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. AOA membership is not required to become certified or to maintain a paraoptometric certification.

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

Expanded CPO Outline       Expanded CPOA Outline       Expanded CPOT Outline

CPC Pins and Certificates

Exam Schedule

The CPC determines the schedule for the 2023 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.)

Exam details & fees

Know Before You Go      Know Before You Go Video


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

Renewal schedule & fees

The 2022 CPC online renewal period is closed. Please submit your late renewal by mail by January 31, 2023 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

The CPC regularly undertakes a job task analysis (JTA) study, with the assistance of the Professional Testing Corporation (PTC), to delineate the tasks and knowledge areas involved in the paraoptometric profession. The results are used in the evaluation and possible revision of the content specifications for paraoptometric certification examinations. 

NOTE: Currently, the CPC is conducting a JTA study to define the scope of practice and knowledge needed for the CPO, CPOA and CPOT. In August and September 2023, a select number of doctors of optometry and paraoptometrics have/will receive email correspondence from the PTC on behalf of the AOA and CPC with a confidential link to complete this study. The survey takes about 20-25 minutes to complete.

If you receive a survey request in your email, your participation is greatly valued to help ensure certification examinations accurately reflect current best practice in the profession.

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