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 CPOTM, CPOATM and CPOTTM 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.

Paraoptometric Certification

Para certification and renewal

In order to become certified you will first need to read the Paraoptometric Examination Candidate Handbook along with the eligibility requirements. After you have read the handbook and the eligibility requirements, you can begin the application process. Please make sure you read all instructions on how to apply and note the fees that go with each certification before you begin.

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 2020 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.  

2020 Examination Dates

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

2020 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) 

Feb. 15-29

Thursday, Jan. 2, 2020 

Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020 

May 2-16

Wednesday, March 18, 2020 

Wednesday, April 1, 2020 

Aug. 1-31

Wednesday, July 1, 2020 

Wednesday, July 1, 2020 

Nov. 1-30*

Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020 

Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020 

Note that changes made to testing periods, renewal guidelines, fees, and application and renewal deadlines have been made for 2020 only due to COVID-19. In 2021, we anticipate testing will continue in two-week testing periods in February, May, August and November. Changes that affect the 2020 certification renewals will only apply to certification renewals that are due in 2020. Updated renewal guidelines for 2020 may be found Here

Exam Details & Fees


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.

Find a Testing Location

Scheduling Your Exam Appointment

Special Needs – Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

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

Renewal schedule & fees

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

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