NYS Orals Certification Course


To apply for Oral Therapeutic Pharmaceutical Agents certification, you must first have the Certifications found below:  
● Topical Diagnostic Pharmaceuticals (DPA’s). This is the Letter “T” on your registration certificate.
● Topical Therapeutic Pharmaceutical Agents and Therapeutic Pharmaceutical Agents for the treatment of glaucoma and ocular hypertension (TPA’s). This is given the new Letter “R” (formerly UV) which will appear on your registration certificate when you renew.

 If you have both certifications above, then you may apply for the Oral Therapeutic Pharmaceutical Agents certification. This will be an “O” on your registration certificate. Upon your next registration renewal, your certificate will have the letters "ORT". 

Beginning October 16th, you may apply for your Orals certification electronically using the  Optometrist Form 1A, Application for Certification(s).    

 You MAY NOT prescribe Oral Therapeutic Pharmaceutical Agents until October 25, 2023, which is when the law goes into effect. Additionally, you may not prescribe Oral Therapeutic Pharmaceutical Agents until the online verification shows that your “O” privilege has been issued. 

 The fee for the Orals privilege is $250 (one time) and must be sent in electronically upon completion of the Optometrist Form 1A using a credit card or bank electronic funds transfer.  

 Please contact the New York State Board for Optometry should you have any questions:

[email protected]    518-474-3817, ext 591. 


Next Orals Certification Course will be held in April 2024 - Details can be found here when available

FAQ’s About the NYS Orals Certification Courses

We've updated the FAQ; the updated changes are highlighted in red.

Q. Will there be a discount for NYSOA members?

A. Optometrists who have active membership in the NYSOA by 3/31/2023 will be eligible for a rebate upon completion of the orals certification course and exam. NYSOA will follow up after 9/1/2023 with members regarding this rebate. To take the course, the registration must be paid in full by the payment deadline, which is February 1, 2023, for the February 3-5 course.

Q. Will there be any other types of discounts?
A. Questions about other discounts or rebates should be directed to your professional affiliation or employer. The SUNY College of Optometry Office of Continuing Professional Education will NOT be offering discounts. While CE credit will be provided for those taking the course, this program is considered a state-mandated certification course and NOT a CE program.

Q. If I want to take the course in-person at the NYSOA Innovation Vision Conference (IVC) in April, can I also attend the other events at IVC?
A. If you select the orals certification course at the NYSOA Innovation Vision Conference (IVC) in April, your registration fee will cover the 40-hour course, all meals, and social activities at the conference. NYSOA will follow up with those who have selected the IVC course with additional information regarding the conference.

Q. Will a hotel block be available for the February course?
A. No, there will not be a hotel block. Registrants wishing hotel reservations are free to make those arrangements on their own.

Q. Will there be a hotel block for the course at the April IVC conference?
A. Yes. There will be a hotel block. More details will be forthcoming.

Q. What are the registration options?
A. You may attend the 3-day course in-person or virtually. You may not switch between the two options.

Q. What is the New York State Orals Bill (the “Bill”) for optometrists?

A. The Bill amends the NYS Education Law so that certified optometrists may prescribe a limited number of oral pharmaceutical agents in addition to the topical diagnostic and therapeutic agents they were previously authorized to prescribe.

Q. Which oral pharmaceutical agents may be prescribed?

A. The antibiotics are: amoxicillin/clavulanate potassium, cephalexin, azithromycin, sulfamethoxazole/trimethoprim, doxycycline, and tetracycline; the antiglaucoma agents are acetazolamide and methazolamide for acute increases in IOP that may be prescribed for a maximum of 24 hours followed by immediate referral to a licensed physician specializing in diseases of the eye; the antivirals are valacyclovir and acyclovir for the treatment of herpes zoster ophthalmicus for a maximum of 7 days as part of the management of the disease with an appropriate physician.

Q. How does an optometrist become certified to prescribe oral pharmaceutical agents?

A. To become certified, optometrists must be previously certified to prescribe diagnostic and topical therapeutic and topical therapeutic agents for glaucoma, and then must complete a 40-hour oral therapeutic pharmaceutical agent certification course and pass an examination based on the material in that course.

Q. What is the curriculum for the certification course?

A. The certification course consists of 40 lecture hours that will include but not be limited to instruction in pharmacology and drug interaction in treating ocular disease and will be taught through clinical case scenarios and emphasize clinical decision-making. Of the 40 lecture hours, 24 must be synchronous live instruction (either in-person or virtual).

