Optometrist Continuing Education 2024: Keeping Your Skills Sharp


  • Optometrist continuing education is essential for maintaining licensure and offering the best possible care for your patients. 
  • Staying current on your CE requirements enables you to learn about advancements in the industry, including new research and diagnostic tools.
  • Knowing your state’s CE requirements can help you find courses and events to stay up to date on your hours.
  • With an integrated optometry EHR platform, you can communicate with patients about eye health news and implement best practices you learn through CE. 

Actively engaging in continuing professional education (CPE) helps you maintain a high standard of professional excellence. With new advancements in vision care and ocular health, a proactive approach to learning ensures you stay updated with the latest research and technologies, ultimately improving the quality of care you provide to patients.

To meet the CPE requirements for optometrists established by state-level Boards of Optometry and the Association of Regulatory Boards of Optometry (ARBO), participating in continuing education is required to maintain your current licensure credentials.

Gain valuable insights into optometrist continuing education (CE) in 2024. Explore state and board standard requirements and learn this year’s CE opportunities.

The Significance of Optometrist Continuing Education

Optometry is a vital healthcare field, with an expected growth rate of 9% by 2032. In the U.S., eye health issues are becoming more prevalent due to the use of digital devices and an aging population.

In 2020, the population of adults aged 65 and over numbered 55.8 million. This highlights the crucial role of skilled optometrists in addressing prevalent vision problems within this demographic, including conditions like cataracts, glaucoma, and macular degeneration.

Younger populations are also experiencing an increase in eye health problems. As many as 6.8% of children have a diagnosed vision condition.

Continuing education helps address these needs in optometry. Taking the required accredited optometry CE courses offers you and your patients the following benefits:

  • Improved specialty care. CE enables you to provide specialized care, especially for age-related eye conditions in the children’s eye health, improving patient outcomes.
  • Knowledge of research and advancements. Staying updated with the latest research and advancements in optometry allows you to implement cutting-edge treatments and diagnostic methods, including AI-assisted optometry tools like ocular imaging.
  • Compliance with regulatory standards. CE ensures you meet regulatory requirements and maintain professional standards, securing your licensure. It keeps updated on new requirements, such as the 2023 addition of eight hours CE on substance use disorders and appropriate treatment plans for DEA licensees.

Accreditation Bodies and CE Courses

The Association of Regulatory Boards of Optometry (ARBO) and the Council on Optometric Practitioner Education (COPE) are the two main organizations that regulate optometry CE. ARBO helps establish CE standards, and COPE accredits in-person and online optometry CE courses.

These organizations ensure the quality, relevance, and credibility of optometry CE. COPE’s accreditation process assures that CE courses meet these standards. This ensures optometrists receive an education that aligns with the latest industry advancements.

Many states require COPE-approved courses to meet CE obligations, making these classes essential for licensure renewal.

State-Level CE Requirements

All optometrists must meet state-level renewing optometry license CE requirements to maintain their credentials. ARBO maintains a database where you can look up your state’s specific optometrist CE requirements.

State requirements vary for CE and can change every year. For instance, Colorado has the following guidelines for the CE renewal period between April 1, 2023, and March 31, 2025:

  • 24 hours CE required for Therapeutic Pharmaceutical Agents (TPAs)
  • Internet/online (Up To 8 Hours)
  • Accumulate one hour of CE credit for every two hours spent observing at a clinical facility dedicated to eye care. This facility should have professionals who are professors or adjunct professors from accredited optometry or medical schools specializing in optometry or ophthalmology.
  • A maximum of four hours can be earned by this method in each 24-month cycle.
  • Practice management topics, drug companies’ sales pitches, and study groups are not acceptable.

Board Certification and CE

The American Board of Optometry (ABO) offers certification to optometrists wanting to hold board certification credentials within the U.S. Once you obtain your certification, you must fulfill requirements as part of the ABO’s Continuous Assessment Program (CAP), which operates on a four-year renewal procedure.

