90-118. Examination and licensing of applicants; qualifications; causes for refusal to grant license; void licenses; educational requirements for prescription and use of pharmaceutical agents.

(a) The North Carolina State Board of Examiners in Optometry shall grant licenses to practice optometry to such applicants who are graduates of an accredited optometric institution, who, in the opinion of a majority of the Board, shall undergo a satisfactory examination of proficiency in the knowledge and practice of optometry, subject, however, to the further provisions of this section and to the provisions of this Article.

(b) The applicant shall be of good moral character and at least 18 years of age at the time the application for examination is filed. The application shall be made to the said Board in writing and shall be accompanied by evidence satisfactory to said Board that the applicant is a person of good moral character; has an academic education, the standard of which shall be determined by the said Board; and that he is a graduate of and has a diploma from an accredited optometric college or the optometric department of an accredited university or college recognized and approved as such by the said Board.

(c) The North Carolina State Board of Examiners in Optometry is authorized to conduct both written or oral and clinical examinations of such character as to thoroughly test the qualifications of the applicant, and may refuse to grant a license to any person who, in its discretion, is found deficient in said examination, or to any person guilty of cheating, deception, or fraud during such examination, or whose examination discloses, to the satisfaction of the Board, a deficiency in academic education. The Board may employ such optometrists found qualified therefor by the Board in examining applicants for licenses as it deems appropriate.

(d) Any license obtained through fraud or by any false representation shall be void ab initio and of no effect.

(e) The Board shall not license any person to practice optometry in the State of North Carolina beyond the scope of the person's educational training as determined by the Board. No optometrist presently licensed in this State shall prescribe and use pharmaceutical agents in the practice of optometry unless and until he (i) has submitted to the Board evidence of satisfactory completion of all educational requirements established by the Board to prescribe and use pharmaceutical agents in the practice of optometry and (ii) has been certified by the Board as educationally qualified to prescribe and use pharmaceutical agents.

Provided, however, that no course or courses in pharmacology shall be approved by the Board unless (i) taught by an institution having facilities for both the didactic and clinical instruction in pharmacology and which is accredited by a regional or professional accrediting organization that is recognized and approved by the Council on Postsecondary Accreditation or the United States Office of Education and (ii) transcript credit for the course or courses is certified to the Board by the institution as being equivalent in both hours and content to those courses in pharmacology required by the other licensing boards in this Chapter whose licensees or registrants are permitted the use of pharmaceutical agents in the course of their professional practice. (1909, c. 444, s. 5; 1915, c. 21, ss. 2, 3, 4; C.S., s. 6691; 1923, c. 42, ss. 2, 3; 1935, c. 63; 1949, c. 357; 1959, c. 464; 1973, c. 800, s. 7; 1975, c. 19, s. 23; 1977, c. 482, s. 2; 1981, c. 496, ss. 4, 5; 1997-75, s. 4.1.)