These may include college courses, conferences, or courses taken through a continuing education provider recognized by your state.

Pro Tip

Check with your employer before signing up for a course. Some employers pay for CEUs as part of the employment agreement.

You must submit proof of completion to the state requiring CEUs with your license renewal application. Some states perform random audits, requiring nurses to show evidence of CEU compliance through certificates or grade slips.

In-Person Pros

  • In-person classes offer increased professional and personal networking opportunities.
  • In-person courses can help you stay on track and complete assignments.
  • This learning format offers immediate access to experts in the field.

In-Person Cons

  • In-person training can require travel, increasing cost and time commitments.
  • Nurses may limit their experiences by going to the same facility every year.

Online Pros

  • Online formats offer greater flexibility, and some courses are even self-paced.
  • Some online courses include interactive virtual learning, enabling you to meet people from other areas.
  • Online instruction results in reduced travel expenses.

Online Cons

  • The more hands-on a subject matter, the more difficult it can be to learn online.
  • Online learning does not offer face-to-face interaction with peers and instructors.

15 Free and Low-Cost Online Nursing CEUs

eMultiple Sclerosis Review

Johns Hopkins Nursing offers a free continuing education library. It provides instruction in cystic fibrosis, multiple sclerosis, HIV, pulmonology, and viral hepatitis.

Currently, there are about 24 courses in the multiple sclerosis library. For example, the New Developments in MS Management course teaches nurses about emerging therapies and provides one contact hour.

Avoiding Nurse Burnout Nursing CE Course

This course offered by Nursing CE provides nurses with evidence-based practices for preventing burnout. According to a survey conducted by Nursing CE Central in 2021, 95% of nurses reported feeling burned out within the last three years. This course reviews the signs of burnout, risk factors, and management strategies. It offers one contact hour.

2022 Updated Free Renewal Bundle CEU

This course provides instruction on numerous topics, including documentation, measles, drains, Alzheimer's, and a one-hour sepsis bundle. Offered by Incredible Health, all of the company's courses are approved by the ANCC. Students can download certificates upon completion. All U.S. nurses can access these free courses.

COVID-19: The Impact of a Pandemic on Mental Health

Wild Iris Medical Education is an ANCC-accredited provider offering free and low-cost nursing CEUs. This 1.5-hour free course focuses on the strategies for reducing the stress and anxiety associated with the pandemic. They also offer several bundles that enable nurses to complete 20-30 hours of CEUs.

Guideline Update: Addressing Immobility and Sleep Disruption

The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) offers members more than 300 free CEs. Membership is $78 per year or $6.50 a month. They also offer several free activities, including this webinar.

This course identifies factors contributing to sleep disturbance in the intensive care unit. The webinar is approved for one contact hour.

Cardiac Arrest After Cardiac Surgery: An Evidence-Based Resuscitation Protocol

The AACN also offers this free course that provides one contact hour. Participants learn about the evidence-based resuscitation approach for patients experiencing cardiac arrest after cardiac surgery. Topics include the roles of each clinical staff member and the restricted use of epinephrine.

Workplace Violence Prevention for Nurses

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers several free courses accredited by the ANCC. This interactive course provides information about workplace violence risk factors, prevention strategies, warning signs, and resources for injured healthcare professionals. This online class offers three nursing contact hours.

Nursing Home Infection Preventionist Training Course

This free course offered by the CDC teaches nurses about infection control and prevention. While its focus involves preventing pathogen transmission and reducing infections in nursing homes, you can apply the information to all healthcare environments. This course provides 19.75 contact hours or 2 CEUs.

Treatment of Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome: Phenobarbital Protocol vs. CIWA-Ar Protocol

The AACN offers this one-hour contact course. Nurses learn about the benefits of using phenobarbital to treat alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

You learn how to identify the neurotransmitter changes in chronic alcohol use and how phenobarbital therapy can lead to shorter ICU and hospital stays compared to the revised Clinical Institute Withdrawal Assessment for Alcohol (CIWA-Ar) protocol.

Pediatric Skills, a Learning Studio Course

The Emergency Nurses Association, an ANCC-accredited provider, offers this course. Participants learn about airway management and the administration of medications for pediatric patients. Upon completion, you receive one contact hour after submitting an evaluation. While free to members, non-members pay $9.95.

Tobacco Dependence and Treatment for RNs and LPNs Nursing CE Course

This one-hour contact course, provided by Nursing CE, teaches nurses about the health effects of smoking and tobacco dependence and the resources available to help users quit smoking. According to the World Health Organization, tobacco kills up to half its users. This class helps nurses feel confident about encouraging patients to quit and offering intervention strategies to help.

Nursing Perspective: A Review of the Patient Journey for Paroxysmal Nocturnal Hemoglobinuria

Medscape Education is an ANCC-accredited provider that offers hundreds of free continuing education courses for nurses. This course offers 0.5 contact hours and provides instruction on available treatment options for patients experiencing PNH. It also offers advice on mitigating risks associated with therapies and confidence in communicating with patients.

Managing HIV in Primary Care: Best Practices for Primary Care Clinicians

This Medscape Education course offers 0.5 CEUs. You learn to better understand how to select patients for HIV screening, as well as the testing and treatment recommendations for this disease. Topics include selecting antiretroviral therapy for people living with HIV.

HCAHPS Series: Nurse and Interprofessional Team Communication offers hundreds of continuing education courses accredited by the ANCC. To gain unlimited access to courses, you can pay $50-$150 per year to subscribe.

Without a subscription, nurses pay $12 for this course, which offers one contact hour. This class covers effective communication with patients, their support system, and colleagues.

Compassion Fatigue

This course, also offered by, provides insight into compassion fatigue, including the signs and symptoms, management, and prevention. Compassion fatigue can occur because of the overwhelming needs of patients, family members, and staff. It can affect a nurse's emotional and physical health as well as their job satisfaction and performance.

Frequently Asked Questions About Online CEUs for Nurses

What does CEU stand for in nursing?

CEU stands for continuing education unit. One continuing education unit or credit is worth 10 hours. Courses must be accredited by the ANCC or an approved provider and approved by your state board of nursing. But keep in mind that every state mandates its requirements.

Are CEUs required for nursing?

Most, but not all, states require continuing education for nurses. However, the number of credits and the years between license renewals vary. Some states also require specific courses, such as on ethics or substance misuse.

Other states require a one-time class, such as in pain management. Even in states that do not require CEUs, employers may establish this requirement for their nurses.

How many CEUs do nurses need?

Every state sets a different required number of CEUs for nurses. These requirements may also vary by the type of nurse. For example, in Delaware, registered nurses (RNs) must complete at least 30 hours of continuing education every two years, while licensed practical nurses (LPNs) must finish 24 contact hours. is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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