Board Information

Welcome to the Montana Board of Optometry

The Montana Board of Optometry is pleased to share with you the licensing and regulatory information for optometrists. Within this website you will find information on what is needed to become licensed, verify who is already licensed, and learn the statutory and regulatory requirements if you are licensed. You can also learn of board meetings and agenda topics, see the latest news and view frequently asked questions. You can start your search for information by either selecting a tab above or choosing from board information topics to left on each tab.

Attention Licensees New Law in effect July 1, 2015

The new law allows the board and department to suspend licenses of persons who:

  • submit fines or fees without sufficient funds in their account,
  • fail to meet continuing education or certification requirements as discovered in an audit,
  • fail to comply with a final order of the board, or
  • fail to respond to correspondence concerning these matters.

You are cautioned to notify the board office of your current contact information or risk having correspondence not delivered to you and your license administratively suspended without further notice or hearing. More information may be found on the FAQ tab.

The Montana Board of Optometry makes every effort to include relevant and current information pertaining to licensing and regulation on our website.

Contact Information

Board Management:
Linda Grief, Executive Officer
Board Management Bureau
Phone: (406) 841-2395
Email:

For information on filing a complaint against a licensee contact:
Eleanor Tinsley, Compliance Specialist
Phone: (406) 841-2386
Email:

For information on continuing education:
Phone: (406) 841-2204
Email:

For information on renewals, license verifications, and name changes contact:
Phone: (406) 444-6880
Email:

For information on applications and licensing contact:
Phone: (406) 841-2202
Email:

Board Meetings

Board meetings are usually held several times a year.
Meeting minutes are posted within 3 days of board approval.

In general, Board meetings are open to the public.
There are certain meetings or parts (Screening Panel and Executive Session), which are closed to the public.

Scheduled and Proposed Meetings

Board Members

Members serve 4 year terms with no limit on the number of terms a member may serve.

Individual Board Members can be contacted by email at dlibsdopt@mt.gov. In your message please specify which board member you would like to contact. For additional contact information and information on board member terms, please visit the Governor’s Office link for Board Members and Councils at http://boards.mt.gov/.

Douglas Kimball- President, Professional Member
Randall Hoch, Professional Member
Marcus Kelley, Professional Member
Peter Fontana- Secretary, Public Member

Lookup Licensed Individual

Licensee Lookup System

This site is a primary source for verification of license credentials.

The Montana Department of Labor and Industry, Business Standards Division, presents Licensee Lookup information as a service to the public. The Division relies upon information provided by licensees to be true and correct, as required by statute. It is an act of unprofessional conduct for a licensee knowingly to provide erroneous information to the Division.

The Department of Labor and Industry makes no warranty or guarantee concerning the accuracy or reliability of the content of this website. Assessing the accuracy and reliability of information obtained from this website is solely the responsibility of the user. If you have questions regarding information found within this Licensee Lookup website, please contact the specific licensing board directly.

Please note that some disciplinary actions against licensees may not appear immediately on the website. Appeals, effective dates of orders and other administrative processes may delay posting on the website. Please contact the specific licensing board directly if you require discipline information that occurred prior to July 1, 1996.

Optometrist

The following outlines general licensing information. For specific information on filing an application, you will need to obtain the application which includes a detailed listing of the requirements.

A. Application Fee:

Examination Application Fees
Endorsement Application Fees
Application Fee: $175
Application Fee: $300
TPA Certificate Fee: $75    
TPA Certificate Fee: $75

B. Requirements:
Graduation from an accredited school of optometry in which the practice and science of optometry is taught in a course of study that is accredited by the Association of Regulatory Boards of Optometry (ARBO).

C. Examination Information:
License by Examination - Pass all Parts of the National Boards (Parts I, II, III and TMOD).
License by Endorsement - Pass Parts I and II of the National Boards. Pass National Board Part III or an equivalent state examination and TPA certification.

D. Renewal Period: May 2 - July 2
Late Renew Online for 45 days until Aug. 16

E. Renewal Fee: Active and Late $175

F. Continuing Education Requirements: 36 credit hours every 2 years

G. Other Special License Requirements: 3 letters of moral character

- National Practitioners Data Bank self queries
- License verifications from all states or jurisdictions that the licensee has held or holds a license.

Download List of Licensees

License Download System

This service allows you to purchase complete lists of individuals, businesses, and contractors licensed with the State of Montana through the Business Standards Division.

