While professional engineering licensure and continuing education requirements vary among states, Professional Development Hours (PDH) or Continuing Education Credits (CEC) or a common requirement to maintain your PE License. Let’s face it, on top of engineering design work, managing projects, supervising others, and balancing work, home life, and family commitments, these PDH requirements just seem to be a burden and another thing on the to-do list. And it’s okay to admit that they may very well be! In today’s blog post, we explore the benefits of professional development hours and how to use them to benefit and advance your civil engineering career.
We already mentioned that PDH requirements vary by state. Some states require a certain amount of total hours on civil engineering topics, while a few states require a certain number of hours on specific topics within your specific discipline of civil engineering (geotechnical, structural, etc.) Exploring topics within your discipline for PDHs allow you to refresh yourself with old topics and techniques you may not have worked with in a while. It also allows you to become up-to-date with the latest research and emerging technologies within your discipline. All of these benefits will give you increased confidence in your work, and increase your productivity and performance.
Exploring PDH topics outside of your discipline is always a good idea as well. No civil engineering project occurs inside a vacuum, so some knowledge of other disciplines, outside of your own discipline, is always beneficial and can help you in your engineering career. For example, you may be a water resources engineer but want to take some PDH courses in structural engineering to better understand a flood control project you're working on, or perhaps you are a geotechnical engineer and you take some PDH courses in traffic engineering to better understand traffic and vehicular loads. Civil engineers often find themselves at a mid-career point with opportunities to transition into management and leadership roles within their organization. PDH opportunities are also available on topics related to leadership and management that can be used to satisfy some PDH requirements which will help you become a better leader or be more competitive when you apply for a management role. Similarly, engineering firms and other employers that support their employees in pursuing professional development opportunities, experience higher employee retention rates and are more likely to attract talented employees.
So how do you access PDH courses? PDH courses are available in both virtual and in-person formats. For example, ASCE offers 10 online/virtual PDH courses to its members each year as a benefit included with ASCE membership dues. A listing of the courses offered to ASCE members at no additional charge can be found here.
Other opportunities for PDH courses include webinars that have been pre-approved for PDH credits that may be offered at your workplace. Or other virtual opportunities for PDH courses are available through professional societies and organizations. Alternatively, there are several in-person opportunities such as workshops, half-day and full-day seminars, and conferences at which you can earn PDH credits. A conference or seminar can be a quick, one-stop shop to pick up several PDH credits over the course of a few days. I think that there are added bonus opportunities at these in-person events to engage in networking and make connections in your industry to expand your professional circle. Connections within your industry will provide you with incredible opportunities to collaborate on projects and may even lead to your next career opportunity! Another benefit to these seminars and conferences is that if they are in a different part of the country from which you work, you may likely learn about different techniques or technologies which may be common in that geographical area.
Who teaches these PDH classes you may ask? Licensed engineers and industry professionals just like you! In fact, many of these workshops and conferences are often looking for presenters and instructors for the topics covered in PDH courses.. Oftentimes, presenters receive a prorated discount on registration fees to attend the conference. Presenting also establishes you as a recognized industry professional, furthers your professional network connections, and more importantly, allows you to give back to the engineering community. Remember, not one of us is as smart as all of us. Collaboration is crucial!
A PE license comes with a great responsibility and part of that responsibility is the requirement for you to remain up-to-date with training and knowledge related to your civil engineering career. But your first responsibility is to pass your PE Exam! All of us here at Civil Engineering Academy to help you every step of the way towards becoming a licensed PE – acing both those FE and PE Exams!. These courses were the keys to success on my journey and I invite you to check time out at Check out Civil Engineering Academy Breadth and Depth Courses. We’ll see you there!
Do you have a topic or interesting project that you would like us to cover in a future blog post? Submit it to us here. We would love to hear from you!
Author: Matt Fanghella, PE, CFM8
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