American Optometric Association Announces Launch of the Paraoptometric Career Ladder for Optometric Staff

July 30, 2015

St. Louis, MO - The American Optometric Association (AOA) announced the launch of a new AOA member benefit, the Paraoptometric Career Ladder, which is designed to revolutionize training and hiring for paraoptometrics and have a big impact on the success of doctors' practices. The Paraoptometric Career Ladder was developed by the AOA Paraoptometric Resource Center (PRC) and is available to AOA-member doctors of optometry and their staff. 

The Paraoptometric Career Ladder is a self-paced program and streamlines the training of new staff, or cross-training of seasoned staff, in six different job areas. The program, complete with an assessment tool, helps the doctor of optometry or office manager determine the full range of staff's abilities and identifies the areas of need for additional training. Once the job areas are identified, goals and timelines are set for learning, and paraoptometrics follow the step-by-step approach to learn equipment, terminology, processes and procedures. All learning objectives are linked to the education materials that cover each topic. The AOA recommends using the Paraoptometric Career Ladder when evaluating staff's yearly performance, preparing paraoptometrics for the certification examination, or during team meetings.  

"I believe that the AOA Paraoptometric Career Ladder will prove to be an important part of the development for the majority of paraoptometrics as they begin and progress throughout their career," said David A. Cockrell, O.D., AOA immediate past president. 

The Paraoptometric Career Ladder not only provides paraoptometrics with the most efficient and consistent training, it allows doctors to dedicate more of their valuable time toward patient care and seeing additional patients, as opposed to training staff.  

"One of the challenges facing every optometric practice is trying to squeeze in time for staff training," said Beverly Roberts, CPOT, former chair of the work group for the Paraoptometric Career Ladder program. "Not only does training staff take key personnel away from their regular duties, but an increased amount of stress is generated by staff having to cover others' job responsibilities during that time. Unless the practice has an existing training manual that they use consistently, there may be gaps in training from one person to another, especially if the training takes place at different times for each staff person." 

Learn more about the Paraoptometric Career Ladder. The Paraoptometric Career Ladder is exclusive to AOA members and is a benefit included in AOA membership. To learn more about the many benefits of AOA membership, visit For more about how to take advantage of the Paraoptometric Career Ladder, continuing education, and staff training, contact

About the American Optometric Association (AOA):
The American Optometric Association, a federation of state, student and armed forces optometric associations, was founded in 1898. Today, the AOA is proud to represent the profession of optometry, America's family eye doctors, who take a leading role in an individual's overall eye and vision care, health and well-being. Doctors of optometry (ODs) are the independent primary health care professionals for the eye and have extensive, ongoing training to examine, diagnose, treat and manage disorders, diseases and injuries that affect the eye and visual system, providing two-thirds of primary eye care in the U.S. For information on a variety of eye health and vision topics, and to find a doctor of optometry near you, visit