10 Free Continuing Education (CE) Courses for Engineers in 2023

The need for continuing education (CE) among professionals is inevitable because of the continuous advancement of knowledge. People discover new things every day, which can lead to changes in certain beliefs and practices. What was practiced five years ago may no longer be relevant today.

The human need for learning is boundless, and for engineers, it can go beyond college and university degrees. Even the government recognizes this need.

We can see it through the majority of states’ enactment of laws that require professional engineers to attend continuous professional development (CPD) programs and accumulate professional development hours (PDH) before they can renew their licenses.

The Lowdown

Continuing professional development for engineers is an obligatory requirement as far as many states are concerned. The government requires engineers to continue learning to renew their license, and keep abreast of the latest in the profession.

Unlike other disciplines such as architecture, PDH courses for engineers are not sponsored by manufacturers of commercial products. While some commercial CE providers offer free PDH courses for engineers from time to time, others do not translate to CE units that meet state license renewal requirements.

This issue has been addressed, however by certain professional engineering associations such as the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE). It is offering free engineering PDH courses to its members.

10 Free CE Courses for Engineers

Construction Site Safety

Construction Site Safety

Provider: Ezekiel Enterprises, LLC

This .50 PDH free continuing education course for engineers provides participants with an awareness of the ten safety hazards in construction sites. IT is delivered in an online PDF reading material format:

Best Features:

  • Enables course participants to identify the top 10 safety hazards of construction sites and teach them effective methods to mitigate these risks to enhance the safety of all personnel.
  • Provides learners with a deep understanding of hazard communication.
  • Discusses the importance and uses of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
  • Provides course participants with a certificate of successful completion after passing a quiz of 10 multiple-choice questions.
  • Available online.

OSHA Noise Hazards

Provider: Ezekiel Enterprises, LLC

This free engineering .50-PDH CE course provides participants with an overview of noise in the workplace and discusses ways to mitigate it.

Best Features:

  • This free course describes the hazards of high-level noise in the workplace.
  • Provides information about the causes and effects of ear injuries and discusses methods to mitigate them.
  • Introduces different hearing protection devices to participants.
  • Allows course participants to print a certificate of successful completion after passing a five-question multiple-choice quiz.
  • Allows participants to retake the quiz unlimited times until they are able to get a passing grade of at least 70%.
  • Available online as an on-demand webinar

Canon 1, NSPE Code of Ethics for Engineers: “Hold paramount the safety, health, and welfare of the public.”

Provider: National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE)

This 1 PDH free engineering continuing education course for NSPE members relates to the standard of professional behavior every member must exude. 

Best Features:

  • The course discussion, delivered as an on-demand webinar, is anchored on the six fundamental principles practiced through the Rules of Practice of Professional Obligations.
  • Emphasizes the value of continuing development programs as the best place for engineers to gain a good understanding of professional ethics.
  • The course covers topics that include safety, health, welfare, and climate change issues.

Climate Action for Engineers Series: ACC Overview

Provider: National Society of Professional Engineers

This 1.5 PDH free continuing education course for professional engineers is an on-demand webinar that focuses on the role of engineers in the mitigation of anthropogenic climate change (ACC) or human-caused changes to the climate.

Best Features:

  • Provides course participants with a good understanding of elements relating to ACC, including the Greenhouse effect and the disintegration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
  • Explains to learners the definition of certain terms and discusses with them the actions that engineers need to take at the local, national, and global levels to retard climate change.
  • The course creates a recap of the cultural and sociological basis of different views about climate change and allows participants to assess the materials and human activities that lead to the emergence of greenhouse gases.
  • It is approved as a continuing education unit by the New York Practicing Institute of Engineering (PIE).
  • Available online.

Cyber Security Essentials

Cyber Security Essentials

Provider: National Society of Professional Engineers

This 1-PHD free engineering continuing education webinar intends to educate course participants about the role and importance of cyber security to engineers. As an on-demand webinar, it is especially helpful to those that are working remotely.

Best Features:

  • This program emphasizes the importance of implementing security protocols and best practices, especially for companies that allow their employees to work from home. 
  • The program is approved as a continuing education unit by the NY practicing Institute of Engineering (PIE).
  • Available online.

Engineering Ethics – Conflicts of Interest, Licensure, Confidentiality, and Public Criticism

Provider: National Society of Professional Engineers

This free online engineering CE course intends to impart to participants the value of submitting to the moral principles that are relevant to the practice of engineering. It is a 1-PDH on-demand webinar that defines the obligations and moral responsibilities of engineers to society, their clients, and their profession.

Best Features:

  • The program seeks to instill in participants the moral responsibilities of engineers not only to their clients but to their fellow engineers in the exercise of their profession.
  • It emphasizes the importance of honesty, impartiality, and equity, and their practice of engineering should foster public health, security, and welfare.
  • The webinar is presented by Arthur Schwartz, the deputy chief executive and general counsel of the National Society of Professional Engineers.
  • It is approved by the NY Practicing Institute of Engineering (PIE) as a CPD unit for engineers.
  • Available online.

