(1) Continuing education 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) Continuing education hours/credits shall be reported as follows:
(a) Each 60 minutes of instruction equals one continuing education hour/credit;
(b) All licensees, regardless of license number, shall now obtain 30 hours/credits of continuing education in each 24-month period prior to the renewal date in odd-numbered years. The first reporting period will be from April 1, 2015 to March 31, 2017;
(c) Licensees must renew their license each year;
(d) Continuing education is not required for licensees renewing their license for the first time;
(e) It is the responsibility of the licensee to establish and maintain detailed records of continuing education compliance in the form of programs and certificates of attendance and make them available upon board request;
(f) Course work may be live, by correspondence, video conferencing, internet, or be satellite-based; and
(g) The board will randomly audit continuing education hours/credits in each odd year.
(3) Continuing education programs must meet the following criteria:
(a) The activity must have significant intellectual or practical content. The activity must deal primarily with substantive physical therapy issues as physical therapy is defined in Montana;
(b) The board/staff does not preapprove any activities or sponsors for continuing education credits. All accepted continuing education 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 their knowledge and competence in the physical therapy field, and which meet the qualifications specified in these rules;
(c) All acceptable continuing education courses must issue a program and a certificate of completion. The program must contain the following information: full name and qualifications of the presenter, title of the presentations, number of hours, date and location of each presentation, name of sponsor, and description of the presentation format. The certificate must bear an official signature or verification of the program sponsor and list the course name, number of hours of continuing education obtained by the licensee, and date and location of the presentation;
(d) Programs that promote a company, individual, or product, and programs whose subject is to practice economics cannot be credited for continuing education, except those programs specifically dealing with workers' compensation, public health, Medicare, or insurance coverage issues.
(4) Qualifying continuing education hours/credits:
(a) Category A activities: A minimum of 15 of the 30 continuing education hours/credits must be obtained in this category in each two-year cycle. Category A includes: continuing education 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 continuing education hours/credits by one of the following, regardless of whether the course is 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 continuing education credits may be obtained in this category in each two-year cycle. Category B includes:
(i) any course that pertains to physical therapy, but which is not approved or offered through an accredited medical, physical therapy, and/or healthcare education program as identified in (4)(a).
(ii) teaching or lecturing principally for healthcare professionals, if teaching or lecturing is not the licensee's primary occupation. One continuing education credit may be granted per one hour of lecture or teaching. Max hour/credit five;
(iii) being a current member of 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.
(5) Activities excluded from continuing education hours/credits include: staff meetings; teaching physical therapy-related courses if that 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.
(6) Failure to comply with the continuing education requirement may be grounds for disciplinary action.