Continuing Education

An individual licensed as a PT or PTA is responsible for optimum service to the public and is accountable for maintaining evidence of high levels of skill and knowledge. Evaluation and assessment of current competence is critical for PTs and PTAs. The results of an evaluation or assessment should be used by the licensee to then select appropriate developmental activities.

(1) A licensed PT or PTA shall earn three (3.0) CEUs per biennium period and at least fifteen (15) contact hours of the three (3.0) CEUs total must be obtained through the completion of Certified Activities. PTs and PTAs licensed in South Carolina are not subject to this requirement for the first biennium renewal period in which they are initially licensed.

(2) A PT or PTA must complete three (3) contact hours of study in ethics, professionalism, and/or South Carolina jurisprudence per biennium as part of his/her CEU requirements. This requirement shall be obtained by participation in a Certified Activity and will count towards the licensee’s required Certified Activity hours.

(3) At least fifteen (15) of the required thirty (30) contact hours shall be from Certified Activities. Certified Activities include:

(a) attendance at conferences and completion of continuing competency activities that meet the Standards of Continuing Competence (SCC) as set forth by the FSBPT. Credit for this item is applied as awarded by the provider, and a certificate of completion is required as evidence of compliance.

(b) attendance at conferences and completion of continuing competency activities provided by the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), South Carolina Chapter of the American Physical Therapy Association (SCAPTA), other chapters and sections of the APTA, as well as other state boards of physical therapy. Credit for this item is applied as awarded by the provider, and a certificate of completion is required as evidence of compliance.

(c) completion of educational programs where CE credit is given and approved by accredited universities. Credit for this item is applied as awarded by the provider, and a certificate of completion is required as evidence of compliance.

(d) attendance at educational programs where CE credit is given and approved by SCAPTA. Credit for this item is applied as awarded by the provider, and a certificate of completion is required as evidence of compliance.

(e) completion of an APTA credentialed fellowship or residency. Licensees who are enrolled in a fellowship or residency will be considered as meeting the educational and competency requirements for the entire licensure biennium in which the certification or renewal is received. A letter from the director of the residency or fellowship program is required as evidence of compliance.

(f) certification or recertification of clinical specialization by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties (ABPTS) or PTA advanced proficiency certification. A licensee who completes this certification or recertification will be considered as having met the CEU requirement for the entire licensure biennium in which the certification or recertification is awarded.

(g) completion of academic course work germane to the practice of physical therapy and conducted or sponsored by accredited institutions of higher education. Courses must be on the graduate level for PTs. Undergraduate courses are acceptable for PTAs. Ten (10) contact hours may be awarded for each credit hour awarded by the accredited institution of higher education. A transcript from the institution which indicates a passing grade in the course is required as evidence of compliance.

(h) completion of any appropriate physical therapy continued competency tools, including examinations and/or self-assessments, developed by the FSBPT and/or APTA. Credit for CEUs is applied as awarded. If no contact hours are awarded, a licensee may receive five (5) contact hours. A certification of completion is required as evidence of compliance.

(i) completion of courses relating to physical therapy approved by the American Medical Association (AMA). A certification of completion is required as evidence of compliance.

(4) A licensee may obtain up to fifteen (15) hours of CEU credit through Approved Activities per biennium. Approved Activities include:

(a) completion of continuing education courses and attendance at conferences that do not meet the requirements for Certified Activities. A licensee who completes such a course or attends such a conference will receive credit for: ten (10) contact hours for each course/conference that totals thirtytwo (32) hours or longer; five (5) contact hours for each course/conference that totals a minimum of eight (8) but fewer than thirty-two (32) hours; and two (2) contact hours for each course/conference that totals fewer than eight (8) hours. A certification of completion is required as evidence of compliance.

(b) clinical instruction. Clinical instructors shall receive one (1) contact hour for every one hundred and sixty (160) hours of clinical internship, limited to a maximum of six (6) contact hours per instructor per biennium. Students must be enrolled in CAPTE accredited or eligible DPT or PTA programs. Clinical instructors must be credentialed by APTA to receive clinical continuing education credits. Verification of the clinical supervision agreement with the student’s educational program and a log reporting supervision hours is required as evidence of compliance. A certificate of completion from the educational program may also be used as evidence of compliance.

