Welcome to the Board of Psychology

What Is Continuing Education

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WHAT IS CONTINUING EDUCATION?

Continuing education means the variety of forms of learning experiences, including, but not limited to, lectures, conferences, seminars, workshops, grand rounds, video conferencing, and distant learning technologies.

  1. 1. How much continuing education must be completed?

A: All licensed psychologists must have completed at least 36 hours of acceptable continuing education each time they renew their license. The only exception to this is for psychologists who are renewing their licenses for the very first time, if the license was issued for a period of less than 24 months; please see “NOTE TO NEW LICENSEES” below.

  1. 2. How many hours of continuing education can be accrued through independent learning?

A: You can accrue up to 27 hours (or 75%) of continuing education through independent learning for each renewal cycle. Independent learning means the variety of forms of organized and directed learning experiences that occur when the instructor and the student are not in direct visual or auditory contact. These include, but are not limited to, courses delivered via the Internet, CD-ROM, satellite downlink, correspondence and home study. Independent learning courses must meet all standards of an approved continuing education course.

  1. 3. Which courses count toward the continuing education requirements?

A: The Board of Psychology recognizes and accepts for continuing education credit courses that are:

• provided by American Psychological Association (APA) approved sponsors,
• provided by the California Psychological Association (CPA) or its approved sponsors, or
• Continuing Medical Education (CME) courses specifically applicable and pertinent to the practice of psychology and that are accredited by the California Medical Association (CMA) or the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME).

  1. 4. How do I get a list of approved continuing education providers and courses?

A: The Board of Psychology does not approve continuing education providers or courses. Please contact APA, CPA and/or CMA/ACCME.

  1. 5. How do I report hours of continuing education to the Board of Psychology?

A: You will be responsible for keeping your own CE certificates and will self-certify that you have met your CE requirement on the license renewal form.  Self-certification means you are asserting, under penalty of perjury, that you have met the minimum CE requirement during the past two years.  Misrepresentation of compliance is grounds for disciplinary action.  The Board will be conducting random audits and, if selected, will contact you with instructions on how and where to report your continuing education certificates.  Do not send your continuing education certificates with your renewal.

  1. 6. When do the hours of continuing education need to be completed?

A: The required number of hours of continuing education must be accrued within the 24 months immediately prior to the expiration date of your license or starting at the date of licensure for first time renewals.  The CE hours must be completed as a condition of the renewal of your license as a psychologist.  Extensions cannot be granted. Psychologists who have not completed the minimum CE requirements are not eligible to renew their licenses as a psychologist.

  1. 7. What happens if I fail to complete the continuing education requirements prior to the expiration date of my license?

A: If documentation of the continuing education requirement is improper or inadequate, the license is ineligible for renewal until any deficiency is corrected. Continued practice without a valid license constitutes grounds for appropriate disciplinary action. Misrepresentation of compliance constitutes grounds for disciplinary action or denial. You may, however, renew your license in an inactive status.  The practice of psychology while on inactive status is prohibited until the continuing education is completed and the license is restored to active status.

  1. 8. What about CE hours completed prior to the issue date of my psychologist license?

A: CE credit cannot be granted for CE hours taken prior to the issue date of your psychologist license.

  1. 9. What should I do if I take a continuing education course that seems completely inadequate?

A: Feedback should be given to the provider of the course as well as the approving entity.

  1. 10. Are there any specific courses or content that needs to be taken as part of my continuing education requirements?

A: All psychologists renewing his or her license must certify under penalty of perjury that he or she has obtained training in the subject of laws and ethics as they apply to the practice of psychology in California. The training shall include recent changes/updates on the laws and regulation related to the practice of psychology, recent changes/updates in the Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct published by the APA, accepted standards of practice, and other applications of laws and ethics as they affect the licensee’s ability to practice psychology with safety to the public. Training in this area maybe obtained in one or more of the following ways:

• Formal coursework in laws and ethics taken from an accredited educational institution;
• Approved continuing education course in laws and ethics;
• Workshops in laws and ethics;
• Other experience which provide direction and education in laws and ethics including, but not limited to, grand rounds or professional association presentation.

Additionally, psychologists renewing their licenses are required to take a CE course in spousal or partner abuse assessment, detection and intervention strategies. The course must cover spousal or partner abuse assessment, detection, and intervention strategies, including community resources, cultural factors, and same gender abuse dynamics. Equivalent courses in spousal or partner abuse assessment, detection and intervention strategies or proof of equivalent teaching or practice may be submitted to the board and, at its discretion may be accepted in satisfaction of this requirement. This is a one-time requirement.

Psychologists renewing their license are also required to have proof of completion of a three hour CE course in aging and long-term care or show proof to the board of its equivalent in teaching or practicing experience. This is a one-time requirement.

  1. 11. Are there any exemptions from the continuing education requirements?

A: When applying for renewal, a psychologist may request a waiver from the continuing education requirements if, during the two-year period immediately prior to the expiration date of the license, he or she:

• has been engaged in active military service, or
• has had a total physical and/or mental disability for at least one year, or
• has had total responsibility for the care of an immediate family member with a total physical and/or mental disability for at least one year

Psychologists with inactive licenses do not need to comply with continuing education mandates until their licenses are reactivated. Additionally, psychologists requiring reasonable accommodations according to the Americans with Disabilities Act may be granted an exemption from the on-site participation requirement and may substitute all or part of their continuing education requirement with an APA or accreditation agency approved independent learning continuing education program.

  1. 12. Does the Board audit licensee to assure compliance with the continuing education requirements?

A: Yes, the Board will selectively audit to verify CE compliance. You will not be required to send your certificates routinely to the Board for your renewal, but may be required if selected for an audit by the Board, or any other licensing or enforcement purpose. You are responsible for keeping these records in case you are selected for an audit. CEU’s must be approved by CPA, APA, or CMA/ACCME.

  1. 13. What if I previously reported hours to MCEP Accrediting Agency (MCEPAA) and I no longer have the certificates?

A: The Board will accept the MCEPAA continuing education report as documentation of CE.

  1. 14. How long do I need to keep my CE records?

A: CE records should be kept for a minimum of two to three renewal cycles (4-6 years). If you practice in an area where a complaint could be filed at an even later date (e.g., child custody evaluators) we recommend that you keep records for a longer period of time.

  1. 15. Where do I go for further information or updates?

A: Information is available on the BOP’s website (www.psychboard.ca.gov) in the Continuing Education link.

**NOTE TO NEW LICENSEES:
If your initial license was issued for less than two years, for your first renewal you need accrue only 1.5 hours of CE for each month or partial month that your license was in effect prior to expiration. [For example, a license issued March 8, 2012 and expiring September 30, 2013 would have been in effect for 18 months and 22 days upon expiration. In order to renew, the licensee would have to have accrued a total of 28.5 hours of approved continuing education (1.5 hours x 19 months).]