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Support Services

Support Services

To get started, consider the below definitions:

Continuing Education is the process of learning and acquiring new knowledge and skills after completing formal education, such as high school or college. It is a lifelong learning approach that allows individuals to enhance their professional abilities, stay updated with advancements in their field, and expand their knowledge in new areas of interest. Common objectives of continuing education include professional development, career advancement, and personal growth.  Many professions such as accountancy, law, healthcare, and teaching require individuals to complete a prescribed amount of continuing education units (CEUs) in a defined period.

Professional Education is more formalized and specialized training focused on a specific profession. This type of education transfers core competencies through concepts, principles, and techniques. With a focus on practice, the learner may complete formal coursework or attend activities to stay current in their field, upskill, or to pivot careers. It helps bridge the gap between academic learning and real-world application, ensuring professionals are equipped to meet the demands and challenges of their respective fields.

Executive Education is usually targeted toward experienced professionals, typically in leadership roles. Executives (including "C-Level" position holders) need currency in finance, marketing, operations, innovation, entrepreneurship, human resources, and all stops in between, for effective leadership. Objectives of executive educations programs include leadership development, business acumen, networking opportunities, and professional development. 


Also, these additional terms are helpful in framing matters:

The resources below are specific to targeted areas: 


Our office is here to support your non-credit learning efforts!

For our external colleagues, we offer free initial consulting for a variety of areas including a general needs analysis, setting up learning and development programs, and offering alternative credentials and associating digital badging. We hope you will then consider us for operational and programmatic needs.

For our internal colleagues, our office provides a variety of support services including: 

  • Consulting on:
    • Client Proposal Prep
    • Proposal Templates
    • Budget Preparation
  • (Online) Program Development & Management 
    • Including Modular Learning
  • Credentialing Services
    • Including Digital Badging


To schedule a discussion with us on services we can support you with please use our BOOKING TOOL.

CPE logo for Digital Branding

Note: Although our digital badging services are geared toward UNCW based colleagues, we are willing to offer free initial consulting to outside organizations regarding the use of digital badging. If interested, feel free to schedule an appointment with us with details via our BOOKING TOOL. 


As online and remote learning gain prominence, digital badges have emerged as a tool for highlighting acquired skills. Unleashing the full potential of digital badges can unlock fresh opportunities for learners, employers, and educational institutions in the realm of continuing education and beyond.

What is a Digital Badge?

A digital badge serves as a visual representation that showcases specific skills acquired through diverse educational experiences. These badges are clickable, web-based symbols backed by verifiable metadata. The metadata comprises details about the awarding body and unit profile, description, issue date, learning objectives, criteria for earning the badge, and evidence that the learner has fulfilled those criteria.

To draw a comparison, imagine a diploma hanging on a wall. The diploma represents the earned credential, supported by the accompanying transcript. Similarly, a digital badge serves as a diploma of sorts, representing an alternative credential, bolstered by verifiable metadata.

Getting Started

Watch this 5 MINUTE VIDEO on how we approach digital badging. 

Check Your Understanding

Take this SHORT QUIZ #1 to check your knowledge thus far.



Take a moment to view this 5 MINUTE VIDEO showcasing the general process of requesting, issuing, and managing digital badges.

Check Your Understanding

Take this SHORT QUIZ #2 to check your knowledge on our process. 


If you would like assistance with your digital badging efforts, CPE is here to support you every step of the way, from initial ideation to implementation. Interested in our guidance? IF so, please utilize our convenient BOOKING TOOL to schedule a consultation appointment.

Following your consultation, you will be directed back to this site to complete this DIGITAL BADGING REQUEST FORM.


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Below are some commonly asked questions. Although not meant to be exhaustive, these are some of the more frequent questions. If you have a specific question, please reach out to us here at CPE and we will gladly reply.

If I Earn a (Non-credit) Certificate From the University Am I Considered a “Graduate?”

Non-credit efforts that lead to certificates afford you the association with a highly reputable university. These credentials are a sign of completion of a program, but to be considered a "graduate" you would need to earn an academic degree from one of our degree-granting colleges.

Will I Earn College Credit?

Typically, these courses and programs are non-credit, so they do not transfer for credit. Some institutions may view such efforts as a prior learning experience (PLE) and provide a prior learning assessment (PLA) that can lead to credit for prior learning (CPL). However, if the learner is attempting to do so they need to check with the institution of interest.

What Is the Difference Between a Certification and a Certificate?

Certifications are meant for individuals who are required to acquire and maintain a certain level of skill or knowledge to enter a specific field. This usually is driven by a legal requirement that must be met to perform their duties, with a focus on assuring the public trust is met. Certificates themselves are awarded after a participant successfully completes a course or program. Efforts in a CPE area is typically non-credit with certificates serving as a verifying credential.

What is a Continuing Education Unit (CEU)?

CEU is an acronym for “Continuing Education Unit.” For our purposes, one CEU equals 10 hours of participation in a program normally designed for professionals requiring certifications or licensure to practice within various professions. Such professionals include accountants, lawyers, healthcare workers, teachers. This may include CEU's needed to keep credentials current, or in some cases CEU's needed before you can actually sit for a (re)certification exam. It is important to note that although the university awards CEUs for various programming, the ownness rests on the individual to check with the accrediting agency as to their acceptance.

What is a Digital Badge?

Badges are a visual representation of having earned a microcredential. Simply put they are symbols. Digital badges are backed by metadata (data about data), and can be used on various platforms, added to digital resumes, embedded in an e-portfolio.

Can I Use Financial Aid for Non Credit Offerings?

Courses offered by Continuing & Professional Education are not for academic credit, therefore financial aid through UNCW is not provided. However, you may be able to use loans or other assistance.

Will I Get a 1098-T Form at Tax Time?

No. Non-credit programs do not necessitate a 1098-T form.

If interested in additional resources including other products/services, please review the community registration page for options

The Community Registration Services System provides a search feature for you to research your CPE related interests.

The university offers continuing, professional, and executive education through a variety of units listed on our registration site and below. With the CPE definitions provided, please peruse the various offerings. As always, feel free to reach out to us at for any help including navigating your choices.

Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE)

Continuing and Professional Education (CPE)

Office of Institutional Diversity & Inclusion

Osher Lifelong Learning Institute

Quality Enhancement for Nonprofit Organizations (QENO)

Youth Programs

Cameron School of Business

College of Health and Human Services (CHHS)

College of Humanities, Social Sciences, & the Arts

College of Science and Engineering

Watson College of Education




Contact Us

Office of Continuing & Professional Education