How To Apply For An NPI Number for Optometry

Nov 14, 2013
3 min read

Here is a step-by-step guide to get your NPI Number. NPI = National Provider Identifier, it's a 10-digit identification number for health care providers.


What is an NPI Number?

It’s simple, an NPI = National Provider Identifier. It is a unique 10-digit identification number issued to health care providers in the USA by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

Why do you need an NPI Number?

  • Because health care plans are required to identify you, an optometrist, by your NPI number. Also you must have an NPI for use in all HIPAA transactions.
  • You can use it as an identifier on prescriptions, although your NPI is NOT your license number.
  • Your EMR system can identify you and the patient records you worked on with this NPI number.
  • To keep a record of any unlawful activity as a health care practitioner.

Is my NPI Number public?

How to Apply for your NPI number

  1. Visit this website to apply for your NPI number
  2. Follow the link “to register for an NPI”
  3. Follow all the prompts, it is quite easy
  4. You may enter as many “taxonomies” as you see fit
  5. Copy down your tracking number
  6. Wait for your NPI number by e-mail

There is a place where you can apply for an NPI as a student, pre-licensed, in the event you need to get a head-start on things.

If Applying as a Student:

On the “taxonomy” part of the application, instead of putting “optometrist”, use option “390200000X Student in an Organized Health Care Education/Training Program” and it will allow a newly graduated doctor to proceed.

NPI screenshot 2.png

Around October 2013 the NPI system was updated. The recent updates have streamlined access when it comes to managing your information in NPPES, PECOS, and HITECH. The main ones for ODs are NPPES (for your NPI number) and PECOS (for getting you on Medicare).

Once you are finished getting your NPI Number, it is time to do the following

How long will this process take for my NPI Number?

According to the NPPES, between 1 – 20 days.

What do they ask for in the application for my NPI Number?

  • Information Required for Individual Providers
  • Provider Name
  • SSN (or ITIN if not eligible for SSN)
  • Provider Date of Birth
  • Country of Birth
  • State of Birth(if Country of Birth is U.S.)
  • Provider Gender
  • Mailing Address
  • Practice Location Address and Phone Number
  • Taxonomy (Provider Type)
  • State License Information
  • Contact Person Name
  • Contact Person Phone Number and E-mail

FAQ about NPI Number

  1. You can add new practice locations to your NPI as you go, just visit to update your profile!
  2. Your user ID can be letters, this question was a little confusing
  3. They ask, “are you a sole proprietor” – which basically means, are you an employee of a company and filled out a w4 form, or are you working as an independent contractor / sole proprietor / filled out a w9 / recieved a 1099 Tax form.

How do I contact NPPES?

Here you go!

  • 1-800-465-3203 (NPI Toll-Free)
  • 1-800-692-2326 (NPI TTY)
  • PO Box 6059
  • Fargo, ND 58108-6059

Do you have any questions about this? Our entire team will help you if you post in the comments below!

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About Matt Geller, OD

Matt Geller, OD is the co-founder and CEO of CovalentCreative - an independently owned, eyecare professional-only, digital marketing agency that provides content, creative, and technology services for forward-thinking eyecare organizations. CovalentCreative is the parent company of - a digital …

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