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Frequently Asked CPC Questions  

 

 

 

Please use the following links to the various CPC questions:

Determining Credit

Audit Questions

Record keeping and reporting PDHs

License Status

Exemptions

Sponsor Evaluations

 

Determination of Credit

Q. What types of activities are acceptable for CPC credit?

A. 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.

Q. 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

 

Q. 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

Q. Do online courses qualify for CPC credit?

A. 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.

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

A. 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.

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

A. 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.

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

A. 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.

Q. Does the Board pre-approve courses?

A. No, the Board does not pre-approve courses.

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

A. 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.

Q. What is the conversion of other units of credit to PDHs?  

 

A.

 

1 College or unit semester hour

45PDH

1 College or unit quarter hour

30PDH

1 Continuing Education Unit

10 PDH

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 PDH

Active participation in professional and technical society. (Each organization)

2  PDH
Each patent  10 PDH
Each exam question used  2  PDH

Q. Does publishing a paper in advance of a presentation I’ll be making qualify for CPC credit?

A. 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.

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

A. 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

Q. How does the Board determine who to audit?

A. Licensees are chosen randomly.

Q. What if I’m unable to respond to the audit in the time specified?

A. Notify the Board’s designated point of contact ASAP. The Board staff will grant extensions to respond to the audit in certain circumstances.


Q. What is the audit procedure?

A. The licensee will receive the initial notice informing them that they are being audited. It will indicate how many PDHs were claimed, and will provide a date for return of the documents needed to complete the audit. This is generally 30 days from the date of the letter. The licensee then replies to the notice via e-mail, mail or fax. Once this requested information is provided, it is reviewed by Board staff and if in compliance, a letter will be sent to the licensee informing them of the results.

Q. What happens if a licensee does not respond to the initial audit notice?

A. If a licensee fails to reply to the initial audit notice, a second notice will be sent by Certified Mail-Return Receipt Requested. This notice will include information on the ramifications for not responding to the audit to include the Board authorizing an investigation. If the Board determines that the licensee is in violation it may revoke, suspend or refuse to renew the certificate of licensure; issue a reprimand; and levy a civil penalty of up to $5000.00 against Professional Engineers/$2000.00 against Professional Land Surveyors.

Q. I’m being audited, what type of documentation do I need to supply the Board?

A. A log including the type of activity claimed, sponsoring organization, location, duration, instructor’s or speaker’s name, and PDH credit earned. The log also requires that you briefly explain how the CPC activity will maintain, improve, or expand the skills and knowledge relevant to your field of practice. The Board may also request attendance verification records in the form of completion certificates, or other documents supporting evidence of attendance.

Q. What happens if I submit evidence of self-study for all or part of the PDHs claimed?

A. The licensee will be denied credit for self-study. The licensee may be given 90 days to make up the hours with qualifying courses/activities. If the licensee fails to comply within 90 days the Board may authorize an investigation for non-compliance with the CPC Rules.

Q. What if I claim hours that couldn’t be verified, but I had enough carryover hours?

A. The licensee will be deemed to have failed the audit. The Board may authorize an investigation to determine compliance with the CPC Rules.

Q. What if I send a log reflecting the hours claimed, but it doesn’t include all the information required by Board Rule .1706?

A. The licensee will be required to submit a compliant log. The Board may also request acceptable verification records before the audit can be completed.

Q. What if I’m audited and I submit documentation for more PDHs that I claimed on the license renewal?

A. Staff will only grant credit for PDHs up to the number claimed on the renewal, but not more than 30 PDHs, as only 15 PDHs can be carried over.

 

Record keeping/Reporting of PDHs

Q. Do I need to keep a log and certificates or other evidence?

A. Yes, the Board requires you to maintain both.

Q. Does the Board keep a record of my PDHs?

A. Yes, the Board keeps a record of the PDHs reported when licenses are renewed. However the Board does not maintain a record of specific CPC activities for the licensee.

