Tenn. Comp. R. & Regs. 1045-02-.02 - LICENSURE PROCESS

It is the intent of the Optometry Practice Act and the Board to require the highest level of education from all persons who apply for licensure in Tennessee. To become licensed to practice Optometry in Tennessee a person must comply with the following procedures and requirements:

(1) An applicant must obtain from the Board administrative office an application form that must be completed and submitted along with all required documentation and fees to the Board administrative office.
(2) An applicant shall pay the application fee as provided in Rule 1045-02-.01(1).
(3) An applicant shall cause to be submitted directly to the Board administrative office a certified transcript mailed by an accredited college or school of optometry which clearly shows the degree and the date received. The college or school of optometry must be accredited by one (1) of the following:
(a) Accreditation Council on Optometric Education (ACOE)
(b) National Commission on Accrediting
(c) United States secretary of education
(4) An applicant shall submit to the Board administrative office a recent "passport style" photograph of himself/herself.
(5) An applicant shall submit to and successfully complete the Board's licensure examination pursuant to rule 1045-02-.03.
(6) If an applicant is or has been licensed to practice optometry in any other state, the documentation required by T.C.A. § 63-8-115(b) shall be submitted along with the application.
(7) An applicant shall submit to the Board administrative office satisfactory evidence of good moral character. Satisfactory evidence of good moral character requires at a minimum two letters of reference from optometric practitioners on the signators' letterhead.
(8) An applicant shall cause to be submitted to the Board's administrative office directly from the vendor identified in the Board's licensure application materials, the result of a criminal background check.
(9) Inactive Volunteer Licensure - Applicants who intend to exclusively practice Optometry without compensation on patients who receive Optometric services from organizations granted a determination of exemption pursuant to Section 501 (c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code may obtain an inactive volunteer license to do so as follows:
(a) Applicants who currently hold a valid Tennessee license to practice Optometry issued by the Board pursuant to this rule which is in good standing must:
1. Retire their active licenses pursuant to the provisions of rule 1045-02-.04(7)(a) and:
2. Have submitted to the Board Administrative Office directly from the qualified organization proof of the determination of exemption issued pursuant to Section 501 (c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code; and
3. Certify that they are practicing Optometry exclusively on the patients of the qualified entity and that such practice is without compensation.
(b) Applicants who do not currently hold a valid Tennessee license to practice Optometry must comply with all provisions of paragraphs (1) through (8) of this rule.
(c) Inactive volunteer licenses are subject to all rules governing renewal, retirement, reinstatement and reactivation as provided by rules 1045-02-.04. These licenses are also subject to disciplinary action for the same causes and pursuant to the same procedures as active licenses.
(10) Application Review, Approval, and Denial
(a) Initial review of all applications to determine whether or not the application file is complete may be delegated to the Board's administrator or designee, provided that final approval of all applications is made and ratified by the Board.
(b) If an application is incomplete when received by the Board's Administrative Office, or if the reviewing Board member or the Board's designee determine additional information is required from an applicant before an initial determination can be made, the Board administrator shall notify the applicant of the information required. The applicant shall cause the requested information to be received in the Administrative Office on or before the sixtieth (60th) day after receipt of the notification.
1. Such notifications shall be sent certified mail, return receipt requested, from the Administrative Office.
2. If requested information is not timely received, the application file will be considered abandoned and will be closed by the administrator. If that occurs, the applicant shall be notified that the Board will not consider issuance of a license until a new completed application and fees are submitted. The Board may, in its discretion, keep a file open past this deadline if special circumstances warrant.
(c) A Board member or Board designee who has reviewed the completed application and determined that the applicant has met all the requirements for licensure, renewal or reinstatement may issue an applicant a temporary authorization to practice, as described in T.C.A. § 63-1-142, subject to ratification by the full Board at its next regularly scheduled meeting. If the Board member or designee cannot make such a determination, the applicant shall be advised that the Board will consider the application at its next regularly scheduled meeting.
(d) The Board or its designee may delay a decision on an application for any applicant from whom the Board wishes additional information.
(e) If after reviewing the completed application the Board denies, limits, conditions or restricts the issuance of a license, the action shall become final and the following shall occur:
1. A notification of the denial, limitation, condition or restriction shall be sent by the Administrative Office by certified mail, return receipt requested, that contains the specific reasons for denial, limitation, condition or restriction, and such notification shall contain all the specific statutory or rule authority for the denial, limitation, condition or restriction.
2. The notification, when appropriate, shall also contain a statement of the applicant's right to request a contested case hearing under the Tennessee Administrative Procedures Act (T.C.A. §§ 4-5-301, et seq.) to contest the denial , limitation, condition or restriction and the procedure necessary to accomplish that action.
(i) An applicant has a right to a contested case hearing only if the licensure denial, limitation, condition or restriction is based on subjective or discretionary criteria.
(ii) An applicant may be granted a contested case hearing if the licensure denial, limitation, condition or restriction is based on an objective, clearly defined criteria only if after review and attempted resolution by the Board's Administrative Staff, the application can not be approved and the reasons for continued denial, limitation, condition or restriction present genuine issues of fact and/or law which are appropriate for appeal. Requests for a hearing must be made in writing to the Administrative Office within thirty (30) days of the receipt of the notice of denial, limitation, condition or restriction from the Board.
(f) The initial determination procedures of this rule will not apply if the Board makes a final determination on any application during its meetings.
(g) If the Board finds it has erred in the issuance of a license, it will give written notice by certified mail of its intent to revoke or cancel the license. The notice will allow the applicant the opportunity to meet the requirements for licensure within thirty (30) days from the date of receipt of the notification. If the applicant does not concur with the stated reason and the intent to revoke or cancel the license, the applicant shall have the right to proceed according to subparagraph (e) of this rule.


Tenn. Comp. R. & Regs. 1045-02-.02
Original rule filed May 15, 1981; effective July 22, 1981. Amendment filed October 13, 1983; effective November 14, 1983. Repeal and new rule filed November 30, 1990; effective January 14, 1991. Amendment filed October 29,1991; effective December 13, 1991. Amendment filed August 26, 1998; effective November 9, 1998. Amendment filed July 22, 2002; effective October 5, 2002. Amendment filed September 7, 2004; effective November 21, 2004. Amendments filed March 17, 2006; effective May 31, 2006. Amendment filed March 22, 2007; effective June 9, 2007.

Authority: T.C.A. § 4-5-202, 4-5-204, 63-8-112, and 63-8-115.

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