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The Ultimate Guide to Continuing Education For Optometrists

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47 min read
We’ve updated our guide to continuing education for optometrists: the requirements for each state, where to get it, and how much it costs!
The Ultimate Guide to Continuing Education For Optometrists
When it comes to continuing education for optometrists there are many resources available to meet your state's requirements. It can be difficult to know where to obtain continuing education let alone understand what is required for licensure renewal in your state.
Continuing education (CE) is defined by the Association of Regulatory Boards of Optometry (ARBO) as the primary method used by optometric regulatory boards to promote the continuing competence of licensed optometrists. The Council on Optometric Practitioner Education (COPE) was created by ARBO to accredit continuing education on behalf of optometric licensing boards. Fifty two licensing boards accept COPE accredited courses toward maintenance of licensure.

The pandemic changed...and continues to change CE

While CE credit used to be relatively simple and divided into categories of “live” and “online,” the pandemic revolutionized this approach. In 2020, ARBO modified the rules for obtaining COPE-approved CE after live events were canceled due to the COVID-19 virus. As a result, COPE administrators and providers were allowed to authorize “live” COPE CE credit for events held in an “online interactive” format. Due to continued state restrictions and CDC guidelines, COPE extended the rule modification until December 31, 2021, which validated COPE’s commitment that the quality of education is more important than the location of the course.
COPE Accreditation is based on developing CE activities around optometrists’ educational needs and professional practice gaps in conjunction with assessing outcomes and applying quality improvement measures.
On October 29, 2021, COPE announced a transition period to determine the next steps for online interactive distance learning that would last until June 30, 2022; this transition period has been extended to December 31, 2022. During this time, the COPE Governing Committee will be conducting extensive research, factoring in the improvements in learning technology, and compiling feedback from stakeholders to determine what permanent changes are in order. Post-course tests will NOT be required for COPE-accredited interactive courses/activities during this transition period.

What is online interactive distance learning?

“Online interactive distance learning” is defined by COPE as a course with synchronous learning—meaning the students and instructors are attending at the same time so that students have immediate interaction with the instructor, such as in a live webinar. The learning must take place in real time; once the class is finished, the learners should no longer be participating. In addition, though a post-course is not required, instructors must have a way to verify attendance.

As opposed to enduring distance learning

Enduring distance learning courses, such as recorded webinars without an interactive component, are considered asynchronous learning. As such, post-course testing, which has been pre-approved by a school of optometry, medicine, pharmacy or osteopathy, is required upon completion.
There are a multitude of opportunities out there to embrace continuous learning, and it makes all of us better at what we do. It’s also a perfect time to meet colleagues, discover new mentors, and explore future career opportunities.

Revisions in COPE Categories

As of January 2022, the four COPE categories are clinical optometry (A), ocular disease (B), related systemic disease (C), and optometric business management (D). Additions and clarifications were made to several areas, as are noted below.

A) Clinical optometry includes:

  • Contact Lenses (CL)
  • Functional Vision/Pediatrics (FV): Additions of neuro-optometric rehabilitation from acquired brain injury, strabismus/amblyopia in relation to binocular vision, and visual processing and vision therapy.
  • General Optometry (GO)
  • Low Vision/Vision Impairment & Rehabilitation (LV): Now includes models of care based on a team approach and case management.
  • Public Health (PB): Additions of diversity, equity, and inclusion, as well as the expansion of infectious disease, epidemiology, and social epidemiology.

B) Ocular disease includes:

  • Glaucoma (GL)
  • Injection Skills (IS): Now specified as instruction and clinical training in ocular injection.
  • Laser Procedures (LP): Additions of gonioplasty, YAG PC, iridoplasty.
  • Peri-Operative Management of Ophthalmic Surgery (PO): Now encompassing refractive surgery with courses in PRK, RK and LASIK patients, corneal refractive surgery, etc.
  • Surgery Procedures (Optometric) (SP)
  • Treatment & Management of Ocular Disease (TD)

C) Related systemic disease includes:

  • Neuro-Optometry (NO): Addition of traumatic bran injury as an example.
  • Pharmacology (PH): Now defined as "the study of the actions, interactions and proper uses of medications in human biological systems."
  • Systemic Disease (SD): Additions of autoimmune disease and non-ocular cancers.

D) Optometric business management includes:

  • Practice Management (PM): Now includes leadership, marketing, social media, and patient communication.
  • Ethics/Jurisprudence (EJ): Additions to examples of compliance and adoption of emerging technologies.

Costs of continuing education for optometrists

Ultimately, the cost of CE varies dramatically.
Online CE tends to cost around $30/credit hour while live CE tends to cost more money, especially after you have factored in travel and lodging expenses.

Here's my approach to acquire CE as cost effectively as possible:

  1. Understand how many credits of CE you can obtain online per your state's rules and regulations.
  2. Use an online resource that offers CE at an affordable price (Clinical & Refractive Optometry is a great option as well as Review of Optometry) and max those hours out. There are many organizations—including Eyes On Eyecare—that offer events with free COPE-approved CE, as well! (Sometimes these online journals will offer free CE!)
  3. Attend your Local Society meetings and obtain CE. Our local society in Western PA holds 4 meetings a year and generally offers 2-4 credits per meeting. Those add up quickly over the course of 2 years! The best part - it is free for members!
  4. Check out opportunities for continuing education offered by large practices in your area or laser corrective centers. TLC Laser Eye Center holds CE meetings several times a year where you can get live in person COPE-approved CE for next to nothing. Additionally, some ophthalmology groups in my area host CE conferences throughout the year, once again for next to nothing!
  5. Attend one of those big 6 conferences to knock out the remaining CE credit requirements and hang out with your old friends, and make some new ones!

Types of continuing education for optometrists

  • Online interactive: As the quickest and easiest way to obtain CE, it's easy to understand why online courses are becoming more and more popular. With this being said, many states have a restriction on the number of hours you can obtain online!

