By: Mark C. Kriss, Esq.
NYSSPE Legislative Counsel
Assembly Bill 10021A (Assemblyman Englebright) same as Senate Bill 7986A (Senator Stavisky)
This bill establishes a continuing education requirement for professional geologists in NYS. At the same time the bill modernizes the continuing education requirement for professional engineers and other design professionals. The bill has passed both houses of the NYS Legislature and is expected to be approved by Governor Cuomo.
Under current law professional engineers must demonstrate that they have completed 36 professional development hours during each triennium registration period. 18 of the 36 professional development hours secured during each such triennium must be obtained via live lecture, in person classes, or live webinar. This legislation eliminates this requirement for PEs and other design professionals. In short, online courses of all types will qualify 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.
It is important to note that currently due to the pandemic the Education Department has on an emergency basis waived the live lecture, in person or live webinar requirement for licensees whose registrations renew before January 1, 2021 (see posting from NYS Education Department Office of Professions below.) The effective date of the legislation is January 1, 2022 so the status of renewals on or after January 1, 2021 must await further clarification from the Education Department. It is likely that the broad use of on line courses will be extended due to the pandemic.
The legislation 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 will permit 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.
NYS Education Department Office of the Professions
Some (laws and) regulations restrict licensees to a certain percentage of self-study for continuing education requirements. In response to the evolving situation with the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), and for those licensees whose registrations are due to renew March 1, 2020 – January 1, 2021, the Department will grant an adjustment to all licensees to complete up to 100% of the continuing education as self-study, so long as it is taken from a Department-approved provider and is in an acceptable subject area for the specific profession. SED is working closely with other New York State agencies and the Governor’s Office to tackle issues relating to COVID-19. Please continue to monitor the Department’s website for updated guidance.
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