For CPAs in many national firms or working in business or industry, the costs of CPE are usually borne by the CPA’s employer, whereas some solo practitioners and some employees of local and regional firms pay for CPE out of pocket.2
The AICPA-NASBA Uniform Accountability Act also stipulates that CPAs are not required to submit documentation of every CPE course they have attended; rather, they are required to sign a statement indicating their compliance with state requirements (AICPA and NASBA, 2007). Some states have instituted random verification to ensure compliance; the Pennsylvania State Board of Accountancy, for example, verifies 10 percent of renewal applications.
With a need for lifelong education to stay up to date in the many rapidly evolving fields of engineering, CE is becoming an increasingly important, standardized method of ensuring professional competence. CE in engineering resembles CE in the health professions both in the formats through which it is offered and in the overall goal of competence. The National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) uses the term “continuing professional competency” to discuss CE.
Although continuing professional competency requirements are mandated at the state level, as of June 2008, NCEES requires at least 15 professional development hours per year for licensure (NCEES, 2008). In engineering, professional development hours are the common currency for CE (continuing education units are also used but refer only to continuing education and training). Licensure requirements vary by state, type of engineering, and licensing body and therefore do not follow a uniform standard. However, licensure is not necessary for practice but may be required for certain jobs and areas of engineering. State requirements vary from no mandatory CE hours to 20 mandatory CE hours per year to maintain licensure (CSI Construction Education Network, 2008). Certification is awarded by area of engineering and generally needs to be continuously updated.
Professional development hours can be earned by successful completion of college or continuing education courses, completing short courses or tutorials such as those offered by distance education, giving presentations at meetings or workshops, teaching or