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Continuing Education Requirements for Alabama Optometrists

December 5, 2020:

Meeting cancellations are raising licensee concerns about availability of continuing education (CE) courses required for Alabama optometry licensure renewal. Present rules require that all doctors accumulate CE and renew their license by 12/31.

At its meeting on April 1, 2020 (via teleconference, as allowed by Governor Ivey's Emergency Declaration of March 18, 2020), the board passed a resolution temporarily suspending the three (3) hour limit on "distance based" (online) CE for the upcoming relicensure period (10/1/2020 through 12/31/2020).

At its meeting on December 5, 2020 (via teleconference, as allowed by the Emergency Declaration of March 18, 2020), the board passed a resolution extending the temporary three (3) hour limit on "distance based" (online) CE for the relicensure period beginning 10/1/2021. This rule was to expire on 6/30/2021, but was extended through 9/30/2021 (board meeting of 5/8/2021). All CE hours needed for the 10/1/2021 through 12/31/2021 license renewal may be earned online.

Existing provisions allow licensees to request CE requirement changes if circumstances prevent you from obtaining CE. If you need to request some form of CE waiver, plan to submit this request to the board by September 30, 2020.

Refer to Administrative Code 630-X-7.

Alabama optometrists holding therapeutic licenses must obtain twenty (20) approved hours of continuing education annually. At least half of these hours must relate to diagnosis, treatment, and management of eye disease.

Alabama optometrists not holding therapeutic licensure must obtain fourteen (14) hours of approved continuing education annually.

For all Alabama licensed optometrists, up to three (3) hours may be devoted to approved practice management courses. Three (3) hours of "distance-based" (internet, teleconference, etc.) education may be obtained annually to meet continuing education requirements. 

Required CE hours should be attended between October 1 and September 30 (Alabama's fiscal year).  

You may not renew your license until you've completed all required CE hours.   If you have not completed the required number of CE hours by September 30, you must complete them during the re-licensure period (October 1 through December 31).  After completing the required number of CE hours, additional CE hours obtained during the re-licensure period may be counted toward the following year's re-licensure.

All licensees are required to keep a personal record of courses attended including the dates of attendance, the name of the course, the name of the sponsor, and the clock hours attended.

When renewing your license to practice optometry in Alabama, you must certify that all continuing education hours required by the board have been completed. Continuing education hours can be audited, and failure to show proof of completion of the continuing education requirement can result in severe penalties, including license suspension.

The Alabama Board of Optometry approves and accepts continuing education courses approved, sponsored or offered by:  

COPE (Council in Optometric Practitioner Education)

American Optometric Association

Alabama Optometric Association and other state optometric associations

Postgraduate courses offered by accredited schools and colleges of optometry

Southern Council of Optometry

American Academy of Optometry

National Optometric Association

All other continuing education courses must be submitted for approval.  If desired, you may print and use this downloadable form (in .pdf format) for your CE approval request.


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