Date of Award

4-2006

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Public Affairs and Administration

First Advisor

Dr. Matthew Mingus

Second Advisor

Dr. James A. Visser

Third Advisor

Dr. Ahmad Jrade

Abstract

This study explored the perceptions of civil engineers regarding continuing professional competency requirements for license renewal. In this study,continuing professional competency is assumed to have a direct relationship to public welfare and safety. The policy of mandatory continuing education was adopted primarily for this reason. Currently, mandatory continuing education is adopted by 29 states as the method of assuring continued professional competency.

Many professionals, however, have not welcomed this mandatory continuing education (MCE) policy. The reason for this opposition is the claimed ineffectiveness of this policy in fostering continued competency. In addition, the regulatory boards and policy advocates have not produced data to support that continued professional competency have resulted from mandatory continuing education.

This study is a cross-sectional quantitative type. Primary data was collected using an electronic questionnaire that was e-mailed to participants. The populationof this study consisted mainly of civil engineers and land surveyors. The sampling frame was those engineers who subscribed to the CE News magazine newsletter "CivilConnections."

The findings of this study are: (1) The majority of the participating professionals viewed MCE positively. (2) The attitude towards mandatory continuing education was mostly positive. However, the attitude towards MCE requirements being a condition for licensing renewal was not as decisive. The participating professionals were polarized about the issue with 41% against and 43% for, with 16% neutral or undecided. (3) Regarding the issue of public safety and protection being assured by MCE, the results show that participating civil engineering professionals do not consider the impact of MCE as positive. (4) The majority of professionals preferred the voluntary continuing education method as a reassessment approach to assuring continued competency. Periodic re-examination on the other hand was the least preferred and was strongly opposed. (5) The mandating policy clearly impacted the participation level in continuing education. (6) Professional characteristics such as level of education, level of responsibility, field of practice, years of licensing, and age of professionals do not influence participation in continuing education. (7) The majority of employers support continuing education. (8) Finally, 77% of the participants attendedcontinuing education on a voluntary basis.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access

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