Below are a few websites to check out for CE that qualifies for COPE "online interactive" credit:

Keep in mind, most optometry schools have online CE available too - check out their websites!
  • Print: Much more popular before there was the internet, many publications still offer printed CE. One drawback is the time it takes to mail in your answers to the CE quiz (which validates that you actually read the article). Still, next time you're reading your favorite eye care publication, be sure to look between the pages to see if they are offering any free printed CE!
Depending on your state, the restrictions on how many CE hours may be completed online or via correspondence might have changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent COPE changes to CE regulations. Please make sure to check with your state optometry board for details.
NOTE: ARBO has issued a temporary Transition Period until June 30, 2022, in response to the travel restrictions and emergency orders related to COVID-19 and the gradual return of live events.

Places to get continuing education for optometrists

Below are the Big 6 when it comes to continuing education for optometrists—the conferences and meetings where you will undoubtedly find many of your colleagues. are the Big 6 when it comes to continuing education for optometrists—the conferences and meetings where you will undoubtedly find many of your colleagues.

The Big 6

1. Eyes On® events

In the wake of COVID, some new virtual opportunities for CE are on the rise. Chief among them are the Eyes On® events. The Eyes On events equip ODs with free continuing education, live talks with optometry’s leading experts, sneak peeks at upcoming trends from executive leaders, virtual vendor booths, surprise keynote speakers, and a hefty dose of fun and inspiration.
Themed as forward-looking shows to help optometrists and eyecare professionals anticipate and plan for the coming year, the Eyes On shows feature a best-in-class, COPE-approved educational program with clinical insights and cutting-edge education for today’s optometrist. This year's shows will include Eyes On Dry Eye, Eyes On Glaucoma, and Eyes On 2023.
Eyes On Dry Eye 2022 will be held March 4-6, 2022. Register now to attend!

2. Optometry's Meeting

The 125th Annual AOA Congress & 54th Annual AOSA Conference: Optometry’s Meeting® will be held in Chicago, Illinois, June 15-18, 2022.
Featuring more than 200 accredited hours, education highlights include:
  • Current Research that You Should Incorporate into Your Mode of Practice Now!
  • Schools & Colleges of Optometry Alumni Receptions
  • A Celebration of Optometry at Cardinals Nation
  • OD Crossfire Series
  • Interactive Education
  • Hands-On Workshops
  • Specialty Education
  • Poster Sessions and More!
One of the main draws to Optometry's Meeting is access to advocacy through the AOA's House of Delegates. This is known as optometry’s main governing body that has helped lead the advancement of our profession for over a century. It is a major reason why we are still a profession today. We'll see you there!

3. Vision Expo East & Vision Expo West

Held twice a year, the Vision Expo meetings are not to be missed!Vision Expo East will take place March 31-April 3, 2022 in New York, NY while Vision Expo West will be held in Las Vegas, NV, September 14-17, 2022.
The amount of ODs in attendance is amazing, and that demographic continues to include younger and younger ODs. According to Tom Loughran, group vice president of Reed Exhibitions, millennial interest and activity foreshadow the direction in which eyewear, eyecare professionals, and eyecare businesses are headed.
"The millennial population learns, communicates and operates in new ways, and businesses need to consider this. We are in the middle of a digital movement that is captivating to all generations, in an evolution of our overall marketing and customer experience strategies."
--Tom Loughran

4. Academy

Academy 2022 will be held October 26-29, 2022 in San Diego, CA and will feature valuable content, from symposia to posters, workshops, and more. The Academy is known to many as the top meeting for high-quality CE. Held each fall, this meeting had over 300 hours of content offered in 2021.

5. SECO

Each winter, thousands of ODs meet in Atlanta for SECO. This year's meeting from March 9-13, 2022 will include both live and virtual continuing education. Virtual education will include 40 courses and 66 hours of CE over five days, including COPE-approved online interactive courses, and ABO- and NCLE-approved courses for opticians, CL technicians, and AOS paraoptometrics.

6. ARVO

This joint ophthalmology/optometry meeting is held each spring and is known to be where the latest and greatest in eye and vision research is presented. The 2022 meeting will be held live in Denver, Colorado on May 1-4, 2022 and online everywhere from May 11-12, 2022. The theme of the 2022 Annual Meeting speaks to how great challenges in vision science can be overcome by collaboration and free sharing of ideas within interdisciplinary teams. The list of accredited sessions will be posted in April, 2022.

Continuing education for optometrists by state

(Courtesy of ARBO and Reproduced with Permission)
Note: In many states, Non-TPA guidelines are not applicable/addressed; this is represented by —.

Alabama

Requirement TPA NON-TPA
PHARMACOLOGY or OCULAR DISEASE 1010
CORRESPONDENCE or INTERNET Up to 3 Up to 3
PRACTICE MANAGEMENT Up to 3 Up to 3
Total Required Hours: 2014
Timeframe (in years) for CE Requirements: 11

Alaska

Requirement TPA NON-TPA
OCULAR PATHOLOGY or PHARMACOLOGY Up to 24 Up to 12
CORRESPONDENCE or INTERNET Up to 10 Up to 10
PRACTICE MANAGEMENT Up to 3 Up to 3
Total Required Hours: 40 24
Timeframe (in years) for CE Requirements: 22
Other requirements:
  • 7 hours of Injection education every 4 years.
  • 8 hours of Use and Prescription of Pharmaceutical Agents every 4 years.
  • Both can be included in the 36 hours of CE.

Arizona

Requirement TPA
PHARMACOLOGY or OCULAR DISEASE 8
CORRESPONDENCE or INTERNET Up to 12
PRACTICE MANAGEMENT Up to 4
Total Required Hours: 32
Timeframe (in years) for CE Requirements: 2
Other requirements:
  • Date of renewal is determined by Birth mm/dd. Licensee must renew their license every other year on or before his/her birthday.
  • Licensee may claim one credit hour of continuing education for each day of instruction in a full-time program approved under R4-21-207, or for less than a full-time program on a pro-rata basis.
  • No more than 4 hours of approved CE are claimed for publishing or presenting a paper, report, or book that deals with current developments, skills, procedures, or treatments related to the practice of the profession of optometry.
  • No more than one (1) hour of CE requirements shall be claimed for obtaining CPR certification.
  • No jurisprudence or practice management courses are accepted that are "state specific" to a state that is not Arizona.

