Intern Permit


This Permit applies only to an optometrist who is seeking North Carolina licensure and who has not previously been granted a North Carolina license

An optometrist wishing to engage in the practice of optometry in North Carolina prior to taking and passing the Board’s clinical/practicum examination and who has never been licensed previously by the Board must first obtain an Intern Permit, previously known as a “Provisional License”. An applicant for an Intern Permit must hold a doctor of optometry degree from a school or college of optometry accredited by the Accreditation Council on Optometric Education (ACOE) and be an “academically qualified optometrist”.* Such an applicant will be referred to as an Intern and should be introduced to patients as an “Intern seeking North Carolina licensure.” 

The Intern should not be considered a provider or schedule patients under the Intern’s name. The Intern should not be listed as a provider in any marketing to patients.

An optometrist who has been previously licensed by the Board should refer to the Board’s Policy on Reinstatement or Restoration of License

The following criteria must be met before an optometrist can apply for an Intern Permit to practice optometry in North Carolina.

Intern Permit authority:

Pursuant to section 90-115.1(5) of the General Statutes of North Carolina, the Board may issue an Intern Permit allowing an optometrist to render services and perform procedures that a duly licensed North Carolina optometrist may perform in accordance with Article 6 of Chapter 90 of the General Statutes of North Carolina, provided that such are performed at the direction and under the supervision of a North Carolina licensed optometrist. Ordinarily, such approval will be given by the Board only to persons who have an opportunity to work under the supervision of a North Carolina licensed optometrist in order to gain additional clinical experience prior to taking the licensing examinations or while awaiting the results of such examination.

“At the direction and under the supervision of” shall be applied to the facts of each particular situation in which an Intern performs optometric procedures which otherwise may be performed only by a licensed optometrist. The optometrist supervising the Intern assumes the responsibility for the Intern and therefore can and should control and direct the services and procedures performed by the Intern.

Responsibilities of the supervising optometrist and Intern:

Acknowledging responsibilities of the internship:

Both the supervising optometrist(s) and the Intern must apply to the Board for approval of the internship and each must acknowledge his/her respective responsibilities.

Term of an Intern Permit:

The initial Intern Permit is issued either for a six-month period or until the results of the Intern’s clinical/practicum examination are announced, whichever occurs first. All renewals begin the day following the day Board Exam results are released and must be consecutive and require the intern to register and take the next regularly scheduled Board Exam. The permit is forfeited if not renewed and cannot be renewed if the intern fails to take the Board's Exam unless he/she was unsuccessful at qualifying to take the Board’s Exam. The maximum number of times that any one applicant can renew an Intern Permit is two. Any current or former holder of a "provisional license," now recognized as an "intern permit," will have this permit considered as part of their maximum licensure count.

Intern Permit subject to discipline:

Both the holder of an Intern Permit and the licensed supervising optometrist are subject to discipline under the provisions of, inter alia, G.S. 90-121.2 and relevant Board rules.

Intern Permit fee:

The fee for an initial Intern Permit is $300 and $100 for the 2nd and 3rd consecutive extensions.

*If a candidate has successfully completed all academic requirements for graduation from an accredited optometry school, but the school has a requirement that the student must have successfully completed one or more parts of NBEO examinations before they confer the doctor of optometry degree, for the purpose of this Policy that candidate will be considered an “academically qualified optometrist.”

Intern Permits will be granted with a start date no earlier than one day following the first exam deadline for the preceding exam. (approximately eight months) or the date of application if after.