Options include:

  • Creating a customized list of licensees by selecting board type, license type, license status, county, etc.;
  • Submitting payment for your list using a credit/debit card or registered user account
  • Downloading your list immediately, and if necessary, retrieving your list within 24-hours of purchase

License Verification Request

Statute/Rule Information

All of the Statutes and Rules listed here are applicable to this board.

Statutes are laws passed by the Legislature. All changes in statutes must go through the legislative process and be passed into law before they become effective. Title 37, Chapter 1, Part 3 is the Uniform Regulatory Act passed by the Legislature in 1995. All professional and occupational licensing is covered in these statutes.

Administrative Rules pertaining to optometry are written and adopted by the Board of Optometry. The Board writes rules in order to administer the laws over which the Legislature has given the Board authority. Rules can be changed by going through the rule-making procedure. They do not go through the Legislative process. The Board of Optometry continuously reviews rules to determine needed changes.

The Administrative Rules of Montana (ARM) at this site contain what should be the same text as the official version published by the Office of the Secretary of State. There is a possibility, however, that the content may vary from the official version. In addition, the format has been changed for viewing on this web site. A copy of the official ARM in official format can be obtained from the ARM Bureau of the Office of the Secretary of State, by calling (406) 444-2055. A web version of the ARM published by the Secretary of State can be viewed at Secretary of State's Administrative Rules of Montana.

Administrative Rules

Rules Notices

MONTANA ADMINISTRATIVE REGISTER (MAR) 24-168-42

In the matter of the amendment of ARM 24.168.401 fees and 24.168.2101 continuing education

MONTANA ADMINISTRATIVE REGISTER (MAR) 24-101-307

In the matter of the amendment of ARM 24.101.402 definitions and 24.101.403 administrative fees, and the repeal of 24.101.401 purpose, 24.101.407 licensing, and 24.101.414 renewal notification

MONTANA ADMINISTRATIVE REGISTER (MAR) 24-168-41

In the matter of the amendment of ARM 24.168.2301 unprofessional conduct, the adoption of NEW RULE I nonroutine applications, and the repeal of ARM 24.168.2115 renewals

MONTANA ADMINISTRATIVE REGISTER (MAR) 24-168-40

In the matter of the adoption of NEW RULE I military training or experience

MONTANA ADMINISTRATIVE REGISTER (MAR) 24-101-259

In the matter of the adoption of NEW RULE I registration for out-of-state volunteer professionals

NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING ON PROPOSED ADOPTION
posted November 7, 2011

NOTICE OF ADOPTION
posted January 27, 2012

MONTANA ADMINISTRATIVE REGISTER (MAR) 24-168-39

In the matter of the amendment of ARM 24.168.401 fee schedule, 24.168.402 licensure requirements, 24.168.2101 continuing education, and the repeal of ARM 24.168.408 licensure by endorsement

MONTANA ADMINISTRATIVE REGISTER (MAR) 24-101-203

In the matter of the adoption of NEW RULE I pertaining to licensee lookup database

NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING ON PROPOSED ADOPTION
posted January 23, 2009

NOTICE OF ADOPTION
posted July 10, 2009

MONTANA ADMINISTRATIVE REGISTER (MAR) 24-168-38

In the matter of the proposed amendment of ARM 24.168.401 fees, 24.168.402 and 24.168.408 licensure, 24.168.411 general practice requirements, and 24.168.2301 unprofessional conduct

NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING ON PROPOSED AMENDMENT
posted on June 4, 2008

NOTICE OF AMENDMENT
posted on October 2, 2008

Statutes

Complaint Information

The mission of the Board of Optometry 

 

In order to meet its mission, the Board is charged with taking appropriate action for unprofessional, incompetent, or unlawful practice. You can learn more about the complaint process or file a complaint with the Board here.

 

Complaint Contact

Eleanor Tinsley, Compliance Specialist
Telephone: (406) 841-2386
E-mail: dlibsdcomplaints@mt.gov

How to File a Complaint

The Department is charged with regulating professions and occupations for the protection of the public as a whole. Although the Department does not represent individuals filing complaints, the Department will review complaints in a timely manner to ensure a complaint is processed and that the Board will take appropriate action.

The length of time for resolution of a complaint is impossible to estimate due to the various complexities presented in individual complaints.

