Florida Licensure

Dear Future Colleagues,

Recent changes in the statutes of the Florida Board of Optometry have created uncertainty for students and new graduates interested in practicing in Florida. On April 14, 2017, an administrative law judge invalidated the “7-year look back” provision relating to applications for licensure in Florida. However, by law, that provision will remain in effect through May 15, 2017. Yesterday, the Board of Optometry instructed the Department of Health staff to process all applications for licensure that are received before May 16 under the old rule. Therefore, anyone who believes they qualify for licensure under the old rule should file an application with the Board not later than midnight May 15, 2017.

A recommended process for the class of 2017 would be to mail a PDF application to the Department of Health, postmarked by no later than midnight May 15, 2017. If a candidate fails to open an application with the Department of Health by this date, we cannot comment on their likelihood of getting a license under the old rules that exist in Florida, without having to retake portions of the NBEO exam.

Steps:

  1. Fill out a PDF application at:  floridasoptometry.gov/applications/app-licensure-opt.pdf
  2. Submit the application postmarked no later than midnight May 15, 2017 to:
    Florida Board of Optometry
    P. O. Box 6330
    Tallahassee, FL 32314-6330
  3. For more information visit the Florida Board of Optometry website or contact the Florida board directly at floridasoptometry.gov or 850.245.4355

The Florida Optometric Association (FOA) is independent from the Florida Board of Optometry. However, the FOA has worked diligently to create a temporary solution for candidates seeking licensure in the state of Florida. April Jasper, O.D., current FOA president, states that the FOA has allocated significant resources to seek a legal remedy to this unfortunate situation that impacts optometry students nationwide.  Additionally, the Florida Board of Optometry intends to address this issue on May 19 and following this meeting will enter rulemaking to finalize the criteria for applicants in Florida. The American Optometric Student Association will continue to look into this issue moving forward and, in coordination with the FOA, provide assistance in advocating on the behalf of optometry students.

Respectfully,

Andy Mackner, AOSA president

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