Continuing Education Requirement Effective 1/1/2023:
*Reminder* All COPE-approved courses will automatically be added to your transcript from ARBO/OE Tracker. Please only send certificates if the course is not documented within two months of completion. All other course accreditation types must still be sent to email@example.com
25 HOURS REQUIRED ANNUALLY
Of the 25 hours:
20 hours (minimum) of the 25 hours must be “Certified” Credit
10 hours (minimum) must be Synchronous In Person*, "in-person live"
10 hours or more may be Synchronous Virtual* “virtual live-interactive" courses
Only Synchronous In Person “in-person live” or Synchronous Virtual “virtual live-interactive” can count as certified credit
5 hours (maximum) may be "General Credit" courses, including:
Non-medical courses Synchronous In Person* or Synchronous Virtual* will only be General Credit
Asynchronous "correspondence courses."
PM Practice management courses (by mail or online)
Lecturers are allowed a maximum of 4 hours annually for their course(s).
For definitions, see below.
BOARD & COPE DEFINITIONS:
Synchronous In-Person - Instructor in the same physical location as the attendee*
Synchronous Virtual - Live presentation where the attendee can interact (ask questions) with the instructor but is not in the same physical location as the attendee* Synchronous Virtual COPE accredited education meets the requirement for “live” education; however, the type of credit (general or certified) must still meet the Board's criteria.
(*) Qualifies for Certified Credit - if in medically related subject matter - see definition of certified credit
ASYNCHRONOUS: Not Live and/or Interactive, such as webinars. Previously known as CC, Enduring or Correspondence. The type of credit allowed for Asynchronous (self-study) courses is “General Credit”. Further, credit for these types of courses will be credited toward the yearly requirement for the calendar year in which they were published/offered.
PM - Credit hours for courses classified and approved by the Board as “Practice Management” are “General Credit”
CRITERIA FOR ALL CONTINUING EDUCATION COURSES
The course must be fully accredited by the Council on Optometric Practitioner Education.
1. Course must be COPE accredited (COPE number)
2. Event must have a COPE Event number
3. Vendor must be an Approved COPE Administrator or Accredited COPE Provider
Courses can be accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) or other healthcare professions' recognized accrediting body.
ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS TO BE CLASSIFIED AS “CERTIFIED CREDIT”
1. Course must be at least 1 hour in length
2. Course must be on Subject Matter as listed below:
The diagnosis, treatment, and management of systemic diseases that often present with ocular and/or vision side effects;
Pharmacology as related to topical and/or systemic medications;
Ocular side effects of systemic medications;
New procedures, instruments, and technologies as they relate to the enhancement of patient care;
Ocular and systemic medications update;
Emergency care in the event of anaphylaxis, including resuscitation;
Certification in CPR or ACLS;
Emergency care, including re-certification in CPR and ACLS;
Pathophysiology of ocular and systemic disease; or
Advance procedures related to changing or expanded modes of practice in the practice of ophthalmic medicine.
Self-Evaluation / Examination.
Licensees taking examinations approved by the Board designed to assess Continued Professional Development in Optometry (CPDO) shall be awarded twelve (12) hours*of “Certified Credit”.
*A licensee is limited to twelve hours (12) “Certified Credit” once every three years for taking examinations designed to assess continued professional development (CPDO).
CRITERIA FOR “GENERAL” CREDIT:
Subject Matter: All other than above
Additionally Courses Classified as “Practice Management” (PM) and “Correspondence Courses” (CC/Enduring).
For those of you who graduated in the spring of the calendar year in which you have been licensed, the Board considers the time spent in your academic training as fulfilling the total requirement for the calendar year; however, all licensees will be required to fulfill the opioid course requirement. Those who are being licensed in a year other than the year of your graduation from optometry school, are expected to meet the total requirement.
COPE Optional Policy for NC State Optometric Society Districts
(in effect until December 31, 2022)
Each district must submit a completed course information form, found here: http://goo.gl/forms/P43N2WFiPO , no less than 7 days prior to the event. Upon receipt of the form and course outline, the board staff will review the documentation and respond with approval and determination of credit
Any courses submitted less than 7 days in advance will be denied approval of credit.
After the event, all attendance documentation must be submitted within 7 days
FAILURE TO MEET ANNUAL CONTINUING EDUCATION REQUIREMENTS
21 NCAC 42B .0303 (link)
For failure to comply with 21 NCAC 42B .0302 the optometrist is subject to disciplinary action by the Board pursuant to G.S. 90-121.2; provided, however, for a first offense the Board may require an additional three hours, and for the second offense six additional hours of attendance at approved continuing education programs. Any penalty imposed will require that the additional hours be fulfilled in addition to the required hours for the ensuing year.
Adopted June 1, 1989
Amended March 22, 2014
Amended August 29, 2015
Amended November 24, 2015
Amended February 12, 2016
Amended November 9, 2017
Amended November 8, 2018
Amended November 7, 2019
Amended March 18, 2020
Amended August 29, 2022