Every ophthalmic dispenser wishing to practice in New York State must take continuing education. The Education Department assumes that you intend to practice if you are registered. Therefore, if you are registered and are beyond your initial term of registration, you must comply with these requirements.
The Department may grant an adjustment to the requirement for poor health, certified by a physician; a specific physical or mental disability, certified by an appropriate health care professional; extended duty with the armed forces; or for extreme hardship which, in the Department's judgment, makes it impossible for the licensee to comply. Requests for an adjustment to the continuing education requirement should be made as far in advance of your registration renewal date as possible. You may complete and submit the Registration Remittance Addendum (28 KB).
Ophthalmic dispensers must take 0.5 hours of approved continuing education coursework for each month of their registration (18 contact hours in a standard three-year registration period), with no more than 3 hours in study related to the dispensing and fitting of contact lenses.
Ophthalmic dispensers who are certified as contact lens practitioners must take 0.56 hours of approved continuing education coursework for each month of their registration (20 contact hours in a standard three-year registration period), with at least 10 hours in study related to the dispensing and fitting of contact lenses.
An hour is one contact hour of at least 50 minutes in duration.
You may only count those hours taken during your current registration period. For example, a licensee whose registration period runs from July 1, 2003 to June 30, 2006 may only count continuing education credits earned between those dates.
No. You may earn continuing education credits at any time during your current registration period. However, credits may not be carried over to the next registration period.
No. Practitioners are exempt from the continuing education requirement during their first three-year registration period. Beginning with their second registration period, ophthalmic dispensers must take 0.5 hours of approved continuing education coursework for each month of their registration period; ophthalmic dispensers certified as contact lens practitioners must take 0.56 hours of approved continuing education coursework for each month of their registration period.
No. Usually the second registration period is adjusted so that renewals occur during the licensee's birth month. When this happens, you must calculate how many continuing education hours you are required to complete. To do this, you must count the length of the registration period in months and, for ophthalmic dispensers, multiply that number by 0.5 hours; for contact lens practitioners, multiply that number by 0.56 hours. For example, you are issued a registration effective 07/01/03 and it expires 10/31/05. This registration period is for 28 months, rather than the standard 36 month registration period. If you are licensed in basic dispensing only, the continuing education requirement is 14.0 hours (28 months x 0.5 hours per month); if you are certified as a contact lens practitioner, the continuing education requirement is 15.68 hours, which is rounded to 16.0 hours (28 months x 0.56 hours per month).
Yes. You will need to take continuing education at the rate described in Question 2 above. You would be exempt only in the first three years after receiving your very first, original license.
The New York State Education Department will recognize continuing education for the purpose of registration only from the following two entities:
There are sponsors approved directly by the Department as providers of continuing education. You may request a print copy of this information by calling 518-474-3817 ext. 180 or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Continuing education credit will not be accepted from providers such as national professional organizations unless such organizations apply to the Department and are recognized as approved sponsors.
The Education Department's Office of Higher Education has an "Institutional Directory" listing all degree-granting institutions in the State, which is available on their Web site at www.highered.nysed.gov/ocue/. You may also request this information by calling 518-474-2593.
No. The Department will accept continuing education contact hours only from sponsors approved by the State Board for Ophthalmic Dispensing. Courses provided by an organization before receiving approval as a sponsor will not be accepted, as the Department is not able to approve sponsors retroactively.
Yes. The course must contribute to professional practice in ophthalmic dispensing. Acceptable subjects include the following areas:
Yes. You may count once during a registration period the hours in a continuing education course you teach that an approved sponsor offers in an acceptable area of study.
No. The purpose of continuing education is to further your knowledge and skills in the profession. Repeating the same course within a three-year period does not meet the intent of the law.
Only formal courses in appropriate subjects offered by approved sponsors are acceptable. Both formal self-study courses offered by an approved sponsor and formal courses in which you interact with an instructor are acceptable. No more than three hours of formal self-study courses will be accepted toward meeting the total hours required.
No. We consider a telecourse or teleconference in which you and the instructor can speak directly with each other to be a "live" course. Similarly, a course in which you and other practitioners discuss a taped presentation with a facilitator's assistance is a live course. A course offered by computer in which you interact directly with the instructor is a "live" course. On the other hand, a televised lecture with no means of direct interaction would not be acceptable a "live" course, even if it is a live telecast.
Yes, if they are offered by an organization that has been approved by the Education Department as a sponsor of ophthalmic dispensing and contact lens dispensing continuing education. Internet courses are considered "live" courses because there is an opportunity for interaction with an instructor via e-mail. There is no limit to the number of credits earned in this manner.
You'll need to keep, for six years from the date you completed each course, the original certificate of completion provided by the sponsor. The following five items of information will be found on that completion certificate:
The application form to renew your registration on which you will certify completion of the required hours, together with the required registration renewal fee.
No - just the registration renewal application, which includes a statement indicating that you have completed the required continuing education coursework. However, you should maintain these records in the event that you are audited by the Education Department and are asked to make them available to us. The Department conducts random audits of such records to assure compliance with the continuing education requirement.
You will have to provide to the Department a copy of the certificate of completion that was issued by the sponsor of each continuing education course completed during the registration period being audited. Please note that a summary report of your continuing education activities, whether provided by an employer or the ABO/NCLE, is not acceptable.
You may be subject to disciplinary proceedings for professional misconduct. Willfully making or filing a false report is unprofessional conduct, according to Section 29.1 of the Rules of the Board of Regents. Penalties may include censure and reprimand, fine, and/or suspension or revocation of your license.
The Department, in its discretion, may issue you a conditional registration. This non-renewable, conditional registration would be valid for one year. To be granted such a conditional registration you would have to agree to:
This is fine, so long as you are not practicing your profession. However, if you practice your profession after the Department has denied renewal of your registration for failure to report completion of the required contact hours of continuing education, you are subject to disciplinary proceedings for professional misconduct.