Instructors, Training Requirements, and Continuing Education

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Board of Optometry: Instructors, Training Requirements, and Continuing Education

The following list of prefix designations is provided in order to simplify and determine a better clarification as to what would be designated and accepted as clinical or ocular therapeutic pharmacology when taking a continuing education course that is COPE approved:


Any course designated as “Clinical Pharmacology” or “TPA” that is not COPE-approved but is a board-approved continuing education provider shall meet the requirements of a board-approved program in clinical pharmacology. See – Approved Continuing Education below.


Pain Management Continuing Education – Any course related to pain management that meets the requirements of a board-approved program in Pain management courses approved by the American Medical Association (AMA) will also be accepted.

Continuing Education Requirements for Renewal

A minimum of 22 clock-hours of optometry related, board-approved continuing education or postgraduate programs are required for license renewal each year beginning July 1, as detailed below:

  • at least 10 of the 22 hours of continuing education must be in a board-approved program in clinical or ocular therapeutic pharmacology; and
  • at least 1 of the 22 hours of continuing education must be in a board-approved course in pain management or related topic pursuant to NMAC. This requirement shall begin with the 2015 renewal period beginning July 2, 2014
  • For optometrists on inactive status, a minimum of 10 hours of continuing education in a board-approved program in clinical or ocular therapeutic pharmacology is required.
  • The continuing education must have been taken within the preceding renewal period (July 2 of one year through June 30 of the next).
  • A license will be placed on expired status if the licensee fails to meet the continuing education requirements for renewal by the expiration date stated in rule.
  • Reactivation of license expired due to nonrenewal for failure to meet the continuing education requirement. The licensee may apply for license reactivation in the same manner as provided in Part 11 of 16.16 NMAC. The continuing education and fees will be calculated based on the number of years the license was expired due to nonrenewal for failure to meet the continuing education requirement.
  • Newly licensed optometrists who graduated from optometry school within the same year of licensure may submit the completed curriculum of their last year of optometry school to meet their continuing education requirement the first year of renewal.
Approved Continuing Education

All subjects of education must be directly related to optometry. The New Mexico board of optometry approves the following programs for continuing education credit:

A. Any convention of the American Optometric Association (AOA).

B. Any meeting of an AOA-affiliated state or regional association meeting, or meeting of the Armed Forces Optometric Society (AFOS).

C. Any session of the Optometric Extension Program Congress (OEPC).

D. Any state seminar of the graduate clinic foundation of the optometric extension program.

E. Courses sponsored by or given by accredited optometry schools.

F. Courses sponsored by the following organizations:

    • Optometric councils: mid-west, mountain west, southern, New England, southwest (SWCO).
    • Optometric contact lens societies: southwest, southern, heart of America.
    • Optometric congresses: southern, mountain states.
    • Courses sponsored by the American Academy of Optometry.
    • Courses approved by the Council on Optometric Practice Education (COPE) or courses approved by the New Mexico Optometric Association (NMOA).

G. The certificates of attendance required by Subsection C of NMAC shall be signed by the presiding officer or designee of the organization conducting or sponsoring the program and shall identify the therapeutic pharmaceutical agent (TPA) courses.

H. Certificates of attendance for courses approved by COPE must have the COPE trademark and approval number.

I. A maximum of 6 hours of internet-type course offerings, approved by COPE or any other board-approved sponsor, will be allowed for each annual renewal.



Optometry Exam and Education Schedule

The 2024 Board of Optometry Exam is scheduled for July 20, 2024. Please apply online through NM PLUS to sit for the exam ,if you have any questions please contact the board at

If you are currently licensed in one of the following states whose scope is equal to or greater than New Mexico, you may be eligible for Expedited Licensure. State-by-State Scope of Practice. If you think you are eligible for expedited licensure, please send an email to

As of January 15, 1995, all candidates for licensure are required to take the board’s licensing examination.

As of January 15, 1995, all candidates, except those who have met the qualification requirements set forth in Subsections A and B of NMAC and have been approved as candidates for licensure by endorsement, shall be required to pass Part I, Part II, Part III, and the TMOD of the NBEO national standards examination as a prerequisite to sitting for the board’s licensing examination.

Examination Policy and Procedure

(Policy to be brought by candidate to the Clinical Exam)


Effective January 15, 1995, successful completion of PART I, II, and III, and TMOD of the National Boards, is a prerequisite for sitting for the New Mexico Board of Examiners in Optometry state examination, unless specific requirements for licensure by endorsement are met. The National Board of Examiners in Optometry (NBEO) must send proof of successful passing of the accepted NBEO exams directly to the Optometry Board. See the NBEO PART Equivalency information and Board Regulations, Parts 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7, for further information on examination requirements.

Candidate Scheduling

The Clinical Practicum is administered on Saturday and possibly Sunday. The board will examine a maximum of 12 candidates per day for the Clinical Practicum.  Candidates will be randomly scheduled for the Clinical Practicum.

The board must receive ALL required documentation and examination fees on or before the deadline date in order for the application to be considered complete.

