Continuing Education is a typical requirement that engineering state licensing boards implement as a way for an engineer to maintain an active professional license. Whether a state board requires annual or biannual license renewal, many engineers dread the process of obtaining enough professional development hours (PDHs) through continuing education. Although the process may seem inconvenient and time consuming (which can be made easier with flexible online engineering pdh courses), state boards implement license renewal policies for various reasons. The reason a majority of states have implemented continuing education requirements is to not only allow engineers to broaden their knowledge but also, most importantly, to keep the public safe.
Currently, 42 out of the 50 state boards require some sort of continuing education. The continuing education requirements can include activities such as attending engineering PDH webinars, taking an online PDH course, or attending an engineering conference.
Engineers have the responsibility to keep the public safe, and by keeping up with various engineering methods and safety regulations, they can do so. “The primary purpose of licensing for professional engineers and professional land surveyors is to protect the public from unqualified or unethical practitioners,” said Tyson Ducote, the director of reinforcement for Louisiana. “The requirement for continuing professional development is also intended to protect the public by reinforcing the need for lifelong learning in order to stay more current with changing technology, equipment, procedures, processes, tools and established standards.”
On a somewhat similar note, most state boards require continuing education to help develop an engineer professionally as the engineering field evolves throughout time. For example, many tools, operation techniques, and technology have significantly changed throughout the past few decades. Survey engineers who were licensed in the 1980s may not understand how to use drones, which are typically used to map out construction sites in modern-day engineering. By requiring survey engineers to take continuing education courses, engineers have the opportunity to learn about drones and stay up-to-date with modern practices.
“I have found online continuing education to be quite helpful to me as a registered professional engineer,” said Harlan Bengtson, a continuing education course writer at EduMind. “Not only has it met the continuing education requirement for renewing my PE license, but it has also allowed me to refresh and update my knowledge in some areas of engineering and to gain knowledge about engineering topics that I want to move into.”