Optometrists with an Active license status must complete at least 24 hours of continuing education (CE) every two years before a license can be renewed.
If a renewal date occurs during the year of the original Colorado licensure, CE will not be required for the first renewal. If the renewal date occurs the year after original licensure, the licensee shall obtain 12 hours of CE prior to renewing.
**For CE to count toward renewal requirements, all CE must be clinically-based.**
- Optometrists must obtain a minimum of 16 CE hours from LIVE, IN-PERSON conferences and Lectures each license period. Conferences and lectures must be sponsored by at least one of the following:
- Council on Optometric Practitioner Education (COPE)
- American Optometric Association (AOA) and AOA-recognized state associations
- American Academy of Optometry (AAO)
- College of Optometrists in Vision Development (COVD)
- Optometric Extension Program (OEP)
- Clinical facilities specializing in eye care that is staffed by the professor(s) or adjunct professor(s) of optometry or ophthalmology at accredited optometry or medical schools.
- A maximum of eight (8) CE hours may be obtained from internet-based CE (live or self-guided) and/or CE offered by professional/association journals. In order to qualify, CE activities must:
- be sponsored/approved by COPE or accredited schools/colleges of optometry, and
- include a post-test evaluation.
**Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the inability to obtain CE in person at conferences and lectures was considered an individual hardship by the Board. Under the authority granted to the Board in Rule 1.23(F), to address the burden, the completion of all 24 hours of CE using live, internet-based resources was permitted without documentation of hardship.
- This allowance ended on December 31, 2021.
- As of January 1, 2022, a maximum of eight (8) hours of internet-based CE may be applied per license period.
- If at least 16 hours of live CE (in person or internet-based) was completed between 4/1/2021 and 12/31/2021, no additional live CE is required for the current license period. All remaining CE may be internet-based (live or self-guided).
- If 16 hours of live CE (in person or internet-based) was not completed between 4/1/2021 and 12/31/2021, the remaining live CE hours must be taken in person before renewing a license in 2023.
- Clinical Observations/Clinical Examinations: a maximum of four (4) hours may be applied per renewal period.
- A maximum of four (4) hours may be applied per license period.
- One (1) hour of CE credit may be obtained for every two (2) hours of observation at a clinical facility that specializes in eye care and is also staffed by professors or adjunct professors of optometry or ophthalmology at accredited optometry or medical schools.
- CE hours obtained through clinical observations and clinical examinations count toward the 16-hour live CE requirement.
- ICD-10CM/PCS Code Training, the Board recognizes ICD-10 Training to be clinically based
- The Board recognizes ICD-10 Training to be clinically based.
- A maximum of four (4) hours of CE of this type may be counted toward each renewal period.
- CE hours obtained through ICD-10CM/PCS Code training count toward the 16-hour live CE requirement.
- Subject to the final approval of the Board, a designated Board member may rule in regard to the approval of other meetings, programs, and/or courses.
The following are examples of continuing education courses the Board will not accept. These include but are not limited to:
- leadership training
- practice/personnel management
- client relations
- communication training
- integrated resource management principles
- presentations dealing with financial-based subjects including, but not limited to bookkeeping procedures
- financial planning
- retirement planning
- insurance programs
- presentations that are primarily promotional in nature regardless of subject material
CE hours may only be applied to one (1) renewal period. If the Board determines that a licensee has not obtained appropriate CE or a licensee failed to submit the requested proof of CE satisfactorily to the Board, the Board may consider disciplinary action for failure to comply with statute and rule. The Board may choose to grant a 90 day period to correct the shortage of CE.
**Audits of compliance will be conducted after a renewal period ends.**
If requested by the licensee, the Board will use the information entered into ARBO's "OE Tracker" (the Association of Regulatory Boards of Optometry's "Optometry Education Tracker") software to perform their audit.
There is no obligation of any licensees to use OE Tracker, nor does it change any of the CE requirements.
Substance Use Prevention Training
Every Optometrist, regardless of the date of licensure, is required to complete at least one (1) hour of training per renewal period in order to demonstrate competency pertaining to:
- best practices for opioid prescribing
- recognition of substance use disorders
- referral of patients with substance use disorders for treatment
- use of the electronic prescription drug monitoring program
Substance Use Prevention Training includes but is not limited to: relevant continuing education courses; peer review proceedings that involve opioid prescribing; relevant volunteer service; or teaching a relevant class/course.
All substance use prevention training that also meets the continuing education requirements specified above may be applied to a licensee’s continuing education renewal requirements.
Optometrists who meet one of the following conditions may be exempt from Substance Use Prevention Training:
- Maintain a national board certification that requires equivalent substance use prevention training; or
- Attests to the Board that they do not prescribe opioids
For additional information, please refer to the Board Policy on continuing education.
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