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The Pennsylvania Code website reflects the Pennsylvania Code changes effective through 54 Pa.B. 1032 (February 24, 2024).

49 Pa. Code § 40.63. Continuing education for direct access certificateholder.

§ 40.63. Continuing education for direct access certificateholder.

 (a)  Definitions. The following word, when used in this section, has the following meaning, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:

 Certificateholder—A licensed physical therapist who holds a certificate of authorization to practice physical therapy without a referral.

 (b)  Continuing education requirement for renewal of certificate of authorization. Beginning after the first renewal of the certificate of authorization, as a condition of certificate renewal, a physical therapist shall have completed during the preceding biennium a minimum of 30 contact hours of physical therapy continuing education related to keeping the certificateholder apprised of advancements and new developments in the practice of the physical therapy profession. At least 10 of the 30 contact hours shall be in evaluative procedures to treat a person without a referral. During renewal periods prior to January 1, 2013, a direct access certificateholder need complete only 20 hours of continuing education, including at least 10 hours in evaluative procedures.

 (c)  Reports to the Board. A certificateholder shall certify compliance with the continuing education hours requirement at the time of biennial renewal of the certificate. A certificateholder shall retain proof of completion of continuing education for 5 years after completion of the continuing education or after the completion of the renewal period during which the continuing education was required or applied, whichever is later. These records are subject to audit by the Board.

 (d)  Approved courses and programs.

   (1)  Courses and programs approved by the Board will be accepted as satisfying the continuing education requirement. It is the responsibility of the certificateholder to ascertain the approval status of the course or program before undertaking a continuing education activity.

   (2)  Irrespective of the sponsor, the Board reserves the right to reject a continuing education course or program submitted by a certificateholder if it is outside the scope of practice of physical therapy. The Board will not accept courses or programs which are unrelated to the actual practice of physical therapy—for example, instruction in office management or practice building. A certificate-holder will be notified of a rejected course or program in writing, along with the reason for the rejection.

   (3)  Sponsors of physical therapy continuing education seeking Board approval of individual courses and programs shall submit an application at least 60 days prior to the date the continuing education course or program is due to take place on forms provided by the Board and pay the required fee. The applicant will be notified of approval or disapproval in writing. Notifications of disapproval will set forth reasons. The Board will not approve a course or program unless the sponsor:

     (i)   Offers courses or programs, or both, with specific learning objectives geared to improve the professional competence of the participant.

     (ii)   Verifies attendance of the course.

     (iii)   Provides each attendee with a certificate which includes participant’s name, date, place, course title, presenter and number of contact hours.

   (4)  The Board may withdraw approval of a sponsor for cause. The sponsor will be notified in writing of the reasons for withdrawal of approval.

   (5)  A sponsor seeking approval who is unable to submit the application at least 60 days prior to the date the course or program is given may request a waiver in writing setting forth the reasons why the 60-day requirement could not be met.

   (6)  Approval of a course or program shall be valid for 1 year after approval. In the event that the sponsor is scheduling multiple courses or programs, the sponsor shall indicate on the application each date the course or program is to be given.

 (e)  Distance education. A certificateholder may accrue all required hours in distance education courses offered by approved sponsors of continuing education as long as the course sponsor evaluates and assesses the extent of learning that has taken place.

 (f)  Reinstatement of certificate. Reinstatement of certificate shall be subject to the following conditions:

   (1)  A person whose certificate has lapsed or been inactive shall show compliance with the continuing education requirement during the biennium immediately preceding the request for reinstatement.

   (2)  A person whose certificate has been suspended or restricted shall show compliance with the continuing education requirement during the entire period of suspension or restriction.

 (g)  Waivers; exemptions for continuing education. The Board may, in individual cases involving physical disability or illness, or undue hardship, grant a waiver of the continuing education requirements or grant an extension of time to complete the requirements. A waiver or extension of time will not be granted unless a written request is submitted by or on behalf of the licensee. In case of physical disability or illness, the request must include supporting documentation provided by a physician licensed in this Commonwealth or another state or territory of the United States or the District of Columbia and whose license is in good standing. Necessary documentation must be received by the Board no later than 90 days preceding the biennial renewal. If the physical disability or illness or undue hardship for which the waiver has been granted continues beyond the period of the waiver, the licensee shall reapply for an extension of the waiver. The Board may, as a condition of any waiver granted, require the licensee to make up all or part of the continuing education involved.

 (h)  Preapproved sponsors. In addition to sponsors whose specific courses and programs are approved, the Board finds the following entities have currently met the standards for approved courses and programs. Accordingly, courses or programs that otherwise meet all requirements for required continuing education are approved when offered by the following sponsors:

   (1)  APTA and its components.

   (2)  FSBPT and its jurisdictions.

   (3)  Graduate education programs accredited by CAPTE.

   (4)  Postentry level doctorate of physical therapy programs in an academic institution accredited by a regional accrediting organization recognized by the Council of Regional Accrediting Commissions on behalf of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.

 (i)  General continuing education requirement. Hours of continuing education applied to satisfy the requirement of this section may also be applied to satisfy the requirement of §  40.67 (relating to continuing education for licensed physical therapist). Satisfaction of the continuing education requirement in this section will be deemed to establish satisfaction of the continuing education requirement in §  40.67.


   The provisions of this §  40.63 issued under sections 3 and 9(c) of the Physical Therapy Practice Act (63 P. S. § §  1303 and 1309(a)); and section 812.1 of The Administrative Code of 1929 (71 P. S. §  279.3a); amended under section 3(a), 4(a), 6, 7.2, 9.1 and 11(a) of the Physical Therapy Practice Act (63 P. S. § §  1303(a), 1304(a), 1306, 1307.2, 1309.1 and 1311(a)); and section 16 of the act of July 4, 2008 (P. L. 293, No. 38).


   The provisions of this §  40.63 adopted July 16, 2004, effective July 17, 2004, 34 Pa.B. 3700; amended October 29, 2010, effective October 30, 2010, 40 Pa.B. 6265; amended December 21, 2012, effective December 22, 2012, 42 Pa.B. 7652; amended May 18, 2018, effective May 19, 2018, 48 Pa.B. 2947. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (364980) to (364983).

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