I remember how it felt when I finally passed the PE Exam and got my license. To say that it was exciting would be an understatement! I was so busy in the process of applying, though, that I hardly thought about how to maintain my license, let alone how many PDH I would need to keep my PE. I’ve since figured it out, and in this article, I’ll explain it all to you.
Most state licensing boards require you to get about 30 Professional Development Hours, also called PDH, every two years to maintain your Professional Engineer (PE) license. You will need to check with your individual state board’s website to be sure of this and other license renewal requirements.
Getting this info isn’t too difficult, thankfully, and I’ll explain how to do that first.
How to Find How Many PDH Your State Requires You To Get to Renew Your PE License
Here is the step-by-step process to finding the number of PDH you need to renew your PE license:
- Search “[your state name] engineering board” on Google and your state board’s website should be the first result. Alternatively, you can go to this link, click on your state, and scroll to the bottom. Here’s an example of what the Google search looks like:
And here’s how it looks on the NCEES website:
- You will need to do some searching on your board’s website to find the renewal information. Look for the word “renewal” which may be near the word “licensing.” I recommend using CTRL+F or CMD+F and searching for the word “renewal” to make it easier. Here’s what it looks like on the website for Utah’s board:
- After clicking on the link you should find at least one of three things, which will usually contain the information on how many PDH hours you need:
- Renewal information, which not all state board websites have (but most do).
- FAQs about renewal and licensing in general. Usually you can get the information you need from this if you can’t find it elsewhere.
- The actual page you go to when it’s time to renew your license.
Many states, like mine, will send an email or letter reminding you to renew about 90 days before your license expires. Where I live this comes in the mail and it contains a code that I need to use as part of the renewal process.
A lot of the time, when you’re going to renew, you’ll be reminded of how many PDH you need to have to renew. Some states will require you to record and even report your PDH, so make sure you’re keeping track Save all the applicable paperwork or files to verify your PDH credits.
When you first renew, some states will waive the PDH requirement because you have so recently passed the PE Exam and finished school.
And in many instances, you’ll be able to carry over extra PDH from one renewal period into another. My state, for instance, lets me carry over 15 PDH, which is nice because I had a lot of extra from when I was finishing up my master’s degree!
Just be sure to pay careful attention to the information on your state board’s website. When in doubt, contact them and ask! I’ve done this multiple times and they’re always happy to help.
Once you’ve had your license for a couple of years, you’ll be used to this process, but that doesn’t mean you won’t forget how many PDH you may need, especially if you’re licensed in multiple states like I am!
To help with this I created a spreadsheet to track all my PE licenses, when they renew, and how many PDH I need to renew. I can also use this sheet to record which PDH I got, where from, and when so I can go back and look at emails or files associated with those credits.
If you get digital copies of certificates of completion, save those in a folder just for PDH documents in Google Drive or other cloud storage.
And if you’re worried you’ll forget to renew, don’t sweat it. Most states will send that reminder as I mentioned before. Even then it can be easy to forget, though, so set up a recurring reminder for a month before your license expires! Most expirations are at the same time every couple of years anyway.
I hope you feel a lot more confident about how to find out how many PDH you’ll need to maintain your PE license now. The process of getting your PDH and renewing your license is simple, but it happens so infrequently that it can be easy to forget!
Just keep the links to your state board’s website handy and create a spreadsheet to track everything and you’ll do just fine though!