Q. How will the course be delivered?

A. Of the 40 hours, 24 hours will consist of scheduled live instruction (both in-person and virtual options will be available).  The remaining 16-hour requirement may be fulfilled by asynchronous and/or synchronous methods and may include recordings and a live-stream review.

 Q. When will the course be offered?

A. In 2023, the course will be offered three times.  Please refer to the “Save the Date” email for dates and times.  Additionally, the course is expected to be offered several times over the next few years depending on the demand.

 Q. What if I did not receive the “Save the Date” email? How can I get on the notification list?  

A. If you did not receive the “Save the Date” contact the SUNY College of Optometry Office of Continuing Professional Education at [email protected] and/or the New York State Optometric Association at [email protected]  to have your name added to the mailing list.

 Q. What are the registration options?

A. You may attend the 3-day course in-person or virtually. You may not switch between the two options.

 Q. May I attend separate sessions in different courses?

A. No. Registration is only available for one complete 40-hour course.

 Q. For the February 2023 course offering, may I participate in some sessions in person and some online? 

A. No. You must register for either the in-person or virtual option.

 Q. How will the exam be conducted?

A. The exam will be conducted online via a contracted third party.  An updated working computer (desktop or laptop with a webcam and microphone) and access to a strong internet connection will be required; iPads are not acceptable.  You will be able to take the exam in your own home or wherever you are most comfortable. More details about this will be sent later.   

 Q. May I take the exam whenever I wish?

A. No, as the exams are coordinated with each course.  The exam will be given on the same date and begin and end at the same time for all registered participants in each course.

 Q. What if I’m unable to take the examination on the scheduled exam date?

A. If you can’t take the exam on the scheduled date, you may register to take the exam on a different date without the need to complete the entire course again. There is a $100 administrative fee for rescheduling an exam.

 Q. When will I know if I passed?

A. The exam will undergo a complete statistical analysis. We do not anticipate there will be a long delay before the results are released.

 Q. What if I don’t pass the exam?

A. If you don’t pass the examination, you may register for a retake without the need to complete the entire course again.   There will be a $100 administrative fee for retaking an exam.

 Q. What will be the cost of taking the course?

A. The registration fee for the course will be $2000, which will cover course registration, course materials, access to recordings, course review, and registration for the online examination. 

 Q. Can I get continuing education credit for the course?

A. Yes. The 24 hours of live instruction will be COPE-accredited and acceptable for NYS licensure.  Asynchronous learning will not be COPE-accredited but will be acceptable for NYS licensure, providing it meets NYS Education Dept. requirements for non-live instruction. The course will NOT be CE Broker approved.

 Q. If I’m privileged to prescribe oral therapeutic pharmaceutical agents, do my continuing education requirements change?

A. Yes.  After becoming privileged, you will need to take a minimum of an additional 18 hours of continuing education per triennial registration period in the areas of systemic disease and therapeutic treatment

Q. If I take the course and pass the examination, when will I be able to prescribe oral therapeutic pharmaceutical agents?

A. The earliest date a certified optometrist can prescribe oral therapeutic pharmaceutical agents is October 25, 2023, as specified in the Bill.

Q. If I am privileged to prescribe oral therapeutic pharmaceutical agents in another state, do I need to take the course and pass the exam?

A. Yes, you must take the course.  Reciprocity is NOT provided for in the bill. 

Q. Do recent graduates have to take the course and pass the examination?

A. If you graduated from an accredited school or college of optometry subsequent to January 1, 2022, and have taken and successfully passed the NBEO exam or an exam acceptable to the NYS Department of Education, you DO NOT have to take the course and pass the exam.

 Q. I’m certified to prescribe topical pharmaceutical and topical glaucoma pharmaceutical agents.  Must I take the course to maintain my privileges to prescribe topical pharmaceutical and topical glaucoma pharmaceutical agents?

A. You do not have to take the course to maintain topical privileges.

 Q. Is there a time frame in which I need to take the course?

 A. Yes, you must begin the course within five years of the department's approval of the initial certification course or the initial examination, whichever is later.  This will be March 5, 2028, unless the date of the first exam changes.

 Q. Are there any additional fees?

A. In addition to the registration fees that you are currently assessed, there is a $250 fee for certification for the use of oral therapeutic pharmaceutical agents.  This fee is assessed by the NYS Department of Education and is separate from this course.