Signing up for continuing technical education in the field of engineering is indispensable when it comes to renewing your Professional Engineer licenses or fulfilling your PDH requirements. This is also something that you, as a serious engineer, must take into consideration if you want to get an edge in the industry and make major advancements in your career.
In fact, more than two-thirds of all the states in America demand that professional engineers obtain continuing education units in order to stay current. This is often done by attending technical courses.
What Is Continuing Education?
These courses are often called Professional Development Hours (PDH) courses by many State Boards. The other sum of State Boards alludes to them as Continuing Education (CE) courses. Nomenclature is merely a matter of preference, as there’s no real difference between PDH and CE courses. All Professional Development Hours and Continuing Education technical courses entail 50 minutes of studying time as a bare minimum in order to complete a 1-hour course.
In order to stay current, many engineering graduates continue to pursue knowledge in their field post-college. However, there isn’t just one road that you can pursue post-college. You can either go on the technical-aspects road to gain a competitive edge in the industry or you can pursue an MBA in order to take your business acumen to the next level.
Companies try their best to remain current in the field by providing tuition reimbursement to their employees. But with the wide range of continuing education opportunities, it can be challenging for companies to decide which courses their employees should enroll in. However, with the way technology is today, it’s become easy to get the needed education at any time and any place.
As a matter of fact, with the rapid growth of offerings from the internet, universities, and various organizations, the quality of lifelong learning opportunities is continuously being questioned and evaluated by industry leaders in a quest to find the most fruitful means of providing the needed education for their employees in order to remain current in the field.
Robert E. Spitzer, vice president of Technical Affiliations at the Boeing Company, which helps provide a tuition reimbursement benefit for the company’s employees, estimates that 30,000 of the company’s employees partake in such opportunities. He goes further to state that about half the number of employees indicated enroll in job- or project-specific courses.
In addition, he states that about thirty percent of that specific group of employees are enrolled in engineering courses, while the other portion of that group has opted to pursue higher degree opportunities. This shows just how important engineering continuing education is in the industry for both employers and employees.
With State Boards recognizing just how valuable continuing education is, it’s become imperative to meet the Continuing Professional Competency (CPC) requirements implemented by various states in order to obtain a professional engineering license. CPC requirements necessitate that licensees showcase the satisfactory fulfillment of certain activities before the licensing authority in order to renew their professional licenses.
Pursuing educational opportunities in order to hone technical skills and gain more professional knowledge in the field of engineering is something that a lot of engineers do voluntarily, but with the way the industry is today, the pressure to pursue such opportunities and to formally record them has increased significantly, and that pressure seems to be stemming from the nature of the profession itself, as well as customer advocacy groups.
According to information provided by the National Society of Professional Engineer’s (NSPE) as of January 31, 2001, with regard to the CPC status in the states, 19 states implemented CPC rules, 5 states offer voluntary programs, and 2 states have their CPC rules under development. Keep in mind that there exist no national licensing requirements. Professional engineers need to present their application to the state they’re licensed to practice the profession in.
Benefits of Engineering Continuing Education
While it’s necessary to keep current with the industry changes, it’s not always easy to balance your work schedule with attending classes to complete your yearly recertification requirements. Not to mention other commitments besides work. This is mainly the reason why online courses are growing vastly in popularity. Here are a few other reasons why online engineering continuing education courses are the way to go:
Flexibility of Learning
One of the reasons why enrolling in online engineering continuing education courses is a great way to go is because it allows you to learn at your own pace without having to step out of your house. All you have to do is go online, browse the available courses, and sign up for the ones you think will benefit you the most. You can find a wide range of engineering courses that will help make renewing your PE license a lot easier.
Moreover, taking online courses eliminates the need to commit to attending classes at a specific time. As a result, you no longer have to worry about missing lectures or arriving late on test day. Furthermore, since you’re going to be learning at your own leisure, you’re guaranteed to digest all of the information provided by the course and not having to worry about missing any sort of valuable information.
The great thing about the option of enrolling in online PDH/CE courses is that it’s a lot more affordable than college-level continuing education. Enrolling in a single class won’t cost you that much, but if you’re looking to save more money, you can enroll in a bundle of classes and get a pretty sweet discount. The cost of the course also depends on how long it is. Some courses can take an hour, while others require up to 12 hours worth of studying.
Another way you should look at it is that by not having to commute from your house to a school or campus on a regular basis, you help save yourself a lot of money that would have otherwise been spent on transportation, gas, tolls, or parking, depending on how you commute. All in all, it seems quite obvious why online engineering continuing education courses are so obvious. They deliver great quality while helping to save you a lot of money.
In our current day, engineering continuing education grants you the leverage you need as a PE in the industry. The good news is that you no longer have to commute to a campus or school and sit in a classroom every time you’re looking to renew your PE licenses. You have various other choices that you can go with, one of which being online PDH/CE courses.
Online PDH/CE courses allow you to study the information you need to know in order to renew your PE license from the luxury of your home. It’s also the simplest and most cost-saving option out of them all.