CEPA

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


A collection of the answers to the most common questions about:

BBS CE Regulation Change

How do the BBS new Continuing Education regulation changes impact CE providers and Board licensees?

The BBS has created FAQ’s for CE provider and Board licensees regarding the CE regulation changes: <

  • Click here for the BBS’ FAQ sheet for Continuing Education Providers
  • Click here for the BBS’ FAQ sheet for Board licensee

When will the BBS stop renewing provider numbers?

The BBS will stop renewing provider numbers as of July 1, 2015. Providers with a number that expires after July 1, 2015 will not have the opportunity to renew with the BBS.

When should a current BBS CE provider seek approval from a BBS-recognized approval agency (e.g., CAMFT)?

All CE providers may continue to offer coursework until the expiration of their BBS-issued provider number. Subsequently, in order to continuously provide CE to BBS licensees, providers will have to be approved by a BBS-recognized approval agency before their provider number expires. Providers should apply for approval with a BBS-recognized approval agency a few months prior to their provider number expiration date.

How can I find out when my BBS continuing education provider number expires?

Providers can verify the expiration date of their provider number (PCE) by using the “Verify a License” feature on the BBS’ website.

Where can I find the new CE regulation text?

Click here to access the new CE regulation text from the BBS’ website.

Which organizations does the BBS recognize as approval agencies?

CAMFT is a BBS-recognized approval agency. Please visit the BBS’ website for an up-to-date list of BBS-recognized approval agencies.

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CEPA Policies and Procedures

Does CAMFT approve specific courses or just CE providers?

CAMFT approves the CE provider. However as part of its oversight, CAMFT will require samples or descriptions of coursework to monitor adherence to the Guidelines for Provider Approval through the initial approval, annual update reports, and a formal first-year and subsequent 3-year review process.

What is an individual CE provider?

An individual CE provider is defined as a person who independently offers continuing education as a sole instructor. The provider must be applying for themselves and not on behalf of a group or organization.

Will CAMFT list its approved providers on the website?

Yes, CAMFT-approved CE providers will be listed on the CE Provider Directory on www.camft.org/CEprovider. The listing will include the CE provider’s name and contact information (e.g., phone, fax, email, website address).

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Offering Continuing Education

Who is eligible to apply as a continuing education provider?

All providers who offer continuing education programs relevant to marriage and family therapists, clinical social workers, professional clinical counselors, and educational psychologists may submit an application.

What is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist’s (LMFT) scope of practice?

The practice of marriage and family therapy is that service performed with individuals, couples, or groups wherein interpersonal relationships are examined for the purpose of achieving more adequate, satisfying, and productive marriage and family adjustments. This practice includes relationship and pre-marriage counseling. The applications of marriage and family therapy principles and methods includes, but is not limited to, the use of applied psychotherapeutic techniques, to enable individuals to mature and grow within marriage and the family, and the provision of explanations and interpretations of the psychosexual and psychosocial aspects of relationships. (California Business and Professions Code §4980.02).

What is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker’s (LCSW) scope of practice?

The practice of clinical social work is defined as a service in which a special knowledge of social resources, human capabilities, and the part that unconscious motivation plays in determining behavior, is directed at helping people to achieve more adequate, satisfying, and productive social adjustments. The application of social work principles and methods includes, but is not restricted to, counseling and using applied psychotherapy of a non-medical nature with individuals, families, or groups; providing information and referral services; providing or arranging for the provision of social services; explaining or interpreting the psychosocial aspects in the situations of individuals, families, or groups; helping communities to organize, to provide, or to improve social or health services; or doing research related to social work. (California Business and Professions Code §4996.9)

What is a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor’s (LPCC) scope of practice?

The practice of professional clinical counseling means the application of counseling interventions and psychotherapeutic techniques to identify and remediate cognitive, mental, and emotional issues, including personal growth, adjustment to disability, crisis intervention, and psychosocial and environmental problems. Professional clinical counseling includes conducting assessments for the purpose of establishing counseling goals and objectives to empower individuals to deal adequately with life situations, reduce stress, experience growth, change behavior, and make well-informed rational decisions. It focuses exclusively on the application of counseling interventions and psychotherapeutic techniques for the purposes of improving mental health, and is not intended to capture other, nonclinical forms of counseling for the purposes of licensure. Professional clinical counseling” does not include the assessment or treatment of couples or families unless additional training and education is completed as prescribed by law. (California Business and Professions Code §4999.20)

What is a Licensed Educational Psychologist’s (LEP) scope of practice?

