IRM Continuing Education

Frequently Asked Questions - Revision Date:11/13/2015

​​Information Resources Manager (IRM) Continuing Education

  1. What does one have to do to comply with the IRM Continuing Education Requirements?
  2. To whom do the Continuing Education Requirements apply?
  3. When do the Continuing Education Requirements take effect?
  4. Do all IRMs have exactly the same obligations?
  5. Do educational events counted for credit have to be supplied by or approved in advance by DIR?
  6. What are Core Knowledge Areas?
  7. What types of activities are eligible for credit?
  8. What are the criteria to decide if an event qualifies?
  9. What is meant by "generally accepted standards as an educational event"?
  10. What are continuing education one-time education topics?
  11. How long do I have to complete the continuing education required topics?
  12. Are the required topics added to the fiscal year hours to increase the overall obligation?
  13. If I completed some continuing education required topics in the year before I was designated the IRM, do the hours reduce the fiscal year CPEs?
  14. What are electives?
  15. How do I advise DIR of my continuing education activities?
  16. What is the best way to record/organize my records?
  17. Conferences may have multiple tracks and last several days. Do I really have to attend the whole thing to earn any credit?
  18. Conferences are comprised of many different sessions. Do I need to map EACH session?
  19. Who determines if a conference, course, or event meets the obligation toward the required topics and yearly CPE?
  20. Where can I learn more about the IRM Continuing Education Guidelines?

1. What does one have to do to comply with the IRM Continuing Education Requirements?

To comply with the requirements, an IRM must:

  • Attend a minimum number of hours of qualified educational events each fiscal year. These hours are referred to as continuing professional education (CPE) credits or CPE units.
  • Complete a one-time set of required topics within the first two years of being named IRM.
  • Report completion of qualified training to DIR by August 31st of each fiscal year.

2. To whom do the Continuing Education Requirements apply?

The IRM Continuing Education Requirements apply to the designated IRM for each state agency and university in Texas.

3. When do the Continuing Education Requirements take effect? (CPE Effective Date)

The requirements take effect as soon as a person is officially designated as the IRM for an agency. This date is referred to as the CPE Effective Date.

4. Do all IRMs have exactly the same obligations?

No. The Continuing Education Requirements allow for the fact that the roles of IRMs vary significantly depending on the size and mission of their organizations. IRMs are classified into 5 levels, based on their agency’s biennial IR budget. Each IRM must complete the requirements stated for his/her level.

5. Do educational events counted for credit have to be supplied by or approved in advance by DIR?

No. IRMs select their own classes, topics, timeframes, and sources, as long as the training meets the requirements and can be mapped to one or more of the core knowledge areas.            

6. What are Core Knowledge Areas?

DIR has identified eight core knowledge areas for consideration by Texas IRMs:

  1. Strategic Planning and Policy
  2. Managerial and Leadership Competencies
  3. IT Performance Assessment
  4. Project/Program Management
  5. Capital Planning, Investment Assessment, and IT Acquisition
  6. Cybersecurity/Information Assurance
  7. IT Controls
  8. IT Topics and Trends

An IRM should consider the core knowledge areas when planning for professional development. Within these broad areas, IRMs should select educational activities that best suit the need of the agency as well as their own level of expertise. An IRM with little experience in an area should seek introductory topics. An IRM with extensive expertise should pursue more advanced subjects.

7. What types of activities are eligible for credit?

While many types of professional activities enhance an IRM’s experience and aid learning, those that can be counted for IRM credit are listed below.

Category A

Attending a qualified educational event such as a conference, seminar, or training class may be used to satisfy up to 100% of an IRM’s yearly requirement.

Category B

Presenting at qualified educational events may be used to satisfy up to 25% of an IRM’s yearly requirement.

8. What are the criteria to decide if an event qualifies?

To qualify for credit, an event must meet all of the following:

  • Support one or more of the knowledge areas identified in the requirements
  • Meet generally accepted standards as an educational event
  • Provide some type of attendee interaction (exercises, discussion, group work, or question & answer)
  • Provide some proof of attendance (sign in sheet, signed evaluation, attendance roll, etc.)

Additionally, the IRM must attend the entire module, session, or event as is appropriate to meet the learning objectives.