Emotional Intelligence at Work

Provider: National Association of Professional Engineers

For engineers, emotional intelligence plays a vital role not only in personal matters but at work. This is the line of thought that this 1-PHD free engineering CE course wants participants to understand and apply in their profession.

Best Features:

  • The on-demand webinar provides learners with a deep understanding of the relevance of emotional intelligence to work performance.
  • It enables engineers to identify and manage their emotional intelligence
  • Available online. 

Fire Protection Engineering in Property Risk Management

Provider: National Association of Professional Engineers

This free CPD course for engineers focuses on Property Risk Management from the perspective of Fire Protection. It intends to make its audience aware of different approaches to property management or types of fire risk. It is a 1-PDH extensive run-through of fire and life safety that covers the history of building and fire codes and relates the part of the insurance industry in developing the code.

Best Features:

  • This free on-demand webinar addresses the link between building and fire codes and fire protection engineering.
  • It defines the principles of fire and life safety.
  • It identifies the different degrees of hazards and points out strategies to address them.
  • It is accepted as a PDH course by the NY Practicing Institute of Engineering (PIE).
  • Available online.

Negotiate It! How to Crush Your Fears, Develop Your Negotiation Muscle, and Gain Power in the Workplace

Provider: National Society of Professional Engineers

This free, 1-PDH engineering CPD course intends to provide participants with the confidence and skills to negotiate.

Best Features:

  • It is an on-demand webinar that equips participants with the ability to identify and overcome excuses in negotiation.
  • It teaches students how to apply the three Rs of negotiation – Ready, Relatable, and Reasonable.
  • It enables participants to develop confidence, learn to defend their position, and complete the negotiation efficiently.
  • Available online.

Ethics in our Changing World

Ethics in our Changing World

Provider: National Society of Professional Engineers

The Ethics in our Changing World is a 1 PDH free CE webinar that aims to define ethics and discuss the Professional Codes of Conduct for Engineers.

Best Features:

  • The on-demand webinar presents case studies for participants to analyze and compare with their professional ethics.
  • It enables learners to identify ethical situations engineers are currently facing.
  • It allows participants to analyze ethical issues and learn to resolve the matter professionally.
  • The program is accepted as a PDH course by the NY Practicing Institute of Engineering (PIE).
  • Available online.

Understanding the Importance of Free Continuing Education for Engineers

Taking free engineering continuing education courses is already an advantage because you can get them at no cost. But it doesn’t mean that paid PDH courses for engineers are less beneficial in terms of content and substance since both are intended for the same purpose. We emphasize the “Free” version because of its cost-effectiveness. 

Continuing Education Boosts Your Technical Competence

Engineering is an ever-evolving field, and for this reason, there is a great need for engineers to keep pace with technological developments. Ongoing education can guarantee that you will be updated on the latest developments and practices in your industry.

It Improves Your Opportunities for Career Advancement

Engineering is a great degree, and you can choose it as your profession. But you need to continue learning after graduation, not just to maintain your license but to update your knowledge and skills relevant to your profession and earn PDH credits. These are what you need to go up the professional ladder!

It Keeps You Compliant 

You need to renew your license periodically to keep it valid, and one of the state’s requirements for renewal is the accumulation of the required PDH credits or hours of continuing professional development. The only way to comply with this requirement is to enroll in engineering PDH courses.

Free Continuing Education (CE) Courses for Engineers - fact

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do state engineering boards require engineers to take continuing education courses?

Licensing or keeping engineers’ licenses active is the primary purpose of every state to require engineers to accumulate continuing education units or professional development hours. Likewise, the main reason why state engineering boards require engineers to be licensed is to ensure that their constituents are protected from unethical, unqualified, or fake practitioners. 

What is a PDH?

PDH stands for Professional Development Hour. It represents one contact hour of study, presentation, or instruction in continuing education.

What kind of courses are accepted as PDH units?

The types of courses that are considered PDH units include:

  • College courses
  • Engineering continuing education courses offered by accredited CE providers
  • Videotaped, televised, online, or web-based technical presentations, on-demand webinars, and correspondence courses
  • Professional seminars or workshops and technical conferences
  • Free webinars

How do engineers earn PDH credits?

Engineers typically earn PDH credits by taking part in state engineering board-recognized continuing education activities such as engineering conferences, webinars, or online engineering CE programs.

How many professional development hours do I need to renew my professional engineer’s license?

The PDH required for license renewal varies by state. Visit this page to know the exact PDH requirement for the renewal of a professional engineer’s license in your state.

What is a CEU?

A CEU stands for continuing education unit. It is equal to 10 hours of participation in an accredited CE program. One CEU is equal to 10 PDH. 

Summary Points

Continuing education is an indispensable aspect in the life of an engineer not only because it is a requirement for license renewal but because it can provide them with several benefits. Sponsored or free PDH for professional engineers is rare, which means most PDH courses are offered by commercial CE providers for a fee.

However, you can register with a professional organization for engineers, such as the National Association of Professional Engineers (NSPE), to avail yourself of free engineering continuing education courses. 

As a professional, you should continue to learn. It helps to keep you in the know of the latest events, developments, and practices of your industry. It also increases your competence and makes you a relevant member of your profession.

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