Arkansas

Requirement TPA NON-TPA
JURISPRUDENCE Up to 1 Up to 1
CORRESPONDENCE or INTERNET Up to 8* Up to 8*
PRACTICE MANAGEMENT Up to 4 Up to 4
Total Required Hours: 20 12
Timeframe (in years) for CE Requirements: 11
Other requirements:
  • 1 hour of Arkansas Jurisprudence required.
  • *Only 4 hours of correspondence courses allowed from magazines.
  • Arkansas requires COPE accreditation for all out of state CE courses.

California

Requirement TPA NON-TPA
OCULAR DISEASE or OCULAR PHARMACOLOGY or GLAUCOMA50 40
CORRESPONDENCE or INTERNET Up to 20 Up to 20
PRACTICE MANAGEMENT 00
Total Required Hours: 50 40
Timeframe (in years) for CE Requirements: 22
Other requirements:
  • California bases the CE period on the licensee's month of birth.
  • California does not accept Practice Management Courses.
  • Optometrists who are TPG or TLG certified to follow the same continuing education requirements as a TPA certified optometrists, with one additional requirement.
  • Licensed optometrists that are glaucoma certified are required to complete 10 hours of glaucoma specific continuing education every license renewal period. These 10 hours shall be part of the 35 hours on the diagnosis and treatment and management of ocular disease.

Colorado

Requirement TPA
CORRESPONDENCE or INTERNET Up to 8
PRACTICE MANAGEMENT Up to 4
Total Required Hours: 24
Timeframe (in years) for CE Requirements: 2
Other requirements:
  • One hour of CE credit may be obtained for every two hours of observation at a clinical facility which specializes in eye care that is staffed by professors or adjunct professors from optometry or ophthalmology at accredited optometry or medical schools. Only 4 hours of CE may be earned by this method in each 24-month cycle.
  • Practice management topics or drug companies' sales pitches are not acceptable; study groups are also not acceptable.

Connecticut

Requirement TPA
INTERNET or CORRESPONDENCE or SELF STUDY Up to 6
PRACTICE MANAGEMENT Up to 6
Total Required Hours: 20
Timeframe (in years) for CE Requirements: 1
Other requirements:
  • Not less than six hours in any of the following areas: Pathology, detection of diabetes and ocular treatment; and not less than six hours in treatment as it applies to the use of ocular agents-T.
  • Coursework shall be provided through direct, live instruction that the licensee physically attends either individually or as part of a group of participants or through a formal home study or distance learning program. Not more than six hours shall be earned through a home study or other distance learning program and not more than six hours shall be in practice management.
  • Qualifying continuing education activities include, but are not limited to, courses offered or approved by the Council on Optometric Practitioner Education (COPE) of the Association of Regulatory Boards of Optometry, the American Optometric Association or state or local optometry associations and societies that are affiliated with the American Optometric Association, a hospital or other health care institution, a school or college of optometry or other institution of higher education accredited or recognized by the Council on Optometric Practitioner Education or the American Optometric Association, a state or local health department, or a national, state or local medical association.
  • The Department does not approve continuing education courses, pre-approve specific coursework for individual licensees or maintain a list of continuing education courses.
  • Each licensee applying for license renewal, except a licensee applying for a license renewal for the first time, shall sign a statement attesting that he or she has satisfied the continuing education requirements on the annual renewal application.

Delaware

Requirement TPA NON-TPA
OCULAR DISEASE or OCULAR PATHOLOGY 20 Not Specified
SELF REPORTED STUDY Up to 6* Up to 2*
PRACTICE MANAGEMENT Up to 6 Not Specified
Total Required Hours: 3012
Timeframe (in years) for CE Requirements: 2 2
Other requirements:
  • All therapeutically-licensed optometrists must also maintain current CPR certifications for both children and adults throughout the licensure period.*COPE-Accredited Self-Reported Study may include:
    • Reading of Optometric journals
    • Optometric tape journals
    • Optometric audiovisual material
    • Other materials given prior approval by the Board.
  • Proof of completion from the sponsoring agency is required for credit.
  • Any new licensee shall be required to complete continuing education equivalent to one hour for each month between the date of licensure and the biennial renewal date.
  • The first twelve (12) hours of pro-rated continuing education must be in the treatment and management of ocular disease

Florida

Requirement TPA
CEE -OCULAR DISEASE or PHARMACOLOGY or OCULAR PHARMACOLOGY 6
MEDICAL ERRORS 2
LAWS AND RULES 2
JURISPRUDENCE 2*
Total Required Hours: 30
Timeframe (in years) for CE Requirements: 2
Other requirements:
  • *A licensed practitioner may earn two hours in Florida jurisprudence by attending a meeting of the Board for no less than four (4) continuous hours.

Georgia

Requirement TPA
JURISPRUDENCE 1
GRAND ROUNDS Up to 8*
CORRESPONDENCE or INTERNET Up to 10*
PRACTICE MANAGEMENT Up to 10*
Total Required Hours: 36
Timeframe (in years) for CE Requirements: 2
Other requirements:
  • Practice management 10 hrs (must be related to patient care)
  • Jurisprudence 1 hr (only 1 hr approved if licensee has multiple hours in this category - not required if licensee is not practicing in GA)
  • Grand rounds up to 8 hrs (1 hr of credit for 2 hrs of work)
  • Total required hours 36 (beginning in the 3rd year of licensing, 18 hrs if licensed in the 1st year of the current biennium. No hrs required if licensed in the 2nd year of the biennium)
  • CPR: Current CPR certification is required, no specific number of hours. Not included in the required 36 hours of CE
  • Other requirements:
    • Georgia has Pre-Approved CE courses given by the Schools and Colleges of Optometry, AOA, GOA, any AOA state affiliate, SOPO, SECO, ABO, AAO and any COPE-approved courses.
    • Ophthalmologic courses via the Medical College of Georgia, Emory University, Mercer University and Morehouse College are Pre-Approved with a maximum of 10 hours allowed from these providers per biennium.
    • 18 of the 36 required hours must be in topics related to ophthalmic pharmacology and pathology.
    • Georgia prefers that licensees submit their CE coursework to the ARBO OE TRACKER system. The OE TRACKER system is used to perform biennial audits of CE performance. If the licensee does not use OE TRACKER, he/she must submit evidence of CE performance via paper records in the event of an audit.
    • Licensees should retain CE records for a minimum of 3 years from the date of attendance.

