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Why Plumbing Engineers Need Continuing Education


While most people personally believe in lifelong learning, many professionals are required to continue their education in order to maintain licensing or their current status within an organization.

It makes perfect sense too. Whether it’s a segment of the government, a labor union or other group, employees or associates would quickly lose credibility if they fell behind in their relevant knowledge. This especially applies to plumbing and mechanical engineers.

Continuing Education Requirements for Plumbing Engineers

In the U.S., the American Society of Plumbing Engineers has continuing education requirements for all engineers who want to hold and maintain their Certified in Plumbing Design credentials. In this case, 2.4 continuing education units, the standard unit of measurement for continuing education, are mandatory every two years. That’s about 24 hours of training since each CEU is worth 10 hours.

Why Continuing Education is Important

The plumbing industry is ever-changing. New types of products and materials are constantly be invented and introduced and installation trends and techniques are always evolving. Here are a few industry changes that make continuing education valuable for you — even beyond the basic requirements

Updates to the Plumbing Codes and Standards

These codes, which include UPC, IPC and others, are on a three-year cycle. This means that every three years, each section of these codes are subject to potential updates and changes. If you aren’t staying up to date with these changes, you might be designing or consulting on old information, which would quickly harm your credibility with jurisdictional authorities, building owners, developers and others.

Industry standards, such as ISO and ASTM, are also under constant review and modification. Again, if you don’t stay up to date, your credibility and that of your firms can quickly diminish.

Shifting Focuses and Trends in the Industry

As the plumbing industry evolves, different topics and trends will require attention, education and changes in system design. One good example of this is the growing attention to Legionella and how plumbing system design can help to prevent this disease.

Another example is increasing attention to scald protection. This again affects the design of plumbing systems, the integration of new methods, and new products and equipment that address this hazard.

Water conservation is always being addressed as well. As this industry focus develops, new fixtures and faucets are being designed to save water. In addition to products and equipment, many system design elements come into play, such as pipe sizing, grading of drain lines, etc.

Engineers always need to be aware of these solutions and changes. They first and foremost support your credibility. And they also position you as an expert, putting you ahead of other plumbing and mechanical engineers who aren’t keeping up with industry changes as quickly.

Continuing Education Options for Plumbing Engineers

So how do you get your continuing education needs met? The sources are wide and varied. In the case of ASPE engineers who need to retain their CPD credentials, at least 50% of their 2.4 CEUs need to come directly from ASPE, ASPE chapters and approved providers.

Other sources may also work but must be reviewed on a case-by-case basis to ensure the training material is valid. Associations like ASPE have great online tools and resources for its members to rely on.

ASPE also has a solid group of approved providers who offer pertinent and approved educational content. HoldRite, for example, has a variety of subject-specific and relevant content to help you stay up to date on the latest products, techniques and code-compliant installation solutions. An added bonus? This kind of information and training provided by approved providers typically costs you nothing.

Here’s to life-long learning!