HOW TO SPONSOR A CE EVENT

Massachusetts

 LMFT Continuing Education Certification

I. PREFACE

The Board of Registration of Allied Mental Health Professions (the Board) regulates the profession of Marriage & Family Therapy. The Board was created in 1991 and authorized in legislation at MGL Chapter 13, Sections 88 – 90. The Rules and Regulations governing Allied Mental Health Professionals are at 262 CMR 1.00 – 9.00. Licensing provisions are at MGL Chapter 112, Sections 61 – 65 and Sections 163 – 172.

In 1994 the Board of Registration identified the “entities” that would be responsible for certifying continuing education activities acceptable to meet license renewal requirements. The Massachusetts Association for Marriage & Family Therapy, Inc. (MAMFT), a division of the American Association for Marriage & Family Therapy, Inc. was chosen as the entity for MFT’s. MAMFT published a request for proposals to subcontract the administration of its CE program. FDA/CE Certifications was chosen by MAMFT to design and implement the CE program. The following guidelines were drafted by MAMFT and FDA/CE jointly. In 2018, the Board of Registration directly authorized NEAFAST to continue its LMFT certification program, a transition that will take place in early 2019.

II. BACKGROUND

The guidelines that follow are provided by NEAFAST. They describe the policies and procedures for certification of professional continuing education programs (CE) that were designed in consultation with FDA/CE and approved by NEAFAST. MFTs who attend NEAFAST certified activities will receive credit towards Massachusetts MFT license renewal.

The goal of NEAFAST’s certification program has been to provide MFTs with topics essential for contemporary MFT practice, the widest possible geographic range and method of delivery of activities both locally and nationally, and to encourage both individual practitioners and larger educational organizations to become MFT providers. To accomplish this, the CE approval process was designed to avoid the burden of unnecessary reporting, and to maintain the lowest possible fees. Since inception in 1993 through 2017, our predecessor, FDA/CE has reviewed 15,125 activities for Massachusetts LMFTs.

III. APPROVED ACTIVITIES

Professional education providers who want their activities approved for Massachusetts MFT CE must submit an application to NEAFAST for review. Criteria for approval are described here.

However, all educational activities sponsored and administered directly by The American Association for Marriage & Family Therapy, Inc. and/or by NEAFAST are accepted as approved CE activities without the requirement of a review. For further details and updates, check with the regulatory Board.

IV. INDIVIDUAL ACTIVITY APPROVALS ONLY

All activities for LMFT CE certification are approved individually. Massachusetts does not certify organizations.

An application for certification must be submitted for each activity. Training sponsors are encouraged to submit applications for as many of planned activities as possible, in the same physical or email package.

If you're sending in multiple applications, please complete a Cover Page, and make as many copies of the application form as you need. Please email a bulk packet to [email protected]

NOTE: Send only one copy of each completed application.

Definition of “Individual Activity”: In some instances, it is not clear what constitutes an individual activity. Guidelines for conferences and multiple workshops in a series are provided below. Generally, an individual activity is defined by your program’s registration policy. An individual activity is one which has one overall title, and for which one registration gives participants entry to the entire program. Also, single activities offer a fixed amount of CE credit. If variable CE credit is offered for attending varying numbers of workshops, multiple applications may be necessary.
 
Example 1: A one-day program with a morning keynote and a separate afternoon panel discussion is considered a single activity if participants register for one program and can attend both AM and PM activities. If participants can choose from among a number of afternoon workshops, but the result is still one fixed amount of CE credits for the day, the entire program is still considered a single activity. In this case one application will cover the entire day. A single fixed amount of CE credit is offered.

Example 2: A course which meets weekly for an academic year, with one or more instructors, but which requires registration for the entire year, is considered one activity. Only a single application is needed which will cover the year’s program because only one aggregate of CE credit is being offered.

Example 3: A conference offering a “pre-conference institute” as an option for attendees will usually require two separate applications, one for the pre-conference and one for the main conference. In this case, the registration policy of the sponsor allows for variable amounts of CE credit.

V. COUNTING CONTACT HOURS

Definition of contact hour: 50 or 60 minutes of educational activity, not to include breaks or registration. Educational programing during meals is accepted as part of contact time.

Exclusions: Time spent for breaks, socializing, registration and meals must be subtracted.


Minimum number: 1 hour of activity is the minimum for certification. 


Maximum number: There is no maximum.


Undergraduate courses: Courses offered towards a bachelor’s degree do not fit the definition of “professional continuing education” and therefore ARE NOT eligible for MFT certification.


Graduate courses: Courses attended toward a master's or doctorate or other post-bachelor’s degree ARE eligible for consideration for LMFT CE certification. Participants may either attend as auditors or degree candidates.


Instructors’ CE credit: Instructors of any LMFT certified activity may count their actual face-to-face contact teaching time toward their own CE requirements for the first time that they teach one particular course. Courses must be certified for CE credit. Non-certified activities, including academic courses that were not certified, require the "Retroactive Application" in Massachusetts. Instructors should be given certificates of attendance. A maximum of 15 CE instructor hours will be granted during each renewal period.