The practice of educational psychology is the performance of any of the following professional functions pertaining to academic learning processes or the educational system or both: educational evaluation; diagnosis of psychological disorders related to academic learning processes; administration of diagnostic tests related to academic learning processes including tests of academic ability, learning patterns, achievement, motivation, and personality factors; interpretation of diagnostic tests related to academic learning processes including tests of academic ability, learning patterns, achievement, motivation, and personality factors; providing psychological counseling for individuals, groups, and families, consultation with other educators and parents on issues of social development and behavioral and academic difficulties, conducting psychoeducational assessments for the purposes of identifying special needs, developing treatment programs and strategies to address problems of adjustment; and coordinating intervention strategies for management of individual crises. (California Business and Professions Code §4989.14)

Can a course be offered to LMFTs, LCSWs, LPCCs, and LEPs?

A course can be offered to LMFTs, LCSWs, LPCCs, and LEPs as long as it is related to the scope of practice for each license type.

What types of coursework are acceptable?

Coursework needs to be related to the scope of practice of an LMFT, LCSW, LPCC, and/or LEP, depending on which types of licensees will be taking the course, and must incorporate one or more of the following:

  • Aspects of the discipline that are fundamental to the understanding or practice of marriage and family therapy, clinical social work, professional clinical counseling, and educational psychology;
  • Aspects of the discipline of marriage and family therapy, clinical social work, professional clinical counseling, and educational psychology in which significant recent developments have occurred;
  • Aspects of other disciplines that enhance the understanding of the practice of marriage and family therapy, clinical social work, professional clinical counseling, and educational psychology; and
  • Courses related to the diagnosis, assessment, and treatment of the client population being served.

For instance, courses can relate to direct patient/client care (e.g., theoretical framework, intervention techniques, etc.) or indirect patient/client care (e.g., legal and ethical issues, consultation, office management, insurance matters, supervision training, etc.).

Are any courses unacceptable as continuing education?

Courses outside the LMFT, LCSW, LPCC, and/or LEPs scopes of practice are not acceptable. CAMFT will be issuing approval status based on the sample course information submitted with the Initial Approval Application. Although CAMFT will not be approving individual courses, the Initial Approval Application will not be approved if the sample course subject matter is outside the scopes of practice of the intended target audience.

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Initial Application, Approval and Renewal Process

If approved by CAMFT, when can a provider begin to offer coursework for CE credit?

The BBS will recognize the CE credits issued by CAMFT-approved providers on July 1, 2015.

Approximately how long will it take CAMFT to approve continuing education providers?

Initial Approval Application: The initial application may take up to sixty (60) calendar days to process.

First-year Renewal Application: Providers must submit a renewal application form, annual fees, and supporting documents up to eight (8) weeks prior to the approval's expiration date in order to give the Committee time to verify compliance with the Guidelines for Provider Approval.

Three-year Renewal Application: Providers must submit a renewal application form, annual fees, and supporting documents up to eight (8) weeks prior to the approval's expiration date in order to give the Committee time to verify compliance with the Guidelines for Provider Approval.

What does CAMFT approval cover?

A current, valid provider approval will cover any courses that meet BBS continuing education requirements (i.e., CAMFT’s Guidelines for Provider Approval). There is no limit to the number of courses a provider can offer. A CAMFT-approved provider can offer CE to California LMFT’s, LCSW’s, LPCC’s and LEP’s, as long as the course is related to the licensee’s scope of practice.

How long does CAMFT approval last?

A provider’s initial approval will be valid for one (1) year from the date the provider number is issued. Thereafter, CAMFT-approved providers will be renewed upon satisfactory completion of the first year for a period of three (3) years. Click here to view a sample fee and renewal period chart.

If approved, when does a provider have to submit a renewal application?

A First-year Renewal Application form is due upon the completion of the initial approval period. The initial approval period is valid for one (1) year from the date the provider number is issued.

If approved at the First-Year Renewal, a provider will be approved for a period of three (3) years. The provider will have to submit a Three-year Renewal Application form at the end of the three-year approval period.

Note: All approved providers must pay an annual fee to maintain CAMFT-approved status. There is no renewal application fee. However, at the time of renewal, CE providers must submit the annual fee with a renewal application. Click here for a visual representation of the fees, approval periods and renewal times.

Will CAMFT approve individual courses?

    No, it is the provider’s responsibility to ensure courses meet the CEPA program standards.   

