As part of the Practice Act passed by the General Assembly in 1997, continuing education became a requirement for all individuals licensed by this board as a condition of license renewal. Continuing education consists of a series of planned individual learning experiences beyond the basic educational program, which has led to a degree or qualifies one for licensure. Continuing education units are required for renewals after March 31, 1998. This document further explains board policy based on the practice act.
One continuing education unit (CEU) is defined as 10 clock hours of instruction or other approved activity.
A. Section 40-67-260 of the Practice Act specifies that:
1. As a condition of license renewal:
a. A speech-language pathologist or audiologist must satisfactorily complete sixteen hours (1.6 CEUs) per license of approved continuing education per license period.
b. A speech-language pathologist or audiologist intern must satisfactorily complete eight hours (.8 CEUs) per license of approved continuing education per license period.
c. A speech-language pathology assistant must satisfactorily complete eight hours (.8 CEUs) of approved continuing education per license period.
2. Continuing education must be reported on forms and in the time and manner specified by the board in regulation.
3. Each licensee must maintain records of continuing education hours earned for a period of four years, and these records must be made available to the director or the director's designee upon request for audits that the board may conduct annually.
B. Section 40-67-270 specifies that:
1. A speech-language pathology or audiology license and a speech-language pathology assistant license must be renewed biennially and expire on March 31 of the second year. A speech-language pathology or audiology intern license may only be renewed for one twelve-month period for the purpose of completing the supervised professional employment required by Section 40-67-220(B)(1)(c).
2. To renew a license the individual shall:
a. Pay a renewal fee as provided for in Section 40-67-50;
b. Submit evidence of compliance with continuing education requirements as provided for in Section 40-67-260.
3. A license which was not renewed by March 31 is invalid and only may be reinstated upon receipt of a renewal application postmarked before May 1 and accompanied by the biennial license fee and the reinstatement fee. A renewal request not postmarked before May 1 only may be reinstated upon receipt of an application for licensure submitted under the license requirements in effect at the time the renewal request is submitted and accompanied by the biennial license fee and reinstatement fee.
C. R.115-6 specifies that:
1. Courses used to meet the continuing education requirement must meet at least one of the following conditions:
a. Courses offered by an ASHA or AAA Continuing Education Sponsor.
b. Courses offered by one of the following organizations: American Academy of Audiology, American Association of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, South Carolina Academy of Audiology, National Association of Black Speech Pathologists, South Carolina Speech-Language-Hearing Association, National Institute of Hearing Instruments Studies (NIHIS), Audiological Resource Association, Southern Audiological Society, American Auditory Society, Academy of Dispensing Audiology, American Academy of Audiology. This list will be reviewed and updated by the board annually.
c. Graduate level courses offered by an accredited college or university within scope of practice (1 semester hour equals 15 hours for 1.5 CEUs).
d. Courses offered by a state or federal agency provided the courses are within scope of practice.
2. At least one-half of the continuing education requirements must pertain to clinical practice in the area of licensure.
3. Not more than one-fourth of the continuing education requirement may be met by independent study. All independent study must receive prior approval by the board.
4. Instructors may receive continuing education credit, equivalent to that received by participants, for preparing and teaching courses within the scope of practice, subject to once per course with prior approval by the board.
5. Submission of false or misleading information is grounds for immediate revocation of the license to practice and such other disciplinary actions, as the board deems appropriate.
6. Required documentation and audit process:
a. Each licensee must submit a Report of Continuing Education (RCE) on a form approved by the board attesting to completion of the required continuing education at the time of license renewal;
b. Each licensee must maintain records of continuing education hours earned for a period of four years, and such records must be made available to the Director or his designee upon request.
A. Any institution, organization, agency or individual may apply to the Board for approval to provide a continuing education activity by making application sixty (60) days prior to the course offering. If the Board grants approval of a continuing education activity, then the Board office shall issue the applicant an approval letter that shall be valid for the bienniurn which coincides with the biennial licensure cycle.
