How to Pick the Best Courses for Continuing Your Engineer Education

Engineering Continuing Education Is Key to Your FutureHow to Pick the Best Courses for Continuing Your Engineer Education

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor, the engineering industry will create more than 100,000 new jobs by 2026. Becoming an engineer usually means high wages, plenty of job opportunities, and more.

We count on engineers for most parts of everyday life. They power our world, design our transportation, improve our healthcare, and more. As an engineer, it’s important to stay educated and aware of the latest knowledge. Failing to understand new concepts and standards could result in dangerous accidents.

Continuing engineer education is essential. It applies to all types of positions, including civil, mechanical, and electrical engineers. Choosing the right courses can help you find a new job or excel in your current position. Find out how to research courses while putting together a continuing education plan.

Evaluate Certifications and Licenses

One long-term goal for completing engineering courses could be obtaining certifications and licenses. Depending on your field and current position, certifications can help advance your career. If you already hold a license, you’ll also need continuing education to maintain and renewing the license each year.

Professional Engineer or PE continuing education includes licenses that each state offers. Your state will have different requirements for education, experience, and fees. For example, in New Mexico, the PE license requires a four-year degree and a four-year internship. You’ll also need to pass the Fundamentals of Engineering and Principles and Practice of Engineering Exam.

To renew your license, your state will set a certain amount of Professional Development Hours (PDHs). In New Mexico, the rule is 30 hours, with at least two hours focused on ethics.

Understanding your state guidelines can help you choose the right courses. Some courses are generic and can help you practice for your FE and PPE exams. Others can help you meet your PDH requirements.

Choose Courses Based on Your Specialization

Before choosing professional engineer courses, determine the specialization you’d like to pursue. If you’re looking to change your specialization, the right courses can help you gain the education you may be missing.

In some states, a generic PE license is all you need for any specialization. Yet, others may offer unique licenses for different disciplines. For instance, California has separate licenses for different specializations. The specializations categorized by civil, electrical, and mechanical engineering.

Understanding your state’s guidelines can help you choose the courses that are right for you. If you’re pursuing electrical engineering, you can take courses like residential electric design. Mechanical engineering may include courses like motor design.

Determine Long-Term Career Benefits

Professional engineering continuing education isn’t a guarantee for a great job. When choosing your courses, you should determine the long-term career benefits and job outlook. You’ll be spending time and money on each course, so it’s important to receive a return on investment.

Before you pursue a specialized engineering certification, research the job prospects. Experts expect engineering to grow in the next five years. Yet, some specializations like aerospace and nuclear engineering may lose jobs.

If you’re pursuing certification on your own, you may also need to decide if it’s necessary for your career. Many companies will pay for PE courses to help their staff grow and help improve the company. On your own, a certification may not always be necessary for your job or career goals. For instance, government civil engineering jobs need certified professional engineers to sign contracts and plans. But, a performance engineer for a solar company may not need one for advancement within a private company.

Does the math add up for you? A packaged course may cost upwards of $300. It may seem like a lot upfront, but it could be the difference in landing a $1,000 raise. Always consider your courses as a long-term investment to help decide if they’re right for your career.

Evaluate Course Credibility

There are thousands of webinars and courses available for all types of engineering education. Before committing to a course, determine if it’s a credible source you can use for your certifications or resume.

First, make sure your course provider aligns with your state’s license criteria. This means you’ll need a certain amount of PDHs by a certain time of the year (usually annually or biennially). Your state may also have unique requirements for your engineering specialization.

A well-designed course will align with a variety of state requirements. It should be easy for you to double-check the requirements on each state’s website. Engineering courses can be pricey depending on how many hours you need. It’s important to find courses with guarantees. If you pay for courses that don’t give you certified PDHs or help you receive a certification, you may be eligible for a refund.

It’s always a good rule of thumb to ask for advice from other engineers and colleagues in your field. If you can get first-hand testimonials about courses, you’ll know it’s a great option for your continuing education.

Create a Continuing Engineer Education Schedule

Once you choose your engineer education courses, create a schedule you can stick to. Each state requires you to meet guidelines to maintain your licenses, so it’s important to follow the criteria each year. It’s best to plan in advance so you aren’t cramming 20+ hours of coursework into a single week.

Always choose courses based on your current career goals as well as your state requirements. At the end of a course, you should feel well-prepared to move forward with new projects that you may not have worked on before.

Contact us today to learn more about our certification courses and state packages for a variety of disciplines.