All professions require that you complete some minimum level of continuing education to keep your professional license in good standing. In most cases, you can face discipline and other repercussions for failure to meet your profession’s continuing education requirements. For example, some professional licensing boards will refuse to renew your license, which will make you unemployable in your field if you fail to maintain your continuing education requirements. Others will impose significant fines and even suspend your license. As a result, you should be aware of the continuing education requirements for your profession and what you need to do each year to keep your license in good standing at all times.
Texas Board of Nursing
Under 22 Tex. Admin. Code §216.3, nurses must complete 20 contact hours of continuing nursing education (CNE) in the nurse’s area of practice within the two-year licensing period from a Board of Nursing (BON)-approved provider. BON conducts random audits of nurses within 90 days of their license renewal dates to determine whether they have complied with their continuing education requirements. You then submit proof of your completion of the required number of BON-approved hours before you can proceed with renewing your license.
If you fail or are unable to submit proof of your compliance, or if you falsify records, BON will refuse to renew your license under 22 Tex. Admin. Code §216.9. You then have 20 days to appeal BON’s determination and ask for a hearing to explain why BON’s audit decision should be modified or set aside. BON’s decision after the hearing is final and binding.
Texas Education Agency
Texans with education licenses also must complete a specific amount of continuing professional education (CPE) hours during their five-year certificate period. If they fail to complete the minimum required CPEs, they cannot renew their certificates and automatically move to inactive status. This status prevents them from being employed in positions requiring their certificates.
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For instance, classroom teachers must complete 150 CPE hours in five years under 19 Tex. Admin. Code §232.11. At least 37.5 of the CPE hours must relate to certain topics outlined in the law. Likewise, principals and school counselors must complete 200 CPE hours, including 50 CPE hours on particular subjects.
Texas State Board of Examiners of Professional Counselors
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Under 22 Tex. Admin. Code §681.141, licensed professional counselors must complete specific continuing education requirements during each two-year license renewal period, including the following:
- Four hours of ethics, two related to Texas LPC ethics
- 24 hours of continuing education
- Completion of the Texas Jurisprudence Examination, which counts as one hour of Texas LPC ethics
Like the Board of Nursing, the State Board of Examiners of Professional Counselors monitors compliance with continuing education via random audits. Failing to provide the requested documentation or providing fraudulent documentation is a violation of board rules and can result in disciplinary action, as per 22 Tex. Admin. Code §681.146.
Texas Medical Board
The Texas Medical Board has the legal authority under 22 Tex. Admin. Code §190.8(2)(M) to discipline doctors for failing to complete the required amounts of continuing medical education (CME). Failure to complete this education violates the Medical Practice Act as unprofessional and dishonorable conduct.
Under 22 Tex. Admin. Code §190.14(9), the sanction for failing to complete 48 credits of CME within 24 months can differ according to the circumstances. On the low end, the sanction may require the doctor to complete a remedial plan that involves making up all missing hours, completing four hours of ethics/risk management, and paying a $500 administration fee. On the high end of possible sanctions, the doctor may have to complete eight hours of CME in ethics/risk management, complete all missing hours, pay a $1,000 administration fee, and take a jurisprudence exam.
Texas State Bar
Licensed attorneys must complete 15 hours of continuing legal education (CLE) each year under the Texas Continuing Legal Education Rules. At least three of those hours must be dedicated to professional responsibility or legal ethics subjects, with only one of those hours obtained through self-study. Through self-study, attorneys can complete no more than three hours of CLE per year.
The Texas MCLE Regulations provide that attorneys have a grace period until the last day of their birth months to complete their CLE hours for that compliance year. If they fail to complete the necessary CLE hours within that timeframe, they must pay a noncompliance fee, as follows:
- $100 within one month of the birth month
- $200 within two months of the birth month
- $300 within three months of the birth month
Failure to complete the CLE hours within that timeframe or pay the noncompliance fee will result in an automatic license suspension. The attorney only can reinstate the license by completing the missing CLE hours, any CLE hours required for the current year, and paying a $400 reinstatement fee.
Texas Board of Physical Therapy Examiners
22 Tex. Admin. Code §341.2 requires physical therapists to complete 30 continuing competence units (CCUs) during each two-year license renewal period, including a board-approved jurisprudence assessment module and a human trafficking prevention course. The executive council will conduct random audits of CCU compliance at least quarterly and may request proof of CCU compliance upon license renewal. If you are more than 90 days late renewing your license, you also will have to submit proof of CCU compliance. A lack of CCU compliance can lead to disciplinary action, including license suspension or revocation.
Defend Yourself Against Disciplinary Proceedings Involving Your Professional License
Don’t allow continuing education requirements to wreak havoc on your career. Losing your ability to support yourself will only worsen your situation. If you are facing the loss or suspension of your license for failure to complete continuing education requirements or another reason, we can help you take the steps necessary to challenge your disciplinary proceedings. Contact professional license defense lawyer at Bertolino LLP, for advice today. Make an appointment by calling (512) 476-5757 or contact us online to see how we can help.