Upon receipt of a written request, the Board shall approve a continuing education activity, which meets the following criteria:
1. Is directly relevant to and focuses on the practice of speech-language pathology or audiology;
2. Reflects the educational needs of the licensee and builds on the standards for practice and courses in the curricula of an institution of higher learning;
3. Has stated, measurable learning objectives;
4. Has program faculty competent in the subject matter and qualified by experience;
5. Includes an evaluation mechanism which assesses the participant's achievement of objectives, the effectiveness of the learning experience, instructional methods, facilities and resources used for the offering;
6. Has a stated, pre-determined number of contact hours; and
7. Provides a certificate of attendance to each participant at the conclusion of the activity, which specifies participant name, program title, program number, date, and number of continuing education hours earned.
B. Any licensee may apply for prior approval at a continuing education activity by submitting a written request sixty (60) days prior to the activity. Upon receipt of the request, the Board shall approve a continuing education activity, which meets the standards for continuing education offerings as outlined above.
1. For purposes of this chapter, "pertain to clinical practice in the area of licensure" is defined as those activities which provide the licensee with information, techniques, procedures, or protocols that can be applied in the direct assessment, treatment, diagnosis, or counseling of patients.
2. Licensees developing independent study plans must base their learning activity on an identified need, develop individualized learning outcomes, have a method to assess learning outcomes, and have a mechanism to determine satisfactory completion of the learning activity. Independent study must meet the same criteria as any other continuing education activity. Independent study activities are limited as specified earlier in this document.
The following activities are not intended for CEUs. While these activities may be judged worthwhile learning experiences, they do not meet the criteria established for the CEUs by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training nor do they meet the requirements of the ASHA Continuing Education Board (CEB) to qualify as activities to be offered for ASHA CEUs.
1. Association Membership and Leadership Activities. Holding membership or serving in some leadership capacity in an association or society does not qualify.
2. Committee/Board Meetings. Participation in committee or board meetings or activities does not qualify.
3. Business Meetings. Meetings to discuss business. make policy, develop procedures, discuss association/organizational management, develop long-range plans, etc., does not qualify.
4. Some Meetings, Conventions, Exhibitions. Meetings, conventions, and exhibitions that attract large numbers of participants, involve different activities, and are conducted primarily for information-sharing purposes generally do not qualify for CEUs. Planned learning activities within such events that meet the CEUs requirements are eligible for CEUs.
5. Work Experience. On-the-job training and other work experience does not qualify for CEUs unless the work experience is structured as part of a planned and supervised continuing education experience that meets the CEB requirements. Continuing education typically is defined as learning that takes place outside one's typical employment responsibilities.
6. Entertainment and Recreation. Attendance at cultural performances, or at entertainment or recreational activities does not qualify unless these events are an integral put of a planned activity that meets the CEB requirements.
7. Travel. Travel or participation in a travel study program does not qualify, unless the educational component of the travel study program meets the CEB requirements.
8. Unsupervised Study. Individual, self-paced study, or other form of independent learning experience not approved by the Board does not qualify.
As required by the practice act, each licensee must maintain records of continuing education hours for four years and have the records available upon request. The report of continuing education must be submitted with the renewal application.
A renewal application is not considered complete unless an RCE is included along with the appropriate renewal fee. Late submission of either will result in assessment of a late fee, immediate audit and possible denial of renewal. The late renewal fee shall be assessed as required by the practice act.
An RCE shall automatically be audited if it:
1. is deficient in hours or otherwise incomplete, or
2. is received late, or
3. contains activities not within the approved content areas, or
4. contains other questionable activities.
In addition to the RCEs automatically audited, a random group of licensees will be selected annually for audit. Licensees to be audited will receive notification of audit from the Board. The licensee being audited shall submit to the Board the RCE along with appropriate supporting documentation upon request.
If the continuing education requirement is not met, but the renewal fees have been paid, a letter will be issued to the individual requiring him to show cause as to why the license should not be revoked for failure to comply with the continuing education requirements.
The licensee has thirty (30) days from the date of notification to respond to the show cause letter.
Prior to the actual revocation of a license because of non-compliance with the continuing education requirements, the licensee shall have the right to a contested case hearing on this matter.