What if a CE provider is late in paying annual fees or submitting a renewal application form?

Renewal application or annual fees must be postmarked on or before the provider’s approval expiration date or annual fee due date, respectively. If postmarked after the expiration/due date, please include the $100 late fee.

Providers who do not submit a renewal application form or pay the annual fee within sixty (60) calendar days after the expiration/due date are no longer approved and must reapply for approval. Any course offered after approval is canceled will not be accepted towards BBS required continuing education or coursework.

Cancelled providers will need to reapply for CAMFT-approval by submitting an Initial Approval Application and application fee.

Can an Initial or Renewal Application be denied or revoked?

After a thorough application review, applicants or providers who do not demonstrate compliance with the Guidelines for Provider Approval will not be approved.

The CEPA Committee may deny a provider application or revoke its approval of a provider for good cause. Good cause includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • A provider is convicted of a felony or misdemeanor offense substantially related to the activities of a CAMFT-approved provider;
  • A provider fails to comply with any provisions of Chapters 13, 13.5, 14 and 16 of the California Business and Professions Code or Title 16, Division 18 of the California Code of Regulations;
  • A provider makes a material misrepresentation of fact in information submitted to CAMFT;
  • A provider fails to respond to an audit request; or
  • A provider fails to address non-compliance issues identified during an audit.

A decision to deny an application or revoke an approved-provider status can be made at any stage of the application or renewal process. The reasons for denial or revocation of approved provider status will be described in writing to the applicant.

My Three-year Renewal Application is due. What if I didn’t provide three or more CE activities in a given year?

If you offered less than three activities, please submit samples of the CE activities you provided.

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Fees/Start-up Costs

How much does initial approval cost?

The Initial Approval Application fee is $300. This fee is reduced to $200 for CAMFT Chapters and members who are individual CE providers. Upon approval, all providers will be invoiced for the one-time $300 establishment fee.

A provider’s total start-up cost is $600. The start-up cost for a Chapter or member who qualifies for the discount is $500.

Click here to view a sample fees and renewal chart.

What is an establishment fee?

The one-time establishment fee is meant to cover the costs of creating an approved CE provider’s file and to set-up the provider’s online presence on CAMFT’s CE Provider Directory.

Is there an annual fee?

Yes, all approved providers must pay an annual fee to maintain CAMFT-approved status. The annual fee is $300. CAMFT Chapters and members who are individual CE providers pay a $200 annual fee.

Do I qualify for a discounted rate on the application and annual fee?

To qualify for the discount, an applicant/provider must be:

  1. A member of CAMFT in good standing;
  2. An individual who offers CE independently and is the sole instructor of the coursework; and
  3. Applying for themselves and not on behalf of a group or organization.

What are the renewal fees?

There is no renewal application fee. However, at the time of renewal, CE providers must submit the annual fee with a renewal application.

Click here to view a sample fees and renewal chart.

Is there a late fee?

Yes, providers who submit annual fees or renewal application forms that are not post-marked by the due date/expiration date will subject to a $100 non-refundable late fee.

Why are CAMFT’s fees higher compared to what the BBS charged?

The BBS has relinquished its authority to approve CE providers and delegated it to agencies in order to strengthen the CE approval process and better ensure that quality education is offered. CAMFT considered the administrative cost to develop, implement and maintain such a program. Furthermore, CAMFT compared the cost associated with the approval processes of other agencies to determine fees that are reasonable and competitive, as noted in the Comparison of ApprovalAgency Fees Chart.

CAMFT considered our Chapters and members who are individual CE providers, when setting the provider approval fees and is extending a 33% discount on both the application fee and annual fee to mitigate any possible financial hardship.

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Program/Course Requirements

How many hours can be earned per course?

In general, licensees will earn one hour of continuing education for each actual hour of instruction. A continuing education hour is defined as a 60-minute hour with no less than 50 minutes of uninterrupted instruction. Courses must be a minimum of one continuing education hour, in one block of time. Lunch and breaks can be counted as hours of continuing education only if actually instruction occurs during that time.

For programs where instructional time is difficult to calculate (e.g., a non-interactive distance-learning courses), providers must have a method for determining the number of credits to offer and a rationale for this method. CAMFT suggests using one of the following methods for determining course credit:

  1. Pilot test of the representative completion time
  2. Computation using a word count formula

Please refer to the CE Provider Resources section for further information regarding these methods.

How many hours can be earned for an academic course?

