Policy on Licensure Requirements of an Optometrist Teaching Optometry Students in an Optometry School or College of Optometry Located in North Carolina
North Carolina General Statutes section 90-115.1(2) entitled “Acts not constituting the unlawful practice of optometry,” provides that a North Carolina license to practice optometry is not required when a person is teaching optometry students in a school or college of optometry located in North Carolina and approved by the North Carolina State Board of Examiners in Optometry (the Board) and when the teacher maintains an optometry license or licenses in any state or jurisdiction of the United States.
A person seeking to qualify under the provisions of G.S. 90-115.1(2) must meet the following conditions:
He or she must have at least one active license to practice optometry in a state or jurisdiction of the United States. At least one such license must be active during the entire period of time for which such person is employed to teach optometry at such school or college of optometry. All such licenses must be maintained in good standing and without restriction during the entire period of time for which such person is employed to teach optometry at such school or college of optometry.
An optometrist licensed in any jurisdiction other than a place in the United States must seek approval from the Board prior to undertaking any active teaching of students at such school.
“Teaching” is defined as all activities necessary to educate persons to safely engage in the practice of optometry in the state of North Carolina.
For purposes of this Policy, “teaching” does not include:
Diagnosing, treating, developing treatment plans, developing spectacle or lens prescriptions, use of topical pharmaceuticals, prescribing of therapeutic pharmaceuticals, or assuming oversight or responsibility for these things, for an individual, even if such activities are conducted in connection with educating persons to safely engage in the practice of optometry.
Interactions with persons seeking diagnosis or care of the eye or its adnexa where the teacher or school or college is generating or receiving revenues from such persons or the company employing or insuring such persons in connection with the provision such diagnosis or care. This would include internal or external clinics of the school or college in which private and/or insurance paying patients are being seen.
In cases such as these, a teacher would need a North Carolina license because he or she is practicing optometry rather than teaching. Practicing optometry within the state of North Carolina requires licensure by the Board.