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Optometrist


Optometry License for Optometrists

In order to legally work in any state in the United States, optometrists must have graduated from an accredited optometry school and obtain a license granted by the state’s regulatory board of optometry. To help state boards of optometry out in this process, the Association of Regulatory Boards of Optometry (ARBO) provides resources on continuing education, educational services, and streamlining of license renewals. Optometry licenses can be obtained in two ways; through an initial application by examination or through reciprocity or endorsement, which means endorsement from another state in which the applicant already has a license. States also require a license or certification for Therapeutic Pharmaceutical Agents (TPAs) in order to administer, prescribe, and dispense medication and Diagnostic Pharmaceutical Agents (DPAs) to obtain and use certain diagnostic drugs. Some states also require certification in the treatment of Glaucoma. Obtaining a license has varying requirements and fees from state to state, but there are some common elements present in most states.



License Examinations

The National Board of Examiners in Optometry examination is one of the major licensing requirements that all states have for optometrists. All 50 states and Puerto Rico require the passing of Part I and II of the examination, and the majority of states also require Part III. Some state regulatory boards require a score of at least 75 on certain parts of the examination. NBEO’s Treatment and Management of Ocular Disease (TMOD) examination along with classroom and clinical hours may also be required to obtain TPA and DPA certifications. The states also have their own examinations: written, practical, pharmacology, and jurisprudence. Internships may also be required as part of the licensing process.

Other Documentations

Other documentations for state optometrist licenses include official academic transcripts from high school, undergraduate work, and an optometry school. For license through reciprocity, an affidavit or certificate of verification from the board of optometry where the license was held also needs to be obtained. A CPR card, fingerprint cards, and letters of recommendation may also be required.

Fees

Expect to pay anywhere from $200 to $1,000 for optometrist license fees depending on the state. Some states charge an application fee, TPA certification fee, and other additional fees as well. Some states charge for examination fees when required and can be very costly. North Carolina charges around $800 for their practical exam. States generally have laws setting a maximum amount that can be charged for licensing and are always changing fees to meet the board’s needs.

License Renewal

Each state has its own term for license renewals, ranging from 1 year to 3 years, and has standards for renewals regarding continuing education credits. All states require some type of continuing education for optometristss and can range from 20 to 60 credit hours for the length of the license or for a specified term. Continuing education courses must be approved by the specific state and each state has unique standards for types of courses that are required. The page optometry continuing education provides more detail on the issue.

Council on Endorsed Licensure Mobility for Optometrists (CELMO)

The Council on Endorsed Licensure Mobility for Optometrists, or CELMO, is a subcommittee set up by the ARBO to try and adopt a system much like Canada’s COAS, that will lessen the burden on both applicants and states during the approval of optometrist licenses. Each state has its own rules and some do not regard CELMO as a determining factor in granting a license, but the program is still a step towards mobility in licensing of optometrists. The CELMO program has strict guidelines on continuing education, much like the COPE system that most states already consider adequate for continuing education. The importance of CELMO is likely to increase as state optometry boards look for ways to cut back on expenses of checking individual applicants on some requirements and instead, rely on this system.

State License Requirement List

Here is a list of some of the state requirements. Some of these requirements may have changed and may have not been updated on this page, so please check the states website for accurate information. Official transcripts, a criminal background check, a current photo, CPR certification, letters of recommendation, and a photocopy of optometry diploma are generally required by all state boards. Most states also have TPA and DPA certification or license requirements which are not mentioned here.

State Board of Optometry List:

Alabama
Annual license, NBEO part I, II, and III, Alabama Board of Optometry written exam and protocol for use of pharmaceutical agents

Alaska
Biennial license, NBEO part I, II, and III, TMOD and TPA Endorsement, Alaska State Optometry Law Examination

Arizona
Biennial license, NBEO part I, II, and III, TMOD, Jurisprudence Examination

Arkansas
Annual license, NBEO part I, II, and III, TMOD, Jurisprudence and Optometric Physician Certification written examination, 100 hours internship

California
Biennial license, NBEO part I, II, and III, California Laws and Regulations Examination

Colorado
Biennial license, NBEO part I, II, and III, TMOD, Jurisprudence Examination (Take Home part of application)

Connecticut
Annual license, NBEO Part I Basic Science, Part II Clinical Science and all three components of the Part III Patient Care, TMOD

Delaware
Biennial license, NBEO part I, II, and III, TMOD, CPR certification, 6-month internship in optometry

