Continuing Education Requirements for Engineers

You did it! You’ve successfully completed your degree in Engineering. All that time, effort, and moolah are about to pay off. And you will never have to take another course again.

Whoa. Back up a bit. Yup, to the part where you said something about never having to take another course again. The truth is that you will have to engage in continuous learning for the rest of your career in order to maintain your state licensure.


“Hold on to your hat–yes, that impressive white one–you still have much to learn.”

Like many professionals, engineers are expected to engage in regular professional development–further honing their skills and keeping them abreast of the latest industry changes. After all, a top-notch engineer must be up-to-date in their knowledge.

Know Your State

As a professional engineer, it is your responsibility to make yourself aware of your state’s continuing education requirements. States vary according to how many courses you need and how often you need to take them.

According to “Engineering Continuing Education,” some states, such as Alabama and Arkansas, require engineers to earn new continuing education credits every year, while most follow an every-other-year pattern, with some falling on even-numbered years and some on the odds.

The Continuing Education Unit (CEU)

One of your ongoing goals will be to earn Continuing Education Units, otherwise known as CEUs. According to the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, a CEU is a nationally recognized and uniform unit of measure for continuing education and training. For every ten contact hours of relevant instruction or study, the learner, typically, earns one CEU. If your course provider has adhered to the requirements stipulated by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET) in awarding CEU’s, the studier will be granted 10 PDH’s for one CEU. What is a PDH? Read on.

The Professional Development Hour (PDH)

Another important unit of measure in the educational engineering realm is the Professional Development Hour or “PDH.” This is defined as being one contact hour of instruction, presentation, or study.

Choosing a Course Provider

Obviously, you will want to choose a course provider whose offerings will lead to approved PDHs. Some state licensing boards pre-approve course providers, while others do not. In those states, it is your responsibility to ensure that your education will be accepted. How can you avoid spending time and money on worthless educational pursuits? Here are a few hints.

Don’t be dazzled by a course provider that promises more credits than the coursework seems to justify. Also, make sure that you can preview a sample lesson, that the course will be taught by a professional within the industry, and that you can receive a refund if the work does not lead to PDHs. And do not choose a course simply with the goal of meeting your PDH requirements. Make sure that it will actually impart information that is useful to you.

Subject Areas

There are courses available at a myriad of training providers that will suit most engineering training needs. Some of these areas include Industrial, Chemical, Electrical, Wastewater, Nuclear, and Transportation Engineering, to name just a few.

So, keep those pencils sharpened. Your lifelong commitment to learning has only just begun.

Are you an engineering student how longs to patent an invention? You will want to read “Your Career Path to Becoming an Inventor.”

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I am a freelance writer, avid blogger, illustrator, and aspiring novelist who thinks the world is a terribly funny place filled with bizarre things to observe--and, of course, comment on. You can follow her somewhat neurotic and OCD ramblings at The Embiggens Project and at Searching for Barry Weiss.

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