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News & Information: The Engineering Institute of Canada
The EIC and ten of its eleven engineering society members lauch a third Climate Change Technology Conference
- "CCTC 2013"
Parks Canada has recognized the historicaly significant engineer John Kennedy with a plaque in Montreal. Read more! Plaque
Leading a Canadian Future - A declaration by Canada's engineering profession (May 22, 2009)
Maintaining Professional Competency
Today’s engineers and other professionals in the engineering sciences are aware that provincial regulatory bodies are presently examining the issues of life long learning, and the requirements for maintaining registration. The Canadian Council of Professional Engineers (CCPE), the Canadian Academy of Engineering (CAE), as well as a number of professional associations, have established task groups to develop guidelines and requirements for continued competency to maintain registration as a professional engineer, geologist or geoscientist. These new regulations will require engineers and other professionals to engage in a variety of developmental activities, and maintain an official record of their participation. Such requirements are already enforced by several other professions in Canada and the USA, and for engineering in many states in USA.
The engineering profession should follow this same practice in Canada to promote the provision of engineering services to our clients and the public, based on good and current practices. Many engineers already participate in the programs of various professional and technical societies and associations, universities, community colleges and other similar organizations. With a few exceptions, there has been a lack of methodology to record such participation and professional development.
Up-to-date professional competency can be maintained by attending formal courses and workshops, conferences and seminars, technical lectures, site visits, preparation of technical publications and other self-study learning activities. Participation in professional development activities can be recorded in several ways, depending upon the type of activity:
Continuing Education Units (CEUs)
Continuing education activities must satisfy the requirements of the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET) where ten hours of continuing education activity earns one CEU. To qualify for a CEU, the learning outcome must be verified; this can be undertaken in a variety of ways such as written tests, verbal assessments, group projects, etc. The activities that generally qualify include short courses and workshops, eg, all courses or workshops which assist the engineering professional in the exercise of his or her profession qualify for CEUs. The award of both formal academic credits as well as CEUs for the same professional development activity, however, is not permitted.
Professional Development Hours (PDHs)
Professional development activities include a wide range of technical activities such as technical conferences, seminars, lectures, self-study and other informal learning activities, where the acquisition of knowledge is not assessed. In this case, participation can be measured in terms of PDHs. Since the quality of participation is not standardized and cannot be rated the same as CEUs, relevant guidelines must be developed by various regulatory associations to measure acquired competency in terms of CEUs and PDHs.
The Engineering Institute of Canada has undertaken a leading role by promoting continuing education activities earning CEUs and maintaining a registry of participation. The EIC is an authorized sponsor of IACET and grants CEUs for pre-approved courses. The approval process ensures that the courses are of good quality and delivered by authorized personnel. The EIC produced a document EIC Guidelines for Approval of Continuing Engineering Education Activities for Continuing Education Units which is available from EIC Headquarters. The guidelines provide a benchmark to ensure that the IACET requirements are being met in Canada.
EIC recognizes that many learning activities are organized by various universities and other reputable course providers. The Institute has entered into a Participating Partnership agreement with several course providers to ensure engineering-related courses qualify for CEUs. For EIC to effectively review continuing education courses, its constituent technical societies have set up continuing education program review committees. The EIC has signed cooperative agreements with several universities, and private course providers. Discussions are presently ongoing with other learning institutions across Canada to make this program truly national in scope.
The EIC has taken the lead to provide a very useful service whereby engineering professionals will be able to demonstrate their efforts in maintaining their competency. A registry has been established to record CEUs and PDHs of continuing education activities which will be maintained for seven years. Certificates of participation and transcripts will be provided upon request.
EIC's Continuing Education Program is supported by the Canadian Council of Professional Engineers, Association of Consulting Engineers of Canada and Canadian Academy of Engineering. The EIC is committed to cooperate with the CCPE, the provincial engineering associations, and other organizations to develop meaningful guidelines for maintaining and demonstrating professional competency. By applying IACET's Guidelines, EIC ensures that CEUs are recognized nationally and internationally, thus helping Canadian engineers to maintain their professional expertise and remain competitive in today’s marketplace.