The department may not renew a license until the licensee submits proof satisfactory to the board that during the 2 years prior to her or his application for renewal the licensee has completed at least 24 hours of continuing education.
(1) The board shall adopt rules to establish the criteria and course content for continuing education courses. The rules may provide that up to a maximum of 25 percent of the required continuing education hours can be fulfilled by the performance of pro bono services to the indigent or to underserved populations or in areas of critical need within the state where the licensee practices. The board must require that any pro bono services be approved in advance in order to receive credit for continuing education under this section. The standard for determining indigency shall be that recognized by the Federal Poverty Income Guidelines produced by the United States Department of Health and Human Services. The rules may provide for approval by the board that a part of the continuing education hours can be fulfilled by performing research in critical need areas or for training leading to advanced professional certification. The board, or the department when there is no board, may make rules to define underserved and critical need areas. The department shall adopt rules for the administration of continuing education requirements adopted by the board or the department when there is no board.
(2) The board may provide by rule that distance learning may be used to satisfy continuing education requirements.
(3) The board may prorate the required continuing education hours in the following circumstances: (a) For new licensees:
1. By requiring half of the required continuing education hours for any applicant who becomes licensed with more than half the renewal period remaining and no continuing education for any applicant who becomes licensed with half or less than half of the renewal period remaining; or
2. Requiring no continuing education hours until the first full renewal cycle of the licensee.
(b) When the number of hours required is increased by law or the board.
(4) Upon the request of a licensee, the provider must also furnish to the department information regarding courses completed by the licensee, in an electronic format required by rule of the department.
(5) Each continuing education provider shall retain all records relating to a licensee’s completion of continuing education courses for at least 4 years after completion of a course.
(6) A continuing education provider may not be approved, and the approval may not be renewed, unless the provider agrees in writing to provide such cooperation under this section as required by the department.
(7) For the purpose of determining which persons or entities must meet the reporting, recordkeeping, and access provisions of this section, the board by rule shall adopt a definition of the term “continuing education provider” applicable to the profession’s continuing education requirements. The intent of the rule is to ensure that all records and information necessary to carry out the requirements of this section are maintained and transmitted accordingly and to minimize disputes as to what person or entity is responsible for maintaining and reporting such records and information.
(8) The board shall approve the providers of continuing education. The approval of continuing education providers and courses must be for a specified period of time, not to exceed 4 years. An approval that does not include such a time limitation may remain in effect under this chapter or the rules adopted under this chapter.
(9) The department may fine, suspend, or revoke approval of any continuing education provider that fails to comply with its duties under this section. The fine may not exceed $500 per violation. Investigations and prosecutions of a provider’s failure to comply with its duties under this section shall be conducted pursuant to s. 472.033. (10) The board shall issue an order requiring a person or entity to cease and desist from offering any continuing education programs for licensees, and fining, suspending, or revoking any approval of the provider previously granted by the board if the board determines that the person or entity failed to provide appropriate continuing education services that conform to approved course material. The fine may not exceed $500 per violation. Investigations and prosecutions of a provider’s failure to comply with its duties under this section shall be conducted under s. 472.033.
(11) The board may establish, by rule, a fee not to exceed $250 for anyone seeking approval to provide continuing education courses and may establish, by rule, a biennial fee not to exceed $250 for the renewal of providership of such courses. Such postlicensure education courses are subject to the reporting, monitoring, and compliance provisions of this section.
(12) The department and the board may adopt rules under ss. 120.536(1) and 120.54 to administer this section.