CE and Training Requirements for New York State ODs

This time of year we often get questions regarding New York State's Continuing Education and other training requirements for optometrists. Please read on for some helpful reminders and links!

Continuing Education

Licensed optometrists in New York State with the phase one therapeutic pharmaceutical agents (TPA1) privilege ("U") and/or the phase two therapeutic pharmaceutical agents (TPA2) privilege ("V") are required to complete 36 contact hours of continuing education in each three-year registration period.

Appropriate subject areas include pharmacology and ocular disease.

All sponsors of CE must receive advanced approval from the New York State Education Department.

To help facilitate the approval process, the Department has pre-approved the following sponsors:

  • accredited colleges of optometry;
  • Council on Optometric Practitioner Education (COPE) approved coursework;
  • The American Academy of Optometry;
  • The American Optometric Association;
  • state societies (but not chapters);and
  • continuing medical education (CME) approved by the American Medical Association.

If you are unsure whether a sponsor offering a continuing education program is approved, feel free to contact the Optometry Board by phone at 518-474-3817, ext. 591, by fax at 518-473-0567, or by e-mail at optombd@nysed.gov.

Optometrists must complete at least three-quarters of their continuing education hours through "live courses." The balance of the remaining hours may be completed through the appropriate self-study courses.

What is a live course?

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. On the other hand, a televised lecture with no means of direct interaction would not be acceptable as a live course even if it is a live telecast.

Click here for even more FAQ’s about Continuing Education requirements.

Infection Control Training

Every four years all optometrists must complete course work or training appropriate to their practice regarding infection control and barrier precautions. You must attest to having completed this requirement to the State Education Department on your first licensure/registration application and at every subsequent registration.

You may choose a training provider that has been approved by either the State Education Department or the Department of Health. This list of providers includes those organizations approved by the State Education Department as providers of training in infection control.

The Department has approved course work for specific professional groups. Please check with the provider to determine if the course they are offering is appropriate for your profession, as some providers will offer training ONLY to certain professional groups.

You may also find a list of approved New York State Department of Health Providers by clicking here.

Helpful Links:

When you have completed the required coursework or training, the approved provider will give you a Certification of Completion. Please DO NOT submit this form to the State Education Department. Instead, keep the certificate in the event that you are required to submit it at a later date.

Child Abuse Training

Effective January 1, 1989, Education Law requires certain individuals, including optometrists, when applying initially for licensure or a limited permit, to provide documentation of having completed two hours of coursework or training regarding the identification and reporting of child abuse and maltreatment. This is a one-time requirement and once taken does not need to be completed again.

Documentation in the form of an authorized Certification of Completion must be submitted to the State Education Department at the time of reregistration or initial application for licensure, certification, or a limited permit. Within ten days of coursework completion, the approved provider from whom you obtain the training is required to issue you two copies of the Certification form. 

The list of providers is arranged alphabetically by city. You may wish to contact several providers before deciding on the offering that best meets your needs and schedule. Please note that some providers offer training that exceeds the two-hour minimum established in law. Also, fees will vary from provider to provider. Within this listing you will also be able to view online course work providers.

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