Continuing education is an important yet often overlooked aspect of a career in engineering. Depending on what state they live in, an engineer is expected to have 15 or more professional development hours (PDH). Doing so ensures that their working knowledge stays up to current standards. Plus, it helps engineers remember essential knowledge that may have fallen by the wayside.
What does this mean for PE professional engineers? Basically, if you live in a state that requires continuing education credits— you need to start thinking about how you’re going to get them.
Luckily for you, I’ve gone ahead and looked at a ton of continuing education courses. Of the ones I looked at, there are 4 engineering courses that offer the best value if you need to meet your state’s continuing education requirements.
Read on to see what these online PDH course providers offer and how they can help you with your license renewal requirements!
1. School of PE Engineering Continuing Education (Rank #1)
School of PE offers a wide range of both individual and packaged courses. These cover any topic that applies to engineering, such as construction or geotechnical work. Individual courses are an hour each, and package courses range from 5 to 30 PDH. That way you can customize your purchase to exactly meet your requirements for continuing education.
Each course is prepared and presented by experienced engineers for the express purpose of teaching you what you need to know. These teachers do a great job of sharing their technical expertise and will help you develop your own professional skill set. From project management to electrical engineering, School of PE can assist you in not only renewing your license but also in learning more specialized details on specific topics.
Finally, School of PE offers a yearly subscription option if you intend to use their courses for a couple of years. This is a great cost-saving way to ensure that you have access to the PDH you need for as long as you want.
2. McKissock Engineering PDH
McKissock is different from other courses on this list because they offer online and offline courses. Their offline content is called Correspondence Continuing Education, and it comes with a paper copy of the course. Once you’ve completed your offline readings, simply sign into your McKissock account and complete the associated exam. That way you can study wherever you like, whether that’s at home or in a nearby park.
Additionally, McKissock engineering courses come with instructor support. If you’re having trouble for any reason, you can contact your course instructor via email and they’ll respond within a day. This is better than the customer support options from a lot of companies, so it’s an extremely helpful addition here.
Unfortunately, McKissock doesn’t seem to offer course packages above 8 hours. That means you’ll need to sign up for a couple of them if you’re in a state with high PDH requirements— which might add up over time.
3. PDH Engineer Continuing Education Credits
Instead of textbooks and testing, PDH Engineer focuses largely on webinar content. Each livestreamed lecture covers an engineering concept over the course of 2 hours. Webinars can be sorted by engineering disciplines to ensure that you only find course material that’s relevant to you.
Additionally, PDH Engineer includes a reward token program for their courses. Each hour of PDH comes with 1 reward token. You can then spend these tokens on extra courses and webinars. Essentially, this means you can get a free hour of content for every 10 that you pay for.
Despite these high points, PDH Engineer does have one downside. Webinars are not made available on demand after completion. This is a huge missed opportunity, since you’ll have to attend each lecture as they air with no rebroadcasts.
4. PDHDirect Review
Much like PDH Engineer, PDHDirect focuses on webinars and online courses. They offer over 600 interactive courses, including board-approved ethics PDH courses specifically meant for engineers.
Each course is available both online and as a download through their website. Plus, each course comes with online grading and certificates of completion.
PDH Direct is a great choice if you need last-minute PDH hours. That’s because their courses are available within seconds of purchasing and can be finished at your own pace. As a result, it’s never too late for you to work on these courses. So even if you’ve forgotten about your PDH — or just haven’t had the time yet — you’ll still be able to maintain your certification.
Unlike PDH Engineer, PDH Direct has on-demand webinars. This lets them expand their body of courses without making it feel bloated, and prevents any students from missing out on any lectures.
However, one big missed opportunity for PDH Direct is their lack of course packages; instead, you need to individually buy courses in order to add up to your state’s PDH requirements. That makes the purchasing process much more tedious than it needs to be.
Engineering Continuing Education FAQs
What is a professional development hour?
Known as PDH for short, a professional development hour is a unit of measurement used to denote time spent continuing your education in a professional field. Engineers are required to earn a set number of PDHs each year in order to maintain their professional status, according to standards outlined in the NCEES’s Continuing Professional Competency (CPC) Standard.
How many PDH credits do you need for PE?
The number of PDH you need to earn each year in order to maintain your PE license is determined on the state level. Check with your state licensing board to find out how many hours you need— it could be as low as 8 or as high as 15 depending on your location.
How do you earn PDH hours?
Professional Development Hours can be earned by attending a course, viewing a presentation, or participating in a tutoring session. There are many online resources for PDH that provide continuing education courses for engineers; the NCEES and your state licensing board are good places to look for them!
What is the difference between CEU and PDH?
Continuing Education Units (CEU) are similar to Professional Development Hours (PDH), since both are used to track continuing education for a profession. However, CEUs are required to maintain nursing certifications and PDH are mostly associated with engineering disciplines.