Continuing Education


CPC Requirements

Every licensee shall  obtain 15 PDH units during the renewal period.  If a licensee exceeds the annual requirement in any renewal period, a maximum of 15 PDH units may be carried forward into the subsequent renewal period.  Selection of courses and activities which meet the requirements of Rule .1702 Item (4) of this Section is the responsibility of the licensee.  Licensees may select courses other than those offered by sponsors.  Post evaluation of courses offered by other than sponsors as defined in Rule .1702 Item (6) of this Section may result in non-acceptance.  PDH units may be earned as follows:

  • Completion of college courses.
  • Completion of continuing education courses.
  • Completion of correspondence, televised, videotaped, audiotaped, and other short courses/tutorials.
  • Presenting or attending seminars, in-house courses, workshops, or professional or technical presentations made at meetings, conventions or conferences.
  • Teaching or instructing in Items (1) through (4) of this Rule.
  • Authoring published papers, articles, or books.
  • Active participation in professional or technical societies.
  • Patents.
  • Authoring exam questions accepted for use in the engineering or land surveying exams.

Continuing Professional Competency Rules

All CPC Rules can be found in the PDF in the sidebar. Please look under sections 21 NCAC 56.1701-1713.

CPC Activity Log

Helpful Tips for Completing a CPC Log

  1. Be specific in the description of the course. For example, “Wastewater seminar” is too general.
    “Effective Management of Water and the Wastewater Industry” is a more descriptive title.
  2. Do not use general time periods ie. “ All of 1996”. Be specific about the dates of the courses/activities
  3. Describe each activity/course individually.  You can make one entry for a conference or multi-session or multi-day program.  When completing Instructor’s/Speaker’s Name and Title or Specific Subject, state various and see attachment.  Keep the program material, agenda, etc. so if audited you can submit it with the CPC log.  You are not expected to enter each session with each speaker’s name.


Determining Credit

    What types of activities are acceptable for CPC credit?

    In order for a continuing education course or activity to meet the Continuing Professional Competency requirements it must have a purpose and objective which will maintain, improve, or expand the skills and knowledge relevant to the licensee’s field of practice.

    To uniformly interpret the requirements and provide guidance to licensees, the following attributes serve as indicators that a course or activity complies with the CPC Rules adopted by the Board: (While not all of these attributes are necessary to show compliance, there is little question that the intent of the Rules are met if all are met.)

    • The course or activity is taken through an “Approved Sponsor.”
    • The licensee can substantiate that the course or activity has maintained, improved or expanded their skills and knowledge relevant to their field of practice.
    • The activity will enhance the licensee’s ability to provide engineering/surveying services in a professional and competent manner and better protect the health, safety and welfare of the public.
    • The subject matter of the course or activity is related to the licensee’s professional practice.
    • The course or activity is aimed at engineers/surveyors and is of a technical nature.
    • Completing courses, seminars, instruction, in-house programs, or training of engineering/surveying content that relate to the licensee’s field of practice.
    • Attending a technical or professional society meeting when an engineering/surveying topic is presented.
    • Except for full-time faculty, teaching a course related to professional practice for the first time or teaching of a course previously taught if substantial time was spent in updating material.
    • Completing advanced computer courses to be used in professional practice.
    • Completing Internet based, correspondence, televised and audiotape engineering/surveying courses where an examination is required at the end of the course.
    • Completing college courses related to the licensee’s field of practice.
    • Authoring published papers, articles, or books related to the licensee’s field of practice.
    • Active participation in professional or technical societies, when the licensee was an officer or actively participated in a committee of the organization.
    • Patents
    • Authoring exam questions accepted for use on the engineering or surveying examinations.

    The Board has final authority with respect to approval of courses, PDH value for courses, and methods of earning PDHs.

    What are some examples of courses/activities that will require acceptable explanation, if audited, of how it maintained, improved, or expanded the skills and knowledge relevant to the licensee's field of practice?
    • Business (unrelated to the practice of engineering/surveying)
    • Accounting
    • General office management
    • Leadership
    • Continuing education related to other licenses, professions and trades (e.g. real estate, home inspector, contractor, etc.) unless clearly applicable to engineering/surveying
    • Language
    What types of courses or activities are not acceptable for CPC credit?
    • Executive Coaching
    • Estate or financial planning
    • Basic computer/software (e.g. Word, Excel, Access, PowerPoint, Outlook, etc.)
    • Sight-seeing and tours
    • Visiting vendor/exhibitor displays
    • Sales presentations or sales seminars (e.g. increasing sales, maximizing profitability, marketing, etc.)
    • Self-study
    • Personal improvement
    • General business meetings
    • Regular employment activities
    • Research
    • Company procedure and policy workshops
    Do online courses qualify for CPC credit?

