UPDATE: Paraoptometric certification brings practice-wide benefits

Paraoptometrics can start down that certification path almost right away.

'Certified' is more than a set of lettered credentials when it comes to paraoptometrics—it stands for the knowledge that your practice's daily functions are in the right hands.

Paraoptometrics offer an extension to optometrists' services as they play an integral role in office efficiency and patient-practice interactions. As new mandates in the health industry require greater attention to detail, certification adds an extra layer of knowledge and confidence in staff capabilities.

"Having a strong foundation on which to build an optometric practice is crucial to success," says Tamara Franklin, CPOT, chair of the AOA Commission on Paraoptometric Certification. "With the changes in the health care field, certified staff are a crucial piece in that puzzle, and will help grow the practice, faster and more efficiently."

With the registration deadline for the next paraoptometric certification examination right around the corner on April 14, now is the time to consider the benefits certification can bring for both staff careers and your practice.

Knowledge is power

Whether your staffer has been around for 6 months or has become the practice's backbone over the years, paraoptometrics have much to gain through training and certification.

Paraoptometrics of any experience level can take advantage of the online education tools available through the Paraoptometric Resource Center (PRC), such as the Paraoptometric Skill Builder®, or additional continuing education (CE) resources and credits. And optometrists should also remember to enroll staff as AOA associate members for PRC member benefits and services at no additional cost to the member OD or staff.

Education opens opportunities. A certified skillset helps put paraoptometrics on a career path that's not only personally fulfilling, but beneficial for the entire practice when practice familiarity, experience and knowledge are combined together. Given the changing model of health care, the paraoptometric field is evolving into a lasting career, Franklin says.

"Paraoptometrics can start down that certification path almost right away, and should get started as soon as they're able," Franklin says.

Mark the calendar: Certification exam schedule

The registration deadline for the next paraoptometric examination period is 9 p.m. EST, April 14, and testing for CPO, CPOA, CPOT Written and CPOC will take place May 10-24 at participating PSI facilities. Candidates can visit AOA.ORG to submit an electronic exam application and check eligibility, or to find additional resources pertaining to the certification process, such as examination fees and handbooks, and important dates.

CPOC examinations will be offered as usual in May, August and November.

Find the specific paraoptometric certification testing facility nearest you by clicking here.

April 2, 2014

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