There are approximately 1.6 million engineers in the US alone. Over 820,000 of them have professional licenses.
Continuing education is one of the most important parts of obtaining and renewing these licenses. At least 2/3 of all states require engineers to complete a specific amount of courses and other related activities every 2 years.
Engineer PDH hours are used to track how much professional continuing education licensed candidates receive. If you don’t meet the requirements in your state, you may be unable to obtain or renew a license.
Read our guide to learn how to get PDH hours and the benefits they provide.
Why You Need Engineer PDH Classes
Continuing education can be a difficult and expensive process regardless of the career you’re in. Learning the benefits it provides can help prevent you from getting discouraged and motivate you to meet and perhaps even exceed your state’s requirements.
PDH is an acronym that stands for professional development hour. In Pennsylvania, it refers to at least 50 minutes of relevant instruction or presentation.
If you complete any activity that meets these requirements in your state, you’ll receive PDH units. These count towards the amount needed to renew your license.
Professional engineer licenses expire on September 30th every other year. In Pennsylvania, you must pay a fee of $100 and obtain at least 24 PDH units by this date to renew them. Up to 12 extra hours you earn can be carried over into the next renewal period.
Engineering continuing education helps you meet license renewal requirements, but it provides several other benefits as well. It keeps you current on recent developments, improves the skills you already have, and makes you a more attractive candidate when applying for engineering jobs.
These reasons and more explain the need for engineer PDH classes. Starting them now allows you to get these benefits as early as possible and make the license renewal process flow more smoothly.
How to Get PDH Units
The range of skills engineers need to maintain is massive. You need to be able to solve problems, analyze structures, model data, work and communicate as a member of a team, handle pressure, and more. No one course can provide all of this information, which is why there is a range of options to choose from.
What does and doesn’t qualify as PDH units differs in each state, but there are general guidelines you can use to determine what you should focus on. Ways to earn them include:
- College courses
- Continuing education courses
- Videotaped or televised correspondence
- Short courses or tutorials
- Employer-sponsored courses
- Professional or technical presentations at meetings, conventions, or conferences
- Approved patents
- Published books, articles, or papers
- Teaching or presenting
Each activity you complete earns you a different amount of PDH units that count towards the goal of 24. Knowing how much they’re worth helps you choose from all the available options.
Going back to school is one of the easiest ways to rack up a large amount of PDH units. One college or unit semester hour is worth 45 PDH units. A college or unit quarter-hour is worth 30 PDH units.
Creating inventions and writing on topics related to the segment of engineering you specialize in can also help meet your license requirements quickly. Each patent or published paper, article, or book is worth 10 PDH units.
Most other qualifying activities are worth one PDH unit. These include workshops, presentations, and shorter courses.
Picking from all the available options at random isn’t the best way to meet your state’s continuing education requirements or improve your career. Focus on the ones that will help you get where you want to go in your career.
Where to Get PDH Units
Engineers have a wide range of continuing education options to choose from to meet their state’s license renewal requirements. Seminars, conferences, and other public events are helpful, but traditional instruction in a classroom or online also works well if chosen carefully.
When choosing continuing education courses, consider the instructor’s qualifications and the relevance and difficulty of the material. Otherwise, you may waste your time on courses that don’t increase your count of PDH units.
Choosing where to receive your continuing education is also an important decision. You can choose a traditional classroom or go for a digital approach.
A quality university may provide the instruction you need, and completed college classes count for more PDH units. The disadvantages of this method are that it comes at a heavy cost and requires changing your daily routine.
If you’re a busy professional with no time in your schedule, consider a more high-tech method. An online continuing education engineering program provides several advantages over this traditional route, including:
- Flexible schedules
- One-on-one communication with educators
If you’re already working as an engineer, ask your boss and colleagues if they know of any ways to increase your PDH units. They may have a conference for you to attend or a short video for you to watch.
In-person, online, and social continuing education programs are all worth the time and effort as long as they improve your skills and keep you current on new developments. They’ll make you a valuable asset to any company you work for because it shows you take the initiative to keep learning.
Think before committing to any method of professional engineer continuing education. Ensure that it fits your budget, aligns with your personal career goals, and will add to your current count of engineering PDH hours.
Where to Find the Best Engineering Continuing Education Programs
Almost every state in the US engineers to meet continuing education requirements. In Pennsylvania, you must earn at least 24 PDH units every 2 years. It shows you’re committed to taking courses and participating in activities that help you advance in your career and sharpen your skills.
Finding the right engineer PDH courses can be difficult, but online options make it easy to customize your education to fit with your schedule.
PDH-Pro helps you to meet your state’s license requirements while learning new skills and improving old ones. View our engineering continuing education courses to get started today.