    Yes, online courses qualify for CPC credit provided an exam is required for completion. No exam is required for attendance at a webinar presentation if attendance is documented.

    Can I audit a college engineering or surveying course for CPC credit?

    The Board allows licensees to claim up to 30 PDHs for auditing a college level engineering or surveying course provided the licensee can provide evidence they’ve done the course work if requested by the Board and provide documentation from the college or university that the course was audited. The number of hours claimed is based upon contact hours, with the limit being 30 for the course.

    Do I have to take courses from sponsors approved by the Board?

    No, licensees can attend courses/activities offered by non-sponsors as long programs contain a purpose and objective, and result in the maintenance, improvement, or expansion of skills and knowledge relevant to the licensee’s field of practice.

    What is the benefit of taking courses from sponsors that are approved by the Board?

    The Board approves CPC sponsors that have provided detailed information regarding the instructor’s qualifications and sample course/activity content. This information is reviewed to insure that the sponsor understands and will comply with the CPC Rules adopted by the Board.

    Does the Board pre-approve courses?

    No, the Board does not pre-approve courses.

    I’m a dual licensee do I need to get 15 PDHs for each profession?

    Dual licensees are required to obtain a minimum of one-third of the total PDH requirement in each field. The remaining one-third requirement may be obtained in either field at the sole discretion of the licensee.

    What is the conversion of other units of credit to PDHs?
    1 College or unit semester hour 45 PDHs
    1 College or unit quarter hour 30 PDHs
    1 Continuing Education Unit 10 PDHs
    1 Contact hour of professional development in course work, seminars, or professional or technical presentations made at meetings, conventions or conferences.  Contact hours equal the actual time of instruction and shall be credited to the nearest one-third of an hour. 1 PDH
    For teaching in the preceding items, PDH credits are doubled.  Teaching credit is valid for teaching a course of seminar for the first time only. Teaching credit does not apply to full-time faculty, as defined by the institution where a licensee is teaching.
    Each published paper, article or book. 10 PDHs
    Active participation in professional and technical society. (Each organization) 2 PDHs
    Each patent 10 PDHs
    Each exam question used 2 PDHs
    Does publishing a paper in advance of a presentation I’ll be making qualify for CPC credit?

    Yes, licensees can claim PDHs for each published paper, article or book.  Board Rule .1705(e) states that Credit determination for published papers, articles and books and obtaining patents is the responsibility of the licensee.  As the Board has final authority with respect to determination of PDH value [.1705(a)], the CPC Committee has interpreted Board Rule .1705(e) to mean that licensees can claim up to 10 PDHs for each paper or article.  This determination must be based upon the time to prepare the paper or article.  For example, if a paper required a five hour effort, the licensee should only claim 5 PDHs.

    If I author a published paper and will presenting the topic at a conference, would I also be allowed to claim credit for presenting?

    No, licensees should not claim CPC credit for both the published paper and for presenting the material.  Licensees will have to decide whether to claim credit for the paper, or for presenting the material, but not both.  Licensees are permitted to double the PDH credit for teaching or presenting a seminar the first time.

Audit Questions

Record keeping and reporting PDHs

License Status

    What is the difference between “Inactive” and “Current” license status?

    A licensee on “Inactive” status has renewed their license but is not entitled to offer or practice engineering or surveying services, whereas a licensee that is “Current” can practice.  An “Inactive” licensee is exempt from the CPC requirements.

    I renewed as “Inactive,” what do I need to do to become “Current”?

    A licensee wishing to return to active practice must earn Professional Development Hours (PDHs) for each year of “Inactive” status not to exceed the annual requirement for two years (30 PDHs).  A licensee that was “Inactive” the prior year or after April 1st of the current year must provide documentation of PDHs to the Board office.  A licensee that was “Current” the previous year but “Inactive” between January 1st and March 31st of the current year only needs to report the PDHs to the Board office to change their status to “Current.”

    What is “Retired” license status?

    A licensee who is no longer practicing engineering or surveying, but would like to use the “Professional Engineer, Retired” or “Professional Land Surveyor, Retired” designation after their name. When a licensee requests “Retired” status, the Board assumes that they will never again practice engineering or surveying in the State of North Carolina. A person granted “Retired” status after review of record, including any disciplinary action, by the Board can use the title  “Professional Engineer, Retired” or “Professional Land Surveyor, Retired”. A person on “Retired” status is exempt from CPC and license renewal requirements.

    How can I become “Current” after being on “Retired” license status?

    Once you are granted “Retired” status, the Board assumes that you will not practice again in North Carolina.  To return to “Current” status after being “Retired”, a reinstatement Application For Licensure As Professional Engineer or Application For Licensure As Professional Land Surveyor will need to be completed. A complete application includes references and documentation of 30 PDHs earned during the last 24 months.  It may also include supplying transcripts and work experience.