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(1) Continuing education (CE) is required to ensure continued competence throughout a physical therapist or physical therapist assistant career. Training for entry into the physical therapy field is not considered adequate assurance of continued competence.

(2) All licensees shall obtain 30 hours/credits of CE in each 24-month period prior to the renewal date in odd-numbered years.

(3) Licensees shall affirm an understanding of their recurring duty to comply with CE requirements as a part of license renewal.

(4) Licensees renewing for the first time are exempt from CE requirements.

(5) The board may randomly audit up to 50 percent of renewed licensees in each odd-numbered year.

(6) Licensees must establish and maintain detailed records of completed CE in the form of programs and certificates of attendance and make the records available upon board request.

(7) CE programs must have significant intellectual or practical content and deal primarily with substantive physical therapy issues as physical therapy is defined in Montana.

(a) Sixty minutes of instruction equals one CE hour/credit.

(b) Coursework may be live, by correspondence, video conferencing, internet, or satellite-based.

(c) Programs promoting a company, individual, or product, or the subject of which is practicing economics are not qualifying CE, except programs specifically addressing workers' compensation, public health, Medicare, or insurance coverage.

(d) Activities excluded from CE credits include staff meetings, teaching physical therapy-related courses when teaching is the licensee's primary occupation, regularly scheduled institutional activities such as rounds or case conferences, and repeating or retaking an activity and/or coursework.

(8) The board/staff does not preapprove any activities or sponsors for CE credits. All accepted CE hours/credits in category A must meet the standards set by the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) or the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT). It is the responsibility of the licensee to select programs that contribute to knowledge and competence in the physical therapy field, and meet the qualifications specified in this rule.

(9) Qualifying continuing education hours/credits:

(a) Category A activities: A minimum of 15 of the 30 CE hours/credits must be obtained in this category in each two-year cycle: CE courses, physical therapy clinical specialty certification coursework, physical therapy clinical residency coursework, and postgraduate physical therapy education, including, but not limited to, postdoctor of physical therapy course work. The postgraduate physical therapy course work must be passed with a grade of "C" or higher or "pass" if a "pass/fail" course. Category A activities are distinguished from category B activities in that they are approved or offered CE hours/credits by one of the following, whether classroom-based, online, or home study:

(i) an accredited medical, physical therapy, or healthcare education program;

(ii) a national or state medical, physical therapy, or healthcare board or association, or a component of that board or association; or

(iii) a national, medical, physical therapy, or healthcare specialty society.

(b) Category B activities: Up to 15 of the 30 CE credits may be obtained in this category in each two-year cycle:

(i) any course pertaining to physical therapy, but not approved or offered through an accredited medical, physical therapy, and/or healthcare education program as identified in (9)(a);

(ii) teaching or lecturing principally for healthcare professionals, if teaching or lecturing is not the licensee's primary occupation. One CE credit may be granted per one hour of lecture or teaching. Max hour/credit five;

(iii) current membership in the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA). Max hour/credit one;

(iv) performing as an APTA-certified clinical instructor in each two-year cycle. Max hour/credit five;

(v) performing clinical mentoring in a credential clinical residency or fellowship program. Max hour/credit five;

(vi) being a recognized committee member or serving on the Montana Board of Physical Therapy Examiners, the board of the Montana Chapter of American Physical Therapy Association (MAPTA), or nationally on the board of the APTA or the FSBPT in each two-year cycle. Max hour/credit five;

(vii) being published in an area that pertains to physical therapy, if publishing is not a requirement for a licensee's primary occupation. Max hour/credit five;

(viii) taking and passing the jurisprudence exam in each two-year cycle. Max hour/credit one; and

(ix) taking and satisfactorily completing the FSBPT's current competency evaluation tool(s). Max hour/credit one.

(10) Licensees found to be in noncompliance with CE requirements may be subject to administrative suspension.


History: 37-1-131, 37-1-319, MCA; IMP, 37-1-131, 37-1-306, 37-1-319, 37-1-321, MCA; NEW, 1997 MAR p. 38, Eff. 1/17/97; AMD, 1998 MAR p. 460, Eff. 2/13/98; AMD, 2001 MAR p. 344, Eff. 2/23/01; AMD, 2004 MAR p. 75, Eff. 10/17/03; TRANS, from Commerce, 2005 MAR p. 380; AMD, 2009 MAR p. 2153, Eff. 11/13/09; AMD, 2012 MAR p. 1526, Eff. 7/27/12; AMD, 2014 MAR p. 2835, Eff. 11/21/14; AMD, 2016 MAR p. 1697, Eff. 9/24/16; AMD, 2018 MAR p. 443, Eff. 2/24/18; AMD, 2020 MAR p. 904, Eff. 5/16/20.

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