9. What is meant by "generally accepted standards as an educational event"?

These criteria are based on international standards for continuing education. The event:

  • Is planned in response to an identified educational need
  • Has legitimate educational objectives
  • Is designed/conducted by qualified personnel
  • Has content/delivery methods that support the intended learning outcomes
  • Is evaluated by participants in some manner
  • Lasts at least 30 minutes (However, use caution on very short programs as they are sometimes not well-defined and may not have the best educational content)

10. What are continuing education required topics?

​CORE KNOWLEDGE AREA

​REQUIRED TOPIC

​CPEs LEVEL 2

​CPEs LEVEL 3

​CPEs LEVEL 4

​CPEs LEVEL 5

​Strategic Planning and Policy

​Strategic Planning

​3

3​

3​

3​

​Managerial and Leadership Competencies

​Communication of Technical Information to Non-Technical Staff

​0

0​

6​

6​

​IT Performance Assessment

​Business Value of Information Technology

​0

3​

3​

3​

​Project/Program Management

​Quality Assurance and/or Risk Management

​0

0​

3​

3​

​Capital Planning, Investment Assessment, and IT Acquisition

​Contract Negotiation and/or Contract Management

​0

3​

3​

6​

​Cybersecurity and Information Assurance

​IRM role and responsibility for cybersecurity and information assurance

​3

3​

3​

3​

​IT Controls

​Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery

​3

3​

​3

6​

​IT Topics and Trends

​Methods for insuring expertise of IT staff and appropriate skills for those who use technology

​0

0​

1​

1​

​Total One-time Required Topic CPEs*

​9

15​

25​

31​

The required topics are a one-time obligation; IRMs do not need repeat this these every fiscal year.

IRMs still have complete freedom to choose educational events that best fit their own needs within the scope of these topics. An IRM with experience/education already obtained in a required topic can focus on advanced or specialty areas within the topic.

Note – the requirements in Area 6 and 7 were introduced 9/1/2015.

11. How long do I have to complete the continuing education required topics?

Two years—at least. CPE hours for required topics must be completed within two years of the individual’s designation as IRM (or two years from date of implementation for a new requirement).

Plus, as a transitional strategy, any appropriate education/training received in the year prior can count toward required topics.

Example: An IRM is appointed 9/01/15. That IRM may use education received as early as 9/01/14 toward required topics and must complete all required topics by 8/31/17.

12. Are the required topics added to the fiscal year hours to increase the overall obligation?

No. The one-time required topics are a subset of the yearly hours.

Example: A Level 5 IRM must receive 30 hours each fiscal year. Within the first two years, at least 31 hours of the 60 submitted should be toward required topics.

13. If I completed some continuing education required topics in the year before I was designated the IRM, do the hours reduce the fiscal year CPEs?

If the education occurred within the current fiscal year, it can count toward both the continuing education required topics and fiscal hours. If it was outside the current fiscal year, it merely allows you to “check off” some of the required topics. Completing some of the required topics early frees up more of the yearly training hours to be used on topics of your choice (i.e., electives).

Example: An IRM designated 10/20/15 took a Strategic Planning class. Where does it count? If the class date was 9/20/15, it can count for both fiscal and required hours. If the class date was 7/15/15, it may be used to check off Strategic Planning requirements, but would not be eligible toward current fiscal hours.

14. What are electives?

Any courses/events that do not contribute toward the continuing education required topics are considered elective. IRMs may select elective topics that support the IRM core knowledge areas to apply to the minimum CPE credit they must earn each fiscal year. Within the broad scope of these knowledge areas, IRMs should select events/courses that best fit their own educational needs. Once the one-time required topics are completed, all of the IRM’s fiscal hours are considered elective topics.

15. How do I advise DIR of my continuing education activities?

IRMs submit events via an online form. Each IRM is given instructions and credentials when designated. Events must be submitted by 8/31 of each fiscal year.

16. What is the best way to record/organize my records?

A common practice is to maintain a Professional Development folder for each fiscal year. Retain some proof of attendance there, but more importantly, enough information to help you remember the program date, length, and content if you do not record the hours immediately.

This CPE Mapping Form ​- DOC (63 KB) can be printed or saved as a document and offers an easy way to organize and record your information while it is fresh in your mind. This is helpful if you tend to wait until later in the year to enter the information online or if you hand off the information to an assistant to enter.

Information about file formats

17. Conferences may have multiple tracks and last several days. Do I really have to attend the whole thing to earn any credit?

No. When an event is segmented into discrete, stand-alone modules or sessions, such as a conference, you may count credit for any modules/sessions completed.

18. Conferences are comprised of many different sessions. Do I need to map EACH session?

No, when reporting a complex conference, consider the event as a whole. Determine how many total hours (CPEs) apply, and then divide those among the major knowledge areas covered. Submit the conference as one entry.

19. Who determines if a conference, course, or event meets the obligation toward the continuing education required topics and yearly CPE?

The continuing education requirements provide you with a flexible framework within which to make those decisions. They were developed to support and assist IRMs as they pursue professional development opportunities. Within the parameters identified in the requirements, you can interpret the "appropriateness" of events for your own educational needs, and you can decide what knowledge areas they support. DIR will review the reported education during the year. In the case of a seemingly obvious mismatch, DIR will contact you to discuss how well the event actually fit the intent of the program.