Engineering: Pennsylvania Enacts Continuing Ed Requirements
I know. I know. I haven’t really posted a lot (or at all) related to my engineering background. But I thought it might be a good idea to pass along some information to any Professional Engineers licensed in Pennsylvania. Last week, legislation was enacted requiring PA engineering license holders to complete continuing education activities in order to maintain license status. The information below was included in this month’s Compass newsletter, a publication of the Valley Forge Chapter of PSPE (Pennsylvania Society of Professional Engineers). (Yes, I’m a member.)
New Continuing Education
Requirements Legislation Enacted
HB 975 signed by Governor Rendell into Act 25 of 2010
Answers to the questions surrounding exactly how mandatory continuing education will work for
Pennsylvania licensed professional engineers, geologist and land surveyors got a whole lot clearer this
week as new legislation (House Bill 975) was enacted to clarify most of the particulars. The Senate passed
House Bill 975 unanimously on May 4th. The bill was not amended in the Senate, so it went directly to
Governor Rendell for his signature.
PSPE spearheaded the effort to pass a bill which gives professional engineers more flexibility in meeting
the CE requirements than was available under the previous law. The new law is modeled after the
National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) model rules for continuing
education. As a result, the language in the law is quite specific as it is based more on model regulations
rather than model legislation.
The following is a recap of the most important details of the law:
• Licensees shall comply with the CE requirements during the 2009-2011 biennial renewal cycle. That
means licensees will be asked to meet the requirements during the current cycle and may have their
license renewal denied in September of 2011 if they have not met the requirements.
• Each licensee needs to obtain 24 PDH units during the current and future biennial (every 2 years)
• A PDH (Professional Development Hour) is defined as 50 minutes of instruction or presentation relevant
to professional practice.
• The CE requirements can be met by attending educational courses, participating in distance educational
courses, teaching, authoring published works or obtaining patents.
• There is no requirement that courses be preapproved by the State Registration Board, but the Board will
have final authority to determine if a particular course is relevant or not.
• The rule of thumb is that courses must “maintain, improve or develop the professional’s skills or
• Courses in ethics and the law are acceptable subject matter for CE credit.
• Courses in practice building or office management are not acceptable subjects for CE credit.
• Up to 12 PDH units may be carried forward from one licensure cycle to the next.
• The Board may grant exemptions from meeting the CE requirements for reasons such as active military
duty, physical disability, illness or other extenuating circumstances.
• Newly licensed individuals are exempt from the CE requirement for the licensure period immediately
following initial licensure and registration.
While the Pennsylvania State Registration Board for Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors and
Geologists has ultimate authority over what is considered acceptable education or activities, the new law
places most of the responsibility upon the licensee. Within the parameters established in the statute, you
will determine what courses or activities relate to your professional practice.
PSPE recommends that you read the newly enacted section of the law which will be posted here shortly:
PSPE will continue to provide our members with updates on any new developments relative to the CE
requirements, but feel free to contact us if you have questions. Remember, all PSPE members are
currently eligible for 4 free PDHs from the National Society of Professional Engineers; click here to
review available courses: http://www.nspe.org/resources/newpages/fourfreePDHs.html
For more information from the PSPE website, click here.