Identification and Registration

After the exam schedules have been finalized, each APPROVED candidate will be notified by mail of the exact Clinical Practicum session they have been scheduled for. 

  • Candidates will NOT be allowed entrance into the Clinical Practicum exam without the aforesaid notification letter.
  • At registration, candidates will be assigned an identification number on an I.D. card.
  • The assigned I.D. number will be the sole means of candidate identification throughout the administration and grading of the exam.
  • Candidates must also present picture identification at the time of registration for the clinical/practicum exams.
  • Candidates should be present 30 minutes prior to their scheduled examination time.
  • Candidates should bring their own pens or pencils.

All of the equipment and instruments necessary to take the Clinical Practicum examination will be furnished to the candidate. However, the candidate will be allowed to use personal binocular indirect ophthalmoscope and condensing lenses, provided that the ophthalmoscope is equipped with a teaching mirror.

Clinical Practicum Content

There will be 4 examination stations through which the candidates will rotate.

  • The maximum time allowed for examination of the candidate at each station is 32 minutes.
  • There will be a 13-minute break between sessions in order for the examiners to complete their evaluations, and to allow candidates to move on to the next assignment.
  • Candidates will immediately return to and wait in the outer reception area during this period.
  • One of the stations will be dedicated to procedures. This is where the assigned patient will be utilized.
  • In each procedures station, the candidate will be allowed a total time of 32 minutes to prepare the patient and perform those procedures that are assigned to that station.
Station Procedures

The following will be included in the procedures section of the exam. The candidate will be required to perform or have knowledge of:

  • Binocular indirect ophthalmoscopy, to include scleral indentation
  • Gonioscopy
  • Biomicroscopy of the posterior segment
  • Biomicroscopy of the anterior segment
  • Flouriscene Angiography (No injections required – just knowledge)

The candidate will be required to demonstrate proficiency in performing binocular indirect ophthalmoscopy to include scleral depression and posterior segment biomicroscopy with various fundus lenses. The candidate will be required to demonstrate proficiency in performing anterior segment biomicroscopy and gonioscopy. The procedures (4 in all) are evaluated separately. That is, the candidate is required to perform each procedure as they would in a private office setting on a patient presenting solely for the particular examination (procedure) that is being evaluated.

Station Scenarios

Four scenarios will be presented at each station for a total of 12. The scenarios presented will include patients with ocular disease, ocular degenerations and dystrophies, neuro-ocular disease, ocular manifestations of systemic disease, ocular side effects of systemic medication, systemic manifestations of ocular disease, trauma, post-operative management, and ocular irritations.

As in a real-life setting, the candidate will be expected to work through each case as if the patient were presenting in their office. Case presentations and findings will be given in a straightforward manner by the clinical examiners. However, it will be the candidate’s responsibility to ask for necessary or additional information, findings, or clarification (as would occur in a real-life setting) in order to arrive at the proper diagnosis and treatment.

The candidate’s patient presentation, evaluation, and questions will follow the S.O.A.P. (Subjective, Objective, Assessment, and Plan) format. The candidate’s performance will be evaluated in each part of the S.O.A.P.

The candidate should be mindful, however, that there are 4 scenarios to be presented within each 32-minute time frame, and the exam must move forward as the schedule demands. It is to the candidate’s advantage not to linger too long in an area (scenario) where they may be having difficulty. One member of the examiner team will keep track of the time and move the exam forward to the next scenario when each 8-minute period is up.

When the 8 minutes are up for a scenario, it is the candidate’s responsibility to inform the clinical examiners that they are ready to move on to the next question. If time permits, the clinical examiners will allow the candidate to return to any of the candidate’s problematic areas in order to allow opportunities for improvement.

Candidate’s Exam Records

In each station, the candidate will be furnished with a blank sheet of paper with their I.D. number, the station name, and time printed on each sheet. These sheets are to allow the candidate to take any notes deemed necessary as the clinical examiners set up the scenario or procedure. These sheets must be left with the examiners before the candidate exits the station.


NMSA 1978 § 61-2-6.D. (7) states, “The board shall certify as passing each applicant who obtains a grade of at least a 75% on each subject upon which he is examined.”

Subsection D of Part 5 of NMAC (the board’s rules and regulations) states, “A score of 75% or better is required on each section of the board’s exam.” The board has some discretion as to what it can consider a “subject” or “section” of the board exam. At its discretion, the board has determined, for purposes of FINAL scoring, to break down the exam into two subjects: the Jurisprudence Exam and the Clinical Practicum Examination.

The Clinical Practicum examination will be scored based upon an average of the total score for the 7 sections:

  • The 4 standalone procedures in the red station, and
  • The 3 clinical categories presented in the green, yellow, and blue stations (consisting of 4 scenarios each).
  • In order to pass the Clinical Practicum examination, an applicant must obtain a minimum overall average of 75% in the Clinical Practicum and a 75% or better in the Jurisprudence.

Provided, however, that any applicant who has received a grade of less than 60% on any part of the Clinical Practicum examination will not be considered eligible for licensure even though the overall Clinical Practicum grade may average 75%.


Fee and Refund Policy

All fees are nonrefundable.

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