(A) Candidates shall complete the professional development required under rule 173-14-04 of the Administrative Code within the following time frames:
(1) Ombudsman associates: three months after joining the program.
(2) Ombudsman specialists and ombudsman program directors: as soon as practicable and no later than fifteen months after the date of employment.
(B) A candidate may apply for an extension of time to complete the required professional development.
For an extension of time to complete professional development, the candidate shall apply through the regional program director or, if the candidate is the program director or staff or volunteer of the state office, directly to the SLTCO. The application must be received at least thirty days before the end of the period allotted for professional development, or as soon as is practicable given the occurrence of extenuating circumstances, and must state the applicant's reasons for requesting an extension of time to complete the required professional development.
The SLTCO shall approve an application if the candidate demonstrates an acceptable reason for extending the time for professional development and the candidate shows probable success for becoming certified. Acceptable reasons include, but are not limited to, illness in the immediate family, unexpected changes in the candidate's living circumstances, employment conflicting with the professional development program, and time constraints. The SLTCO shall approve or disapprove an application as soon as practicable.
(C) Except as provided in paragraph (B) of this rule, a candidate's failure to complete the required professional development, to take an examination in a timely manner, or to present an acceptable request for an extension is cause for removal as a candidate. For paid candidates, the SLTCO shall provide a notice and hearing process in accordance with the requirements found in rule 173-14-27 of the Administrative Code before removing a candidate for failure to complete the required professional development or to take an examination in a timely manner.