During a July 25 meeting of the legislature’s Regulation Review Committee, members voted unanimously to approve updates to regulations governing continuing education requirements for electricians and plumbers. The committee members did not discuss the regulation during the meeting.

The approved regulatory updates relate to how the commissioner of the Department of Consumer Protection (DCP) approves courses submitted by providers offering continuing education courses to electricians and plumbers.

In addition to existing requirements, the updates require providers to obtain approval for each course offering prior to offering it and to cease offering and advertising a course immediately if approval is withdrawn.

The updates also sets guidelines for online course offerings, which also must be approved by the DCP commissioner. In addition, classes cannot exceed the 25 student cap limit set by state statute and must include real time audio and video. The new requirements also require participants to confirm they are engaged at least once per hour and to have the ability to interact with instructors in real time. Finally, the new regulations mandate online courses have audio and visual recordings and that any supplemental materials used during the course are provided to students prior to it beginning.

Another change in the newly approved regulations is that online courses provide electronic course access to DCP so that a department representative can attend in real time.

According to the notice of intent for the proposed regulation posted by the Secretary of State’s office in March, the updates are intended “to provide better consumer protection through a better educated resources.”

State statute requires plumbers to participate in not more than seven hours of accredited continuing education every two years as part of the occupational licensing requirements necessary to work in the state. Electricians are required to participate in not less than four hours of continuing education per year.

DCP does not believe the regulation will have any effect on small businesses. It is also not anticipated to have any fiscal impact or to impact the DCP since it already regulates plumbers and electricians.

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An advocate for transparency and accountability, Katherine has over a decade of experience covering government. She has degrees in journalism and political science from the University of Maine and her...

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