The following types of complaints may be filed:

  • Unprofessional conduct by a licensee;
  • Unprofessional conduct by a license applicant;
  • Unlicensed practice of the profession or occupation.

If an individual is unsure of what constitutes unprofessional conduct and needs a description of the various types, reference to Montana statutes and rules will provide an answer. These are found at your local public library or at the appropriate board site on this web page.

Drop Off or Mail to:
"Name of the Board or Program the complaint pertains to"
Business Standards Division
301 South Park, 4th Floor
PO Box 200514
Helena, MT 59620-0514

The Complaint Process

This process is used for the Boards that are administered in the Business Standards Division. The various Programs administered in the Division use a similar process.

Important: When filing or responding to a complaint, be as thorough as possible. You may attach additional documents to the complaint form to ensure that all pertinent information has been included. The Screening Panel meeting is NOT a hearing, but is a time for the panel to consider the complaint and response. Attendance is your choice. If you attend the panel may ask additional questions. Please notify this office prior to the meeting if you plan to attend.

After a complaint has been filed against a licensed individual the Compliance Office will send a letter of acknowledgment to the person who filed the complaint (Complainant), and a letter requesting a response (with a copy of the complaint) to the licensee against whom the complaint was filed.

The Licensee may submit a written response addressing the complaint to the Compliance Office. The process continues whether or not a response is submitted. The Complainant is not entitled to a copy of the response.

The Compliance Office will notify the Licensee and Complainant regarding the date and time of any meeting during which the case will be discussed.

Complaints remain confidential unless a Notice of Proposed Board Action is issued, which is a public document along with all subsequent legal filings.

Meetings

  • Closed Meeting - During a Closed Meeting only the Licensee, the Complainant, and/or attorneys for either can be in attendance. Minutes of Closed Meetings are not public documents.
  • Open Meeting - A public meeting which anyone can attend. The minutes of Open meetings are public documents and made available online via the specific Board’s webpage. (Adjudication Panel meetings are usually open.)

Individuals may attend a meeting in person or by telephone. Please notify this office prior to the meeting if you plan to attend the meeting.

Screening Panel

  • Screening Panel - A committee comprised of members of the Board. The Screening Panel’s function is to determine the preliminary action(s) to take on a complaint. Possible preliminary actions include dismissal, investigation, or a finding of Reasonable Cause.

The complaint and response (if any) are submitted to the Screening Panel members. The Screening Panel meeting is not a hearing, but rather a committee meeting to review and discuss the complaint and response to determine if disciplinary action is warranted.

Dismissal

If the Screening Panel dismisses a complaint, the complaint can be dismissed with or without prejudice (see definitions below).

  • Dismissal With Prejudice - The complaint is dismissed and cannot be considered by the Screening Panel in the future.
  • Dismissal Without Prejudice - The complaint is dismissed but may be considered by the Screening Panel in the future if there are ever allegations of a similar nature.

Investigation

Only a member of the Screening Panel can request an investigation of a complaint. If an investigation is requested by the Screening Panel, the case is assigned to an investigator who may request an interview with the Licensee, the Complainant, and/or other individuals. Upon completion of the investigation, a written report is submitted to the Screening Panel, which will then determine if there is Reasonable Cause to proceed with disciplinary action.

Reasonable Cause

  • Reasonable Cause - A finding by the Screening Panel that evidence exists that a violation of statutes and rules has occurred which warrants proceeding with disciplinary action.

If Reasonable Cause is found, the Department Counsel issues a Notice of Proposed Board Action (Notice) to the Licensee. Once a Notice is issued, it is public information. A proposed Stipulation may be included with the Notice.

  • Notice - A legal document from the Department’s Legal Counsel which sets forth the Department’s factual assertions, the statutes or rules relied upon, and advising the licensee of the right to a hearing.
  • Stipulation - A tentative agreement for settlement of the case. A Stipulation is not finalized until approved by the Adjudication Panel.

The Licensee may either sign the Stipulation or contest the proposed action by requesting an administrative Hearing (a legal process before a Hearing Examiner). If the Licensee wishes to request a hearing, written request must be received within twenty (20) days from receipt of the Notice. Failure to either sign a Stipulation or request a hearing within twenty (20) days may result in the issuing of a Final Order of Default against the licensee.

  • Default - the licensee’s acceptance of the disciplinary action demonstrated by failing to participate in the process

Adjudication Panel

  • Adjudication Panel - A committee comprised of members of the Board who are NOT on the Screening Panel. The Adjudication Panel determines the final outcome of a case.

