Continuing Education Requirements for VA PEs
The Board for Architects, Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, Certified Interior Designers and Landscape Architects regulates the practice of engineering and establishes continuing education standards. Engineers in Virginia must earn 16 professional development hour credits every two years. Ethics courses are accepted but not required. Virginia does not pre-approve course providers or courses. License renewal is biennial, based on the last day of the month that the original license was issued or reinstated.
Listed below are the Virginia professional engineer (PE) license renewal requirements.
|No of PDH hours required||16 PDH|
|Renewal period||Biennially, based on the last day of the month that the original license was issued or reinstated.|
|Provider approval||The Board does not pre-approve course providers|
|Course content approval||Courses must be related to the engineer’s practice and should improve or expand the skills of the engineer.|
|Maximum PDH hours to carry over||No PDH may be carried over to the next renewal period.|
|Online courses||No limit on online courses.|
|State Board Website||http://www.dpor.virginia.gov/Boards/APELS/|
We prepared a detailed summary and review of the Virginia continuing education requirements (read the article).
Detailed Review of Engineering Continuing Education Requirements for Virginia
If you are getting ready to renew your VA PE license, you are probably wondering: Do Virginia professional engineers need to fulfill any continuing education requirements?
The continuing education requirements for Virginia professional engineers are that you must earn 16 PDHs during each 2-year renewal period and you can’t carry forward any credits into the next renewal period. The courses must improve or expand your current skillset. When it comes to your Virginia professional engineers’ renewal date, this is the last day of the month 2 years from when your license was issued.
The continuing education requirements for the state are established by the Virginia Board for Architects, Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, Certified Interior Designers and Landscape Architects (APELSCIDLA), which is part of the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation (DPOR).
Every professional engineer is required by the DPOR to renew their license every 2 years (biennially) by completing 16 PDH hours each renewal period. Ethics and/or state law courses are not required by the Board, but you will receive continuing education credit if you take one of these classes.
In Virginia, the license renewal process is conducted electronically. Even though the DPOR does not require you to submit your certificates of completion from the continuing education courses you take, you need to retain copies of these documents for a minimum of 3 years. If you get audited, you need to prove that you actually completed these courses.
Virginia PE License Renewal Dates
When it comes to the continuing education requirements for Virginia professional engineers, as mentioned, you are required to renew your license every 2 years. When your license is renewed is based on the date it was originally issued. In general, 2 years from the date of issue, your license will renew on the last day of the month.
To make things easy and convenient, the VA PE license renewal process is conducted online. To ensure that you aren’t disciplined by the Board, it is advised that you renew your license before the deadline. If you have a temporarily lapsed license, the DPOR considers this to be practicing without a license.
Without fail, every year, the Board has to take disciplinary actions against professional engineers who have made license-related oversights. While this is bad, to make things even worse, you are required to report the Board’s disciplinary decision to other state engineering boards where you are licensed. If you fail to do this or don’t notify these other boards in a timely manner, you can be sanctioned.
VA PE Record Keeping Requirements
Every professional engineer is required by the DPOR to maintain their PDH hour records for 3 years. Even though these documents aren’t submitted during the license renewal process, the Board often conducts random audits. This is to ensure that continuing education requirements for Virginia professional engineers are being met and you are staying in compliance. If you are audited, you have 21 days to provide the required documentation.
Thus, to make it easier for you and to ensure that you are fulfilling the continuing education requirements, you need to keep copies of your certificates of completion and store them in an organized manner. You might consider working with an online company such as PDH-Pro, as they give you the ability to access your account 24/7. They also offer the courses you need to renew your license.
The Board will accept either paper records or electronic files to prove that you are meeting the continuing education requirements for Virginia professional engineers. To be accepted by the Board, make sure the certificate includes the date the course was completed, the name of the institution or provider who offered the course, the instructor’s name, and how many credit hours were awarded.
Items that the Board will not accept include payment receipts or agenda listings from seminars.
Continuing Education Activities Accepted by DPOR
When it comes to the 16 hours of continuing education requirements for Virginia professional engineers, the Boards accepts a variety of activities. However, they must be related to the practice of the profession, and they must have a clear objective and purpose.
The subject matter of the course you take must maintain, improve, or expand the knowledge and skills that are relevant to your area of practice. If you take courses relating to business practices, such as risk management, ethics, or project management, the Board will accept these as long as they are relevant to your engineering practice.
If the courses are to be accepted by the DPOR, the instructors who teach the courses must be competent in the subject matter, and this is determined by their experience and/or education. If you take self-directed online courses, it is required by the Board that the provider issues an assessment, generally a quiz, that verifies you have mastered the objectives and course purpose.
Some of the courses that are accepted include the following:
You are allowed to take as many online courses as necessary to meet the continuing education requirements for Virginia professional engineers. The Board regulations (18VAC10-20-683) do not place a limit on internet-based continuing education classes, as long as the course is relevant to your area of practice, as defined in the Code of Virginia § 54.1-400. It has been found that more than 80% of professional engineers in Virginia have earned some or all of their PDH requirements by taking courses online.
When it comes to live webinars, these are courses that are taught online by a subject matter expert. They are an incredibly popular choice when it comes to continuing education credits because you have the ability to interact with the instructor. Many engineers have reported that this class format is more interesting and enjoyable than other formats available.
You can earn continuing education credits for live webinars as long as they are relevant to your engineering practice.
There are many different forms of seminars available, including conference presentations, college courses, or engineering society meetings. Attending one of these can be a great way to earn PDH credits required for license renewal.
The Board accepts most seminar courses, but they have to meet the general requirements for continuing education credits. Before you register for a seminar, you might consider confirming that you will be provided with a certificate of completion so that you can fulfill the Board’s requirements.
Continuing Education Activities Pre-Approval in Virginia
When it comes to continuing education requirements for Virginia professional engineers, the Board does not pre-approve any continuing education courses or providers. It is up to you to determine if the course meets the requirements. There is a list of guidelines proved by the DPOR to help you make this determination. This is common practice, as there are only six states that pre-approve continuing education courses and providers in the U.S.
Free Continuing Education Courses for VA Engineers
Being a member of a professional society, including the ASME or the ASCE, could allow you to take continuing education courses for free. The Board also accepts issued U.S. patents, papers published in peer-reviewed journals, and courses you teach as continuing education credits.
Engineering Discipline Restrictions
You can complete continuing education courses outside of your specific engineering discipline, as long as it contributes to your area of practice. The Board is aware that engineering requires a broad understanding of many principles, including chemistry, physics, mathematics, and other technical areas, so they allow you to expand your skillset and knowledge into other disciplines—just make sure it enhances and improves your overall competency in your practice.