Keep Learning: Virginia Engineer Continuing Education Requirements

Engineers are among the state of Virginia’s top-earners.

Staying at the top requires hard work, however.

Continuing education is a requirement to keep your license in the state of Virginia

Here’s everything you need to know about Virginia engineer continuing education requirements.

Virginia Masters and Doctoral Engineering Programs 

Engineers can choose to earn doctorate or master’s degrees. Each educational path leads to a different career focus. Usually earning a Ph.D. leads to a career in education or research. Earning a master’s degree usually leads to a career as a practicing engineer.

All engineers practicing in the state of Virginia must follow the same steps to be an engineer.

After an engineer earns their doctorate or master’s degree from an accredited college, the next step is to register with the Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). Then you must take and pass the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) test.

After you successfully pass your test you have to undergo four years of professional experience. To earn your engineering license you must pass the Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE) test.

Who Needs to Get Their License Renewed?

In the state of Virginia, many job titles that fall under the engineering, architecture, and design umbrella must renew their license. The state has outlined which professionals must renew their license. The jobs that need to have their license renewed are:

  • Architects
  • Professional Engineers
  • Land Surveyors
  • Landscape Architects
  • Certified Interior Designers
  • Businesses

All of the professions above must meet the same continuing education requirements. A course that is approved for an interior designer might not be approved for an engineer, however.

This is because courses must be relevant to the professional’s discipline. We’ll go into that more in-depth below.

Virginia State Requirements

Even after you earn your license education doesn’t stop. Engineers in all states must take continuing education courses throughout their careers. In Virginia, engineers must complete 16 professional development hours (PDH) every two years.

Every state has different requirements for becoming an engineer and retaining a license.

For Virginia engineers, the renewal date of your license is based on the issue date. Sort of like a driver’s license. In Virginia, engineers can complete the entire renewal process online.

The board prefers when engineers renew their licenses prior to the very last minute of the deadline. In Virginia having a temporary license or having a lapse in license renewal is considered practicing without a license. Documentation and payments must be received within 30 days of the renewal date.

The Virginia Board for Architects Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, Certified Interior Designers and Landscape Architects (APELSCIDLA), and the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation (DPOR) sets these standards.

Engineers must keep personal records of their credit hours in addition to submitting them to the board. The board randomly audits engineers throughout the state. In Virginia, engineers must hold onto their records for at least three years.

When an engineer is audited they have 21 days to provide proof of documentation. This is an easy, stress-free process when your records are already prepared.

Virginia Engineer Continuing Education

Activities must have a “clear purpose” and “objective” to be used for credit. Activities must also “maintain,” “improve” or “expand” the skills of the subject area of an engineer’s specialty. Business and personal development activities can be used as credit as long as they are angled towards engineers.

Professional events like seminars and conferences can be used for credit. But, engineers just need to cross-check the subject to make sure it meets the general activity requirements. It’s smart to reach out to the event organizer to verify that they will provide documentation for credit hours before attending.

Many professional events have gone digital. Digital events and live webinars for engineers are also acceptable activities. Online events just need to meet the same requirements as any other activity.

Online courses are also a popular option for continuing education for engineers. Unlike other states, there is no limit to how many of your credit hours can come from online classes. Online courses must fit the same criteria of relevance that any other activity does.

The state of Virginia does not require engineers to get pre-approval for credit hours. This can be a good or a bad thing. For example, finding and taking classes might be easier without pre-approval. But, you run the risk of taking courses that may not fully meet the requirements.

Most legitimate education programs will advertise that they are pre-approved by the state that you are a practicing engineer in. Each state has different requirements and reading the fine print is important.

What Engineers in Virginia Need to Know 

Wouldn’t it be nice if everything you needed for Virginia engineer continuing education requirements was in one place?

You can save yourself a lot of time and worry by aligning yourself with an educational program that’s designed for helping engineers meet their professional development hour requirements.

When you choose to attend an event or take a course that is not designed for engineers to meet their continuing education requirements, you run the risk of spending time and money on a program that won’t get approved by the board.

We’ve developed packages that are custom designed for engineers by area of specialty and location. We package everything together at one low price that will by far be more affordable for the quality of service.

Click here to learn more about our packages!