The modern world of engineering is one of rapidly advancing technology and innovation. Continuing education is designed to help professional engineers remain current in this time of rapid change, which is critically important to both meet client expectations and protect public safety.
In 2002 continuing education, also known as continuing professional competency (CPC), became mandatory for licensed Professional Engineers to maintain their New York State registration status. This competency is measured in professional development hours (PDH) and each licensed engineer is required to complete 36 hours of continuing education during each three-year registration period.
The Practicing Institute of Engineering, or PIE, facilitates engineers’ ability to meet these educational requirements by evaluating and approving courses for professional development hours (PDH) credit and by facilitating the same for the affiliated sponsor organizations.
What is PIE?
In the late 1970’s mandatory continuing education for professionals was under consideration in the State Education Department. The New York State Society of Professional Engineers (NYSSPE) appointed a special committee to review this matter and recommend a position to the NYSSPE Board. This committee consisted of Dr. Vellio Marsocci, PE, Michael Pender, PE and Calvin Weber, PE. After reviewing the State Education position, existing and planned practices of other NYS professions and Professional Engineers in other states the committee recommended that NYSSPE form a group to organize, plan, accredit, promote and administer a voluntary continuing education program for Professional Engineers in NYS. Many in the engineering community understood that engineering professionals, like other professionals needed to continually maintain and expand their knowledge and proficiency in the area of their practice and related subjects. The best way to facilitate this was through the promotion of continuing education for engineers by the professional engineering community itself. The group understood that in order for a program to be effective it had to be well structured, organized and administered. NYSSPE accepted this recommendation and established a committee to plan and form the new organization. The committee consisted of Frank Cashin, PE, Robert Dennison, PE and Calvin Weber, PE. The organization planned to provide the continuing education service was called the Practicing Institute of Engineering. The committee hired counsekto prepare articles of incorporation for the new entity and petition the State Education Department for a charter. The Practicing Institute of Engineering (PIE) was issued a Certificate of Incorporation with the University of the State of New York in 1980. The organization’s stated purpose was to “offer courses of instruction, lectures and seminars for members of the engineering profession…..to the end that the practice of engineering may be conducted with that continuing competence, moral integrity and breadth of understanding which will enhance the usefulness of the profession to the community and to promote the continuing professional development of engineering by the award of appropriate continuing professional development credits….” PIE soon elected its first Board of Trustees and initiated programs.
Operating an organization that promoted voluntary continuing education programs proved frustrating. PIE attempted to develop and administer its own courses with limited success. The organization was successful in preparing, reviewing and accrediting a Professional Engineering Review Course. Later, in the mid ‘80’s PIE contracted with Stan Greenwald, PE to provide continuing education course offerings under the PIE name. Although there were a few initial successes, PIE found it was unable to attract enough attendees to its sessions to be cost effective and the programs were no longer offered.
After years of dormancy PIE was reactivated in 1993 with the election of a new Board of Trustees and Officers. Formal By-laws were adopted in 1994. The membership of PIE, which requires only a NYS PE license, interest in the purposes and principles of the corporation and payment of annual dues, consisted of 43 members.
With the introduction of Mandatory CPC legislation in the state legislature in 1998, PIE began to work to fulfill the roles for which it was created. Procedures were drafted for the certification of courses offered for CPC continuing education units (CEU) and for the acceptance of Professional Development Hours (PDH) activities submitted by PEs for CPC credit. Training programs were developed to create a pool of qualified PIE member volunteers to serve as future CPC Course Accreditors and PDH evaluators. It wasn’t until July 23, 2002 that the NYS Mandatory CPC Legislation was passed and became Chapter 146 of the Laws of New York State (see CPC History for more information). PIE officers, as well as NYSSPE Leadership worked diligently with the Legislature and NYS Education Department to develop the new law and regulations to minimize the burden of compliance of the PEs that would be required to fulfill the requirements.
PIE is currently working with those that employ or serve Professional Engineers; Consulting Engineering firms, State or Municipal Agencies, Technical Societies, Professional Societies, Trade Associations, Higher Education Institutions, etc. to further its mission. We have invited all that are interested in the increasing the Continuing Professional Competency (CPC) of Professional Engineers to inquire about our activities or join our efforts.