PDH and CEUs: What You Need to do to Maintain Your Professional Engineering License
4 min reading time

Engineering is a field in which continuous learning and development are required. Thus, engineers are always looking for new methods to improve their skills, either by getting Continuing Education Units or Professional Development Hours.

People often ask us how many PDH credits they will receive for their participation in one of our training courses. In this blog article we will tell you more about these credits and the accreditation system in the U.S and Canada.

The courses provided on EngineeringTrainer.com fulfil the requirements set out by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Survey (NCEES) in the USA, documented in their Continuing Professional Competency (CPC) Guidelines. In this context 1 hour of learning equals 1 PDH. Special reference is made to section 2, items B1, B5 and C2 of this document. 

Note that the NCEES is a national body in the US that provides guidance for implementation of the requirements to each state. However, these guidelines might differ from actual state specific requirements. Therefore, it is up to the course participant to determine the state’s specific rules and to verify compliance.

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Defining Professional Development Hours (PDHs)

Professional development is the process of improving an engineer's abilities and capacities to assist them in learning more knowledge, improving their performance in a specific area of competence, or advancing in their career.

Such development can take numerous forms, including:

  • Trade association-sponsored training

  • Mentoring from experienced engineers with a variety of specialties

  • Workshops on topics like project management methodology or leadership methods

  • Self-directed study into new or advanced skills of engineering practice

Defining Continuing Education Units (CEU)

Continuing education is a broad term that refers to any form of training or course engineers can attend. This option contains courses for professional development as well as continuous education from institutions with CEU accreditation.

Notably, the satisfactory completion of continuing education courses is one acceptable activity for earning PDHs.

A person is given Professional Development Hours based on the number of contact hours in a presentation or training class. Organizations frequently require PDHs to maintain a professional license or certification. For each online contact hour of training, you earn one PDH. The licensee is responsible for keeping records that you can use to back up claims for credits.

Furthermore, a person is awarded Continuing Education Units (CEUs) for completing a formal training program, which gets used widely to expand one's professional knowledge. For every 10 hours of training completed successfully, one CEU gets awarded.

In a nutshell,

  • 1 hour of training = 1 PDH = 0.1 CEU

  • 10 hours of training = 1.0 CEU

The Key Differences

A PDH credit gets defined as a contact hour of instruction or presentation. A CEU credit, on the other hand, is commonly used for continuing education courses offered by higher education institutions such as colleges, universities, and other organizations.

CEUs are general concepts concerning engineering that are not tied to any specific course, whereas Professional Development comprises a variety of topics such as project management methodologies and leadership strategies.

Furthermore, continuing education may emphasize the acquisition of new skills, the development of self-awareness, and combating boredom. In contrast, Professional Development focuses on maximizing strengths by improving current job tasks and adapting to a changing workplace.


Whether your goal is solely personal or professional, such as keeping in compliance with the NCEES, it is never too late to start taking advantage of all professional development opportunities out there. Subscribe to EngineeringTrainer today to start acquiring the PDH you need to maintain your Professional Engineers License. Whether you need CEUs or PDH, Engineering Trainer is here with effective online training for engineering professionals.

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