(225 ILCS 50/8) (from Ch. 111, par. 7408)
    (Section scheduled to be repealed on January 1, 2026)
    Sec. 8. Applicant qualifications; examination.
    (a) In order to protect persons who are deaf or hard of hearing, the Department shall authorize or shall conduct an appropriate examination, which may be the International Hearing Society's licensure examination, for persons who dispense, test, select, recommend, fit, or service hearing instruments. The frequency of holding these examinations shall be determined by the Department by rule. Those who successfully pass such an examination shall be issued a license as a hearing instrument dispenser, which shall be effective for a 2-year period.
    (b) Applicants shall be:
        (1) at least 18 years of age;
        (2) of good moral character;
        (3) the holder of an associate's degree or the
    
equivalent;
        (4) free of contagious or infectious disease; and
        (5) a citizen or person who has the status as a legal
    
alien.
    Felony convictions of the applicant and findings against the applicant involving matters set forth in Sections 17 and 18 shall be considered in determining moral character, but such a conviction or finding shall not make an applicant ineligible to register for examination.
    (c) Prior to engaging in the practice of fitting, dispensing, or servicing hearing instruments, an applicant shall demonstrate, by means of written and practical examinations, that such person is qualified to practice the testing, selecting, recommending, fitting, selling, or servicing of hearing instruments as defined in this Act. An applicant must obtain a license within 12 months after passing either the written or practical examination, whichever is passed first, or must take and pass those examinations again in order to be eligible to receive a license.
    The Department shall, by rule, determine the conditions under which an individual is examined.
    (d) Proof of having met the minimum requirements of continuing education as determined by the Board shall be required of all license renewals. Pursuant to rule, the continuing education requirements may, upon petition to the Board, be waived in whole or in part if the hearing instrument dispenser can demonstrate that he or she served in the Coast Guard or Armed Forces, had an extreme hardship, or obtained his or her license by examination or endorsement within the preceding renewal period.
    (e) Persons applying for an initial license must demonstrate having earned, at a minimum, an associate degree or its equivalent from an accredited institution of higher education that is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or that meets the U.S. Department of Education equivalency as determined through a National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES) member, and meet the other requirements of this Section. In addition, the applicant must demonstrate the successful completion of (1) 12 semester hours or 18 quarter hours of academic undergraduate course work in an accredited institution consisting of 3 semester hours of anatomy and physiology of the hearing mechanism, 3 semester hours of hearing science, 3 semester hours of introduction to audiology, and 3 semester hours of aural rehabilitation, or the quarter hour equivalent or (2) an equivalent program as determined by the Department that is consistent with the scope of practice of a hearing instrument dispenser as defined in Section 3 of this Act. Persons licensed before January 1, 2003 who have a valid license on that date may have their license renewed without meeting the requirements of this subsection.
(Source: P.A. 98-827, eff. 1-1-15; 99-204, eff. 7-30-15; 99-847, eff. 8-19-16.)