There are currently 30 states that require Engineer CE courses to maintain valid licensure within those states. Only four of those states regulate and pre-approve the training institutions and programs that the engineers are required to take. The other states don’t have programs to pre-approve courses for engineer continuing education, so it is up to the engineer themselves to determine which programs are acceptable for continuing education in these states. This is usually done by applying with the state board that regulates the continuing education system to ensure that a program is allowed to be used for continuing education before the course is started.
Engineer CE programs are usually allowed as long as they are a course or activity that has a clear purpose to maintain, improve, and expand the skills and knowledge of licensees. Many states will also require the course to have engineering content that relates to technical information, ethics, and managerial skills. Distance learning and online courses are approved methods of continuing education for the engineering industry, as long as the program meets the requirements of that state and the completion of the course can be verified by an independent source. The independent verification means that the engineer has to pass an exam to complete the course, which is then kept of file by the course provider or institution, and can be proven to exist beyond just the engineer’s saying they took the exam.
Like any other continuing education program, it is the responsibility of the engineer to maintain their own engineer CE requirements, records, and submission of those records. Only two states require the provider to submit records to the state. Florida and North Carolina will obtain records directly from the school or course provider, while all other states require individuals to submit their records on their own accord.
There should be a certificate of completion issued for any engineer CE course that is taken, which should be kept by the provider and the individual both for a certain amount of time. Most places will maintain these records for up to seven years, which generally exceeds the requirements of each state that mandates continuing education for engineers. However, an individual should maintain all records of their continuing education throughout their career, just to have verification and proof of their license renewals and all of the areas that they are skilled and trained to work in. While there are 20 states that don’t require continuing education for engineers, it is always a good idea to learn more throughout a professional career even if it is only for the benefit of the individual.