New remote testing option for paraoptometric certification saves time, distance

July 27, 2023
The Commission on Paraoptometric Certification has launched remote proctored testing, which can benefit paraoptometrics and optometric practices alike. Paraoptometrics can schedule testing at their convenience—timewise and at home/work or other secure location. For doctors, there are now greater and more efficient opportunities for access for your staff to seek certification.
Person taking CPOA test at home

In the spirit of if they build it, paraoptometrics will come, the Commission on Paraoptometric Certification (CPC) has launched remote proctored testing to provide greater access for optometric staff to earn certification.

And doctors stand to benefit ultimately from CPC-certified staff in their practices. Although the paraoptometric exam candidate handbook is the best source of information for test takers, here is everything you need to know about Remote Proctored Testing (RPT):

What is Remote Proctored Testing (RPT)?

According to Prometric, which administers the certification tests, remote proctoring is “an assessment delivery service that utilizes an online proctor to confirm the identity of the test taker, protect the security and identity of the exam, and deliver the computer-based test to the candidate.”

Who is eligible to take the exam remotely?

Anyone is eligible for RPT. But it was launched, in part, for individuals who may find time, distance and costs to be factors in their ability to take the examinations for Certified Paraoptometric (CPO), Certified Paraoptometric Assistant (CPOA) and Certified Paraoptometric Technician (CPOT) certification. Specifically, the CPC started offering remote paraoptometric certification exams for the August 2023 examination administration. The next eligible testing period is Nov. 4-18, with an application deadline of Sept. 20. If you are seeking to renew your certification for 2023, however, paraoptometrics must submit their application for testing by Sept. 1 to allow time for eligibility verification by the application deadline. Further, CPO, CPOA and CPOT exams may be taken at a Prometric test center or via live remote proctoring in the candidate’s home or other quiet area free from distractions that meets testing area requirements. Because the Certified Paraoptometric Coder examination is an open-book exam, it must be taken at a physical Prometric test center. Get the details on eligibility for each exam. (Page 14-15 in the CPC’s test candidates handbook)

Why should a paraoptometric consider taking the examination remotely versus in person at a designated Prometric location?

Convenience.

How is taking the exam at an authorized test center different than taking it at a live remote proctored site?

At the authorized test center, unscheduled breaks are permitted though the exam timer will continue to count down; breaks are not permitted for the remote exam. Further, computers are provided at a test center; candidates provide their own laptops or desktop computers for remote testing. A personal laptop or computer for remote testing must have a web camera, microphone and secure, reliable internet service and it’s the responsibility of the test taker to make sure these are in working order. Another difference? Testing centers provide the space for the exam; typically, several test takers are present in the same space, whereas remote testing requires candidates to sit alone at a desk or table in a room with a door and no distractions or interruptions. No additional people or pets are permitted in RPT spaces. For details on how the testing locations are different, read more on page 7 of the CPC’s test candidates handbook.

How is integrity of the test maintained?

Remote proctors monitor candidates through video, audio and security software. Check-in procedures also differ for the two exam locations. Not only is specific identification required for checking in, but RPT candidates must be logged in and ready for check-in 30 minutes prior to their exam appointment and to allow for presentation of their identification and for a full scan of their testing area. Read more on RPT.

Whether taking the test in person or remotely, do the tests cost the same? Is the test duration the same?

Yes, costs and duration are the same whether you are taking the test in person or remotely.

How long will I have to complete the testing?

Time limits range between 1.5 hours to 2.5 hours, depending on the certification examination being taken.

When will I receive my test results?

Regardless of test location, Professional Testing Corporation (PTC) will email a link to candidates via the personal email address on their exam application in order to retrieve their official exam scores. That link will be emailed within about four weeks of the close of the testing period. Candidates who receive official notification from PTC that they have passed their examination are then eligible to use the appropriate credential.

Questions?

The CPC encourages all test candidates to read its 2023 Paraoptometric Examination Candidate Handbook thoroughly before registering for the test. For questions, the CPC can be reached at 243 North Lindbergh Boulevard, Floor 1 St. Louis Mo., 63141-7881; by email or by calling 1.800.365.2219, ext. 4210. 

For technical questions regarding equipment, contact the PTC ptcny@ptcny.com, 1.212.356.0660.

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