Hawaii

Requirement TPA NON-TPA
CORRESPONDENCE or INTERNET Up to 9 Up to 8
Total Required Hours: 3632
Timeframe (in years) for CE Requirements: 22
Other requirements:
  • 36 hours of Treatment and Management of Ocular Disease (TMOD) CE is required for TPA certified Optometrists

Idaho

Requirement TPA NON-TPA
PHARMACOLOGY or OCULAR DISEASE 66
CORRESPONDENCE or INTERNET Up to 9 Up to 9
Total Required Hours: 1812
Timeframe (in years) for CE Requirements: 11
Other requirements:
  • Approved optometric continuing education courses or meetings shall be those post-graduate optometric education courses or meetings approved in advance by the Board of Optometry or post-graduate study sessions or seminars at an accredited school or college of optometry.
  • In addition, all Council on Optometric Practitioners Education (COPE) approved courses are approved for continuing education credit.
    • If an optometrist attends or plans to attend a course of study or seminar which has not been approved in advance, he may petition the Board for approval of that educational course of study, setting forth a description of the course.
    • The Board may, in its discretion, approve the course upon review of the material submitted either in advance or after completion of the course.

Illinois

Requirement TPA
CEE 12
CORRESPONDENCE Up to 4 *
CPR Up to 1
PRACTICE MANAGEMENT Up to 4
Total Required Hours: 30*
Timeframe (in years) for CE Requirements: 2
Other requirements:
  • ALL ILLINOIS OPTOMETRISTS MUST BE ORALS CERTIFIED.
  • Illinois does not license any TPA only or non-DPA optometrists.
  • * Up to 12 hours Verified Teaching of students at an approved Optometry School allowed.
  • Up to 1 hour in CPR certified by American Red Cross, American Heart Association, an Illinois licensed hospital or approved medical or optometric institution.

Indiana

Requirement TPA
PHARMACOLOGY 20
CORRESPONDENCE or INTERNET Up to 8
SELF STUDY Up to 8
Total Required Hours: 40
Timeframe (in years) for CE Requirements: 2
Other requirements:
  • Completion of 20 hours for optometry license renewal and 20 hours for optometric legend drug certificate renewal for a total of 40 hours.
    • Of the 20 hours required for the optometry renewal, 2 hours in the areas of medical charting, billing and coding, healthcare compliance or compliance with federal or Indiana state laws or regulations are required.
    • Completion of self-study, correspondence or internet CE is limited to a total of 8 hours of the 40 required for renewal.

Iowa

Requirement TPA
OCULAR DISEASE 20
RELATED SYSTEMIC DISEASE 20
CORRESPONDENCE or INTERNET Up to 10
PRACTICE MANAGEMENT Up to 6
CPR *
Total Required Hours: 50
Timeframe (in years) for CE Requirements: 2
Other requirements:
  • Proof of current CELMO certification OR a combined total of 40 hours required from COPE Category B and COPE Category C with a minimum of 14 hours in each category.
    • Hours obtained in Category D may not exceed 6 hours of the total continuing education hours requirement.
  • Up to 2 hours in Dependent Adult and Child Abuse Identification.
  • *Current CPR certification offered in person by the American Heart Association, American Red Cross, or an equivalent organization. At least 2 hours per biennium is required, but credit will be granted for 4 hours.

Kansas

Requirement TPA
CORRESPONDENCE or INTERNET Up to 8*
PRACTICE MANAGEMENT Up to 4
Total Required Hours: 48*
Timeframe (in years) for CE Requirements: 2
Other requirements:
  • Kansas licensees shall complete 24 hours of continuing education EACH year - June 1st -May 31st, a total of 48 hours. Failure to obtain the correct number of CE each year will result in fines.
  • No more than 4 of the 24 annually required hours may be obtained through observing ophthalmic surgery.

Kentucky

Requirement TPA NON-TPA
CORRESPONDENCE or INTERNET Up to 5 Up to 5
PRACTICE MANAGEMENT Up to 2 Up to 2
Total Required Hours: 15 or 20 if ETP Credentialed 8
Timeframe (in years) for CE Requirements: 11
Other requirements:
  • Optometrists that are credentialed in Expanded Therapeutic Procedures (ETP) must complete 5 hours of ETP CE annually and none of the hours can be completed via the internet. The 5 hours are part of the 20 hours required to renew licenses annually.
  • All optometrists that have a DEA number, must register with KASPER (KY All Scheduled Prescriptions Electronic Reporting) and take a 2 hour course annually in pain management/addiction disorders. This 2 hour course is part of the overall number of hours required to renew a license.

Louisiana

Requirement TPA NON-TPA
CORRESPONDENCE or INTERNET Up to 2 Up to 2
Total Required Hours: 1612
Timeframe (in years) for CE Requirements: 11
Other requirements:
  • Practice Management courses are not accepted.
  • Certain restrictions apply to COPE hours. Contact the Louisiana Board for more information.

Maine

Requirement TPA
OCULAR DISEASE or OCULAR PHARMACOLOGY or PHARMACOLOGY 15
PRACTICE MANAGEMENT Up to 2
Total Required Hours: 25
Timeframe (in years) for CE Requirements: 1
Other requirements:
  • Courses offered in the state of Maine sponsored by optometric colleges or national, state, or regional optometric associations are subject to Board approval.
    • Courses defined as Category I and approved by the AOA, AMA, AAO, ACPE or COPE will be accepted by the Board without the requirement of prior Board review.
    • Any course not approved by the above-listed organizations may be submitted to the Board for prior approval.
  • CPR is not required, ODs may claim 2 hours of CE Credit for CPR if the course is approved 30 days prior.

