The Board for Hearing Aid Specialists and Opticians licenses:
Hearing Aid Specialists | Opticians
Applicants must read and understand Board Regulations. Application fees are not refundable.
DPOR Boards only accept the most recent versions of the applications provided below. DPOR Boards are not responsible for processing delays associated with forms that do not conform to this requirement.
The Virginia Regulatory Town Hall provides access to the board's meeting schedule, agendas, and past meeting minutes.
Visit the Town Hall: http://www.townhall.virginia.gov/L/viewboard.cfm?boardid=13&display=meetings
Hearing Aid Specialists | Opticians
Applicants must obtain approval from the Board prior to taking the exam.
Written and practical examination each administered three times a year.Practical Exam February 1, 2017June 12, 2017October 11, 2017
Written Exam March 1, 2017July 12, 2017November 8, 2017
View the International Hearing Society (IHS) Study Guide.
To check on the status of your application, contact the Board's Licensing Section at (804) 367-8509 or BCHOPLicensing@dpor.virginia.gov.
WRITTEN EXAM (ABO/NCLE)Administered four times a year.February 12-29, 2016May 6-23, 2016August 12-29, 2016November 4-21, 2016Visit ABO/NCLE website for registration deadlines.**
PRACTICAL EXAM (opticians & contact lens)March 11, 2016 August 12, 2016 December 2, 2016
View the ABO/NCLE Exam Handbook.
You may reach us by phone at 804-367-8509 (Licensing Section) or 804-367-8590 (Board Office), by FAX at (866) 245-9693, or by e-mail at email@example.com. Additionally, if you have information that you would like to mail to the Board, please send it to:Board for Hearing Aid Specialists and OpticiansDepartment of Professional and Occupational Regulation9960 Mayland Drive, Suite 400Richmond, VA 23233
The Board members do not work in the Board office. They come into the Board offices for Board meetings and hearings, but are not here on a daily basis. Board office staff members can answer your questions and are trained to process all information that comes into the Board office. Please do not contact Board members directly.
Every applicant must submit a complete application and fee to the Board. You will also need to provide all of the supporting documentation requested on the application, such as diploma, training certificates, or criminal history reports (if applicable). After all of your materials are reviewed, eligible applicants will be contacted to schedule the required examinations. After you have passed the examinations, you will be issued a license.
A prior conviction does not necessarily prevent you from obtaining a license; there are no “barrier crimes” that are an absolute prohibition to licensure. State law requires the Board to evaluate applicants with past convictions on a case-by-case basis to determine whether their criminal history is related to the profession. The Board must take into account the nine factors outlined in § 54.1-204.B of the Code of Virginia. Only the full Board, voting in public session at a regular meeting, can make the decision to deny an application for licensure. If you have a criminal conviction, you must submit the Criminal Conviction Reporting Form, along with a state police criminal history report for every state where you have convictions. Once the Board receives this information, the Board may request additional documents from you pertaining to the conviction, and you may be required to attend an Informal Fact-Finding conference.
An Informal Fact-Finding Conference, or IFF, is a due process administrative proceeding required by state law, to allow the Board to obtain facts “on the record” about a specific matter. It is an opportunity for an applicant or licensee to present evidence and provide the Board with information relating to their case. If the IFF is required due to an applicant’s criminal convictions, the Board will be seeking information relating to the nine factors described in § 54.1-204.B of the Code of Virginia, to assist its deliberations about whether the criminal history is related to the profession and if a license should be issued. The IFF will be conducted by a presiding officer (a Board member, former Board member, or Department staff person); a court reporter will be present to transcribe the proceedings; and you may bring any witnesses you wish. You may also submit additional documents, including letters of reference. The IFF conference is your opportunity to provide your input to the Board. You do not need to have an attorney (although it is certainly your right to be represented by counsel if you choose). After the conference concludes, the presiding officer will make a recommendation to approve or deny the license application. This recommendation will be presented to the Board at its next regularly scheduled meeting, along with all of your documents, and a copy of the transcript from the IFF conference. You will receive a copy of the recommendation prior to the Board meeting. At the Board meeting, when your case is called, you are allowed five minutes maximum to address the Board on whether you agree or disagree with the recommendation, and why. You cannot present new evidence or information at the Board meeting. The Board will then consider all of the information and vote to approve or deny your application. Please note: The IFF process is lengthy and takes several months because it includes application review; drafting a referral memo; mailing the hearing notice and scheduling the IFF; conducting the IFF; writing the recommendation; and then waiting for the next scheduled Board meeting.
In Virginia, the only approved school of opticianry is J. Sargeant Reynold Community College’s Opticianry Program. Schools located outside of Virginia must be accredited by the Commission on Opticianry Accreditation and offer a two-year course in a school of opticianry.
No. State law prohibits any person from practicing as a Hearing Aid Specialist or Optician in Virginia without a license issued by the Board for Hearing Aid Specialists and Opticians.
Hearing aid specialists and opticians licensed in another state still must complete the license application. On the application, you will have an opportunity to indicate that you are licensed in another state, and you may be exempted from taking all or part of the examinations.