1 semester unit = 15 CE hours
1 quarter unit = 10 CE hours

What are course advertisement requirements?

A provider should ensure that information publicizing a continuing education course is accurate and includes the following:

  • The provider’s name and approval number;
  • The statement “Course meets the qualifications for __ hours of continuing education credit for LMFTs, LCSWs, LPCCs, and/or LEPs as required by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences;
  • The refund/cancellation policy in cases of non-attendance by the registrant;
  • A clear, concise description of the course content and educational objectives;
  • The cost of the course, including all fees;
  • The course title;
  • A description of the target audience;
  • The course schedule;
  • The instructor’s name and credentials, including relevant professional degree and discipline, current professional position, and expertise in program content;
  • Instructions for requesting accommodations for disability;
  • A statement of when and how course completion certificates will be awarded;
  • A clear indication of any activities within the course or program that are not offered for continuing education credit; and
  • Instructions for addressing grievances.

When referring to CAMFT approval, the following statement must be used in all promotional materials: [insert provider name] is approved by the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists to sponsor continuing education for [insert the title(s) of the target audience]. [insert provider name] maintains responsibility for this program/course and its content.

What if I can't fit all the required promotional material information into my announcement (e.g., brochure, flyer, email)?

We understand you might not be able to include all required information in your announcement. However, this information must be made available to potential participants prior to enrollment. In cases where one or more of the above points is not included, you must clearly provide a mechanism for obtaining this information (e.g., contact information, a link to website content, etc.).

What are CAMFT’s requirements for a co-sponsorship agreement?

CAMFT-approved provider must have a prior written agreement with the co-sponsor that includes:

  • Clarification of the responsibilities of each organization, including financial, administrative, instructional, and others;
  • Involvement of the approved provider in all aspects of program planning. A co-sponsorship relationship must be established prior to, or during, the planning stages of the activity at a point where contributions and changes can still be made;
  • In cases where each provider is CAMFT-approved, there must be written documentation regarding which organization will accept and maintain responsibility for the program.

What are course instructor requirements?

A continuing education course instructor must satisfy at least two of the following minimum qualifications:

  • Hold a license, registration, or certificate in an area related to the subject matter of the course. The license registration or certificate shall be current, valid, and free from restrictions due to disciplinary action by the Board of Behavioral Sciences or any other health care regulatory agency;
  • Possess a master’s or higher degree from an educational institution in an area related to the subject matter of the course;
  • Have training, certification, or experience in teaching subject-matter related to the subject matter of the course; or
  • Possess at least two years experience in an area related to the subject matter of the course.

Does each course require an evaluation?

Yes. The provider is required to collect an evaluation document from each participant who expects to receive continuing education credit.

Are providers required to issue records of course completion?

Yes. Providers are responsible for issuing a record of course completion to a licensee (e.g., letters of verification of attendance, certificates, grade slips, and transcripts) containing the following information:

  • Name of the licensee and license number or other identification number;
  • Course title;
  • Provider name and address;
  • Board-recognized approval agency name (i.e., CAMFT);
  • Date of the course;
  • Number of hours of continuing education credit; and
  • Signature of the course instructor, provider, or provider designee.

What type of records must providers keep?

Providers are responsible for keeping the following records for a period of at least four years:

  • Syllabi for all courses;
  • The time and location of all courses;
  • Course advertisements;
  • Course instructors’ vitaes or resumes;
  • Attendance rosters with the names and license numbers of licensees who attended the courses;
  • Sign-in sheets; and
  • Records of course completion issued to licensees who attended the courses.

Providers are required to submit the above records to CAMFT only when audited. Providers will be audited on a random basis to ensure compliance with BBS CE regulations.

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Distance Learning and Post-tests

What is distance learning?

Distance learning is the acquisition of knowledge and skills through mediated information and technologies. Distance education includes live or self-paced coursework which may be conducted online, or by studying a publication or audio/video recordings. Post-tests are required for all methods where the participant does not have the opportunity to interact with the instructor and ask questions during the course.

How should a provider determine the number of hours to issue for a non-interactive distance learning course?

For programs where instructional time is difficult to calculate (e.g., a non-interactive distance-learning courses), providers must have a method for determining the number of credits to offer and a rationale for this method. CAMFT suggests using one of the following methods for determining course credit:

1. Pilot test of the representative completion time
2. Computation using a word count formula

Please refer to the CE Provider Resources section for further information regarding these methods.

Are any tests/assessments required?

