(1) Each journeyman or master plumber shall obtain at least four hours of board-approved continuing education (CE) annually.
(a) Licensees shall affirm an understanding of their recurring duty to comply with CE requirements as a part of license renewal.
(b) New licensees are exempt from the requirements during their first renewal cycle. Licensees changing from journeyman to master plumber licenses are not exempt from completing at least four hours of CE.
(2) CE must be designed to advance the knowledge and skills of licensees. A licensee may receive credit only for CE courses that have received prior approval of the curriculum by the board or the department and to which a course approval number has been assigned by the department. Course approval expires when changes in plumbing code, statutes, or rules necessitate.
(a) Course curriculum must be based on:
(i) the adopted state plumbing code;
(ii) Title 37, chapter 69, MCA, pertaining to licensure of plumbers;
(iii) Title 50, chapter 60, MCA, pertaining to building codes and permit requirements;
(iv) ARM Title 24, chapter 180, pertaining to the board's rules;
(v) ARM 24.301.301 through 24.301.351, pertaining to building code plumbing matters; or
(vi) other subjects related to the plumbing industry, as approved by the board.
(b) Course instructors shall be, as of the date of the course approval application and at all times while providing CE instruction:
(i) a certified CE instructor employed by the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials;
(ii) a plumbing CE instructor approved in a state that has a plumbing license reciprocity agreement with the board, if the instructor has also successfully completed the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials' "train the trainer" course for the Uniform Plumbing Code; or
(iii) licensed as a journeyman or master plumber in a state or jurisdiction that has adopted the Uniform Plumbing Code, if the instructor:
(A) has no former or pending disciplinary actions against the instructor's plumbing license in any jurisdiction, unless the board is satisfied that the conduct has been adequately addressed through compliance with sanctions imposed; and
(I) is a Uniform Plumbing Code inspector for an authority having jurisdiction, as that term is defined in the Uniform Plumbing Code;
(II) is an apprenticeship training instructor for a union in a jurisdiction that has adopted the Uniform Plumbing Code;
(III) is certified as a plumbing inspector by the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials; or
(IV) has successfully completed the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials' "train the trainer" course for the Uniform Plumbing Code.
(c) Course sponsors shall provide the department with a minimum of 15 working days prior notice of the time and place of every course or seminar.
(d) Course sponsors shall provide each person completing a CE course with a completion certificate. The completion certificate must contain all of the following information:
(i) the date of course;
(ii) the location of course;
(iii) the name of instructor(s);
(iv) the name of licensee completing the course;
(v) the state assigned course approval number; and
(vi) the number of completed hours of instruction.
(3) For quality assurance or evaluation purposes, representatives of the department or the board may audit the course for content without charge. Such a person shall not receive or be issued a certificate of completion for that course.
(4) The board may randomly audit up to 50 percent of all renewed active licensees.
(a) Licensees shall retain course completion certificates for a minimum of three years and make the records available upon board request.
(5) Licensees found to be in noncompliance with CE requirements may be subject to administrative suspension.
(6) Licensees may request exemption from CE requirements due to hardship. Requests will be considered by the board.
(7) If a licensee does not timely file a renewal application, and thereafter files a late renewal application, the licensee must provide documentary proof of completing the required CE.