Approval of Continuing Education Coursework

New York State Education Department Approval of Continuing Education Coursework for Optometrists

PLEASE NOTE: Applicants who have had their course approved through any of our pre-approved sponsers, need NO additional approval and do not need to submit the application for Board approval.

The New York State Board for Optometry has pre-approved the following sponsors of continuing education:

  • accredited colleges of optometry;
  • the American Academy of Optometry;
  • the American Optometric Association;
  • state societies (but not chapters);
  • COPE approved coursework; and
  • CME approved by the American Medical Association.

(Effective October 2007)


This page explains the requirements for approval of continuing education coursework for optometrists in New York State. Once you have read the "Standards" below, please complete the application, Form 1-SBO ( PDF 17 KB), and send it to the address at the end of the application form along with the supporting materials requested. Be sure to sign and date the agreement section. Please keep in mind that the individual signing the agreement section is accepting responsibility for ensuring that all requirements are met. The agreement should not be signed by the contact person unless that person is accepting responsibility for complying with New York State Education Law. If applying as an organization, information regarding the organization must be made available to the Department upon request. Sponsors are required to keep records on the continuing education programs that they offer. The details concerning the record keeping requirements are included in the "Standards" document.

An applicant (individual or organization) must complete a separate application form for each course for which approval is sought.

An applicant must comply with the applicable requirements of Section 66.6 of the Commissioner's Regulations to obtain State Education Department approval for continuing education coursework for optometrists. Applicants are expected to meet or exceed the standards detailed in this document.

Should you have questions concerning the requirements, please contact the State Board for Optometry.

Standard 1 - Organization or Individual | Standard 2 - Course | Standard 3 - Instructors | Standard 4 - Attendance Verification | Standard 5 - Records Retention

Standard 1 - Organization

An applicant shall submit an application for advance approval of a course.

Section 66.6(g)(3) of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education requires organizations or individuals seeking approval for continuing education course work to submit information to the Department which would allow the Department to determine the ability of the organization or individual to offer appropriate course work.


Standard 2 - Course

Courses must be formal continuing education acceptable to the Department.

Section 66.6(b)(2)(i) of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education states that in order to be acceptable to the Department, continuing education shall be in the area of ocular disease and pharmacology and may include both didactic and clinical components.


Standard 3 - Instructors

Instructors must be qualified to teach the course that will be offered.

Section 66.6(g)(3)(ii)(b) of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education requires that staff must be provided, including, but not limited to, faculty of a college of optometry accredited by an acceptable accrediting agency, or a physician who specializes in diseases of the eye, or licensed optometrists certified to treat patients with phase two therapeutic pharmaceutical agents, or qualified staff who are authorities in the health sciences specially qualified, in the opinion of the State Board for Optometry, to teach such courses.


Standard 4 - Attendance Verification

Each licensee shall maintain certificates of completion for continuing education course work completed.

Section 66.6(e)(1) of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education requires licensees to maintain documentation of attendance at continuing education courses. Such documentation shall include:

  1. attendee's printed name;
  2. course title;
  3. course ID number (from approval notice);
  4. name of organization or individual giving course;
  5. date and location of course; and
  6. number of contact hours completed.

Standard 5 - Records Retention

Records must be maintained by the sponsor for at least six years.

Section 66.6(g)(3)(ii)(c) of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education requires sponsors of continuing education to maintain records for courses for at least six years from the date of completion of course work which must include:

  1. name and curriculum vitae of the faculty;
  2. record of attendance of licensed optometrists in the course;
  3. outline of the course;
  4. date and location of the course; and
  5. number of hours for completion of the course.

For a full and accurate record of the course, your documents should also include:

  1. copy of this application;
  2. copy of the approval notice;
  3. any materials submitted with this application; and
  4. copy of all printed materials used in the course.

This section further requires that in the event that the sponsor of approved courses discontinues operation, the governing body of such sponsor shall notify the department and transfer all records as directed by the department.

Last Updated: December 16, 2009