Must Know Methods for Professional Engineers in Virginia to Earn CEU Credits
As of 2020, 42 states have mandatory continuing education requirements for engineers. Virginia is one of the 42 states that have such requirements to renew state licensing. This makes it essential that professional engineers understand how to finish their requirements.
Every professional engineer must complete training to keep their skills current and sharp. Here are 7 ways that Virginia professional engineers are finishing their requirements.
Virginia Engineer Continuing Education Requirements
With no national standards, each state varies in the specifics of their requirements.
Compared to other states, Virginia has a lower number of mandatory hours. The board only requires 16 Professional Development Hours (PDH) every two years. It is also important to note that Virginia does not pre-approve providers or courses. Instead, engineers themselves must identify whether their chosen activities match the requirements.
More than 84% of Virginia engineers earn a majority of their PDH requirements online. While you can still find in-person courses, online courses have become increasingly popular. Most providers have moved entirely online due to the convenience.
In Virginia, there is no limit to how many PDH hours may be completed online. There are also no requirements for “live” or “interactive” courses. This makes it simple for Virginia engineers to finish their courses from the comfort of home.
One way to finish continuing education requirements is through “complete package” courses. These packages include all required courses for one price and are a no-fuss option.
Some packages are state-specific, while others are approved by engineering boards nationwide.
Packages cut the need to worry about the content fitting the state requirements. This is especially helpful in Virginia, which leaves that responsibility to the engineers.
Course packages can be somewhat expensive, costing an average of around 200 USD. But, the bundled nature of the package often means you save more money. It’s often less than the cost of taking courses a-la-carte.
Many packages even allow you to pick and choose what courses you want to take.
Many engineers in Virginia take free courses to finish their engineer PDH requirements. Continuing education courses can be expensive, so taking free courses can save money.
One great way to access free courses is through an engineering society membership. The National Society of Professional Engineers offers some courses to members for free.
These courses are accepted nationwide. The cost of membership can be less than the cost of some course packages.
With membership, they also have reduced rates for other courses they offer. If you are already a member of such a society, be sure to check if you are eligible for any free courses.
Some continuing education providers offer free courses. This is another way to complete some credits at no expense.
Some companies offer a small number of free courses with no strings attached. You can check out a particular provider’s content before investing your money. They can also be a great way to finish off the last few hours you need without incurring extra costs.
The Virginia DPOR accepts seminars for credit if they match state requirements.
Seminars need more engagement but can be an interactive way to finish requirements. Many engineers prefer seminars to traditional lecture-based courses. This is mostly due to the open communication between instructors and attendees.
There is plenty of opportunity for information exchange. You get teaching based on the real-life experiences of fellow industry experts. This in particular makes seminars a unique experience.
Many professional engineers are now using live webinars to complete their PDH requirements. Webinars are often hosted by the same providers who offer traditional online courses. But, these webinars are usually held less frequently.
It provides the experience of seminars in an online environment. Webinars are a great alternative to on-demand courses. They’re also far more convenient for those who must complete all training online.
Some webinars are even made available to watch afterward for those who are unable to attend.
Courses Outside of Continuing Education Requirements
Typically, continuing education courses must relate directly to the engineer’s field. Courses aim to improve or expand upon discipline-specific skillsets. Thus, courses outside of that are generally not counted towards engineer PDH credit.
Many professionals in Virginia have started to take courses outside of their practice. This greatly expands their expertise and knowledge base. Courses related to business practices, project management, and risk management are very popular. All are acceptable for credit in Virginia.
You can finish your requirements with useful skills you would otherwise miss out on. You will become a more well-rounded professional.
Ethics training is not required in Virginia, but it can be a worthwhile part of your curriculum. As it is only mandatory in a few states, it is often not included among the most commonly offered courses.
The American Society of Civil Engineers supports ethics training. They advocate that state boards mandate at least one hour of ethics training per year. In Virginia, ethics training is listed as an approved activity for credit.
Many engineers now take these important courses along with their mandatory requirements.
Finishing Your Continuing Education Requirements
Continuing education requirements can be met in a variety of ways. Having to complete 16 hours of training biennially can seem like a daunting task. But, it can be accomplished more easily than you may think. Although it is mandatory in Virginia, engineer continuing education can be personally beneficial. It can be a great opportunity to increase expertise. Read here to learn more about PDH requirements in Virginia.