Maryland

Requirement TPA NON-TPA
CORRESPONDENCE or INTERNET Up to 30 Up to 30
PRACTICE MANAGEMENT Up to 4 Up to 4
JURISPRUDENCE Up to 4 Up to 4
CPR *-
Total Required Hours: 5036
Timeframe (in years) for CE Requirements: 22
Other requirements:
  • *CPR –Required for DPA and TPA certification. DPA and TPA certified optometrists are responsible for maintaining proficiency with the current CPR procedures as recommended by the American Heart Association. The Board will grant a maximum of 3 hours in the two-year period for CPR recertification.
  • Board Meeting Attendance: the Board will allow continuing education credit of up to 4 hours in the two-year period for attendance at the regular session of Board meetings. Licensees will receive 2 hours and a certificate for each meeting attendance.
  • Clinical Observation: Observation of clinical procedures (without a corresponding lecture) will be accepted for continuing education credit up to a maximum of 8 hours in the two-year period. The site must be pre-approved by the Board. The licensee needs to obtain a letter verifying the number of hours from the person or facility where the observation is done.
  • Types of general hours may include the following:
    • Ethics – The Board will allow up to a maximum of 4 hours for Board approved courses in optometric ethics.
    • Cultural Competency – The Board will allow up to a maximum of 4 hours for Board approved courses in cultural competency.
    • Journal and Internet Courses – Courses given in optometric or other professional journals with a post-test, or Internet courses will be accepted for continuing education credit up to a maximum of 30 hours in the two-year period. Anyone with a physical handicap or other problem that precludes attendance at continuing education courses can request a waiver of the 30-hour limit from the Board.
    • Lecture - There is no limit to the number of hours for attending face to face/ in-person/ live lectures. Optometrists licensed by the Board must complete a minimum of 10 hours of continuing education per renewal cycle by attending in-person trainings conducted in Maryland by an accredited administrator. The in-person trainings may include courses given by the Maryland Optometric Association, another statewide association or a nonprofit organization approved by the Board.
    • Presented Program - Licensees who present approved CE programs will be allowed continuing education hours for the preparation and presentation of the program as follows: for each hour of presentation, the licensee will be allowed one hour for preparation and one hour for presentation up to a maximum of 16 hours in the two- year period.
    • Pro Bono Work-The Board will allow 1 credit hour for each 3 hours of approved continuing education activity, up to a maximum of 6 credit hours per renewal cycle.
    • Published Paper – The Board will allow continuing education credit for a maximum of 12 hours in the two-year period for papers which have been either published or peer–reviewed.

Massachusetts

Requirement TPA
CORRESPONDENCE or INTERNET Up to 6
PRACTICE MANAGEMENT Up to 6
Total Required Hours: 18
Timeframe (in years) for CE Requirements: 1
Other requirements:
  • MA requires all in state CE to be MA Board or COPE Accredited. All out of state CE must be COPE Accredited.

Michigan

Requirement TPA
PHARMACOLOGY or OCULAR PHARMACOLOGY 20
CORRESPONDENCE or INTERNET Up to 20
PRACTICE MANAGEMENT Up to 9
Total Required Hours: 40
Other requirements:
  • Beginning with the 2018 renewal cycle, and all renewal cycles thereafter, licensees are required to complete 2 hours of board-approved continuing education in pain and symptom management.
  • Continuing education hours in pain and symptom management, as they relate to the practice of optometry, may include, but are not limited to the following: ethics and health policy related to pain; pain definitions; basic sciences related to pain, including pharmacology, psychology, sociology, and anthropology; clinical sciences related to pain, including specific pain conditions and pain in special contexts and settings; clinician-patient communications related to pain; management of pain, including evaluation and treatment, non-pharmacological and pharmacological management; ensuring quality pain care; Michigan programs and resources relevant to pain.

Minnesota

Requirement TPA
CORRESPONDENCE or INTERNET Up to 15
PRACTICE MANAGEMENT Up to 6
Total Required Hours: 40
Timeframe (in years) for CE Requirements: 2
Other requirements:
  • License renewal period is 2 years. All licenses expire on December 31 of every other year.

Mississippi

Requirement TPA
CORRESPONDENCE or INTERNET or SELF STUDY Up to 4
PRACTICE MANAGEMENT Up to 4
Total Required Hours: 20*
Timeframe (in years) for CE Requirements: 1
Other requirements:
  • *14 of the 20 hours reported must be accredited by COPE. 10 of the 20 hours must be therapeutic.

Missouri

Requirement TPA
INTERNET or CORRESPONDENCE Up to 16
Total Required Hours: 32
Timeframe (in years) for CE Requirements: 2
Other requirements:
  • Of the thirty-two (32) hours of board approved continuing education required for license renewal, no more than sixteen (16) hours may be obtained through distance learning methods such as correspondence courses, online-only courses, magazine articles, or other methods where the licensee is not physically present with the course speaker or presenter.
  • Instruction courses sponsored for commercial purposes by individuals or institutions or programs in which the speaker advertises or urges the use of any particular ophthalmic product or appliance generally shall not be recognized for educational credit.

Montana

Requirement TPA
CORRESPONDENCE or INTERNET Up to 12
PRACTICE MANAGEMENT Up to 4
Total Required Hours: 36
Timeframe (in years) for CE Requirements: 2
Other requirements:
  • Montana randomly audits for CE in odd-numbered years.

Nebraska

Requirement TPA
CPR Up to 2
CORRESPONDENCE or INTERNET Up to 8
PRACTICE MANAGEMENT Up to 4
Total Required Hours: 44
Timeframe (in years) for CE Requirements: 2
Other requirements:
  • List of acceptable continuing education:
    • State and National meetings
    • Formal education courses related to the practice of Optometry
    • Continuing education courses sponsored by an Optometric college/school
    • Home study courses with testing mechanism: (limited to 8 hours during the 24 month renewal period) examples include, but are not limited to, professional journal articles, the profession-related Internet courses, CD/ROM courses, videotape courses, and audiotape courses
    • CPR certification or re-certification (limited to two hours during the 24 month renewal period)
    • Practice management courses (limited to four hours during the 24-month renewal period)
      • Examples of non-acceptable subject matter include, but are not limited to, practice management programs and education provided by a business entity for the purpose of promotion of their products or services.
  • The Nebraska Board of Optometry only accepts CE credits which meet the criteria for acceptable continuing education programs as outlined in section 004 of Title 172 NAC 120 Regulations Governing the Practice of Optometry.

