Continuing Research Education Credit (CREC)

Case Western Reserve University's Continuing Research Education Credit (CREC) Program provides investigators documented training in the protection of human subjects in research. The program is available to human subjects researchers at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center, The MetroHealth System, Case Western Reserve University, Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center, and The Cleveland Clinic.

All educational content is free and accessible to unaffiliated institutions and the general public. CMEs and CEUs are available for purchase on the CITI website but are not required for the CREC program.

Answers to most questions are available on our CREC Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page.

Initial Certification in the CREC Program

The ONLY way to enter Case Western Reserve University's CREC Program is through successful completion of the CITI BASIC course. The Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) is a training service to which the University subscribes. CITI provides comprehensive online educational programs in multiple areas including the protection of human subjects in research and the responsible conduct of research (RCR).

Please be aware that RCR and COI training is NOT valid for CREC.

The CITI BASIC course in the protection of human subjects in research offers three select training groups for research faculty, staff, and students:

  • Group 1 focuses on Biomedical research
  • Group 2 focuses on Social & Behavioral research
  • IRB Reference Resource is a compilation of both research perspectives

Please choose either the Biomedical, Social and Behavioral, or IRB Reference course. Credit will not be given for multiple BASIC courses in the same cycle.

Before entering the CITI site to begin training:

  • Print the Instruction Sheet for CITI Basic to assist you with registering for the program.
  • Remember to record your user name and password for future reference.
  • You do not need to complete the entire program in one session. Re-enter as often as you like (using your user name and password) to complete the training.
  • You must complete all required modules with a cumulative score of 85% or better to pass the course.
  • Completion of this training will require 2-4 hours.
  • CITI notifies CWRU directly when you successfully complete the training.
  • Your CREC account will be set up within two business days.

How to Earn Continuing CREC Online (Recertification)

Current CWRU CREC Program members must earn 12 credits every three years to maintain CREC certification.

CITI Program Online Options

Click here to enter the CITI Online Education Program.

The Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) Program, to which CWRU subscribes, provides the initial core training for the CREC Program. In addition, they offer online courses that can be taken for continuing credits. CREC Program participants may take any of these training options once per 3-year cycle.


The following CITI courses may be taken for CREC credit once per 3-year CREC certification cycle. The amount of credits offered for each course is detailed below. The CITI BASIC course (as continuing education) and the CITI Refresher course may not BOTH be taken for credit during the same 3-year cycle. Passing the course with a cumulative score of 85% is required for each option in order to earn CREC.

  • CITI BASIC (8 credits)
    Since CITI updates their modules with the most current information available, those who wish to retake the course to earn continuing credits for recertification may do so once per 3-year cycle. Please choose either the Biomedical or Social and Behavioral course. Credit will not be given for both BASIC courses in the same cycle.
  • CITI Good Clinical Practices (GCP) (6 credits)
    This course covers not only human subjects research, but also record-keeping and other GCP topics.
  • CITI Health Information Privacy & Security (HIPS) (4 credits)
    This course is provided as a resource to meet some of the training requirements of Case Western Reserve University and our affiliated hospitals for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

Click here to enter the CITI Online Education Program.

ORTM Online Options

  • CREC Recorded Seminars and Quizzes (1-4 credits per seminar)
    This option allows you to view some of our past CREC seminars and take an online quiz for credit. The video seminars may be used only one time for continuing CREC. If any of these training courses were taken previously, credit will not be given again for repeating this option.

Other Online Options

  • Clinical Trials Network - Good Clinical Practice (6 credits)
    The CTN GCP online training consists of 12 modules discussing specific GCP standards as well as the conduct of research. If accessing this training for the first time you must register as a new user. Upon completion, you will be presented with a certificate of completion. Please send a copy of this certificate to the CREC Administrator to receive CREC. This course may be completed once every 3-year cycle.

Other Options

  • CREC Seminars through the CWRU Research Seminar Series
    The CWRU Office of Research Compliance offers a variety of seminars each semester that have been pre-evaluated for CREC. The number of credits is listed if the seminar qualifies for CREC. Our online education calendar allows individuals to see a listing of upcoming seminar descriptions and register to attend the events.
  • CREC Credit Application
    Appropriate education and training activities that are not listed on this site (such as departmental or external seminars and conferences) may also qualify for CREC. CREC are awarded based on the amount of time dedicated specifically to a discussion of the ethical conduct of human subjects research. An individual may apply for credit for a group or for him/herself. The Office of Research Compliance will accept applications, with appropriate supporting documentation, prior to the event or upon its completion.

    Complete the CREC Credit Application‌ and attach:
    • Program agenda
    • Seminar handouts
    • Sign-in attendance sheet (if applicable)
    Submit the application to the Office of Research Compliance.

NIH Requirements

In October 2000, NIH instituted the requirement that grantee institutions provide documented training for all key personnel listed on NIH grants. For more information about this requirement, please go to the following NIH information site, NIH Requirements for Education.

Investigators who need documentation of training for NIH grant submissions should submit a letter to the Office of Sponsored Projects Administration for approval and signature.

NIH Training Certification Letter template

Effective January 1, 2017, NIH established the expectation that all NIH-funded investigators and staff who are involved in the conduct, oversight, or management of clinical trials should be trained in Good Clinical Practice (GCP), consistent with the principles of the International Conference on Harmonisation (ICH) E6. 

This policy expects investigators and clinical trial staff to maintain their GCP training through refresher courses in GCP topics every three years. Free GCP training offered through the CITI program will be accepted as sufficient training for the new policy.

CREC Contacts

Yovonda Rease