UPDATE CONTINUING EDUCATION
By Mark Kriss, Esq., NYSSPE Legislative Counsel
Chapter 260 Laws 2020
Assembly Bill 10021A Senate Bill 7986A 2020
Earlier this week we distributed information (click here) regarding liberalized continuing education requirements for Professional Engineers due to COVID-19, as well as prospective statutory changes allowing all continuing education courses to be secured via self-study eliminating the requirement that 18 credits per registration period required live study. The notice from earlier this week failed to include more recent developments. Following is a short summary of where matters stand.
In response to the evolving situation with the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), and for those licensees whose registrations renew March 1, 2020 – July 1, 2022, the NYS Education Department will grant (via emergency action) an adjustment to all licensees to complete up to 100% of the continuing education as self-study, provided that it is taken from a Department-approved provider and is in an acceptable subject area for professional engineering. Additionally, the Department will grant an adjustment to all licensees, regardless of registration renewal date, to utilize self-study for any coursework taken during the period from March 1, 2020 – July 1, 2022, provided that it is taken from a Department-approved provider and is in an acceptable subject area.
Prior to January 1, 2022, in the absence of the emergency action, professional engineers were required to demonstrate that 18 of the 36 professional development hours secured during each triennium registration period be obtained via live lecture, in person classes, or live webinar. Chapter 260 of the Laws of 2020 eliminates this requirement for PEs effective January 1, 2022. In short, online courses of all types will qualify prospectively for all 36 development hours. Of course, live venues will also continue to be an option. All courses must continue to be specifically approved for New York State.
The revised law also permits a professional engineer to take courses in other design fields such as architecture or land surveying. Credits earned in related fields will count towards the triennium 36PDH requirement. (However, under no circumstances will the attendance at such courses be a ground for practicing in an allied design field without appropriate licensure.) The new law also permits up to 6 PDHs to be carried over to a new registration period from a prior period. Present law does not permit such carry-overs.
Finally, NYSSPE has and will continue to advocate for broad recognition of courses across the country due to the significant number of our members who practice in more than one jurisdiction. While continuing education is an important measure, we believe states should have uniform requirements to the greatest extent possible.
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