Nevada

Requirement TPA NON-TPA
OCULAR DISEASE AND PHARMACEUTICAL AGENTS 3030
PRACTICE MANAGEMENT Up to 10 Up to 5
Total Required Hours: 5040
Timeframe (in years) for CE Requirements: 22
Other requirements:
  • 50 hours required for Optometric Pharmaceutical Agent Certification (OPAC, formerly TPA) every 2 years.Of the 50 hours, not fewer than 30 CE hours must relate to the diagnosis or treatment of conditions of the eye or prescribing optometric pharmaceutical agents. If a licensee who is OPAC certified also holds a current Nevada Controlled Substances number, then not fewer than 2 of the minimum of 30 OPAC CE hours must be related to prescribing opioids, addiction, substance abuse and/or pain management.

New Hampshire

Requirement TPA NON-TPA
OCULAR DISEASE 2015
GLAUCOMA A Minimum of 10 N/A
PRACTICE MANAGEMENT Up to 3 N/A
Total Required Hours: 50 15
Timeframe (in years) for CE Requirements: 11
Other requirements:
  • TPA licensees must earn 20 CE hours in Ocular Disease (Class I), the remainder of the hours may be Class II.
  • Non-TPA licensees must earn 15 CE hours in Ocular Disease (Class I).

New Jersey

Requirement TPA
OCULAR DISEASE or PHARMACOLOGY or TMOD 30
CORRESPONDENCE or INTERNET Up to 20
Total Required Hours: 50
Timeframe (in years) for CE Requirements: 2
Other requirements:
  • Ocular Disease, Pharmacology courses:
    • 20 hours Topical TPA
    • 10 hours Oral TPA

New Mexico

New Mexico requires all courses to be COPE accredited. For exceptions, see NMAC Continuing Education Rules (16.16.13.9).
Requirement TPA
OCULAR DISEASE 10
INTERNET Up to 2
PAIN MANAGEMENT 1
Total Required Hours: 22
Timeframe (in years) for CE Requirements: 1

New York

Requirement TPA
PHARMACOLOGY or OCULAR DISEASE 36
CORRESPONDENCE or INTERNET Up to 9
Total Required Hours: 36
Timeframe (in years) for CE Requirements: 3
Other requirements:
  • During each triennial registration period, meaning a registration period of 3 years duration, an applicant for registration shall complete at least 36 hours of formal continuing education acceptable to the department.
  • At least three-quarters of such continuing education in a registration period shall consist of live in-person instruction in a formal course of study. Live courses are those in which you are able to interact with the instructor. For example: a live lecture; a webinar, a telecourse or teleconference in which you and the instructor can speak directly with each other; a course in which you and other practitioners discuss a taped presentation with a facilitator's assistance; a computerized course in which you are able to interact directly with the instructor. Up to one-quarter of such continuing education in a registration period may consist of live instruction in a formal course of study offered through audio, audio-visual, written, on-line, and other media, during which the student must be able to communicate and interact with the instructor. Proration. During each registration or certification period of less than three years duration, an applicant shall complete acceptable continuing education, as defined in paragraph (2) of this subdivision, on a prorated basis at the rate of one hour of continuing education per month for such registration period. Continuing education shall be in the area of ocular disease and pharmacology and may include both didactic and clinical components.

North Carolina

Requirement TPA
CORRESPONDENCE or INTERNET Up to 6
PRACTICE MANAGEMENT Up to 4
Total Required Hours: 25*
Timeframe (in years) for CE Requirements: 1
Other requirements:
  • *Of the 25-hour requirement, a minimum of 15 hours must be "certified"; i.e. the subject is in the fields of ocular and general pharmacology, diagnosis and therapeutics, or advanced clinical procedures. All courses must meet be accredited by COPE or the ACCME.

North Dakota

Requirement TPA
OCULAR DISEASE or PHARMACOLOGY 25
CORRESPONDENCE or INTERNET Up to 12
PRACTICE MANAGEMENT Up to 12
Total Required Hours: 50
Timeframe (in years) for CE Requirements: 3
Other requirements:
  • The Board will award 12 therapeutic hours of continuing education credit to those optometrists who voluntarily take the CPDO (Continued Professional Development in Optometry) test offered by the National Board of Examiners in Optometry.

Ohio

Requirement TPA
PHARMACOLOGY 10
GRAND ROUNDS or SURGERY OBSERVATION Up to 8
CORRESPONDENCE or INTERNET Up to 10
PRACTICE MANAGEMENT or JURISPRUDENCE Up to 2
Total Required Hours: 25
Timeframe (in years) for CE Requirements: 1
Other requirements:
  • Ohio will allow up to 8 hours of grand rounds or surgery observation per CE period. Ohio will allow up to 2 hours of practice management or ethics jurisprudence per CE period.

Oklahoma

Requirement TPA
CORRESPONDENCE or INTERNET Up to 6
PRACTICE MANAGEMENT Up to 3
JUDICIOUS PRESCRIBING 1
Total Required Hours: 25
Timeframe (in years) for CE Requirements: 1
Other requirements:
  • Continuing Education Requirements: All Oklahoma licensed optometrists are required to obtain twenty-five (25) hours of continuing education annually. Included in the twenty-five (25) hours are a maximum of three (3) Practice Management hours, and a maximum of six (6) Remote Learning hours (which includes internet hours), and a minimum of one (1) Judicious Prescribing hour.
  • Approved Vendor's List: 1) Optometry College accredited by the American Optometric Council on Education 2) American Optometric Association, or an affiliate of the American Optometric Association 3) College of Optometrists in Vision Development 4) Annual convention of the American Optometric Association 5) Oklahoma Association of Optometric Physicians 6) Great Western Council of Optometry (GWCO) 7) Heart of America Contact Lens Society 8) American Academy of Optometry (AAO), or any affiliate of the AAO 9) State Optometric Associations of the United States
  • Any Optometrist desiring approval of any other program must make a written request for approval to the Secretary-Treasurer at least fifteen (15) days before he or she attends such program.

