Provisional License


Optometrist seeking North Carolina licensure, never licensed previously in North Carolina

An optometrist wishing to practice 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 obtain a provisional license. An applicant for a provisional license must hold a doctor of optometry degree from a school or college of optometry accredited by the Accreditation Council on Optometric Education (ACOE). Such an applicant will be referred to as an “academically qualified optometrist.” Once granted a provisional license, the optometrist is considered to be an “intern” and should be introduced to patients as an “optometrist or doctor of optometry awaiting licensure.”

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 or renew a provisional license to practice optometry in North Carolina.

i. The applicant has successfully passed NBEO examination Part I, Part II with TMOD, and Part III with ISE or

ii.  The applicant has registered to take the next administration of Part I, Part II with TMOD, TMOD (stand-alone), Part III, and/or ISE or is waiting for the results of any of these examinations.

Provisional license authority:

Pursuant to section 90-115.1(5) of the General Statutes of North Carolina, the Board may issue a provisional license 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 direct 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 a provisionally licensed optometrist, hereinafter referred to as an “intern,” performs optometric procedures which otherwise may be performed only by a regularly 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 provisionally licensed optometrist:

Acknowledging responsibilities of the internship:

Both the supervising optometrist and the intern must apply to the Board for approval of the internship and each must acknowledge her respective responsibilities.

Term of a provisional license:

The initial provisional license 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 are for the same period of time and must be consecutive and require the intern to register and take the next regularly scheduled Board Exam. The license is forfeited if not renewed and cannot be renewed if the intern fails to take the Board's Exam. The maximum number of times that any one applicant can renew a provisional license is two.

Provisional license subject to discipline:

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

Provisional license fee:

The fee for an initial provisional License is $300 and $100 for each extension.