(1) Beginning September 1, 2006, each journeyman or master plumber shall obtain at least four hours of board approved continuing education annually in order to renew the person's license. The license renewal application must be signed by the licensee and certify that the licensee has completed the required amount of continuing education.
(a) New licensees are exempt from the requirements during their first renewal cycle. Those licensees changing from journeyman licenses to master plumber licenses are not exempt from completing at least four hours of continuing education.
(2) In general, courses should be designed to advance the knowledge and skills of licensees. A licensee may receive credit only for continuing education 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 continuing education instruction:
(i) a certified continuing education instructor employed by the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials;
(ii) a plumbing continuing education 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 continuing education 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 department may conduct a random audit of up to 50 percent of all active licensees following the licensee renewal process.
(a) All licensees shall retain course completion certificates for a minimum of three years, for auditing purposes.
(b) Audited licensees are required to furnish to the department certificates of completion which demonstrate attainment of the four hour continuing education requirement.
(c) Failure by the licensee to provide certificates of completion when audited shall constitute grounds for implementation of disciplinary proceedings against the licensee.
(5) All requests for exemption from the continuing education requirements will be reviewed by the board and determinations will be done on a case-by-case basis.
(6) If a licensee does not timely file a renewal application, and thereafter files a late renewal application, the late renewal application must contain documentary proof that the licensee has obtained the required amount of continuing education.