Continuing Education for Professional Engineers

Professional Development Hours for EngineersContinuing Education for Professional Engineers

To renew their state licenses, professional engineers must complete a specified number of professional development hours (PDHs), which varies state to state, through continuing education courses. The required activities are designed to help to keep engineers aware of the latest advancements in their field, cover topics related to proper ethics, and help them become better able to provide safe, effective engineering services for their clients and the public at large. In this article, we’ll take a look at which classes and activities to pursue, and which not to pursue, in order to acquire the professional development hours you need.

How to Get Professional Development Hours

Professional engineers (PEs) have lots of options when it comes to taking online continuing education courses to fulfill their PDHs. The key is that the courses and activities have to provide the PE with new information, training, and skills to enhance their ability to properly do their jobs. These options can include:

  • Taking college courses online
  • Attending board membership meetings
  • Attending live seminars, conferences, or workshops
  • Learning through webinars
  • Teaching courses in an area of expertise
  • Hosting seminars
  • Receiving patents
  • Completing self-paced online courses offered by the state or by private organizations
  • Auditing college sponsored courses
  • Completing short classes or tutorials
  • Attending advanced training courses
  • Authoring published books, articles, or papers
  • Participating in programs offering educational outreach

In many states, for a professional engineer to get PDHs that are accepted as continuing education credits towards license renewal, the sponsors, and sometimes the courses and activities, must receive pre-approval from the state’s engineering board. States sometimes provide a list of pre-approved sponsors, courses, and activities from which the professional engineers can choose, while others provide only the criteria that they must meet in order to be approved as PDHs for license renewal. It is the responsibility of the professional engineer to make sure the activities they pursue meet the criteria of their state’s engineering licensing board.

Record Keeping for Continuing Education

Professional engineers who fail to do so may find that the courses and activities in which they were involved are not allowed as PDHs towards renewing their licenses. If this occurs, the PE has to participate in and complete additional approved courses and activities in order to maintain and renew their professional engineer’s license. Failure to do so can disqualify the PE from being able to work