Webcast: A webcast is a broadcast of a live event that is viewed over the internet at the time it is broadcast. Webcasts will be considered identical to live, face-to-face events if they: track registrations and participation; allow for questions by distance attendees; collect program evaluations prior to granting credit. LMFTs may count any number of CE hours in qualified webcasts toward license renewal. A webcast must obtain its own unique certification, even if the underlying live event has been certified.


On-demand, Archived and Home Study: Recorded training events viewed over the internet, or downloaded from an archive, at a time after the original broadcast, or home study programs obtained over the internet or via postal mail, are all considered “on-demand” distance learning and are treated differently, even if the broadcast is identical to the original webcast. A qualified webcast becomes “on-demand” if it is downloaded and viewed at a later time. On-demand distance learning programs can be certified for up to one year for any number of potential viewers; however, there may be limits as to the number of required CEs Massachusetts LMFTs can count toward license renewal.

VI. GRANTING CE CREDIT TO PARTICIPANTS


Attendance: Licensees who participate in certified activities are expected to attend the entire program.

Adjusted credit: At the sponsor’s discretion, licensees who do not attend the entire activity may be granted a proportional amount of CE credit, so long as they attended a minimum of 80% of the activities for which they were registered. The sponsor is responsible for documenting the participant’s attendance schedule.

Evaluations: Licensees must provide an evaluation of each activity before CE credit is offered. Activity sponsors must prepare an evaluation form which participants complete at the end of the program. These evaluations must be maintained for documentation of each licensee’s completion of the program. As a condition of MFT certification for your activity, providers must maintain these records for a minimum of five years and agree to produce them for inspection by the board as may be requested.

Certificates of Attendance: Licensees who participate in certified activities should receive CE certificates of attendance showing the number of hours of certified activities they have completed. The recommended wording on the certificates is:

“This activity has been certified by the New England Association for Family and Systemic Therapy, Inc., for professional continuing education. Certification # ______.”

The certificate should show the name and license number of the registrant, the certification number provided by NEAFAST along with the number of contact hours granted, the title of the activity, instructor(s) name, date(s) of attendance, and sponsoring organization. The certificate should be signed by an authorized representative of the sponsor.
MFT certifications may be listed on the same certificate given to participants for CE approval from other health or mental health professions. Check with the other professions to see if they will permit listing of multiple approvals on their licensee’s certificates.

It is the sponsor’s responsibility to provide certificates of attendance to participants in a timely manner. Attendance records must be maintained for a minimum of five years.

VII. MULTIPLE ACTIVITIES IN A SERIES

If your program design requires that participants register for all of the workshops or other activities in a series, and there is one overall title for the series, then only one application is needed for the entire series. An example would be a year-long course meeting once each month.

Total contact hours for the entire series should be indicated on the application. At least one qualified instructor present at each meeting must be identified. All activity meetings should be listed under “Activity Schedule” on the application. Attach additional pages as needed or include your brochure and reference it in the “Schedule” section of the application.

In some cases the program design permits participants to register for any number of activities in a series. An example would be monthly in-service trainings on a variety of topics. Participants must then be offered variable CE credit, depending on their choices. If your program design permits participants to register for less than the entire series, each meeting is then considered a separate CE activity and separate applications are required for each.

VIII. CONFERENCES

Conferences may be either single day or multi-day meetings, which contain many choices of workshops in some or all time slots. One application may be submitted for the entire conference if:
1. Participants all receive the same number of CE credit regardless of which workshops they attend; and,
2. The title and printed description include prominent references to MFT or one of the approved content areas (see Content Criteria), or if it can be documented that more than 50% of the available meetings have MFT or related content areas in their title and/or descriptions. Documentation must be submitted along with the application.
Conferences that cannot meet these criteria can still submit individual applications for any workshop for which MFT CE certification is requested.

Optional pre- and post-conference activities: These activities must be counted as separate activities and therefore require separate applications. You may choose to present your pre- or post-conference activities as a separate conference for CE certification purposes, therefore eliminating the need for additional applications for each element of the pre- or post-conference program.

Certificate of Attendance: Licensees who participate in conferences should receive CE certificates of attendance showing the number of hours of certified activities they have attended. In some cases, this number will not be the same as the total number of contact hours available at the conference. Conferences should provide an opportunity within the registration process to identify the correct number of MFT CE credits to be received by each licensee.

IX. ENCLOSURES

To ensure rapid and accurate consideration is given to your application, please be sure to enclose all of the following:

• Sponsor’s Application, (PDF copy or online copy) completed, signed and dated (one copy only).

• Bibliography or reading list relevant to each activity
.
• Sample evaluation form(s) to be completed by participants
.
• Catalog or brochure (if available)
.
• Other: Any other descriptive information which may help us evaluate the appropriateness of your program for MFTs.

• Optional: You may include either vita’s or biographical information about your instructors(s) if their qualification for teaching MFT CE activities is not immediate apparent.

• Fee: You can pay online with an online submitted application. If you are unable to make an online payment, a
check may be mailed to our office address.

• Your application will be reviewed after all enclosures, including the fee, is received.

