Continuing Competency

Effective November 6, 2009, new regulations require all physical therapists and physical therapist assistants renewing their license to complete a required number of hours of continuing competency activity. To review the full text of the Continuing Competency Regulations, visit Sections 1399.90-1399.99 of the California Code of Regulations (CCR).

Continuing competency hours must be earned during the renewal period. Your renewal period begins the day after your license expires or issue date and ends on your expiration date. For example, if your license expires on September 30, 2011, your continuing competency hours must be completed during the period September 30, 2009 – September 30, 2011.

REQUIRED NUMBER OF HOURS

(Physical Therapists and Physical Therapist Assistants are subject to the same continuing competency requirements)

  • New Licensees
    If you are in your first 13-24 months of licensure in California and renewing your license for the first time, use this chart to help you determine the number of continuing competency hours required (if you are not a new licensee use the chart below under NOT a New Licensee).
Renewal Payment Was Submitted to the PTBC Basic Life Support Hours Ethics, Laws and Regulations Hours Other Hours of Coursework Needed* Total Hours Required
*Other as used here means continuing competency activity from a traditional or alternate pathway pursuant to Section 1399.94 of the California Code of Regulations.
On or Before the License Expiration Date 4 Hours 2 Hours 9 Hours 15 Hours
After the License Expiration Date 4 Hours 2 Hours 24 Hours 30 Hours
  • NOT a New Licensees
    If you are a Licensee that has renewed your license one (1) or more times, use this chart to help you determine the number of continuing competency hours required.
License Expiration Date Renewal Payment Was Submitted to the PTBC Basic Life Support Hrs Ethics, Laws & Reg. Hrs Other Hours of Coursework Needed* Total Hours Required
*Other as used here means continuing competency activity from a traditional or alternate pathway pursuant to Section 1399.94 of the California Code of Regulations.
On or Before 9/30/2010 N/A None None None None
Between 10/31/10 & 10/31/11 On or Before the Expiration Date

After the Expiration Date
4 Hours

4 Hours
2 Hours

2 Hours
9 Hours

24 Hours
15 Hours

30 Hours
On or After 11/1/11 Before OR After the Expiration Date 4 Hours 2 Hours 24 Hours 30 Hours

ACCEPTABLE COURSEWORK

Authorized coursework may be either traditional or alternate.

  • Traditional Pathway
  • Continuing Education Courses
  • Continuing competency coursework completed must be offered by either a PTBC Recognized Continuing Competency Approving Agency or by a provider that has been approved by one of the approval agencies.
  • The Board does not approve continuing competency course providers
  • College coursework taken at an accredited institution
  • Alternate Pathway
  • Acceptable alternate pathways to obtain continuing competency credits are listed on the chart offered in CCR Section 1399.94(b).

CONTINUING COMPETENCY COURSEWORK APPROVAL

The Board does not approve individual continuing competency courses or providers. If you are a continuing competency course provider and would like your course(s) approved contact one of the Board's Recognized Continuing Competency Approving Agencies.

DETERMINING IF THE COURSE YOU TAKE IS APPROVED

Continuing competency coursework must be offered by an approved provider (having met the requirements in CCR Section 1399.96) or by a Board recognized continuing competency approval agency. If the provider is not a recognized approval agency, that provider must be approved by a Board recognized approval agency (pursuant to CCR Section 1399.95).

Since the Board is not approving individual courses, the Board is unable to verify if a specific course is approved for credit or not. To verify if a course has been approved you should:

  • Visit the Board's website and access the list of Recognized Continuing Competency Approving Agencies. Verify if the provider of the course is listed there. If the provider is listed as a recognized continuing competency approval agency then the approval agency has used their authority as an approval agency to approve their own course. In this case the course is acceptable coursework for continuing competency credit.
  • If the provider of the course is NOT listed on the Board's list of Recognized Continuing Competency Approving Agencies ask the provider of the course who is their approver. Verify on the Board's website using the list of Recognized Continuing Competency Approving Agencies if the approver they are naming is listed there. If the approver appears on the Board's list, then the course is acceptable coursework for continuing competency credit. If the approver is NOT listed then it is NOT acceptable coursework for continuing competency credit.

DOCUMENTATION AND RECORD KEEPING OF COURSEWORK COMPLETED

  • Retain documentation of continuing competency activity completion for a period of five years after the course or activity concludes. You must submit the evidence of completion if you are audited by the Board. Failure to provide records documenting completion of the continuing competency requirements is grounds for action taken by the Board.
  • You do not need to submit documentation of your continuing competency hours with your license renewal payment.

CONTINUING COMPETENCY EXEMPTIONS

A licensee may request an exemption from the continuing competency requirements pursuant to Section 1399.99 of the California Code of Regulations. An exemption can be granted if the licensee can provide evidence of meeting at least one of the following reasons:

  1. The licensee was residing in another country for one year or longer during the renewal period prior to the expiration of the license, reasonably preventing completion of the continuing competency requirements.
  2. The licensee was absent from California because of military service for a period of one year or longer during the renewal period, preventing completion of the continuing competency requirements.
  3. Reasons of health which include but not limited to:
    • Total physical and/or mental disability for one (1) year or more during the renewal period and the inability to work during this period has been verified by a licensed physician or surgeon or licensed clinical psychologist; or
    • Total physical and/or mental disability for one (1) year or longer of an immediate family member for whom the licensee had total responsibility, as verified by a licensed physician or surgeon or licensed clinical psychologist.
  4. Other reasonable and good cause

To request an exemption from continuing competency requirements, submit the Continuing Competency Exemption Application PRIOR to submitting the license renewal payment. Once mailed to the PTBC, the exemption application will be reviewed and the licensee will receive a notice informing of the decision on the request.

An exemption under this section shall not be granted for two consecutive renewal periods. In the event a licensee cannot complete continuing competency requirements following an exemption, the licensee may only renew the license in an inactive status.

Continuing Competency Related Links: