Become a Renewal Unit Provider

How to Apply - Approval to Offer Renewal Units for Multiple Events


Please complete the following steps to apply to become an Approved Renewal Unit Provider for Multiple Events:



  1. Check to make sure your organization is not an Approved Renewal Unit Provider already by checking the OPI Renewal Unit Provider Directory. It is possible that someone within your organization has already applied before and you are simply unaware of the existing approval.

  2. Determine if your organization has the capacity to engage in the reporting requirements. Organizations must fill out an online form in the Renewal Unit Provider System for each renewal unit activity in which renewal unit certificates are to be issued. Your organization must also return to the online form and report the number of certificates issued upon completion of the renewal unit activity. Your organization must also keep records of the renewal unit activity for five years.

  3. If your organization is not an existing Approve Renewal Unit Provider and your organization has the capacity to update the reporting regularly, please fill out the Registration form on the Renewal Unit Provider System.

  4. OPI Professional Learning staff ( will notify you of the status of your application within seven business days. If approved, OPI Professional Learning staff will provide you with log-in information and instructions for using the Renewal Unit Provider System.  


Your Responsibility as an Approved Renewal Unit Provider

Please review the following documents for more information:

What if my event is a one-time opportunity?

Montana educators are able to receive renewal units for renewal unit activities three different ways, and therefore, your organization's one-time renewal unit activity may want to consider asking educators to do the following to receive renewal units:

  • Work with their school directly
    • Most schools are approved renewal unit providers and can issue renewal unit certificates on behalf of non-approved providers to their employed educators.
  • Work with the OPI directly

Evidence-Based Practices in Professional Learning

Professional learning providers have a unique role in ensuring that the professional learning provided to educators is evidence-based and improves student outcomes. Districts and schools may ask providers for applicable research and evidence that the strategies demonstrated in the professional learning opportunity improves student outcomes. Additionally, providers may be one part of a cycle of professional learning and educator development that extends beyond the initial professional learning event. The following resources can help providers understand the shift toward evidence-based professional learning for educators.


Guidelines and Standards for Professional Learning

Professional learning for educators in the state of Montana should follow certain guidelines and standards.  The guidance and standards below can help providers understand professional learning requirements. 

Federal Definition of Professional Learning

The Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA) § 8101(42) defines "professional development," specifically noting that professional development activities are to be "sustained (not stand-alone, 1-day, or short term workshops), intensive, collaborative, job-embedded, data-driven, and classroom-focused..." (ESEA § 8101(42), pg. 401).

Administrative Rules of Montana

There are a number of Administrative Rules of Montana (ARMs) that guide professional learning for education-related personnel, including:


  • ARM 10.16.3135 Comprehensive System of Personnel Development (CSPDs) - CSPD is a regionalized structure that provides special education-related professional learning for pre-service and in-service educators, administrators, and paraprofessionals.

  • ARM 10.55.601 Accreditation Standards: Procedures - Continuous School Improvement Plans (CSIPs) are developed, implemented, and evaluated yearly by school districts and schools.  The CSIPs include a professional development planning component.

  • ARM 10.55.714 Professional Development - The Professional Development ARM specifies the standards that professional development opportunities must meet.

  • ARM 10.57.215 Renewal Requirements - The activities that are eligible for renewal units are professional development activities and college credits that are of a planned and structured experience and an activity that provides "exposure to a new idea or skill or an extension of an existing idea or skill."

  • ARM 10.57.216 Approved Renewal Activity - Approved renewal unit providers must offer activities that are "deemed appropriate for professional development of licensees in compliance with ARM 10.55.714 and 10.57.215."

Other ARMs address professional learning requirements for specific licenses and endorsements. Additional resources related to licensure can be found on the Montana Educator Licensing website.


Learning Forward's Standards for Professional Learning "outline the characteristics of professional learning that leads to effective teaching practice, supportive leadership, and improved student results" (2017).  The standards include:


  • Learning Communities - "Professional learning that increases educator effectiveness and results for all students occurs within learning communities committed to continuous improvement, collective responsibility, and goal alignment."

