Suppose in a few months you will be renewing your Professional Engineering license. Going through the checklist, you notice that you need continuing education courses. Oh no, there is not enough time left to register for a college class or find a convention or seminar in your local area. What are you going to do? What about online? Are there any websites offering engineering courses? Yes, there are. You have found several websites, but will your State Licensure Board accept these courses? And what is the difference between a Continuing Education Unit (CEU) and Professional Development Hour (PDH)?
For the most part engineers are very conservative when it comes to trying something new. Although online engineering courses have been around for more than a decade, many engineers may not think of obtaining their professional development hours through a course on the internet. There are many advantages to this form of continuing education.
If you are like me, you have paid many thousands of dollars for continuing education over the years. Conventions and seminars can cost $300 to $500 a day for registration, and then there is the cost of meals, lodging and travel expenses. Even if you are lucky and the convention is in your home town, you still will have lost time at the office. There has to be a better way to obtaining continuing education units.
Of course, you could take a continuing education course at a college or university. These classes are usually designed to appeal to a mass audience and are rarely specific enough for engineering. The better technique is to take an actually college engineering course, but that can consume a lot of time.
Since much of engineering can be observed or read, online study courses can have some major advantages over the traditional sources of continuing education.
- Online courses are available on you own schedule
- Self-paced – You can learn as fast or as slow as you want
- Does not require your physical presence at location of the seminar
- You can study wherever you want to – At home, work, in the library
- Courses are available 24/7
- You can read the material online or download them for reading later
- Online courses are student-centered by accommodating your preferences and needs
- Choose instructor-led or self-study courses
- Skip over material you already know and focus on topics you’d like to learn
- Use the tools best suited to your learning styles
- Courses available in all engineering disciplines, ethics, and managerial
- Courses are available for the individual as while as the group
- Some courses are free
- Many courses are available in a wide range of prices
- No travel expenses
- No lodging expenses
- No lost work hours
- Engineering continuing education courses credit the engineer with Professional Development Hours (PDH) or Continuing Education Units (CEU)
- Many courses are accredited, but in most states this is not a requirement
- It is the responsibility of the engineer to ensure the course meets the state requirements
As you can see, online courses have many benefits that are well suited for the engineer. With online courses the engineer can quickly obtain the number of PDH or CEU required for licensing renewal and to gain the necessary knowledge in technical applications.
In this article we have discussed why online continuing education courses are a good benefit for the engineer. Although there are number of other sources, the benefits of online learning are far more convenient and less expensive. Online websites offer many engineering courses; technical, ethical, and managerial. For the most part these courses are acceptable to State Licensure Boards for renewing Professional Engineering licenses.
by Joe Haun