5 Tips To Make The Most Of Your PE Credits
Being a licensed PE in Wisconsin means you have until July 31 on even numbered years to fulfill your 30 credit requirement. While fulfilling your credit requirement is obviously important, make sure you are taking courses that can actually help your job performance.
Wisconsin lets you complete 17 credits online (although a minimum of 13 hours must be from live webinars). You also have to complete two hours on ethics. When choosing courses, here are some tips to help you make the most of your experience:
Find courses from approved providers that offer opportunities for engagement.
Be wary of some discount providers, which give you credit in exchange for watching a short video and completing a quiz at the end. Often, these videos contain canned lecture material and you may not learn anything new because you do not have the ability to engage with the instructor or students. Many of these discount providers excel at marketing because they know each state’s requirements and market hard to professionals in the last few months before their license expires. Instead, look for courses that give you a chance to interact with instructors and other students. UW-Madison Engineering Professional Development, among others, offers many courses in Madison, Wisconsin and online that prioritize student engagement through discussions and projects.
Look for courses that can solve a problem you’re facing in the workplace.
“People come to our classes because they have a problem they need to have solved,” said Howard Rosen, program director who also leads EPD’s ethics courses with Professor Laura Grossenbacher. “Our classes give them the help they need, and the fact that they also get the credits is kind of secondary.”
Unlike providers that offer credits in exchange just for watching videos, EPD offers online courses that are interactive. EPD’s courses are usually several days long, giving students an opportunity to learn in-depth. Many of EPD’s courses have hands-on training and demonstrations, so you can apply your skills directly.
“If you’re a PE, you have to get your credits, but why not get something out of it that enhances your professional skills and solve your problems?” said Dave Peterson, program director.
And what you learn could completely change the direction of your work.
“I’ve had students step out in the middle of class and call their coworkers to say, ‘Stop, I’ve just learned we’re doing it wrong,’” Rosen said.
The most helpful courses feature instructors who create—and update—their own course materials.
Courses with experienced instructors know the subject matter more intricately and can answer questions, as opposed to delivering a canned lecture. Look for instructors that have real-world experience, which means they are on top of the latest trends and can update their course material appropriately.
“In my opinion, when you’re creating your own materials and presentations for class, you’re much closer to the subject matter and can be a more effective speaker,” Peterson said.
Make sure the credits you are receiving actually count toward a PE license.
Many of Peterson’s students enroll because they are seeking credits for a PE license, so EPD has worked to ensure their courses fulfill those requirements. EPD is an approved provider in all states that require PE’s to acquire PDHs (Professional Development Hours) or CEUs (Continuing Education Units).
Just because it’s cheaper doesn’t mean its better.
With financial strains affecting many technical professionals, quality education might seem like a luxury. But in today’s world, having the knowledge and expertise to do your job better – rather than just fulfilling state credit requirements—can save you and your organization money in the long-term.
“Differentiate value from cost,” Rosen advises. “What is the value you’re really getting? It’s not always just about what you pay. You can take one of our in-depth classes and figure out a better way of doing a project that can save thousands of dollars.”
August 16, 2018 + 1 Upcoming Date
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