I look at exactly the same things Karen does with a little more regarding travel and conferences. I have found over the years that if I jam all my CEC’s into a conference (although it’s always a great experience in many ways), I retain less. I now choose not to go to those events for CEC purposes.
I usually choose 1 big course~a topic I’d really like to learn more about~which fits into either training or Aquatics categories and then a few smaller courses of interest.
I look at several aspects. First, whether the subject of the course is of interest to me and will complement or supplement my knowledge base. Second, the reputation of the organization which has put the course together. I also tend to look at organizations with which I am already certified because it usually means continuity of approach. I also do a cost / benefit analysis as much as possible. Some courses are rather expensive, particularly when travel is involved, and I am asking myself whether this will enhance my marketability to justify the expense. The number of CeCs are of lesser interest to me because I always have more than I need.