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Chapter 220-4 CONTINUING EDUCATION

Rule 220-4-.01 Reporting Requirements

(1) Beginning with applications for renewal of licenses which expire on December 31, 1991, a registered forester must have completed twelve hours of acceptable continuing education during the two-year period immediately preceding each biennial renewal date as a condition for license renewal.
(2) An applicant for license renewal who has been initially licensed in Georgia as a registered forester for one year, but less than two, at the date of license expiration must have completed six hours of acceptable continuing education during the period between initial licensure and the expiration date as a condition for license renewal.
(3) An applicant for license renewal who has been initially licensed in Georgia as a registered forester for less than one year at the date of license expiration will not be required to complete any hours of continuing education prior to that first license expiration date as a condition for license renewal.
(4) All applicants for biennial license renewal will report having completed the continuing education required in this section as part of the application for license renewal.
(5) Failure to comply with the provisions of this section will result in nonrenewal of the registered forester license. Registered foresters whose licenses have expired for non-renewal are prohibited from identifying themselves as registered foresters and practicing professional forestry.

Rule 220-4-.02 Record Maintenance and Verification

(1) Responsibility for documenting the fulfillment of the continuing education requirements provided for in this section rests with the licensee, and the licensee must retain for a period of four years the evidence to support fulfillment of the requirements. Such evidence shall include evidence of completion of each course or program, a description of the contents of each course or program, and verification of the number of hours of each course or program; or, for other activities which meet the requirements, such documentation as to ascertain their completion.
(2) The Board will verify on a test basis satisfactory completion of the requirements in this section. In doing so, the Board may require licensees to submit copies of the documentation described in paragraph (1) above to the Board and may require other information as it deems necessary to decide upon the acceptability of a course or program. In cases where the Board determines that the requirements have not been met, the Board may grant an additional period of time in which the deficiencies may be corrected.

Rule 220-4-.03 Exemptions

The Board may relax or suspend the requirements of continuing education for reasons of individual hardship or health of the licensee based on the licensee's written request and accompanying supporting documentation.

Rule 220-4-.04 Definitions

(1) Credit Hours. Credit accrues at a rate of one hour for each hour of actual contact. This shall be known as a contact hour or clock hour. Tour or field session activities will receive credit based on actual instruction time. For providers who measure continuing education activities in "Continuing Education Units" (CEU), one CEU is defined as 10 contact hours of continuing education. Credit will not be allowed for any program which in its entirety, including question and answer periods, lasts less than thirty minutes. However, credit may be rounded down to the nearest half hour, so long as it is at least one-half hour. Credit will not be given for time spent in introductory remarks, coffee and luncheon breaks, meals, travel time for tour or field session activities or business meetings where no organized course work is presented.
(2) The Board recognizes two types of continuing education activities:
(a) Live Programs: Live programs may include educational workshops, seminars, conferences, lectures, live videoconferences or telephone broadcasts, field trips, or similar functions that involves real-time interactions with instructors and other participants in the program; and
(b) Self-Study Programs: Self-study programs may include reading professional periodicals or trade journals, correspondence courses and other distance learning through various media. Credit for text-based self study is awarded at the rate of one contact hour for 10,800 words of text, for peer reviewed publications multiply number of hours by 1.5. Credit for audiovisual self-study is awarded at the rate of one hour for each hour of material, the same as for live programs.
(3) Categories. The Board recognizes continuing forestry education categories in accordance with those of the Society of American Foresters.
(a) Category 1. Live or self-study programs in forestry or forestry related subject matter including but not limited to silviculture, mensuration, forest pest management, wildlife habitat management, urban forestry, forest policy, sustainable forest management and accreditation standards, forest investment analysis, or professional ethics. Category 1 programs must satisfy all of the following conditions:
1. It constitutes an organized program of learning (including a meeting, workshop or symposium) which contributes directly to the professional competency of foresters.
2. It deals primarily with matter directly related to the practice of forestry or to the professional responsibility or ethical obligations of foresters.
3. It is conducted by foresters or individuals who have special education, training and experience by reason of which they can be considered experts in the subject matter of the program.
4. It is conducted in a setting physically suitable to the educational objectives.
5. The subject matter is applicable to foresters in general. (Activities may be approved where attendance is limited to the members of a particular company, firm, or governmental agency but only if the subject matter is broad enough to be of interest to foresters in general.)
(b) Category 2. Live or self-study programs not specifically forestry or forestry-related but which are professionally enriching or directly benefiting the individual in his or her present position. Examples include general sessions of forestry or other professional meetings or course work in areas such as real estate, public speaking, business management, or computer science.
(c) Category 3. Professional development and volunteer activities. Category 3 activities may include professional or civic activities undertaken outside of normal job responsibilities, and are related to forestry or land use and promote the profession of forestry. Examples include participation on state or local planning boards, participation on committees that are related to forestry, or publication of original forest related article.