(c) attendance at in-service education programs pertaining to safety, governmental regulation, clinical concepts, or CPR. One (1) contact hour per in-service program may be awarded for a maximum of three (3) contact hours per biennium. Learning objectives, program schedule, and verification of attendance from an employer are required as evidence of compliance.

(d) teaching a course on a subject germane to the practice of physical therapy at an accredited institution of higher education when that teaching is an adjunct responsibility and not the license’s primary employment. CEU credit is based on didactic classroom/lab teaching time and may not exceed ten (10) contact hours per biennium. A letter from the institution documenting the licensee’s completion of this activity is required as evidence of compliance.

(e) performing volunteer work. A licensee who renders physical therapy services voluntarily and without compensation or the expectation or promise of compensation and seeks no reimbursement from charitable and governmental sources may receive one (1) contact hour of continuing education for each hour of volunteer medical services rendered, up to a maximum of seven and one-half (7.5) contact hours per biennium. A letter from the organization/individual for whom the licensee is providing volunteer services documenting the licensee’s completion of this activity is required as evidence of compliance.

(f) presentations made before physical therapists or other health care professionals and directly related to the profession of physical therapy. Three (3) contact hours per presentation/topic may be awarded. Documentation of the learning objectives presented and a presentation brochure or flyer are required as evidence of compliance. A licensee may obtain no more than six (6) hours of credit for this activity per biennium.

(g) self-study germane to the practice of physical therapy, which may be directed by a correspondence course, video, internet or satellite program by a provider not outlined in the Certified Activities listed above. One (1) contact hour per study topic may be awarded. Documentation of the study objectives, activities, and time spent to meet objectives, as well as reflection on learning achieved, is required as evidence of compliance. A licensee may obtain no more than two (2) hours of credit for this activity per biennium.

(h) conducting peer-reviewed research germane to the practice of physical therapy performed by the licensee. Credit for ten (10) contact hours may be awarded for principal and co-principal investigators in research projects. The title of the research project and copy of the abstract, as well as the funding agency and grant period, if applicable, are required as evidence of compliance.

(i) writing a professional publication. Credit for eight (8) contact hours may be awarded for each peer-reviewed publication written by a licensee. Credit for four (4) contact hours may be awarded for each non-peer-reviewed publication. A copy of the article, book chapter, or other work product is required as evidence of compliance. A licensee may obtain no more than eight (8) hours of credit for this activity per biennium.

(j) participation in a formal mentorship (as mentor or prot´eg´e). Credit for five (5) contact hours may be awarded per biennium for a licensee’s participation in a formal mentorship program. Documentation of the objectives and action plans, as well as documentation of the activities completed are required as evidence of compliance.

(5) Notwithstanding any provision in this Chapter to the contrary, no contact hours or CEUs may be awarded for a licensee’s:

(a) attendance at staff meetings, or involvement in presentations or publications directed at lay groups;

(b) participation in non-educational entertainment or recreational meetings or activities;

(c) participation or attendance at case conferences, grand rounds, informal presentations, etc.;

(d) participation in self-directed studies other than those specifically allowed for herein;

(e) routine teaching, research, or orientation duties as part of a job requirement;

(f) CEUs or contact hours carried over from one licensure period to another; or

(g) attendance at exhibits or poster presentations.

(6) Reporting Requirements:

(a) reports shall be submitted in a manner prescribed by the Board. By signing the biennial report of continuing education, the licensee signifies that the report is true and accurate.

(b) Licensees shall retain original documentation of all Certified Activities and Approved Activities completed as required herein for no less than three (3) years from the beginning date of the licensure period.

(7) Audit of continuing competency:

 (a) each licensee shall be responsible for maintaining sufficient records in a format determined by the Board; and

(b) these records shall be subject to a random audit by the Board to assure compliance with this section; and

(c) the Board may audit a percentage of the continuing education reports.

(8) In the event of denial, in whole or part, of credit for purposes of meeting the requirements of this Section, the licensee shall have the right to request a hearing in accordance with the Administrative Procedures Act.