Deciding When an Internship is Required

Whether you are required to complete a six-month internship before you can be licensed as a Therapeutic Optometrist depends on whether you hold a current optometry license in another jurisdiction, how long you have practiced in that jurisdiction and whether that jurisdiction has licensure standards that are at least equal to Delaware’s standards.

IF you…

AND IF you have…

THEN you...

do not hold a current license

--

must serve an internship.

hold a current license

not practiced at least five years in any single jurisdiction where you hold a current license

must serve an internship.

practiced at least five years in any single jurisdiction where you hold a current license

may apply by reciprocity.

Information about Internship

When you must serve an internship according to the table above, the internship period starts the day after the Board approves it. The period must consist of at least 35 hours per week for at least six months. You must be supervised throughout the period by one or more doctors approved by the Board.

It is your responsibility to select a doctor to supervise you during the internship. In making your selection, note the following:

  • If the supervisor is neither an ophthalmologist nor therapeutically-certified optometrist, you must complete 100 additional hours of clinical internship with a therapeutically-certified optometrist, medical doctor or osteopathic physician.
  • If you select a therapeutically-certified optometrist not licensed in Delaware, he or she must be licensed in a jurisdiction where the standards of therapeutic practice are comparable to those in Delaware.

If more than one doctor will be supervising you, the Board must approve all of them. A supervising doctor:

  • must supervise you "one-on-one"
  • can supervise only one intern at a time
  • must be on the same premises and immediately available for supervision at all times
  • must review the patient evaluations before the patient leaves the office.

EXAMPLES

These are examples of situations are not acceptable direct supervision:

  • The supervising doctor has two offices. He/she works in office 1, and the intern works in office 2.
  • Three doctors work in the supervising doctor's office. The intern's Board-approved supervisor leaves and assigns a doctor whom the Board has not approved to supervise the intern.

Information about Reciprocity

To be licensed by reciprocity, you must

  • hold a current optometry license in another jurisdiction (state, U.S. territory or District of Columbia), and
  • have practiced at least five years in any single jurisdiction where you hold a current license.

If you do not meet both of the criteria above, you must complete a six-month internship before you can be licensed as a Therapeutic Optometrist.

When you file by reciprocity, the Board will determine whether any jurisdiction where you hold a current license and where you have practiced at least five years has licensure standards that are at least equal to Delaware's standards. Since Delaware issues only Therapeutic Optometrist licenses, the Board will evaluate both the basic licensure standards and standards of therapeutic practice of each jurisdiction.   It is possible that the basic licensure standards are equivalent to those of Delaware, but the standards of therapeutic practice are not.  If the Board determines that none of the jurisdictions has equivalent standards, you must re-apply by internship because you cannot be licensed by reciprocity.

Requirements for All Applicants

You must meet the following requirements regardless of whether you must serve an internship or are filing by reciprocity. for pre-approval of the internship. Auxiliary forms mentioned are included with the application.

  • Enclose the non-refundable processing fee by check or money order made payable to “State of Delaware.”
  • Arrange for the Board office to receive an official transcript from the college(s) of optometry where you received a degree, sent directly from the college to the Board office. The transcript must show that you have received a degree of "Doctor of Optometry" from a legally incorporated and accredited optometric college or school accredited by the American Optometric Association.
  • Complete the Criminal History Record Check Authorization form to request State of Delaware and Federal Bureau of Investigation criminal background checks. Follow the instructions on the authorization form to arrange to be fingerprinted.
  • Submit a copy of front and back of your current cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) certification for adults and children.
  • If you have ever held a license in another jurisdiction (state, U.S. territory or District of Columbia), arrange for the Board office to receive verification of licensure from each jurisdiction where you have ever held a license, sent directly from the jurisdiction to the Board office. A Verification of Optometry License form is included with the application.
  • Request a self-query from the National Practitioner and Healthcare Integrity and Protection Data Banks (NPDB/HIPDB) website at www.npdb-hipdb.hrsa.gov. The self-query report will be mailed to your address. When you receive the report, mail (do not fax) the original report to the Board office.

Additional Requirements for Pre-Approval of Internship

When you must serve an internship, the following is required for pre-approval of the internship in addition to the items in the Requirements for All Applicants section.

  • Arrange for the Board office to receive a notarized Statement of Supervising Doctor form completed and signed by each doctor who will supervise you during your internship, sent directly from the supervising doctor to the Board office. If more than one doctor will supervise you, each must submit a separate statement.

The Board office must also receive an official report of your passing scores on the National Board of Examiners in Optometry (NBEO) examination Parts I - III and TMOD. Since NBEO sends each candidate’s score report to all jurisdictions, the Board office will generally have received your score reports before you file your application. For information about the exam, see the NBEO website at www.optometry.org

Requirement for Approval of License Following Internship

When your internship period is complete, each supervising doctor must verify that you successfully completed your internship. Generally, the Board will review these verifications at the scheduled Board meetings closest to the end of your internship. This is to ensure that you receive your permanent license as soon as possible after your internship ends. For the schedule of Board meetings, see Public Meeting Calendar.

  • Arrange for the Board office to receive verification that you have successfully completed your internship, preferably on the Verification of Internship form, from each supervising doctor.
    • If the internship end date falls after the closest Board meeting, the supervising doctor(s) should submit a preliminary Verification of Internship form for the Board’s review at its meeting and a second, final Verification of Internship form on or after the internship end date.
    • If the internship end date falls before the closest Board meeting, the supervising doctor(s) should submit the final Verification of Internship form before the meeting. In this situation, the Board office may extend the internship period to cover the days leading up to the meeting.

The Board will review the verifications at its meeting and, if you have successfully completed the internship and met all requirements, the Board will approve your Therapeutic Optometrist licensure. The Board office will then issue your Therapeutic Optometrist license.

Additional Requirements for Reciprocity Applicants

When you are applying for licensure by reciprocity, as explained in the Information about Reciprocity section above, the following are required in addition to the items in the Requirements for All Applicants section.

  • If you passed the National Board of Examiners in Optometry (NBEO) examination before 2007, arrange for the Board office to receive an official report of your passing scores on Parts I - III and TMOD, sent directly from NBEO to the Board office.
  • Submit copies of the current optometry license law and rules and regulations from each jurisdiction where you hold a current license and where you have practiced at least five years. The Board will compare Delaware’s basic licensure standards and standards of therapeutic practice to those of each jurisdiction.
  • Arrange for the Board office to receive verification of your practice in any jurisdiction where you hold a current license and you have practiced at least five years.
    • The verification letters must come from persons in a position to know your practice history, such as employer, colleague or accountant. They must be sent directly from the person to the Board office.
    • Since you will not know at the time you file this application which jurisdictions where you hold a current license, if any, have licensure standards equivalent to those of Delaware, it is preferable to obtain this documentation of your practice in each jurisdiction where you hold a current license and you have practiced five years.

Prescriptive Authority and Controlled Substance Registration

Your licensure as a Therapeutic Optometrist authorizes you to use and prescribe specific pharmaceutical agents to diagnose and treat diseases, disorders, and conditions of the eye and adnexa. See 24 Del. C. §2101 (3) for the list of medications you are—and are not—authorized to prescribe/use.

To prescribe controlled substances, you must hold a controlled substance registration (CSR) in addition to your Therapeutic Optometrist license.

  • You may apply concurrently for your Therapeutic Optometrist license and CSR, or you may apply for the CSR later.  If you apply for your Therapeutic Optometrist license and CSR at the same time, the CSR application will be processed after your Optometrist license is approved.  For the CSR application and instructions, see Application for Controlled Substances Registration – Optometrists.
  • When your Delaware CSR is approved, you must then file for a federal DEA registration for Delaware. You must have both a Delaware CSR and DEA registration for Delaware before you prescribe controlled substances in Delaware. 
  • Your prescriptive authority for controlled substances is limited to: 
    • Schedule II controlled substances containing hydrocodone, up to a maximum 72-hour supply
    • Schedules III, IV, and V controlled substances up to a maximum 72-hour supply.
  • You are not permitted to store or dispense controlled substances.