Requirements include:

  • 100 CE hours. Complete 100 hours of CE during each CAP cycle. CE can be earned through various sources, including COPE, non-COPE CE, CAP activities like mini-assessments, learning modules, and free ABO-sponsored webinars.
  • 9 mini assessments. Mini-assessments are offered three times per year, totaling 9 assessments within each CAP cycle. These assessments focus on specific topics and consist of 25 questions each. If you have a Certificate of Added Qualification (CAQ), you must pass the assessment in your CAQ area and six additional assessments, for a total of seven out of nine.
  • Twenty-five quality care points. Log 25 quality care points during each CAP cycle. You can earn these through activities within the CAQ practice area, including focused CE, patient encounters, society memberships, journal articles, and lecturing.
  • Three-year evaluation. At the end of the third year of your CAP cycle, there’s an evaluation. If you pass, you will have no obligations in the fourth year, and you will start a new cap cycle at the end of the year. If you don’t meet the requirements, you can use the fourth year for remediation.
  • One speciality assessment. If you have a CAQ, you must complete an assessment to demonstrate continued advanced competence in the CAQ area during the fourth year of the CAP cycle.

optometrist continuing education using a tablet

Types of Optometrist CE Opportunities

There are numerous opportunities throughout the year for you to fulfill your CE requirements. These include online CE courses as well as live or in-person optometry CE conferences and events.

Online CE Opportunities

Online CE opportunities include pre-recorded videos, webinars, and online courses. You can use the following resources to find up-to-date information on online CE opportunities and optometry CE scholarships.

  • ABO CE course site. ABO lists COPE-approved CE webinar courses that offer two CE credits. Optometry CE topics in 2024 include pediatric eye exams, imaging in AMD, and myopia management.
  • ARBO/COPE. Visit the ARBO course site where you can search all their offerings by instructor name, subject, format, and other characteristics.
  • Review Education Group. This resource lists online opportunities, pricing, and the number of CE credits you can earn under the Study Center tab.
  • MedEdicus. MedEdicus is COPE accredited and offers various online CE opportunities under the Online Opportunities tab.
  • Optocase. Optocase offers CE credits through hundreds of video courses and case studies.
  • Helio. Helio offers CE credits that can apply to COPE and ABO requirements for optometrists looking for convenient CE opportunities.
  • Optometry schools. Optometry schools often provide online CE opportunities, so visit a few and check out their options. SECO University offers a free optometry CE course available to all licensed optometrists, residents, and optometry students.

Best Optometry CE Conferences and Live Events

Live optometrist CE opportunities include interactive online events and in-person conferences or meetings. Most optometrists meet their live CE requirements through the Big Six optometrical organizations.

Upcoming events include:

You can also explore other possibilities, such as attending local society or association meetings, which may occasionally offer CE credits for attendance. You can also inquire whether nearby large practices or laser corrective centers provide opportunities to earn CE credits.

If you haven’t already, join the AOA and your local optometrist organizations to learn about additional CE opportunities.

using a desktop computer for optometrist continuing education

The Role of Technology in Optometry CE

With the inclusion of online webinars, virtual classes, and live-streaming events, technology allows optometrists to access and complete CE more easily than ever before. You can find and complete CE courses online through multiple sites and earn credits by taking short quizzes rather than handing in paper forms.

You can track your progress throughout the year using online platforms. For example, ARBO offers an OE Tracker system where you can record your hours so you know how many more CE credits you need. You can also download the OE Tracker App on your smartphone, allowing you to manage CE on the go. This app lets you review your CE courses and submit certificates to ARBO.

Practice Management Software

Practice management platforms like RevolutionEHR can help you stay up to date with continuing education and share what you learn with your patients. This all-in-one optometry practice management system offers features like patient engagement tools that let you share news about the latest eye health research and treatment.

It also has integrated optical Rx creation, a built-in imaging system through RevImaging, and a customized care plan library so you can implement everything you learn through CE into your patient care repertoire.

Stay Current in 2024

As an optometry professional, you must receive CE credits to maintain your certification and industry knowledge. To implement the progressive eye care practices you learn about in CE courses, use up-to-date optometry practice management software that can meet your practice’s needs.

Request a demo today to discover how our optometry practice management software can give you the freedom to focus on what matters most — caring for your patients.

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Additional Resources