Section 197. (a) Beginning July 1, 2000, no person shall identify, present or otherwise portray himself as a hearing instrument specialist or practice hearing aid dispensing in the commonwealth unless he is licensed by the board or is an audiologist in the commonwealth, whichever of the registrations is appropriate to the training of the individual; provided, however, that the provisions of this section shall not apply to: (i) persons who only repair or manufacture hearing aids or their accessories, or both; or (ii) persons who engage in the sale of assisted listening devices or systems but not in the dispensing of hearing aids.
(b) An audiologist engaged in the practice of hearing aid dispensing shall be exempt from registration as a hearing instrument specialist in the commonwealth and shall remain under the jurisdiction of the board of registration for speech-language pathology and audiology, pursuant to section 138 of chapter 112.
(c) A person who desires to be licensed as a hearing instrument specialist shall apply to the board in writing on an application form prescribed and furnished by the board. When the application is filed, an applicant for registration shall pay to the board a fee which shall be set by the secretary of administration and finance.
(d) The board shall register as a hearing instrument specialist each applicant who meets the requirements set forth in this section. The board shall issue to each person so registered a certificate of registration. Each such licensed hearing instrument specialist shall conspicuously display such certificate in his place of business. Original and duplicate certificates shall be issued by the board for a reasonable fee to a registrant operating or working in more than one location. Each such hearing instrument specialist shall be issued a license stating that the undersigned is a registered hearing instrument specialist. The registered hearing instrument specialist shall present his license to a customer when dispensing hearing instruments outside of his place of business.
(e) The term of the registration issued by the board shall be two years from the date of issuance. Notwithstanding the foregoing, each license originally issued to an individual shall be valid until April first of the odd numbered year next occurring more than 24 months from the date of issuance. Each licensee shall pay to the board a fee which shall be set by the secretary of administration and finance. Renewal dates for other related registrations shall be set by the board. The renewal of a hearing instrument specialist license shall be contingent upon compliance with the continuing education requirements and standards of practice as determined by the board and defined in rules and regulations.
(f) To be eligible for registration by the board as a hearing instrument specialist, an applicant shall:
(1) be at least 18 years of age;
(2) have a high school diploma or its equivalent;
(3) be of good moral character;
(4) have successfully completed a board approved 12 month apprenticeship, including completion of the apprentice training program and supervised work experience, and meet one of the following criteria:
(i) hold current certification as a hearing instrument specialist from a board approved, nationally recognized body certifying hearing instrument specialists; or
(ii) pass a written or electronic examination approved by the board and designed to test competencies and knowledge needed in hearing aid fitting and dispensing; and
(5) pay the appropriate fee set by the secretary of administration and finance.
(g) An individual who has been in the practice of dispensing hearing aids within the commonwealth for more than three years full-time prior to July 1, 1999, shall be excluded from the requirement in clause (4) of subsection (f) provided that the applicant: (1) satisfies the board that he has dispensed hearing aids with accepted professional practice standards; (2) satisfies the board that he is of good moral character; and (3) pays the appropriate fee.