  • Leadership - "Professional learning that increases educator effectiveness and results for all students requires skillful leaders who develop capacity, advocate, and create support systems for professional learning."

  • Resources - "Professional learning that increases educator effectiveness and results for all students requires prioritizing, monitoring, and coordinating resources for educator learning."

  • Data - "Professional Learning that increases educator effectiveness and results for all students uses a variety of sources and types of student, educator, and system data to plan, assess, and evaluate professional learning."

  • Learning Designs - "Professional learning that increases educator effectiveness and results for all students integrates theories, research, and models of human learning to achieve its intended outcomes."

  • Implementation - "Professional learning that increases educator effectiveness and results for all students applies research on change and sustains support for implementation of professional learning for long term change."

  • Outcomes - "Professional learning that increases educator effectiveness and results for all students aligns its outcomes with educator performance and student curriculum standards."

Login to the Renewal Unit Provider System

Known System Issues

Blank Certificates - On occasion, providers will press "Print Certificate" and the certificate will be blank. This can be fixed by choosing your provider name again from the dropdown in "Events" and then pressing "Print Certificate." 


Provider Dropdown on Events Tab


User Tutorials

Renewal Unit Provider System User Manual (opens in new window)

  • Topics include: Administrative Rules of Montana, Accessing RUPS, Changing your Password, Reporting Events, Issuing Certificates, Revising Existing Events, Managing Usernames and Account Access, and Special Considerations for Continuously Available Asynchronous Renewal Unit Activities and Virtual Conferences. 



Username and Password Tips

  • Reset a forgotten password
  • If you forget your username, it's most likely the user's first initial and last name (i.e. John Doe would be JDoe).
  • If your email address has changed, please email us at so we can update it properly.

Adding More Accounts or Updating Accounts

Is your organization already a registered provider, but you need to change the name of your provider account manager?  Request access to an existing renewal provider account by emailing with the following information - name of organization, your full name, phone number & email.


Planning Professional Learning Opportunities

There are many considerations to be made when planning professional learning opportunities for educators. Professional learning providers external to K-12 schools (e.g., governmental agencies, accredited colleges and universities, and approved educational organizations) may be unaware of how K-12 education-related personnel choose appropriate professional learning opportunities.

Guidelines and Statutes

Specific guidelines and statutes require schools to develop yearly professional development plans and continuous school improvement plans. These plans consider a variety of needs and priorities. Schools are required to provide a minimum of three days for instructional/professional/in-service development/training, pursuant to ARM 10.65.101. The majority of educators are required to complete 60 Renewal Unit hours of professional learning every five years to maintain licensure requirements. Therefore, most educators receive the appropriate number of Renewal Unit hours for licensure through the required three days of training provided by schools each year. These are important considerations to keep in mind when planning a professional learning opportunity.

Conducting a Needs Analysis

According to Philip O. Ozuah, author of "First, There Was Pedagogy and Then Came Andragogy," adults typically engage in learning to solve a problem (2005). It is important to partner with educators in planning the professional learning opportunity, as a "one-size-fits-all" approach to professional learning often does not provide enough depth for educators to make substantial changes in their teaching practices. Taking the time to conduct a needs analysis of the schools and educators you want to attend your event can help to ensure that the professional learning opportunity is focused on what educators need most. There are many needs analysis templates available online, but you may find that you would like to create your own based upon the subject matter you are hoping to address in the professional learning opportunity.  Learning Forward, a professional learning organization, has created a workbook that can help providers consider what districts and schools look at when creating short- and long-term professional learning plans.


Share Your Event

If you are an approved Renewal Unit Provider for the Montana Office of Public Instruction, we are able to share your opportunity on the OPI Learning Opportunities Portal as long as it meets the eligibility requirements.
We will not post opportunities that are:
  • Sales-based
  • In conflict with Montana's Content Standards or initiatives
  • Not related to education
  • Missing key details, such as a description of the event, contact information, etc.

Please fill out the form on the OPI Learning Opportunities Portal homepage by clicking "Submit an Opportunity" to request a review of the content you'd like us to share.

OPI Learning Opportunities Portal


Frequently Asked Questions


We're here to help!

Professional Development Providers should contact the Professional Learning team by email: