By: Sandy Tran, O.D. and Michael Montenare M.A.T, O.D.
If you are planning to obtain an optometric license in New Jersey, give yourself a good window of time since the process can take a while. To speed things up, here is a step-by-step guide with tips to apply and receive your license from the state of New Jersey.
Step #1: Apply for Optometry License (OD) and Oral Medications (OM) License
Go to the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General to download both applications at: http://www.njconsumeraffairs.gov/optometry/
- Click on “Applications”
- Click on “Optometry License” and print
- Click on “Application for an Oral Therapeutic Pharmaceutical Agents” and print
- Fill out all forms and gather the required material
The reason why it may take some time to obtain a license in New Jersey is because everything is done through paper. Remember to fill out all forms as thoroughly as possible. Required materials include a passport photo (which can be obtained from CVS or Duane Reade for a small fee) and official optometry school and college transcripts. Send in your application and corresponding checks through the mail. When received, New Jersey state will send you an open-book test of about 20 true or false questions.
Step #2: Complete the New Jersey Optometry Law Examination
- Go back to the website http://www.njconsumeraffairs.gov/optometry/, but now click on “Laws and Regulations”
- Click on “Optometrists Laws” and print
- Click on “Optometrists Regulations” and print
- Use these resources to answer all the questions
- Mail back to the New Jersey Board of Optometrists
Step 3: Complete Fingerprint/Background Check Forms and Send Proof of CPR Certification
Once your application is received, you will be sent fingerprint forms for your background check. If you are living in New Jersey, you can take the form to a nearby MorphoTrust to complete. If you are like me and from out-of-state, you can take this to any fingerprint agency like LiveScan and complete the forms provided. Fees will vary. If currently valid, send a copy of your CPR certification card. Otherwise, re-new your certification and send a copy once obtained.
After you have completed everything, the New Jersey Board will create a file for you. If they have not received something to complete your application (for example, they haven’t received your transcript yet), then they will notify you by mail with a list of things that you need to complete. Once you have completed everything (including the Law Exam), they will issue you:
- an optometrist (OD) license number; and
- an oral medication (OM) license number
Step #4: Apply for an NPI Number
To apply for your NPI number, NewGradOptometry.com wrote a complete guide to getting your NPI.
- The online application can be found at the National Plan and Provider Enumeration System (NPPES) website: https://nppes.cms.hhs.gov/NPPES/StaticForward.do?forward=static.npistart
- The “National Provider Identifier” or NPI number is a 10-digit number that is issued to all health care providers in the United States by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). It is used to identify you as a health care provider.
- You will need to provide your optometry license number.
- Do not worry about obtaining your taxonomy number before you begin, this will be provided for you in the application process.
The next 2 steps are only to be done if the office in which you will be working requires that you obtain a Controlled Dangerous Substance (CDS) number and a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) number. The office must be registered for you to be able to obtain these certifications.
Step #5: Apply for a Controlled Dangerous Substance (CDS) Number
- Go to http://www.njconsumeraffairs.gov/
- Click on “Applications”
- Scroll down and click on “C.D.S. Registration Initial Application for – Dispenser/Prescriber – Practitioner” (Don’t click on “mid level”)
- Fill out application and send back with a check (not a money order) – Note: Optometrists are authorized to prescribe only Schedules III, IV, V. Make sure to check only those three boxes. You will also need to provide your license number.
- Wait to receive your CDS #. Once you get this, then you can apply for a DEA #.
Step #6: Apply for a DEA Number (only done after obtaining a CDS number)
- Go to http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/
- Click on “New Application Online”
- Click on “Begin Application Process”
- You will be selecting Form 224 (Mid Level Practitioner)
- Fill out application on-line and pay with a credit card/debit card
- Wait to receive your DEA #
Since everything is done by mail, it can feel like a long waiting game. You may want to keep checking the status of your application either by email or by phone. Although the process may take some time, using these tips and knowing what to expect will make the process go much smoother. Good luck getting your New Jersey Optometry License!
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