Distance learning providers are required to administer a post-test if the course format did not provide an opportunity for the participant to interact with the instructor and ask questions during the course. The post-test must contain questions appropriate to the course content. Please refer to the CEProvider Resources section for tips to improve the overall quality of test assessments.

What are the requirements for post-tests (e.g., how many questions, passing criterion)?

There is a passing criterion of at least 70 percent. However, there are no specific requirements for the number of questions for every one credit. Please refer to the CE Provider Resources section for guidelines on compiling a post-test to accurately assess participant learning.

How can I determine if a distance-learning course requires a post-test?

A post-test is not required if the distance-learning course format allowed the participant an opportunity to interact with the instructor and ask questions in real-time. For example, if the course is offered online or via teleconference in real-time and is interactive then a post-test is not necessary.

What type of distance-learning coursework requires a post-test?

Any course that would be considered self-study or self-paced requires a post-test. For example, the participant reads views or listens to course materials on his or her own without live interaction with the instructor/author. This may include, but is not limited to, reading a book, article or magazine via the web or in hard copy; listening to audio recording such as podcasts or CDs; watching DVDs; and streaming videos online.

Also, if the course is conducted in real-time but does not allow for interaction (e.g., Q&A with instructor) then a post-test assessment is required.

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New CE Providers/BBS-approved Providers

Can I still get approved if I have not yet offered a CE program?

It is possible to become approved without having offered a CE program. However, you must be able to provide as much information as possible about the programs you plan to offer in the future so that the committee will be able to determine your compliance with BBS regulations.

Although the Initial Approval Application specifically asks for information about programs offered in the past, a new CE provider should instead provide information for a future CE offering. Please review the Initial Approval Application Guide for further assistance.

I am already a BBS-approved CE provider. Do I still have to submit an Initial Approval Application to be CAMFT-approved?

Yes, CAMFT’s CEPA program will not grandfather previously approved CE providers. Any individual, group or organization wishing to obtain CAMFT approval must submit an application regardless of your previous approval with the BBS.

I am not a CE provider with the BBS, but would like to offer continuing education for BBS licensees. If approved by CAMFT, when can I begin to offer coursework for CE credit?

The BBS will recognize the CE credits issued by CAMFT-approved providers on July 1, 2015.

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Program Administration

Who is the program administrator?

The program administrator is the person responsible for ensuring the provider meets the requirements stated in the Guidelines for Provider Approval and for quality of the continuing education program’s content. If you are an individual provider, then you are the program administrator. In other instances, the program administrator is a designated staff member.

I was recently appointed as the program administrator for our continuing education program, but my predecessor left no instructions. Where do I begin?

In order to become fully acquainted with what is required of CAMFT-approved providers, please review the CEPA Program Manual and visit www.camft.org/CEprovider for additional resources. If you have further questions, please call CAMFT at (858) 292-2638.

How do I notify CAMFT of a change in program administrator?

Providers must notify the CEPA Program Coordinator any time a new program administrator is designated. CAMFT must be notified of the change in writing within fifteen (15) calendar days of the effective date of the change. Please submit your written notice by mail, fax, or email to:

CAMFT
Attention: CEPA Program Coordinator
7901 Raytheon Road, San Diego, CA 92111
Fax: (858) 292-2666
Email: cepa@camft.org

Can a provider be audited?

The Board of Behavioral Sciences, or CAMFT’s CEPA program, may audit the course records of a provider to ensure compliance with the Board’s continuing education requirements.

CAMFT will conduct random periodic reviews of courses offered by CAMFT-approved providers who have been granted a three (3)-year approval. Providers will be notified by mail when they have been selected for an audit. Failure to respond to an audit will result in revocation of approval status.

When requested by the Board of Behavioral Sciences, the CEPA Program Coordinator will report the findings of these reviews.

How much time does a CE provider have to respond to an audit?

Providers will have forty-five (45) calendar days to respond to an audit notice. There are no extensions for submitting audit information. Providers who fail to respond to an audit will have their approval status revoked.

Does CAMFT have sample forms for providers to use?

Yes, sample forms can be found under the CE Provider Resources section. CAMFT also developed helpful hints to guide CE providers in creating required components such as grievance procedures and a refund/cancellation policy.

Is it acceptable to provide certificates of attendance to participants who are not BBS licensees?

Yes. All participants attending the full length of your program may request a certificate of attendance. However, it is recommended that participants check with their respective state board to ensure that credits obtained will be accepted.