Rule 220-4-.05 Requirements

Minimum continuing education requirements for biennial license renewal are a total of 12 credit hours of continuing forestry education. A maximum of 3 credit hours may be obtained in Categories 2 and 3. A maximum of 3 credit hours can be obtained through approved Self-Study Programs, a minimum of 9 credit hours must be obtained through participation in Live- Study Programs. Foresters who have held their licenses for less than two years but more than one year, as described in 220-4-.01(2), must obtain 6 continuing education hours, all of these credit hours must be obtained through participation in Live - Study Programs.

Rule 220-4-.06 Approved Programs

(1) Category 1. Continuing forestry education hours may be obtained from the following providers or through independent study, so long as they conform with the requirements set out above. Providers described in paragraphs (a), (b), and (c) below will not require prior Board approval.
(a) Professional Associations. Continuing forestry education hours may be obtained by participating in activities sponsored by or approved by the Society of American Foresters or other professional associations. A properly authorized official of the professional organization shall certify the number of contact hours of educational content of each sponsored or approved activity.
(b) Educational Institutions. Continuing forestry education hours may be obtained by completing non-forestry degree or graduate level course work or by participating in continuing educational programs sponsored by or approved by educational institutions accredited by a regional body recognized by the Council on Post Secondary Accreditation. The educational institution shall certify the number of contact hours of educational content in each sponsored or approved program.
(c) Government Agencies. Continuing forestry education hours may be obtained by participating in in-service training, courses, or work-shops sponsored by federal, state or local agencies. The provider shall certify the number of contact hours of educational content in each sponsored activity.
(d) Board Approved Providers.
1. Continuing forestry education may be obtained by participating in activities sponsored by Board Approved Providers, so long as the provider was approved at the time the program was offered. Board Approved Providers may only offer programs in the topic areas for which they have been approved. The provider shall certify the number of contact hours of educational content in each continuing education activity.
2. In order to qualify for initial Board approval, to renew Board approval or to qualify for approval in additional topic areas, a provider must apply to the Board. The application must be on a Board-approved form and received in the Board office at least 90 days prior to any scheduled programs. The application must include the following:
(i) A description of the topic areas in which the provider plans to sponsor continuing education activities.
(ii) The names of all instructors currently offering continuing education activities, a description of the topic areas in which each instructor is qualified to teach along with a vita or other evidence demonstrating that each instructor is qualified in the identified topic area.
(iii) Program outlines, including instructors, objectives, schedules and instructional materials, for two continuing education activities the provider has presented or plans to present.
3. Board Approved Provider status shall expire four years from the date of approval and may be renewed by application to the Board. The Board retains the right to monitor continuing education programs sponsored by Board Approved Providers and will withdraw approval from providers who do not maintain the standards demonstrated in their application. Board Approved Providers shall notify the Board in writing of a change of address or of a decision to withdraw from Board Approved Provider status.
(2) Category 2. Standards similar to those required for Category 1 providers are expected for Category 2 providers except that the professional societies will be other than forestry related. The Board will not approve any other providers but will accept Category 2 courses approved by other state licensing boards in the appropriate specialty areas, such as engineering or geology.