Continuing Education Requirements for Texas Professional Engineers
Over 60,000 licensed engineers provide engineering services in Texas.
How are you going to stay competitive in this dynamic sector of the economy?
One way you can give yourself an edge is through your Texas continuing education goals. Continuing education for engineers doesn’t have to be just another hoop to jump through to renew your license.
Find out how what your professional development requirements are as a Texas engineer and how you can get the most value from your continuing education.
Why Continuing Education?
The Texas legislature passed a law in 2003 that required the Texas Board of Professional Engineers (TBPELS) to develop and implement a continuing education program for professional engineers. The program began in 2005.
TBPELS manages the continuing education program as part of its mission to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the people of Texas.
Staying up-to-date on aspects of the engineering field like technology, equipment, processes, and standards helps you develop professionally.
You may not always look forward to getting your professional development hours, but they’re an important part of staying licensed. They benefit you as well as the general public.
Learning about the latest safety procedures improves safety for you and the public at large.
Texas Continuing Education Hours for Professional Engineers
As a professional engineer in Texas, you need 15 hours of professional development hours (PDH) each year in order to renew your license. At least one of those hours needs to cover ethics.
What Counts Toward Continuing Education?
A variety of activities can count towards your professional development hours. TBPELS designed the continuing education program to be self-administered. You’re responsible for determining if an activity meets board requirements.
The board doesn’t pre-approve activities, and it doesn’t publish a list of approved courses or activities.
Two factors determine whether something counts as professional development:
- Is the activity specifically listed in the rule?
- Is it relevant to a technical profession, and does it include educational, technical, ethical, or managerial material?
If an activity meets at least one of these criteria, it will count towards your continuing education.
Examples of Professional Development Activities
You can earn your hours in formal settings like college courses or more informal settings like self-directed study. Here are some examples.
1. College or Continuing Education Courses
You can either enroll in college courses for credit or audit them for professional development. Courses that a trade organization, corporation, technical society, association, or other group offers can also count. The course needs to include technical, ethical, or managerial content.
2. Online, Televised, or Recorded Courses
You can use short courses or tutorials. Live or prerecorded events qualify as long as they include the required content.
3. Seminars, Workshops, Conventions, and Conferences
Attending or presenting at seminars or workshops is continuing education. Presentations at conventions or conferences count as well.
4. Teaching, Writing, Research, and Outreach
Teaching a college course or a course for a group like a technical society or trade organization counts towards your continuing education.
Publishing a paper, article, or book on engineering also counts. Having a patent issued is professional development. Educational outreach to K-12 or higher education students is another example.
5. Active Participation in Professional or Technical Societies
Serving as an officer or on a committee are forms of active participation. These types of activities count as continuing education.
6. Self-Directed Study
Self-directed study is any research, reading, or other activity that is relevant to working in a technical profession and includes educational, technical, ethical, or managerial content.
Reading trade magazines or watching tutorials are some examples. You can have no more than five hours of self-study per renewal period.
Texas doesn’t differentiate online hours from in-person hours. All of your PDH can be online if you choose. As long as the activity includes the required content, you can use it for continuing education.
You can fulfill the ethics requirement in several ways. Activities like coursework, seminars, or presentations that cover professional ethics or the roles and responsibilities of professional engineers will count.
You can also review the Texas Engineering Practice Act and Board Rules. This document is available for download from the TBPELS website.
TBPELS offers a free ethics webinar every quarter. Each webinar gives a current overview of the board’s activities, explores case studies, and reviews topics relevant to professional ethics.
Finally, you can use an online PDH service that offers ethics courses.
Deadlines for Completing Your PDH
You need to complete all of your professional development hours before the deadline to renew your engineering license. Renewal dates are quarterly:
- March 31
- June 30
- September 30
- December 31
Your license is valid for 12 months, so your renewal will be 9 to 11 months after you originally received your license.
Keeping Track of Your Hours
When you submit your renewal application, you’ll certify that you completed your continuing education requirement.
You don’t need to send the documentation of your hours with your renewal, but keeping this documentation is important. If the board audits you, you’ll need to send them your records.
Keep paper and/or digital proof of your activity. Certificates of completion from courses, grade reports, conference programs, or flyers from presentations are some examples. You can download a form from the TBPELS website to keep track of any self-study hours.
The documentation should show what type of activity you’re claiming. It should indicate where and when the event took place as well as how long the activity lasted.
You need to keep your PDH records for three years.
Simplifying Your Texas Engineer Continuing Education
As a busy professional, doing your continuing education online can make it easier to earn your 15 hours. You have a lot of online PDH providers to choose from. How can you be sure you’re getting the best value?
PDH-Pro guarantees that TBPELS will accept our courses, or we’ll give you your money back. We offer course packages specific to Texas engineers.
Our live and on-demand webinars give you the benefits of both formats. We keep your certificates of completion on file for ten years to help simplify your record keeping.
Check out our Texas continuing education courses and start your professional development today.