As a professional engineer, you would have worked long and hard to achieve your engineering license. After years of study and after passing both your FE and PE exams, you now have the career that you have been striving towards. But what happens after you have passed your PE exam? Once you can call yourself a professional engineer, it will be essential that you understand how to maintain your engineering license. In this article, we will cover everything you need to know about the professional engineering license maintenance and renewal process.
Earning a PE license is just the beginning. Many state licensing boards require that professional engineers maintain and improve their skills through continuing education courses and other opportunities for professional development.
If you are a licensed engineer anywhere in the United States, you must understand how your state handles continuing education, as it’s likely to impact your license renewal process. Proper renewals allow professionals to continue practicing engineering without interruption.
Why You Need Continuing Education
You need to understand that you are entering a changing industry. Every year there is a rapid change in technology globally. There will be new ways of working, and as these changes occur; from an engineer’s perspective it may impact the health and safety of the public as well as the ethical considerations of your role.
Continuing Education Guidelines for the Engineering License Do Differ State by State
To renew your license, you may be required to take an online engineering continuing education course online or attend engineering conferences in person. Regardless of how you obtain them, you will be required to complete a certain number of professional development hours (PDHs) each renewal period.
Every state has different requirements in terms of the number of PDHs an engineer will be required to complete before they can renew their license. It is essential that you check the requirements of YOUR state. The frequency at which you must renew your professional engineering license will also differ state-by-state. Many states will require that you renew your license every year, while others require biennial or even triennial renewal.
How Many Personal Development Hours Do You Need?
To find out you will want to visit your State’s Education Department website. For example, I am licensed in New York and I need 36 PDHs every 3 years which equates to one per month. While continuing education keeps professionals abreast of crucial topics and emerging issues, it also provides an avenue to network with other engineering professionals, and remember your network is your net worth.
Whether your state requires 15 PDHs annually like Texas or 36 PDHs for a triennial renewal like New York, it is important to understand what your state’s exact specifications are for PE license renewal. For instance, of the 18 PDHs that Florida requires for its biennial renewal, four of the PDHs must correlate to the engineer’s specific area of practice, one PDH must relate to the state’s laws and rules of professional engineers, and one PDH must relate to the state’s professional ethics.
Taking online courses and partaking in web seminars is a time-effective option. This will mean that you can easily fit your personal development hours neatly into your working day, without the need for travel. The format that your personal development hours take will vary. Some states don’t specify that you need them to follow a particular subject. However, for best practice, you may want to complete a range that will include ethics, technical regulations, some that are specific to your personal field, and some that look at general engineering.
Keep Ahead of the Game
Maintaining your engineering license is essential if you want to continue working within the field and signing off on documents.
With the opportunity to develop your skills and get ahead of the game by learning about the newest developments in your sector, the knowledge provided through personal development hours may be invaluable to you, even beyond renewing your license!
This Episode Is Brought to You by PPI
PPI has helped engineers achieve their licensing goals since 1975. Passing the FE and PE exams can open doors to career advancement and new opportunities. Check out PPI’s wide range of prep options, including Live Online courses, OnDemand courses, and digital study tools to help prepare you to pass your licensing exam here.
I hope you found this article helpful. In upcoming articles, I will solve some more PE exam practice problems and answer other questions from our subscribers. Pass the PE Exam videos will publish weekly, so be sure to click the subscribe button so you don’t miss something that could make a substantial difference in your exam result.
Lastly, I encourage you to ask questions in the comments of this video, or on this page and I’ll read and respond to them in future videos. So, if there’s a specific topic you want me to cover or answer, we have you covered.
I’ll see you next week… on Pass the PE Exam
Anthony Fasano, P.E.
Engineering Management Institute
Author of Engineer Your Own Success