Agencies | Governor
Virginia Regulatory Town Hall

Proposed Text


Clarification of continuing education requirements
Stage: Proposed

18VAC105-20-70. Requirements for continuing education.

A. Each license renewal shall be conditioned upon submission of evidence to the board of 16 hours of continuing education taken by the applicant during the previous license period.  Four of the hours shall be obtained from courses that are face-to-face or real-time interactive.

1. Fourteen of the 16 hours shall pertain directly to the care of the patient. The 16 hours may include up to two hours of recordkeeping for patient care and up to two hours of training in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

2. For optometrists who are certified in the use of therapeutic pharmaceutical agents, at least two four of the required continuing education hours shall be directly related to the prescribing and administration of such drugs treatment of the human eye and its adnexa with pharmaceutical agents.

3. Courses that are solely designed for which the primary purpose is to promote the sale of specific instruments or products and courses offering instruction on augmenting income are excluded and will not receive credit by the board.

B. Each licensee shall attest to fulfillment of continuing education hours on the required annual renewal form. All continuing education shall be completed prior to December 31 unless an extension or waiver has been granted by the Continuing Education Committee.  A request for an extension or waiver shall be received prior to December 31 of each year.

C. All continuing education courses shall be offered by an approved sponsor listed in subsection G or accredited as provided in subsection H of this section. Courses that are not approved by a board-recognized sponsor in advance shall not be accepted for continuing education credit. For those courses that have a post-test requirement, credit will only be given if the optometrist receives a passing grade as indicated on the certificate.

D. Licensees shall maintain continuing education documentation for a period of not less than three years. A random audit of licensees may be conducted by the board which will require that the licensee provide evidence substantiating participation in required continuing education courses within 14 days of the renewal date.

E. Documentation of hours shall clearly indicate the name of the continuing education provider and its affiliation with an approved sponsor as listed in subsection G or accredited as provided in subsection H of this section. Documents that do not have the required information shall not be accepted by the board for determining compliance. Correspondence courses shall be credited according to the date on which the post-test was graded as indicated on the continuing education certificate.

F. A licensee shall be exempt from the continuing competency requirements for the first renewal following the date of initial licensure by examination in Virginia.

G. An approved continuing education course or program, whether offered by correspondence, electronically or in person, shall be sponsored or approved by one of the following:

1. The American Optometric Association and its constituent organizations.

2. Regional optometric organizations.

3. State optometric associations and their affiliate local societies.

4. Accredited colleges and universities providing optometric or medical courses.

5. The American Academy of Optometry and its affiliate organizations.

6. The American Academy of Ophthalmology and its affiliate organizations.

7. The Virginia Academy of Optometry.

8. Council on Optometric Practitioner Education (C.O.P.E.).

9. 8. State or federal governmental agencies.

10. 9. College of Optometrists in Vision Development.

11. The Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education of the American Medical Association for Category 1 or Category 2 credit.

12. 10. Providers of training in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

13. 11. Optometric Extension Program.

H. Courses accredited by the Council on Optometric Practitioner Education (COPE) or the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) of the American Medical Association for Category 1 or Category 2 credit shall be approved.  At least eight of the 16 hours of continuing education required for renewal shall be accredited by COPE or ACCME.

I. In order to maintain approval for continuing education courses, providers or sponsors shall:

1. Provide a certificate of attendance that shows the date, location, presenter or lecturer, content hours of the course and contact information of the provider/sponsor for verification. The certificate of attendance shall be based on verification by the sponsor of the attendee's presence throughout the course, either provided by a post-test or by an independent monitor.

2. Maintain documentation about the course and attendance for at least three years following its completion.

 J. Falsifying the attestation of compliance with continuing education on a renewal form or failure to comply with continuing education requirements may subject a licensee to disciplinary action by the board, consistent with § 54.1-3215 of the Code of Virginia.

Statutory Authority

§§54.1-2400 and 54.1-3223 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR510-01-1 §7, eff. October 30, 1985; amended, Virginia Register Volume 4, Issue 3, eff. December 9, 1987; Volume 4, Issue 19, eff. July 20, 1988; Volume 5, Issue 10, eff. March 13, 1989; Volume 8, Issue 4, eff. January 1, 1992; Volume 11, Issue 20, eff. July 26, 1995; Volume 15, Issue 6, eff. January 6, 1999; Volume 19, Issue 7, eff. January 15, 2003; Volume 22, Issue 4, eff. November 30, 2005.