Once you are licensed as a professional engineer in the State of Illinois, you must maintain your State licensure by renewing every 2 years with the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. One of the requirements for license renewal is taking 30 hours of continuing education courses or professional development hours (PDH's) during each two-year period. With budgets getting tighter and approvals for attending national level conferences proving more difficult, water professionals are finding it more and more difficult to meet these requirements under conventional means.
The good news is the Illinois Section of AWWA has you covered with a progressive approach that offers numerous low-cost training and educational alternatives to earn PDHs, some of which even allow staff to not leave their desk. Traditional in-person training seminars are held throughout the State all year, which allow for engineers to obtain PDH's for applicable sessions in their area of study. While traveling to areas where these sessions are held can sometimes be challenging, having a classroom setting with face-to-face interaction is preferred for some professionals. Alternatively, technical webinars are frequently offered that allow staff to view educational talks online while they are being presented live. Example topics include Financing Renewable Energy, Membrane Technology, and Asset Management. At the very least, I strongly recommend attending the Engineering Power Hour webinars, which allow engineers to learn more about the new products and services offered by members and to stay ahead of the curve on water industry developments. In addition, the Illinois Section maintains an extensive library of webinars-on-demand that are available for viewing at any time. All webinars (live, archived and engineering power hour) are free for Illinois Section AWWA members and can be viewed from anywhere there is access to the Internet.
Online training courses are also available at reduced costs to ISAWWA members. These courses typically take 2 to 12 months to complete. They allow staff to work at their own pace and to acquire a more in-depth knowledge on specific technical topics that are applicable to their field. Examples include Water Filtration; Water Pumps, Maintenance and Safety; and Water-Iron and Manganese. The Section also has a library of DVD videos on various water training topics that can be rented at a minimal cost to members. Videos promote training of staff in group settings, which is a very cost-effective means to achieve training goals for your organization.
As a reminder, it is the responsibility of each licensee to maintain a record of PDH's for 6 years, including, but not limited to: the name and address of the sponsor, the number of hours attended in each program, a certificate of attendance, brief statement on the subject matter and printed program schedules. Another benefit of being an ISAWWA member is that, for PDH's earned through our training programs, we track these training hours on our website at Manage Profile > Certifications. This provides a quick and effective means to track PDH's.
In order to find out the when, where, and how for ISAWWA's training opportunities, visit our newly revamped website at http://www.isawwa.org/> Training. Hopefully, I will have an opportunity to see/hear you at one of our many training sessions to obtain your feedback on our professional development offerings.