Understanding the Pennsylvania Engineering Continuing Education Requirements
Engineers earn some of the highest wages in Pennsylvania.
Maintaining that position after you’ve earned your license requires some work.
Continuing education is a requirement for all types of engineers in Pennsylvania.
Here’s everything you need to know about Pennsylvania engineering continuing education requirements.
Masters vs Doctoral Engineering Programs
Choosing between a master’s or doctorate depends on your career goals. Master’s programs focus on becoming a practicing engineer. Doctorate programs usually focus on research and are ideal for aspiring engineering educators.
Regardless of what type of engineer you are in Pennsylvania, the general steps are the same.
- Complete an undergraduate degree from an accredited college.
- Earn your master’s or doctorate from an accredited college.
- Become registered with the Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET)
- Pass the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) test.
- Earn four years of professional engineering experience.
- Pass the Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE) test.
If you don’t love learning engineering may not be the field for you. This is because regardless of if you’re an educator or practicing engineer, even after you complete your education and earn a license, continued education is ongoing. You must complete what is known as “professional development hours” (PDH) and submit them to the Pennsylvania Board of Engineers.
If you don’t love learning engineering may not be the field for you. Regardless of if you’re an educator or practicing engineer. After you complete your education and earn a license, continued education is ongoing. Engineers must submit professional development hours (PDH) to the Pennsylvania Board of Engineers.
Every state has different requirements for becoming an engineer and retaining a license.
Engineers in Pennsylvania must earn 24 professional development hours (PDH) every two years. You can carry over a maximum of 12 hours to the next renewal period. License renewal occurs on September 30th of odd-numbered years.
Understanding Personal Development Hours
In Pennsylvania, engineers must complete 24 personal development hours (PDH) every two years. You must complete and submit these hours to the state board of engineers biennially by September 30 on odd-numbered years. The courses you choose don’t have to be pre-approved by the board, but they do need to meet the state requirements.
You are able to carry-over hours from previous years. For example, if you completed 30 personal development hours between October 1, 2017, and September 30, 2019. You could carry six of those hours over into your renewal requirements for 2021. The maximum number of carry-over hours you can use is 12.
So, no matter what, opportunities to earn personal development hours need to be on your radar.
Personal Development Hour Criteria
Programs must help engineers improve, maintain, or expand their skills. But, courses offered in the office or practice building you work on cannot for PDH hours. The board wants to see that you’re making the effort to be the best engineer you can be.
One credit hour is equal to 50 minutes of education. You must retrieve documentation of course completion. Documentation like certificates, transcripts, and written approval. The board is somewhat flexible when it comes to the type of documentation you submit.
Make sure whatever you submit provides enough information. So that if the board wanted to verify that the course existed and you took it, that they could. You must also keep copies of all your PDH hours for five years. The board can audit engineers. When an audit happens you must be able to provide this documentation to verify your license.
The Pennsylvania board does not micromanage engineers to complete PDH hours. This can be a good or bad thing depending on how organized you are. Keeping track of your hours and the entire process is completely up to you.
Pennsylvania Engineering Continuing Education
Finding qualifying courses isn’t difficult. There are a lot of options for engineers that range in topics and price ranges. The key is to make sure any course you take focuses on expanding your skills and knowledge. The board especially likes technical courses.
Many continuing education courses are available at a university or college. But, you will need the institution to send a sealed transcript to the board.
Engineering educators can use teaching hours as credit. They can also use authored research, books, and articles as part of their credit hours.
Professionals and educators can use activities they host like workshops and seminars.
Conferences, webinars, and other professional events meet the criteria for credit.
You can also use Online engineering courses offered by companies and organizations.
Events and courses offered by professional organizations like the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE), and National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE).
Requirements for Engineering Educators
Credit hour requirements for non-practicing engineers who work as educators is different.
Employed and unemployed educational engineers must submit credit hours. These are the types of engineering educators that must submit credit hours:
- Certified instructional I and II
- Educational Specialists I and II
- Administrative, Supervisory
- Letters of Eligibility
The requirements for credit hours are more specific for educators. But, engineering educators have a few options for how they can complete their hours.
Educators only need to submit six credits from a university or college. But only if they are pre-approved from the Pennsylvania Department of Education. If educators do not get pre-approval, they must submit 180 credit hours.
As of October 2016, each semester of college credit equals 30 educational hours. Each quarter of college credit equals 20 hours of continuing education.
Educators only have to renew their licenses every five years (instead of every two years).
There is more information about qualifying courses for engineering educators here: Act 48.
Start Earning Your Credit Hours Now
Do you need to work on meeting your Pennsylvania engineering continuing education requirements? You’re in the right place.
We strive to be your one-stop-shop for all your continuing education requirements. We have specialized resources for engineers in Pennsylvania.
Click here to check out our resources.