For Hearing Aid Specialists: It depends. Board regulation 18 VAC 80-20-30.3 describes specific areas of training and experience in which every applicant must document completion. Evidence can be academic transcripts, apprenticeship documents, or any other documentation demonstrating that you obtained the required training.For Opticians: No. The only acceptable training or experience is completion of a two-year course in a school of opticianry accredited by the Commission on Opticianry Accreditation. Out-of-state experience or apprenticeships are not acceptable under the Board’s regulations.
Yes, training received in the military is acceptable. If your training is substantially equivalent to the Board’s requirements, you will be eligible for the examination. If your training is not substantially equivalent, then the portion of your training that is equivalent will be credited toward completion of the training requirements. You will need to submit your military-issued training documents along with your application.
Hearing aid specialists may apply for a temporary permit solely for the purpose of gaining the necessary training and experience required for licensure. There is no temporary permit for opticians.
Hearing aid specialists are issued temporary, 12-month permits solely for the purpose of gaining the necessary training and experience required to become licensed. If you have not completed your training, you may request a one-time six-month extension to complete your training. If you have completed the training, you will not receive an extension.
In the event you have suffered serious personal injury, military deployment, or death in the family and this event has delayed your completion of training, you may contact the Board to request a special circumstances extension.
Licensed Audiologists are exempt from certain portions of the hearing aid specialist exam. Please contact the Exams section at (804)367-8544 or firstname.lastname@example.org to determine which section you will need to take.
Contact the state or jurisdiction in which you are seeking licensure. That state might request proof of your Virginia license, which you can request from the Board using the Certification Request Form.
No. Although Board staff make every effort to send letters of certification out within five business days, our official turnaround time is 30 days. Certifications are processed in the order they are received.
Send in the renewal fee, make checks payable to the Treasurer of Virginia, and include your license/certificate number on your check. Please complete a Name/Address Change Form if you have moved or changed your name. Mail this information to:Board for Hearing Aid Specialists and OpticiansDepartment of Professional and Occupational Regulation9960 Mayland Drive, Suite 400 Richmond, VA 23233
You CANNOT continue to practice in Virginia after your license has expired.
No. The Board's regulations allow a 30-day grace period in which a license may be renewed without penalty (therefore, your payment is actually 31 days late). Staff cannot waive the fee. Board regulations state that if the requirements for renewal of a license, including receipt of the fee by the board, are not complete within 30 days of the expiration date, a reinstatement fee is required.
Yes. Board regulations state that failure to receive the renewal notice does not relieve the licensee of the obligation to renew.
The date the application or renewal was received in the agency determines whether it is on time, not the postmark date. If the renewal fee is received after the due date, you will be required to pay the reinstatement fee. If the reinstatement fee is received after the due date, you will be required to reapply for licensure, meeting all current requirements.
Many Boards allow you to update your ADDRESS using Online Services, so login to your personal profile to see if this is an option for your license type. The alternative is to complete, print, sign, and submit an Address Change Form to the Board office by mail. Unless updated online, all Address Change Forms must be received by the Board in writing. When providing a post office box as the mailing address, it must be accompanied by the physical address.
To report a NAME CHANGE: complete, print, sign, and submit a Name Change Form to the Board office. All name changes must be received by the Board in writing. Individual name change requests must be accompanied by a copy of a marriage certificate, divorce decree, court order, or other official documentation that verifies the name change.
Yes, we strive to make the application process as fast and convenient as possible. You may scan the application or document into a PDF (not password-protected) or take a clear photo in JPG or GIF format and e-mail to BCHOPLicensing@dpor.virginia.gov
Make sure that the scans or photos are high quality and easy to read. We cannot accept scans or photos of poor quality that are are crooked, blurry, cut off, shadowed, etc. The resolution must be good enough to show clearly all text, images, markings, and seals visible on the original paper document. Essentially, when printed, the image must look like a photocopy of the original application or document.
Remember to include all pages of multi-page documents and both sides of double-sided documents. If a scanned document is not acceptable, we will request a new, higher quality image or ask you to send it to us in a different way (such as by fax or regular mail).
Demetrios J. Melis
Board members are appointed by the Governor. To learn more about the gubernatorial appointment process, visit the Secretary of the Commonwealth's website.
DPOR stands ready to assist veterans and active-duty military personnel as they maintain or transition to civilian careers requiring professional credentials.
Active-duty military personnel and their spouses having served outside the U.S., as well as certain diplomatic service members and veterans, may be eligible to receive up to a five-year extension for meeting license renewal requirements (pursuant to Section 54.1-117 of the Code of Virginia).
Spouses of active-duty military personnel assigned to a duty station in Virginia are eligible for expedited processing using the Military Spouse Expedited License Application (PDF). A temporary, non-renewable 12-month license for certain military spouses licensed in another state who need more time to meet Virginia-specific requirements is also an option if necessary. [Section 54.1-119]
For honorably discharged veterans, “substantially equivalent” military training, education, or experience may be credited toward certain license requirements (pursuant to Section 54.1-118). In addition, the Virginia Department of Veterans Affairs may reimburse veterans for the cost of license or certification exams. See the VA Pamphlet 22-02-1 for more information.
please contact us in writing or via telephone and we will work with you to make the information available.