Continuing Education / Professional Development Requirements

FAQs about Continuing Education/Professional Development Requirements for Professional Engineers and Surveyors

What's the difference between continuing education, continuing professional development, and continuing professional competency?

Nothing. These terms are synonymous and are used interchangeably.


What do the terms "PDH" and "CEU" mean?

A professional development hour (PDH) is a (nominal) hour of instruction or presentation. A continuing education unit (CEU) is the unit normally used for continuing education courses. For approved continuing ed courses, one CEU equals 10 hours of class. It also equals 10 PDH units.


Do all states require continuing education for PEs?

No. Currently, about two dozen US states and territories require some form of continuing education for professional engineers and surveyors.


How do I find out if my state has a continuing education requirement?

Check with your State Boards.


When do I have to complete my continuing education requirements by?

Typically, the requirement must be met at the time you renew your PE license. For some states, this is every year; for others, every two years. Check with your State Boards.


What kind of courses qualify for PDH units?

College and recognized "continuing education" courses virtually always qualify. Correspondence, televised, videotaped, or web-delivered courses may qualify. Attending (or presenting) professional seminars or workshops, or making presentations at professional or technical conferences may also qualify. Your State Boards should be able to advise you exactly what does and does not qualify in your state.


Do I need to have my PDH units or CEUs approved by my state board in advance?

Some states (notably Florida) maintain a list of "approved course providers," and any course you take must come from these sources. Other states do not have such guidelines. Again, check with your State Boards on this.


Are there other ways of meeting the PDH requirements besides taking courses?

In most states, yes. Examples of other ways of earning PDH units are publishing papers, articles, or books; winning patents; actively participating in professional or technical societies; and teaching. You must check with your State Boards to make sure that these are in fact acceptable alternatives.


Who keeps track of my PDH units?

This is your responsibility. Keep records to support all the PDH units you accumulate. Save certificates of completion and any other proof that you attended each course. Also keep records verifying any publications, patents, or other PDH-equivalent activities as mentioned in the preceding question.


What do I do if I am a dual licensee--a PE and a PLS?

Check with your State Boards. In many cases, you will need to show the same number of PDH units, divided in some way between the two professions. In other cases, you will need more PDH units. This varies state by state.


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