Oregon

Requirement TPA
OCULAR DISEASE 9+
CORRESPONDENCE or INTERNET Up to 18
Total Required Hours: 18
Timeframe (in years) for CE Requirements: 1
Other requirements:
  • License renewal due 1st day of birth month renewed yearly. License expires on the last day of birth month. License year begins on first day of following month.
  • One hour of 'ethics' or "Oregon Law & Administrative Rules" due every other year.
  • A minimum of 9 Ocular Disease hours are required every year.
  • No Practice Management or COPE Jurisprudence is accepted.
  • Ethics courses must be approved by the Oregon Board.

Pennsylvania

Requirement TPA
CORRESPONDENCE or INTERNET Up to 7.5
Total Required Hours: 30
Timeframe (in years) for CE Requirements: 2
Other requirements:
  • The Board will not accept courses of study which do not relate to the actual practice of optometry, such as studies in office management and financial procedures.
  • *Licensed for diagnostics only "P" license: Must take 30 hours of continuing education.(This also applies to "L" Licenses.) *Licensed for therapeutics only "T" license: Must take 30 hours of continuing education at least 6 hours must be in therapeutics.
  • *Licensed for therapeutics and glaucoma "G" license: Must take 30 hours continuing education. At least 4 hours must be in glaucoma, and at least an additional 2 hours must be TPA.
  • If you are a new licensee who graduated from optometry school during your first biennial renewal period, you are exempt from continuing education requirements for your first renewal period.
  • ACT 31 OF 2014 INITIAL TRAINING AND CONTINUING EDUCATION IN CHILD ABUSE RECOGNITION AND REPORTING REQUIREMENTS The Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs (BPOA), in conjunction with the Department of Human Services (DHS), is providing advance notice to all health-related licensees and funeral directors that are considered "mandatory reporters" under section 6311 of the Child Protective Services Law (CPSL) (23 P.S. 6311), as amended, that EFFECTIVE JANUARY 1, 2015, all persons applying for issuance of an initial license shall be required to complete 3 hours of DHS-approved training in child abuse recognition and reporting requirements as a condition of licensure.
  • Additionally EFFECTIVE WITH THE FIRST LICENSE RENEWAL AFTER JANUARY 1, 2015, all health-related licensees and funeral directors applying for the renewal of a license issued by the Board shall be required to complete at least 2 hours of Board-approved continuing education in child abuse recognition and reporting requirements as a condition of renewal. Please note that Act 31 applies to all health-related licensees, regardless of whether they are subject to the continuing education requirements of the applicable board.
  • Section 9.1(a)(2) of The Achieving Better Care by Monitoring All Prescriptions Program Act (ABC-MAP) requires that optometrists licensed for Therapeutics or Therapeutics and Glaucoma complete at least two hours of continuing education in pain management, the identification of addiction or the practices of prescribing or dispensing of opioids. The continuing education requirements of ABC-MAP will count towards the total number of continuing education credits required for renewal; however, they may not be applied toward the 6 hours required to maintain therapeutic certification. This continuing education must be taken from a Board-approved optometry continuing education provider listed in Section 23.86(a) of the Board's regulations.

Rhode Island

Requirement TPA NON-TPA
OCULAR DISEASE or PHARMACOLOGY 10* Not Specified
Total Required Hours: 20* 16*
Timeframe (in years) for CE Requirements: 11
Other requirements:
  • *For current CE requirements, please refer to the Rules and Regulations Pertaining to Optometrists by going to sos.ri.gov, click "state rules and regulations" and type in the keyword "OPTOMETRISTS."

South Carolina

Requirement TPA
OCULAR DISEASE 16
CPRUp to 4
ETHICS OR JURISPRUDENCE Up to 4
Total Required Hours: 40
Timeframe (in years) for CE Requirements: 2
Other requirements:
  • CE Courses must be on subjects relative to optometry, exclusive of office management or administration, at board-approved and recognized educational seminars and courses or accredited institutions of learning.

South Dakota

Requirement TPA
CORRESPONDENCE or INTERNET Up to 4
PRACTICE MANAGEMENT Up to 4
Total Required Hours: 45
Timeframe (in years) for CE Requirements: 3
Other requirements:
  • 5 hours per year must be TPA (no more than 2 can be self-directed learning) in the 3-year period
  • Surgical Ophthalmologist Observation: 1 hour for every 2 hours with a maximum of 4 hours
  • Video/Recorded Webinars/Teleconference: 2 hours maximum
  • Live Webinars-must state "live" on certificate: 4 hours maximum

Tennessee

Requirement TPA
OCULAR DISEASE or PHARMACOLOGY or OCULAR PATHOLOGY 25
CORRESPONDENCE or INTERNET Up to 15*
PRACTICE MANAGEMENT Up to 8
Total Required Hours: 40
Timeframe (in years) for CE Requirements: 2
Other requirements:
  • Each licensee shall maintain current certification in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Such certification shall be obtained from a course approved or offered by the American Heart Association, the American Red Cross, or any other entity approved by the board.
  • For those who are therapeutically certified, a minimum of twenty (20) of the thirty (30) hours of continuing education is required in courses pertaining to ocular disease and related systemic disease, as described in subparagraph (2)(c). At least two (2) of these twenty (20) hours shall be a course designed specifically to address prescribing practices.
  • Continuing education courses may include: lecture type courses; multi-media courses (must be submitted to the Board for review and are limited to a maximum of twelve (12) credit hours); grand clinical rounds (clinical optometric education performed in clinical treatment facilities shall be credited for every two (2) hours of attendance will receive one (1) hour of credit and must be submitted for Board review and are limited to a maximum of six (6) credit hours during the two (2) year cycle).

Texas

Requirement TPA
OCULAR DISEASE 24
CORRESPONDENCE or INTERNET Up to16
Total Required Hours: 32
Timeframe (in years) for CE Requirements: 2
Other requirements:
  • Beginning with license renewals for 2021, the Board’s database will divide licensees into two groups in order to stagger license renewals.
    • Group 1 will receive a two year license.
    • Group 2 will renew for a one year 2021 license and then for two years the following year.
    • Below are the requirements for licensees renewing for two years:
      • Of the 32 hours, 25 must be in Diagnosis or Treatment of Ocular Disease, 2 hours Professional Responsibility, 2 hours Controlled Substances Course (if TG), 1 hour Human Trafficking, 2 Opioids CE if the doctor prescribes opioids.

