Continuing Education and Professional Development for Engineers

The need for continuing education for engineers is one of the reasons that engineers are members of a profession. The education needed to enter many professional fields is not enough because such professions require that their members stay current with their practice. 

Many professional licensing authorities require that their members take some form of continuing education. It’s sometimes identified as units called professional development hours (PDHs),  continual professional development (CPD) or continuing professional competency.  

Continuing education necessary for professional development for engineers typically includes courses in geotextiles, pavement design, concrete and materials, among others. 

Continuing Education In Technical Writing for Engineers

As technology and management practices change, it is important for professional engineers to keep up-to-date. While practice inevitably evolves, so must engineers. But what about the need for engineers to communicate?

High school English classes set out the fundamentals. College courses in technical writing will have addressed some of the fundamental principles of how best to communicate technical ideas to the layperson. The technical communication skills of a newly-qualified professional engineer differ from those of the newly-graduated engineer in training. While fundamental engineering principles, such as mechanics, stay with us, communication practices must be learned, practiced, tested and then practiced some more.

So, engineers should take continuing education courses and professional development programs that serve to refine and develop their communication skills. At a minimum, we engineers need to write grammatically correct text. 

And yet few of us ever address how to make that text clear. We don’t learn how to make text concise, and it’s rare for us to take on how to be truly specific in our writing. Professional engineers need to master the skills of writing clearly with the minimum number of words while losing none of our detail. We need to be able to write text that’s clear, concise, and concrete. To do so — and to progress in our professional development — we must undertake continuing education courses in technical writing.