District of Columbia
Biennial license, NBEO part I, II, and III, TMOD

Florida
Biennial license, NBEO part I, II, TMOD, 1 year of supervised experience of optometric experience diagnosing eye disorders and diseases, Florida Examination covering laws and rules, pharmacology, and a clinical

Georgia
Biennial license, NBEO part I, II, and III, TMOD, Georgia Optometry Laws & Rules Exam

Hawaii
Biennial license, NBEO part I, II, and III

Idaho
Annual license, NBEO part I, II, and III, Open book Rule and Law test

Illinois
Biennial license, NBEO part I, II, and III, TMOD

Indiana
Biennial license, NBEO part I, II, and III, TMOD, jurisprudence examination

Iowa
Biennial license, NBEO part I, II, and III, TMOD, official academic transcripts

Kansas
Biennial license, NBEO part I, II, and III, TMOD, all 3 character references, Kansas written test, clinical test, and law test

Kentucky
Annual license, NBEO part I, II, and III, TMOD, State Law Exam, 2 letters of recommendation

Louisiana
Annual license, NBEO part I, II, state practical exam

Maine
Annual license, NBEO part I, II, and III, TMOD, oral exam, written law exam

Maryland
Biennial license, NBEO part I, II, and III, TMOD, 4 letters of recommendation, Maryland Optometry Law exam

Massachusetts
Annual license, NBEO part I, II, and III, TMOD, Jurisprudence examination

Michigan
Biennial license, NBEO part I, II, and III, 32-question jurisprudence examination part of application

Minnesota
Annual license, NBEO part I, II, and III, 2 letters moral reference, state law exam

Mississippi
Biennial license, NBEO part I, II, and III, TMOD, State examination with pharmacology section and written jurisprudence section

Missouri
Biennial license, NBEO part I, II, and III, TMOD, Missouri law exam, TPA certification

Montana
annual license, NBEO part I, II, and III, TMOD, 3 letters moral reference

Nebraska
Biennial license, NBEO part I, II, and III, TMOD, jurisprudence examination

Nevada
Annual license, NBEO part I, II, and III, Nevada Law Examination

New Hampshire
Annual license, NBEO part I, II, and III, TMOD, jurisprudence examination, 2 letters of recommendation from practicing doctors of optometry

New Jersey
Biennial license, NBEO part I, II, and III, TMOD

New Mexico
Annual license, NBEO part I, II, and III, TMOD, Jurisprudence exam on the New Mexico Optometry Act and the Optometry Board's Rules and Regulations, Clinical Practicum

New York
3 year license, NBEO part I, II, and III, TMOD, Mandated Training Related to Child Abuse and Training Related to Infection Control

North Carolina
Annual license, NBEO part I, II, TMOD, Clinical practicum exam

North Dakota
Annual license, NBEO part I, II, and III, TMOD, North Dakota Jurisprudence Examination

Ohio
Annual license, NBEO part I, II, and III, TMOD,   2 hour Law Seminar

Oklahoma
Annual license, NBEO part I, II, and III, Laser Therapy for the Anterior Segment Course offered by Northeastern State University, Oklahoma State Board Exams

Oregon
Annual license, NBEO part I, II, and III, TMOD, Oregon Law and Administrative Rules Exam

Pennsylvania
Biennial license, NBEO part I, II, and III, TMOD

Rhode Island
Annual license, NBEO part I, II, and III, TMOD, clinical therapeutic training

South Carolina
Biennial license, NBEO part I, II, and III, TMOD, online jurisprudence examination

South Dakota
Annual license, NBEO part I, II, and III, TMOD, State Law and Ethics Exam

Tennessee
Biennial license, NBEO part I, II, and III, TMOD, 2 letters of reference from optometrist, mail-in open book jurisprudence examination

Texas
Annual license, NBEO part I, II, and III, TMOD, jurisprudence examination

Utah
Biennial license, NBEO part I, II, and III, TMOD, take-home Utah Optometry Law and Rules Examination

Vermont
Biennial license, NBEO part I, II, and III, TMOD

Virginia
Annual license, NBEO part I, II, and III, TMOD

Washington
Annual license, NBEO part I, II, and III, TMOD, 2 letters of recommendation, state jurisprudence questionnaire part of application, four hours HIV/AIDS training

West Virginia
Biennial license, NBEO part I, II, and III, TMOD, state board exam consisting of oral optometry related questions and law questions

Wisconsin
Biennial license, NBEO part I, II, and III, jurisprudence examination

Wyoming
Annual license, NBEO part I, II, and III, TMOD, state written exam and jurisprudence examination

 
 

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