NCEES Guidelines for Engineering Continuing Education
The NCEES publication, Continuing Professional Competency Guidelines, (NCEES Guidelines) provides state boards with a model law, model rules, criteria for activities, and a standard reporting form for CPC activities. As noted above, quite a few state boards have instituted professional engineer continuing education requirements. Additional states are likely to add such requirements over time.
The NCEES Guidelines define a professional development hour (PDH) as follows: "a contact hour (nominal) of instruction or presentation. The common denominator for other units of credit." NCEES recommends requirement of fifteen PDHs per year for each professional engineer licensee. Most of the thirty-four states that have professional engineer continuing education requirements specify fifteen PDHs at the time of renewal if they have annual license renewal or thirty PDHs if they use biennial renewal. A few states require a lesser number of PDHs per year.
Also included in the NCEES Guidelines is a list of ways to meet the fifteen PDH per year requirement including successful completion of college courses, continuing education courses, or short courses/tutorials/distance-education courses offered through correspondence, television, videotapes, or online over the Internet. (Thus, engineering PDH online courses are an avenue for meeting continuing education requirements.) Teaching, making presentations, or authoring also can be used to meet the PDH requirement.
Please note that the NCEES Guidelines provide recommendations to state licensing boards. Most of the state laws and rules for professional engineering continuing education are very similar to those in the NCEES Guidelines, but each professional engineer should check on their own state's requirements.