Continuing Education Guidelines
Board regulations require that an optometrist must complete 18 hours of Board-approved continuing education as a condition of annual license renewal. Credit toward renewal of an Optometrist's License in a particular renewal period shall be given only for Continuing Education Hours which were completed during the 12 months immediately preceding January 1st of the licensure year for which renewal of that License is sought. Newly-graduated licensees are waived from this requirement for the remainder of year in which they graduate. Individuals with hardship situations should contact the Board before renewing their license.
All licensees are required to comply with Board audits of continuing education. Failure to comply with the Board's instructions or failure to complete the requisite education shall be grounds for disciplinary action. The Board strongly encourages licensees to retain continuing education records permanently; however, for the purposes of audits, the Board will review records for no more than 3 years.
For a continuing education program to be acceptable for the purposes of license renewal, the following conditions apply:
- "Live" continuing education (CE) programs offered outside of Massachusetts must be approved by the Council on Optometric Continuing Education (C.O.P.E.)
- "Live" CE programs offered within Massachusetts and that exceed four (4) hours must be C.O.P.E. approved or offered by a Board-approved entity.
1. The Board approved entities are:
- New England College of Optometry (expires on December 31, 2015)
- Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (expires on December 31, 2015)
- Tufts University School of Medicine (expires on December 31, 2015)
- Harvard Medical School (expires on December 31, 2015)
- "Live" CE courses or programs that are four (4) hours or less, and that are not C.O.P.E. approved may be submitted to the Board for approval (To view approved courses, see the On-Line Lookup System: Continuing Education Courses Approved for (CE) credit in Massachusetts)
- A written application for Board approval must be submitted at least 60 days prior to the course date
- The application must include the name of the sponsor; a detailed outline of the course material; the speaker's curriculum vitae; the course time and location; provisions for adequate monitoring of attendance; and satisfactory assurances that the course is generally available to all optometrists
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