What is a Continuing Education Unit
Professional development is paramount for engineers. To remain competitive and relevant in a constantly changing industry, engineers need to continually sharpen their skills and increase their knowledge in their professional area of practice. This is where continuing education units (CEUs) come in.
What is a CEU? CEUs are units for measuring credit received in continuing education courses. Completing continuing education units is a major requirement for engineers, not only to renew their licenses, but also to continue to develop professionally and to move into more advanced engineering roles.
In this article, we’ll take a look at what CEUs are, how to earn them, and why they are more than just merely a requirement for license renewal.
What are CEUs and PDHs?
Continuing education units (CEUs) are credit units obtained through the participation in continuing education and training courses. A professional engineer is awarded one CEU for every 10 hours of learning that he or she undertakes.
It should be noted that these credits are nationally recognized, and organizations that award CEUs should meet the requirements of the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET). The mandate of IACET is to set standards related to continuing education training as well as to work with institutions to create and administer programs that give professional engineers opportunities to expand their knowledge in their respective engineering fields. However, it is important for engineers taking continuing education courses to confirm with their state licensing boards whether the organizations providing these courses are approved in their state.
Like CEUs, professional development hours (PDHs) also refer to the time spent towards continuing education. In this case, one PDH is equal to one hour of study in professional development courses. Short breaks in classes are allowed as long as at least 50 minutes of study are accounted for; however, in the case that an activity takes less than half an hour, it does not qualify for credit. Courses must fit the criteria of the state licensing board in order to count as PDHs. In general, 10 PDHs are equivalent to one CEU.
The following are examples of activities that are generally considered to qualify as PDHs. You should confirm the requirements of your own licensing board to ensure the activities you choose to undertake will meet the requirements.
- Taking and completing courses that are related to your professional area of practice. You will have to do a test once you are through with the course.
- Participating in seminars or in-house training programs that are in line with your professional area of practice.
- Attending technical meetings where a subject that is related to your professional area of practice is being presented as part of the program.
- Offering instruction for an engineering course for the first time or spending a significant amount of time updating engineering-related material that was previously taught.
- Taking management courses that help to improve your professional abilities.
Read our article on continuing education activities that don’t count for PDH credit.
Online Courses for CEUs
Engineers can participate in continuing education courses either through attending classes in person or through online learning. While many universities offer professional development courses for engineers, online courses provide a convenient alternative to traditional classes for professionals to increase their competitive edge in the engineering industry. The advantage with taking courses through an online organization is that you have the liberty to go through the course material at your own pace and at a time that is convenient for you. And since online continuing education courses are as varied as the engineers who need them – topics can range from sustainable engineering and energy efficiency to technological engineering trends and engineering ethics – finding a class that suits your needs is easy.
There are a wide number of organizations that offer online continuing education courses, so when scheduling classes, it is important to verify that they are approved by your state licensing board. As the requirements for continuing education differ depending on your state, it is necessary to find your respective requirements for online continuing education courses before starting a program. Choosing courses that are approved in your state ensures you acquire valid career and professional development credit for your hard work.
CEUs: More Than a License Requirement
Earning CEUs and PDHs is more than just checking a box for your license renewal. And regardless of whether or not your state licensing board requires you to earn these credits, continuing education is critical for technical professions like engineering. In this highly dynamic field where engineers need to constantly acquire more knowledge, professional development is not only the way to retain your professional license, it is also a way to bridge the gap between what you know and what you should know in order to practice engineering in a professional and responsible manner. Engineers must hold themselves to a high standard through consistently continuing to expand their knowledge base. Without this commitment to continued education, it’s easy to become irrelevant and lose the capacity to practice at a professional level.
That’s why when it comes to embracing constant changes in the engineering industry, professional development for engineers is crucial. It’s not uncommon to see changes in technology, engineering standards and practices, and regulations, making it necessary for engineers to invest significantly in their career and professional development. Changes bring improvements in the engineering industry, but with them comes the need to be acquainted with the latest engineering technologies, knowledge, tools, and practices. Thus, engineers have to continue learning beyond just their day-to-day experiences in order to maintain the mastery of their practice.
If you are an engineer looking for a viable, convenient, and quality platform for professional development, we are able to offer exactly that. We are a highly professional, board-approved online company that offers continuing education courses to engineers. We understand your need to improve your knowledge on a constant basis in order to remain highly competitive in a changing industry. For this reason, we offer valuable, quality courses that have what it takes to elevate your professional status as an engineer. The tools, resources, and experienced team members at our company will give you the training you need to remain relevant in your professional practice. As a professional engineer, you need the best resources for your development, and we are ready to make that happen.