Continuing education is important, especially in the technology field, where taking courses is a requirement imposed by employers and is often mandatory to maintain one’s license or other certification. To fill that need, the IEEE Certificate Program now offers more credit options for individuals to earn continuing education credits or professional development hours to those who complete an IEEE educational offering.
There are three types of certifications: a continuing education unit (CEU), which is the equivalent of 10 hours of continuing education instruction; a professional development hour (PDH), which is required for many U.S. state licenses; and certificates of participation, earned by attending networking events and discussion groups. IEEE maintains a registry of all certificates earned through its program so licensed engineers can provide proof of continuing education to their state boards.
The program has also stopped charging IEEE entities for issuing certificates for the lectures, seminars, and webinars it offers. In the past, IEEE Educational Activities (EAB) had charged US $18 per certificate, which could add up to several hundred dollars to the society, section or branch, depending on how many received certification. However, these IEEE groups can now charge nonmembers $20 for each certificate, in effect gaining a new revenue stream.
“With the additional revenue, the groups can create better value for their members by offering more learning events, new benefits, and other continuing education opportunities,” says IEEE continuing education coordinator Michelle Demydenko.
EAB and IEEE Technical Activities have partnered to offer more certificate programs in various fields. “More IEEE groups are hearing about the program and coming on board to teach courses,” Demydenko says.
Susan Koval, education services manager for the IEEE Power & Energy Society (PES), says she believes taking part in the certificate program as an opportunity to expand its own educational offerings.
For example, the society will have an education track next April at the IEEE PES Transmission and Distribution Conference so engineers can earn CEU and PDH credits toward their professional engineering licenses. The classes will cover topics such as phasor analysis, gas-insulated substations, and the basics of the smart grid. The society also runs courses at many of its other conferences. “We get a lot of requests for continuing education at our events,” Koval says.