Awards & Recognition

The Paraoptometric Resource Center has developed several professional recognition awards for its members. All awards culminate at the Friday night Awards Reception being held during the 119th Annual AOA Congress & 46th Annual AOSA Conference: Optometry's Meeting®, June 29 - July 3, 2016, in Boston.

Paraoptometric Recognition Week

September 18-24, 2016

Paraoptometric Recognition Week is an opportunity to encourage paraoptometrics to think of themselves as professionals, take pride in their responsibilities, and pursue professional development. It is the only formal observance in the nation specifically intended to honor optometric practice staff.

Recognition of paraoptometry as a profession hinges on the strength of paraoptometric members and support of optometrists and other health care providers. By paraoptometrics seeking education, acquiring new skills and becoming certified, the high standards for the profession will challenge other support personnel who work within the profession to do the same.

Paraoptometric Recognition Week is observed annually during the third week of September by the American Optometric Association Paraoptometric Resource Center.

Doctors are encouraged to be creative in planning their festivities. The PRC provides Paraoptometric Recognition Week promotional kits free-of-charge to prepare for the observance. Kits contain a downloadable poster, table tent, press release, and recognition ideas. Kits are offered to anyone and may be requested year-round by sending an e-mail to Requested kits will be sent in August of 2016 to be received before Paraoptometric Recognition Week. 

Paraoptometric of the Year Award

The Paraoptometric of the Year Award is given annually to the optometric assistant or technician who has made the most outstanding and worthwhile contributions to the profession of optometry, paraoptometry, and the general public.

The Awards Committee will judge the nominees' performance based on the following criteria: service to optometry and paraoptometric associations, public service, and personal endorsement.

Nominees do not have to be winners of the state Paraoptometric of the Year Award. State winners are not automatically entered in the national contest. Nominees must be AOA associate members, not currently serving on the PRC Executive Committee. Nominations can be submitted by a state, regional, or local paraoptometric organization, an AOA member OD, or an AOA associate member.

The honoree will receive a plaque, roundtrip airfare to Optometry's Meeting®, three nights lodging reimbursement at a contract hotel, and $500 to assist with travel expenses.

Nomination forms, rules, and criteria are available through state associations and here. Completed forms must be postmarked on or before February 1, 2016.  For additional information pertaining to this award, e-mail or call (800) 365-2219, ext. 4108.

View the 2015 Recipient

Community Service Award

The winner of this award is an AOA Associate member, not currently serving on the PRC Executive Committee, who has generously donated his or her time and talents to the profession with the Community Service Award. Each nominee is evaluated based on his or her performance as related in the following categories: community service within the optometric practice in which he/she works, self or practice-sponsored community service, as well as the individual's personal and professional goals of community service.

The recipient will be presented a plaque of recognition, a $100.00 personal cash award, and a $100.00 award to the charity of the recipient's choice.

Nomination forms are available here and may be submitted to Completed forms and recommendations must be received by the Paraoptometric Resource Center on or prior to March 31, 2016.

The Bridgeway Award

Each year the PRC recognizes a state association/section that helps promote the profession of paraoptometry at the state and national levels. States may earn points annually that determine the winner of the award. The winner receives their award at Optometry's Meeting® during the Awards Reception. They receive a plaque recognizing their state's contributions, and an Education Library of staff development materials available through the PRC (a $650 value).

Learn more about accumulating criteria points.