Governor David Paterson signed SB 5431 into law on August 30, 2010 after the bill was rushed through the legislature. The law will require massage therapists to complete 36 hours of continuing education during each triennial registration period. Of this, a maximum of twelve hours may be self-instruction. Licensees will have to complete a prorated number of continuing education requirements in the first triennial registration period. Licensees could be granted an exemption by the department for reasons of hardship or military service.
Unfortunately the New York General Assembly ignored valid concerns repeatedly brought forth by ABMP and the massage therapy community concerning the approval process for continuing education workshops. The bill stipulates that acceptable formal continuing education be approved through a new state-based process that will require CE providers to pay a $900 fee to become approved. The excessive cost and application requirements will likely discourage many CE providers from offering courses in New York.
Another deterrent for prospective CE providers is that New York does not provide an exemption from licensure, even if teaching a class for a day, for out-of-state CE providers. All hands-on providers would have to become state-licensed in New York. Not an easy feat since the state requires 1,000 hours of entry-level education and its own state exam.
ABMP is concerned that these two deterrents will lead to limited CE providers and more costly classes for licensees than what is typical in other states that mandate CE for renewal. ABMP had asked Governor Paterson to veto the bill but were not successful. ABMP will help members stay informed as additional policies are developed by the department in consultation with the State Board for Massage Therapy.