Paraoptometric Certification & Renewal

Paraoptometric certification is a program developed by a respected panel of American Optometric Association (AOA) certified paraoptometrics and doctors of optometry, created to encourage continuing education and knowledge as the field of optometric assisting grows.

The AOA offers four levels of certification for optometric staff. Each program requires successful completion of an examination prepared and administered by the Commission on Paraoptometric Certification (CPC) with the assistance of Professional Testing Corporation (PTCNY). The purpose of the examinations is to assure a level of knowledge to perform the functions necessary to each certified designation. Recipients must renew their certification every three years to remain current in their field.

The CPO TM, CPOA TM and CPOT TM examinations are accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA). The NCCA accreditation serves as a benchmark on how organizations should conduct certification and clearly distinguishes the excellence and value of CPC certification. The CPC is a member of the Institute for Credentialing Excellence, an organization that provides education, networking and other resources for professionals.

Statement on Nondiscrimination Policy
The Commission on Paraoptometric Certification does not discriminate against any individual based on race, color, religion, gender, national origin, age, disability, or any other characteristic protected by law.

Paraoptometric Certification

Para certification and renewal

Earn continuing education (CE) credits by writing new items (questions) that may be used on the 2022 paraoptometric examinations. Who should participate? Any certified paraoptometric looking for a way to earn CE toward renewal of their certification or who may be interested in joining the CPC Item Review or Test Development Committee. Contact for more information.

Certification programs




Certified Paraoptometric  


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  


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  


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


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

CPOA reference form

Exam Schedule

The CPC determines the schedule for the 2022 examinations. The CPO , CPOA , CPOT , 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.  

2022 examination dates

All applications are due by 9 p.m. ET of the application or late application deadline date.

2022 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 22-26, 2022

January 5, 2022

January 19, 2022

May 7-21, 2022
(includes CPOT testing)

March 23, 2022

April 13, 2022

August 13-27, 2022

June 29, 2022

July 20, 2022

November 5-19, 2022*
(includes CPOT testing)

September 21, 2022

Octotober 12, 2022

*Paraoptometrics whose renewal is due in 2022 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 Sep. 1, 2022 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.)

Exam details & fees

Know Before You Go


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

Find a testing location

Scheduling your exam appointment

Know Before You Go

Accommodations Request - Americans with Disabilities Act

Maintain your certification

Purpose of renewal

The intent of the Commission on Paraoptometric Certification's (CPC) renewal program is to ensure certified paraoptometrics remain current in optometric assisting skills and knowledge. The purpose of recertification is to ensure that certified paraoptometrics maintain their competence to practice by increasing their knowledge, honing their skills, encouraging interaction with peers and meeting professional standards.

General requirements

Need CE credit?


AOA MarketPlace

Pre-purchased digital products from AOA Marketplace

If you have purchased one of the following products from the AOA Marketplace, you can access the videos below. You must login using the account under which the product was purchased to gain access.

Renewal schedule & fees

The 2020 CPC online renewal period is closed. Please submit your late renewal by mail with the full $195 fee and your CE credits to the address on your renewal invoice. Contact with questions.

Fill out my online form.

Mail certification renewals to:
243 N. Lindbergh Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63141

Medical need for exemption

Any applicant may make a written appeal of decisions made by the CPC relating to loss of designation. In the appeal, an applicant may request an exemption based on written support of medical need from their physician. All requests for exemption must be received, in writing, by the CPC within 30 days of notification of non-compliance with CPC requirements or within 30 days of the renewal deadline.

CPC annual reports

Year in review

Job Task Analysis

Related News

How to speak the universal language of care

How to create a bilingual and culturally sensitive practice, why it matters to patients and how it can set you apart from the competition.

Could optometry unlock secrets to cognitive health? What the research says

The 15th century polymath Leonardo da Vinci quipped, “the eyes, the window of the soul.” He couldn’t know the half of it. Only now, with 21st century technology, are researchers unlocking the secrets of the retina—and the brain. The search for retinal biomarkers of neurocognitive disorders is returning results, and optometry may hold a piece of the puzzle.

For new students, grants make a difference—so they can, too

Since the AOA/AOSA Opportunities in Optometry grant program was announced last spring, 32 grants have been awarded. Awardees from underrepresented minority groups in the profession talked about their hope to make a difference to others someday.