X. INCOMPLETE OR ILLEGIBLE APPLICATIONS

We reserve the right to either return or request revisions of any application that is either incomplete or too difficult to read. A fee of $50 maximum per returned application may be charged. When possible, we will check your website or other documentation you have provided to confirm any missing information.

XI. FEES

If you intend to submit applications for more than one activity, we encourage you to prepare and submit them all in the same physical or email package. Determine your fee as follows, if you are submitting:

1. One application only (for one activity only): The fee is based on the number of contact hours you are proposing. In the chart below, go to the first column labeled “Applications Submitted.” The next 3 rows are for “1 application only, or highest contact hours...”. Select your contact hours requested in Column 2 and then the corresponding fee in Column 3.

2. More than one application (multiple activities) submitted in the same package: The fee for the activity with the highest number of contact hours is based on the amount of those contact hours you are proposing. Fees for all subsequent activities are a flat rate of $15.00.

The following chart summarizes the fee structure.

# of Applications Submitted

Contact Hours

Fee

1 application only, 

or 

highest contact hours if submitting multiple applications

1.0 - 6.0

$20.00

"

6.5 - 14.0

$35.00

"

14.5 +

$50.00

Each subsequent application, when 2 or more applications are submitted together

...any

add $15.00 per application


Application Fees

Example 1: A single activity for 14 contact hours would have a fee of $35 (Row 3, Column 3).

Example 2: A package of applications containing three separate activities offering six contact hours each, plus one activity with 24 contact hours, would have a fee calculated as follows: Since there are multiple applications, we start with the activity with the highest proposed contact hours (24 hours), which has a fee of $50 (Row 4, Column 3). The next three activities would be flat rate of $15 each (from Row 5, Column 3). The total fee would be: 1 @ $50 + 3 @ $15 = $95.

You may find it helpful to list your activities on the cover page first to determine your fee. Applications are considered incomplete without the fee enclosed. If your institution provides vouchers for scheduled payments, they may be substituted for a check, so long as payment is received within 30 days. Late payment or returned checks may result in the invalidation of any certification previously granted. Finance fee of 1.5% per month, or invoicing fees of $25 per invoice may be charged. Credit card charges may be made through our website.

XII. REPEAT ACTIVITIES

You may easily certify a repeat of a previously certified activity by sending a copy of your previous certification and a fixed fee of $20 per activity. To qualify as a repeat, the activity must begin within one year of the completion of the previously certified activity and must have the identical title, agenda, content, and instructors. The location need not be the same.

XIII. PAPERWORK REDUCTION

Alternative applications: If you have already completed the Massachusetts Social Work or Licensed Mental Health Counselor CE applications, you may substitute a copy of either of these for the completed MFT application. Send only one copy, please.

However, we will still need our cover page completed and your signature and date on at least one of the MFT application forms. You may use one MFT application and write across the top “see attached Social Work (or LMHC) application,” then sign and date where indicated.

XIV. ADDITIONAL MISCELLANEOUS INFORMATION

Instructor information: Only one qualified instructor is required for each activity. There is no need to provide information about all instructors. If your activity is certified as a conference or a series, information about only one qualified instructor is needed, so long as this person can accept responsibility for the appropriateness of the entire program for MFTs.

Transmission of applications: Please email your application and supporting documents to: [email protected]. You will receive a time-stamped auto reply confirming we have received your submission. You may also mail materials to our office address.

Certification Documents: You will receive a letter confirming certification of your activity and an identifying certification number. Turnaround for reviews emailed or faxed are 5 - 7 business days. Mailed applications will be placed in the queue when received.

Prepayment of Fees: Please send a cover letter clarifying the intended purpose of payment, if you wish to prepay fees to enable quick transmission of applications when you are close to your printing deadline.

Invoicing of Fees: NEAFAST may process applications before the fee has been received, or where an error has been made in the calculation of the fees. In this case an invoice for fees due will be included with your certification. If repeated invoicing is required, an invoicing fee may be added to the balance due. Please note that certification is not valid unless all fees are received.

XV. CE REQUIREMENTS & LICENSURE REGULATIONS

MFT licenses in Massachusetts are valid for a two-year period, and are renewed January 1 of every even year. Within each renewal cycle, MFTs must attend a total of 30 approved CE hours. Every hour must be in certified CE programs. Licensees cannot earn more than 50% of their required credit through distance learning or home study. There are currently no requirements for specific CE topics for license renewal (such as ethics or abuse).

For further details of CE and licensure regulations and to determine if there are any changes or updates to these regulations, check the Massachusetts Board of Allied Mental Health Professions.

XVI. RETROACTIVE APPROVAL FOR INDIVIDUAL LICENSEES

For individual Massachusetts MFT’s only: Individual licensees may apply for CE credit for professional mental health training they attended, if that program was not pre-certified. They may not apply prior to attendance, and if approved, credit is offered only to the individual licensee submitting the application.

By contrast, application by the program sponsor covers all attendees and eliminates any uncertainty about whether credit will be granted. See the FAQ for individual licensees on the FDA/CE website, for details.