Commission on Paraoptometric Certification Exams

Commission on Paraoptometric Certification (CPC)

Who we are and what we do

CPC Logo

The CPC is a volunteer commission of the AOA comprised of certified paraoptometrics and doctors of optometry, that:

  • Promotes certification of optometric staff through education and testing.
  • Identifies core competencies required for each of its four certification designations by periodically conducting Job Task Analysis surveys.
  • Coordinates areas of development for the testing program, using designated subject matter experts.
  • Develops programs to promote the value of paraoptometrics to the optometric community. Promotes the value of paraoptometric certification to optometric educators, students, and the public.

The primary role of the CPC is development of paraoptometric examinations, which are kept confidential among the CPC and its committees. The CPC offers certification opportunities through four paraoptometric examinations, three of which are nationally accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA).

Responses obtained through Job Task Analysis surveys, conducted every 3-5 years, form the basis of the certification exams and their respective outlines. To remain in compliance with strict NCCA standards, the CPC and its members are not permitted to develop or present educational materials that may be used for exam preparation. Exam developers who create study materials may provide an unfair advantage to some candidates by inadvertently revealing exam content.

Exam outlines are publicly available. The AOA’s Education Center may use them to create education that corresponds with the outline contents. To maintain examination integrity and confidentiality, a firewall is enforced between the CPC and all other individuals and entities within or outside of the AOA. At no point is the content of any paraoptometric examination revealed for any reason to the AOA Education Center staff or any of its committees.

Contact the CPC at cpc@aoa.org.

Certification Level Description

Program 

Level 

Description 

Certified Paraoptometric  
(CPO)  

Entry 

A CPO is a person who has attained national recognition via certification by demonstrating an understanding of the concepts used in optometric care
(Requires CPO Attestation Form).

Certified Paraoptometric Assistant  
(CPOA) 

Intermediate 

A CPOA is a person who has attained national recognition via certification by demonstrating the ability to apply the concepts used in optometric care.

Certified Paraoptometric Technician  
(CPOT) 

Advanced 

A CPOT is a person who has attained national recognition via certification by demonstrating the ability to understand, apply, and interrelate the concepts used in optometric care.

Certified Paraoptometric Coder
(CPOC)  

Specialty 

A CPOC is a person who has attained national recognition via certification by demonstrating proficiency, expertise, and validating superior knowledge in an optometric coding environment.

Paraoptometric Examination Candidate Handbook

The first step in preparing for a CPC certification exam is reading and understanding the Paraoptometric Examination Certification Handbook.

Make sure to review the expanded outline for the exam:

CPC Exam Schedule

The CPC determines the schedule for the  examinations. The CPO, CPOA, and CPOC examinations are administered during an established two-week testing period four times yearly, Monday through Saturday excluding holidays, at computer-based testing facilities managed by Prometric. The CPOT written and CPOT clinical examinations are offered only during the two-week testing periods during the May and November administrations.  

2024 examination dates

All applications are due by midnight ET of the application or late application deadline date.

2024 testing dates

Application deadline 
($50 late fee will be incurred for applications submitted after this date) 

Late application deadline 
(Applications will not be accepted after this date) 

February 10-24, 2024

January 3, 2024

January 17, 2024

May 4-18, 2024
(includes CPOT testing)

March 20, 2024

April 10, 2024

August 10-24, 2024

June 26, 2024

July 17, 2024

November 2-16, 2024*
(includes CPOT testing)

September 18, 2024

October 9, 2024

*Paraoptometrics, whose renewal is due in 2024 and who wish to test in November for the next level of certification, must submit their renewal to the CPC office in St. Louis, Missouri, for processing no later than Sept. 1, 2024, so that eligibility can be verified by the November application deadline. CPO and CPOA certifications must be current at the time of testing when attempting the next level examination. Certifications expire on Oct. 31 and therefore must be renewed prior to the November application deadline before eligibility can be verified.

Review exam details and fees below.

Exam details & fees

Apply

Applicants will be held accountable for knowing the policies and procedures set forth in the handbook. Submission of an application is an attestation that the applicant read and understood all policies and procedures.

Candidates may submit an application and payment online through PTCNY for the appropriate certification level. Once registered, you will be able to select a testing center at a Prometric testing site near you.

Start an Application

Step-by-step application checklist

Find a testing location

Scheduling your exam appointment

Know Before You Go      Know Before You Go Video

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