Optometrist Licensing Information

Continuing education FAQs | Renewal information

Apply for a License

Apply online

The Washington State Department of Health requires that only the applicant or licensee may complete an attestation for an application, or for continuing education. This is a legal attestation. Completion of the attestation by anyone other than the applicant may constitute a reportable felony offense. The Department of Health can take action against people for perjury or for making a false statement they know to be false.

For further information please see:

Washington State law authorizes the Department of Health to obtain fingerprint-based background checks for licensing purposes. This check may be through the Washington State Patrol and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. We may require this if you have lived in another state or if you have a criminal record in Washington State. This would be at your own expense.

You must pay the application fee at the time you apply. You may use a credit or debit card with a VISA or MasterCard logo, or pay by ACH/E-Check. Please make sure your address on the payment information screen matches the address your financial institution has on file for you. This fee is non-refundable. There is a convenience fee to apply online.

If we need additional documentation, we'll notify you by email.

There are additional items you may need, in addition to your application:

If you have questions, contact our Customer Service staff at 360-236-4700.

Getting started

Online Application Instructions

Online application instructions are on our website.

Online applications are accessed through SecureAccess Washington (SAW) security portal. You'll need to add the Department of Health Online Application Portal - Healthcare Enforcement and Licensing Management System (HELMS) Portal service to access the online applications. The first time you add the service, you'll be prompted to answer several questions to verify your identity. The questions will match the name and address you provide with the existing public record information. Because the questions come from public record, you need to provide a complete address and your full legal name as it appears on your driver's license or birth certificate. You may find you have to enter a former address, especially if your address has changed recently (within the past one or two years) to get the right questions that pertain to your identity. If you don't have sufficient information in the public record to verify your identity and aren't currently credentialed by the Department of Health, then you'll need to submit a paper application, as you won't be able to access the Online Application Portal.

Once you have completed the process, and submitted your application, you will receive an email with your pending credential number, or you may look on Provider Credential Search. Refer to this credential number any time you contact Department of Health or submit paperwork.

Apply on paper

The following forms are required for completing the application process. Please download and print forms.

Fee Schedule

See fee information below
Non-Refundable Fee Type Fee Amount
Initial application fee (non-refundable) $146*
Annual license renewal fee $166*
Late renewal penalty – active license $75
Expired license reactivation $75
Inactive license renewal $91*
Late renewal penalty – inactive license $50
Retired active license renewal $110*
Late renewal penalty – retired active license $50
Duplicate license $15
Certification to other state/institutions $25


*Includes the fee to access the University of Washington (UW) HEAL-WA website.

Licensing Requirements

See licensing requirements below


Applicants must graduate from a school of optometry accredited by the Accreditation Council on Optometric Education of the American Optometric Association and approved by the Washington State Board of Optometry. An official transcript with degree and date posted must be received directly from applicant's program. Transcripts not in English must have an official translation. Applicants must provide an official form from the school verifying required training for diagnostic, therapeutic and oral prescription of drugs, and training in the injection of epinephrine for anaphylactic shock.


Applicants must pass the National Board of Examiners in Optometry (NBEO) Parts I, II, III and the Treatment and Management of Ocular Disease (TMOD). Applicants must also have endorsements for diagnostic and therapeutic pharmaceutical agents (DPA/TPA), oral medications and epinephrine by injection. The NBEO sends official scores directly to the department. Verifications are sent by the program.

State license verification

Applicants must list all states where they do or did hold credentials. This list must also include when the applicant has applied for a credential, even if a credential was not granted. The jurisdiction where the applicant is or was credentialed must complete and submit the verification form. The jurisdiction must send the completed form directly to the department.

Personal data questions

Applicants must answer the personal data questions. If there is a positive answer to the professional liability claims history question, the applicant must send an explanation of the nature of the case, data and summary of care given, copies of the original complaint, and the settlement or final disposition. If a case is pending, applicant must indicate status.

Additional information/documents required

Process for approving/denying applications

We finish final review for approval after a credentialing specialist verifies that the application is fully complete, and complies with requirements in chapter 18.53 RCW, chapter 18.54 RCW and chapter 246-851 WAC. We complete background checks and make sure applicants have submitted required fees. Credentialing supervisors and lead workers have the authority to approve routine applications. The disciplining authority may conduct further review if the credentialing supervisor can't verify the applicant meets all requirements. We'll formally notify applicants of a denial. Those applicants may request a hearing to appeal the decision.

Renewal requirements

Optometrists must renew their license every year. Credentials expire on the credential holder's birthday and may be renewed within 90 days of the expiration date.

Continuing education requirements

Optometrists must complete a minimum of 50 hours of continuing education every two years in order to renew their license. See WAC 246-851-090 through WAC 246-851-235 for continuing education requirements.