Utah

Requirement TPA
Total Required Hours: 30
Timeframe (in years) for CE Requirements: 2
Other requirements:
  • 30 hours of COPE or optometry-related courses approved by Council on Medical Education (CME).
  • Any provider that has a controlled substance will need to obtain 4 hours of opioid specific education through one of the division approved course. These hours are within the 30 required hours and are not an additional amount of total hours.

Vermont

Requirement TPA NON-TPA
OCULAR DISEASE or OCULAR PHARMACOLOGY or PHARMACOLOGY 20Not Specified
CORRESPONDENCEUp to 2 Up to 2
Total Required Hours: 40 20
Timeframe (in years) for CE Requirements: 22

Virginia

Requirement TPA
PHARMACOLOGY Up to 10
CORRESPONDENCE or INTERNET Up to 10
PRACTICE MANAGEMENT 2
CPR Up to 2
Total Required Hours: 20
Timeframe (in years) for CE Requirements: 1
Other requirements:
  • Of the 20 hours of continuing education relating to optometry required at least 10 hours shall be obtained through real-time, interactive activities, including in-person or electronic presentations, provided that during the course of the presentation, the licensee and the lecturer may communicate with one another.
  • No more than two hours may consist of courses related to recordkeeping, including coding for diagnostic and treatment devices and procedures or the management of an optometry practice, provided that such courses are not primarily for the purpose of augmenting the licensee's income or promoting the sale of specific instruments or products.
  • For TPA-certified optometrists, at least 10 hours shall be in the areas of ocular and general pharmacology, diagnosis and treatment of the human eye and its adnexa, including treatment with new pharmaceutical agents, or new or advanced clinical devices, techniques, modalities, or procedures.
  • A licensee may also include up to 2 hours of training in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). A licensee who completes more than 20 hours of continuing education in a year shall be allowed to carry forward up to 10 hours of continuing education for the next annual renewal cycle.

Washington

Requirement TPA
CORRESPONDENCE or INTERNET Up to 25
PRACTICE MANAGEMENT Up to 10
Total Required Hours: 50
Timeframe (in years) for CE Requirements: 2
Other requirements:
  • Optometrists must renew their licenses each year on or before their birthday.
  • Licensed optometrists must complete fifty hours of continuing education every two years as required in chapter 246-12 WAC, Part 7.
  • In lieu of this requirement, licensees practicing solely outside of Washington may meet the continuing education requirements of the state or territory in which they practice.
  • HIV/AIDS training - 4hrs, and a Jurisprudence questionnaire are required for initial Licensure.

West Virginia

Requirement TPA
OCULAR DISEASE or PHARMACOLOGY 12
CORRESPONDENCE or INTERNET Up to 10
PRACTICE MANAGEMENT Up to 6
Total Required Hours: 43
Timeframe (in years) for CE Requirements: 2
Other requirements:
  • Every licensee must have: At least 12 hours of CE in pharmacology or therapeutics, No more than 6 hours in practice management, No more than 10 hours by Internet or correspondence.
  • Every licensee must complete the Drug Diversion Requirement. Each licensee who prescribes controlled substances must take a 3-hour course in Drug Diversion and Best Practices Prescribing available from the WVAOP every 2 years. The licensee who does not prescribe controlled substances has one of two choices to meet the Drug Diversion Requirement: Take the Drug Diversion Course for 3 hours of CE credit; Sign a waiver stating the he has not prescribed a controlled substance during the CE period. Please be aware that there is no CE credit for signing the waiver. Injection Certified CE The licensee who holds injection certification (IOD or IOD1) must take at least 2 hours of CE in administering injections. The injection certified licensee must keep his CPR from the American Heart Association or the Red Cross up to date. Pre-Approved Sponsors for WV CE Credit.
  • All CE must be sponsored or approved by the following organizations: The American Optometric Association or its affiliated organizations, The WV Association of Optometric Physicians or other state AOA organizations, The Academy of Optometry, Post-graduate courses offered by accredited optometry schools, SECO, Approved by COPE. The Board may approve courses not sponsored or approved by the above organizations using the pre-approval process outlined in 14-10-6. Check with the Board regarding any course that is not sponsored or approved by the list above before taking the course.

Wisconsin

Requirement TPA
GLAUCOMA Minimum of 7
Total Required Hours: 30
Timeframe (in years) for CE Requirements: 2
Other requirements:
  • Up to 6 hours can be earned in Functional Vision/Pediatrics OR Contact Lenses OR Low Vision/Visual Impairment & Rehabilitation OR General Optometry OR Practice Management OR Ethics/Jurisprudence
  • CE shall relate to the diagnosis and management of eye disease. Those authorized to use DPA and TPA may also take CE related courses to removal of superficial foreign bodies from the eye or an appendage to the eye. No more than 6 hours total per biennium may be claimed for courses related to contact lens, functional vision, general optometry, low vision, jurisprudence and practice management. Courses in relevant content areas accredited by COPE or sponsored by a state optometric association, the AOA, the AAO or an accredited school or college of optometry are approved without application to the Board. Other providers may apply to the Board for approval.

Wyoming

Requirement TPA
SYSTEMIC THERAPIES 15
INTERNET Up to 6
PRACTICE MANAGEMENT Up to 4
Total Required Hours: 40
Timeframe (in years) for CE Requirements: 2
Other requirements:
  • Continuing education hours cannot be completed by correspondence. Continuing education hours shall be completed by attending courses which are COPE (Council on Optometric Practitioner Education), AOA (American Optometric Association), AOA recognized state associations, AAO (American Academy of Optometry), schools and colleges of optometry, COVD (College of Visual Development), OEP (Optometric Extension Program) and clinical facilities specializing in eye care that are staffed by professors or adjunct professors of optometry or ophthalmology at accredited optometry or medical schools.
  • Other courses may be submitted to the Board for pre-approval by the Education Committee.
Antonio Chirumbolo, OD
About Antonio Chirumbolo, OD

Antonio Chirumbolo, OD is the Director of Client Services at CovalentCreative. He completed his optometry degree at the SUNY College of Optometry in 2013. Antonio is passionate about digital media, marketing, and advertising and in his free time still practices optometry in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Antonio Chirumbolo, OD
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