Q. Do I need to keep the documentation from the courses I attend?

A. The licensee shall maintain records to be used to support credits claimed. Records required include, a log (http://www.ncbels.org/CPC/CPCActivityLog1.pdf) showing the type of activity claimed, sponsoring organization, location, duration, instructor or speaker’s name, and PDH credits earned. The log also requires that you briefly explain how the CPC activity will maintain, improve, or expand the skills and knowledge relevant to your field of practice. The licensee shall also maintain attendance verification records in the form of completion certificates, or other documents supporting evidence of attendance.

Q. How long do I need to keep my CPC logs and documentation?

A. CPC records are to be maintained for three years.

Q. Do I need to send documentation of PDHs earned when I renew?

A. No, you are not required to submit documentation when you renew. You should keep the documentation in case you are audited.

Q. Do I have to fill out a new entry on the CPC log for each session I attend at a conference that has multiple sessions or is a multi-day program? 

A. No, you can make one entry for the entire 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.

Q. Do I have to use the CPC log provided on Board’s web site?

A. No, you may use any type of log as long as it contains the information required by Board Rule 21-56.1706(1). 

Q. Do I have to use the CPC log under the Licensee’s Only section of the web site? 

A. No, this is strictly a record keeping option for your use only. This information does not populate the database. There is a PRINT PREVIEW button to open the log and email the attachment to the Board if audited.

 

License Status

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

A. 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.

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

A. 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.”

 

Q. What is “Retired” license status?

A. 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.

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

A. 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 new Application For Licensure As Professional Engineer or Application For Licensure As Professional Land Surveyor will need to be completed and reviewed by the Board. Completing an application includes supplying transcripts, updated work experience, references and documentation of 30 PDHs earned during the last 24 months. The applications and instructions can be found in Applications on the web site.

Q. What is “Archived” status?

A.  Licenses expire on December 31st each year.  When a license has not been renewed by January 1st of the following year, the license is "Archived" and the file is destroyed.  Once the file has been destroyed, the licensee must apply for reinstatement.

Q. How do I apply for reinstatement of my license after it has been “Archived”?

A.  Applying for reinstatement after a license has been “Archived” means filling out the Application For Licensure as Professional Engineer or the Application for Licensure as Professional Land Surveyor again.  This includes supplying transcripts, updated work experience, references and documentation of 30 PDHs earned during the last 24 months. The applications and instructions can be found in Applications on the web site.

 

Exemptions

Q. As a new licensee by way of examination or comity am I exempt from the CPC requirements?

A. Yes, new licensees are exempt from the CPC requirements for the first renewal period.

Q. Can I still report PDHs during my exempt year?

A. Yes, any PDHs that are reported during their first renewal period will carry over to the next year.

Q. Are active duty military members exempt from the CPC requirements?

A .If currently licensed by and in good standing (license is not suspended or revoked) with the Board a licensee who is serving in the armed forces and who is eligible for an extension of time to file a tax return pursuant to G. S. 105-249.2 is granted a waiver of the mandatory continuing education requirements for the time period disregarded pursuant to the Internal Revenue code 26 U.S. C. 7508. The licensee shall request the waiver in accordance with Board Rule 21 NCAC 56.1707(2).

Q. Other than being a new or Inactive licensee and those serving on temporary active duty in the military, are there any other exemptions to the CPC requirements?

A. Yes, the Board can consider granting an exemption due to a licensee experiencing physical disability, illness, or other extenuating circumstances. The Board requires supporting documentation before considering the exemption.

 

Sponsor Evaluations

Q. Do Sponsors have to provide an attendee evaluation form to each licensee?
A. Yes.

Q. Do Sponsors have to provide an attendee evaluation form for every session of a multi-session or multi-day program?
A. No, the Sponsor can provide one attendee evaluation form to the licensee for the entire program.

Q. Are Sponsors that provide continuing education online required to provide an attendee evaluation form also?
A. Yes, the form is for all Board approved Sponsors of continuing education.

Q. Is there any other way to provide the Board feedback about a Sponsor?
A. Yes, licensees can provide information to the Board through the CPC Feedback link.