Oregon has struggled to find the right set of CE requirements. Since 2010, there have been two attempts to correct problems, but the program continues to be criticized.
The following article was written by CCB Administrator James Denno for the Summer 2016 CCB newsletter.
Since first requiring continuing education (CE) for contractors in 2010, Oregon has struggled to find the right set of requirements that are meaningful for contractors without being onerous. Since 2010, there have been two attempts to correct problems with the requirements for residential contractors. The most recent version of the requirements took effect January 1, 2014.
Since then, contractors have continued to criticize the program. Common complaints are that courses are not relevant, choices of courses and providers are too limited, and costs are too high. We have also heard from stakeholder groups and legislators, many of whom share these same frustrations. We have been listening to you!
We decided to conduct a survey to see what changes we could make that would result in a meaningful CE program that contractors would value. The main themes from the results of the survey were: contractors want to choose the courses they feel are most helpful and relevant to their work; they want more choices of providers where they can take courses; they want exemptions from some requirements if they are required to complete CE for other licenses they hold; and they want to see the costs reduced.
The Board approved a course of action to amend the CE requirements to accomplish these changes, which requires a combination of rule changes and legislation to change the law. The rule changes took effect July 1.
In the new rules, we have expanded CE exemptions for contractors who have electrical, plumbing, master builder, landscape contractor, home inspector, or architect and engineer licenses.
To accomplish the rest of the necessary changes to the CE requirements, we have introduced legislation for the 2017 legislature. If the legislation is successful, it will allow the CCB to give our courses free of charge (eliminating the $45 for three hours contractors now pay); it will give contractors more choice over the courses they want to take; and it will allow participation of more CE providers by eliminating the provider fees. We may need to request a modest increase in the contractor license fee to replace lost revenue from the CE program. We are currently developing our budget for 2017- 19 to determine if this will be necessary.
We are listening to you! We will keep you informed. If you have comments on continuing education, feel free to share your thoughts with us. You can reach our Education section at 503-934-2227. Meanwhile, the details of the July 1 rule changes are as follows:
Exemptions from continuing education: As of July 1, this is a summary of all contractors that are now exempt from continuing education. This list applies to both residential and commercial contractors.
- Architects (if an owner or officer is a licensed architect)
- Developers • Engineers (if an owner or officer is a licensed engineer)
- Electricians (if an owner, officer or employee is a licensed plumber)
- Plumbers (if an owner, officer or employee is a licensed plumber)
- Boiler contractors
- Elevator contractors
- Renewable energy contractor
- Pump installation contractors
- Limited sign contractors
- Landscape contractors who are construction contractors
- Home inspectors (must still complete continuing education for the home inspector certification but no longer for the CCB license)
- Master builders (if actively licensed as such through the Building Codes Division)
Pre-license education: These two changes affect the pre-licensure program.
- Timeline for applying for a CCB license: Applicants must apply for their license within two years of the date they pass the exam. (The former rule gave contractors two years from the date they completed training to apply for a CCB license.)
- Optional path to contractor licensure: The CCB now accepts the National Association of State Contractors Licensing Agencies (NASCLA) contractor exam. Applicants still must pass the Oregon pre-licensure exam but do not have to take the 16-hour pre-licensure training.
Home inspectors: The CCB grants hour-for-hour continuing education credit for home inspectors who host “ride alongs” for home inspector applicants. Find a form on the CCB website that must be signed by both the hosting home inspector and the home inspector-in-training.