Continuing Education Requirements for Structural Engineers in Illinois
Illinois requires continuing education to help safeguard life, health, and property, and to promote public welfare. To demonstrate continuing professional competency, the licensed engineer must earn 30 Professional Development Hours (PDH) per renewal period, which is two years in the state of Illinois.
Continuing professional activities which satisfy the professional development requirements are as follows (provided these activities are relevant to the practice of structural engineering): university sponsored courses, self administered courses (such as videotaped courses, or correspondence courses), seminars, in-house programs, teaching, authoring published papers, receiving US patents, and active participation on a committee or holding office in a professional or technical society.
The board does not pre-approve any Continuing Professional Competency activities. It is the responsibility of each licensee to determine if the claimed PDH meets these requirements.
The above listed activities are limited as follows. The licensee can claim a maximum of 2 PDH’s per committee membership or office held in a professional society up to a maximum of 10 PDH’s per renewal period. A maximum of 10 PDH’s per renewal period may be earned from completion of self-administered courses, provided each self-administered course includes an exam graded by the sponsor. A maximum of 10 PDH’s per renewal period may be claimed for in-house courses.
This is slightly different than the continuing education requirements for professional engineers in Illinois, as professional engineers aren’t limited to 10 PDH’s in the in-house and self administered course categories. Professional engineers are limited to a maximum of 8 PDH’s for participation in technical societies.
Continuing Professional Competency activities must meet general criteria to be deemed acceptable by the board in the event of an audit. The activity must contribute to the advancement, extension or enhancement of the professional skills and/or scientific knowledge of the licensee in practice of structural engineering. It must foster the enhancement of general or specialized practice and values of structural engineering, related sciences and engineering ethics. Finally, it must be developed and presented by persons with education and/or experience in the subject matter of the program.
Illinois allows licensees exemptions from the continuing education requirements under four specific circumstances. First, A non-career military licensee serving on active duty during a substantial part of the renewal period is exempt. Second, A licensee who has experienced serious illness or injury of a nature and duration which has prohibited completing the continuing professional competency requirements verified by a letter from a physician to the board is exempt. Third, A licensee with a physical inability to travel to the sites of approved programs documented by a currently licensed physician is exempt. Finally, Any other similar extenuating circumstance my be grounds for exemption. The board must be notified that the licensee plans to claim an exemption prior to license renewal.
The statutes provided by Illinois concerning continuing education requirements for structural engineers are confusing, but follow these three simple rules and you’ll pass an audit with flying colors. First, keep careful documentation of all of the activities you complete, and maintain your records for a minimum of four years. Second, do not claim more than 10 hours of in-house training, 10 hours of self administered courses, or 10 hours of technical society involvement in any given renewal period. Third, take advantage of continuing education. No matter which way you look at it, you have to complete 30 hours every two years. I’d recommend taking quality seminars provided by AISC, SEAOI, ACI, or any other reputable society to ensure you’re on top of the latest developments and trends in structural engineering.