The Adjudication Panel reviews the record to determine appropriate sanctions. A Final Order is issued by the Adjudication Panel, completing the complaint process.

Complaint Process Flow

Current license status and information regarding disciplinary action(s) against a licensee can be accessed online at: https://ebiz.mt.gov/pol/

Unlicensed Practice Complaint Process

Department of Labor & Industry - Business Standards Division

PO Box 200513, Helena, MT 59620-0513

When a complaint or other information is received alleging possible unlicensed practice...

  • (If the allegation is not made in the form of a formal written complaint, a complaint form is completed by the Department and a complaint number is assigned.)
  • A copy of the complaint and a request for a written response are mailed to the person against whom the complaint was filed (Respondent).
  • A written acknowledgment that the complaint has been received is mailed to the person who filed the complaint (Complainant)
  • The respondent may submit a letter of response to the complaint. If a written response is not submitted, the complaint process continues without a response.
  • The complainant and the respondent are sent written notify cation of the date, time, and location of any meeting at which the complaint will be discussed.

The Board Meeting

  • Unlicensed Practice complaints are addressed by the Full Board in executive session (meaning closed to the public). Board meetings are open to the public unless the chairperson determines an individual’s right to privacy outweighs the public’s right to know. If so, that portion of the meeting will be closed to the public (only the respondent, complainant, and legal counsel for each (if any) may be present).
  • The complaint and response (if any) are provided to the board members prior to an upcoming board meeting for their review. The board meeting is not a hearing, but rather a meeting at which the information provided is considered and discussed by the board.

DISMISSAL

  • If the board dismisses a complaint, the complaint can be dismissed with or without prejudice.
  • Dismissal With Prejudice-The complaint is dismissed and cannot be considered in the future.
  • Dismissal Without Prejudice-The complaint is dismissed but may be considered by the board in the future if there are ever allegations of a similar nature.

INVESTIGATION

  • The board can request an investigator be assigned to gather additional information surrounding the allegations made in the complaint. This may involve interviews with the respondent, the complainant, and possible witnesses.
  • After the investigation has been completed, an investigative report is prepared and presented to the board for consideration at a subsequent meeting.
  • Following the board’s review of the investigative report, a determination is made to either dismiss the complaint or take action in the form of a Cease and Desist or an Injunction.

CEASE & DESIST / INJUNCTION

  • The board may issue a Cease & Desist or seek an Injunction.
  • Cease & Desist–A letter from the administrative agency prohibiting a person or business from doing or continuing to do a certain activity.
  • Injunction-A writ granted by a court prohibiting a person or business from doing or continuing to do a certain activity.

For more information, contact DLI Business Standards Division at 406-841-2300

Approved Continuing Education Information

Approved Continuing Education Information

All licensees shall complete a minimum of 36 hours of board approved continuing education every two years.

Approved Programs or Courses

Educational programs approved by the board shall be affiliated with national, regional, or state optometric associations, academies, colleges of optometry or approved by the ARBOs Council on Optometric Practitioner Education (COPE).

 

 

FAQ

Please use the address change form located under the forms tab on this website or notify the board via fax or US mail.

Name changes must be requested in writing with documentation of the name change included (marriage license, divorce decree etc.).  If you would like a copy of your license in your new name you must include a $5.00 check or money order for a duplicate license.

The optometrist license expires July 2 and is renewed yearly.
Please see: License Renewal Information for additional information.

Send the board office a written request for another license along with a $5.00 fee.

An official verification must be requested in writing through the mail or by using the form found on the "forms" tab of this website. The fee for each official verification is $20. Official Verification Request Form

You will have up to two years to renew and will need to pay the renewal fees and late fees and submit continuing education.

Your license will be terminated and you will need to completely reapply if you intend to practice in Montana.

All on-line commerce functions for the State of Montana are now using e-Pass as an additional layer of security to protect your information.  You will need to set up an e-Pass account to renew your license, purchase fishing or hunting licenses, etc. more information on e-Pass.

You can go directly to the License Lookup System.  This site is a primary source for verification of licensed individual’s credentials.

You can go directly to the License Download System.  This service allows you to purchase complete lists of individuals, businesses, and contractors licensed with the State of Montana through the Business Standards Division by using a credit/debit card.

Yes, 36 credit hours every 2 years

You can download the Administrative Suspension FAQ's here