Prior to Submitting an Examination Application:

Applicants will be held accountable for knowing the policies and procedures set forth in the handbook. Complete testing information such as eligibility requirements, application deadlines, examination dates and payment for each certification level can be found in the handbook. Submission of an application is an attestation that the applicant read and understood all policies and procedures.

Candidates should keep in mind that the commitment to certification does not end with passing the examination.

Once a certification is attained participation in continuing education and submission of a renewal fee is required in order to maintain a current certification.

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).

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.

Rescheduling or cancelling your examination appointment

Changing your appointment within the same two-week testing period: Contact Prometric or call 800.741.0934

Transferring your examination to the next testing period: A $200 transfer fee will apply. One deferment only will be allowed to the immediate next testing period. Candidates must submit a new application by the next testing period's application deadline and the $200 reschedule fee paid at the time of application. 

If a candidate fails to test during the original testing period and does not submit a transfer applicaiton and pay the required fees, or fails to keep their scheduled appointment with Prometric, the application will be closed and all fees that were paid will be forfeited. No refunds will be issued.

NOTE: Prometric does not have the authority to transfer applications from one testing period to another, to issue refunds, or to make any other decisions or promises regarding the candidate's examination status.


Eligibility Requirements

Application Fee


  • Minimum of a high school diploma or equivalent, and
  • Minimum of six (6) months full-time optometric eye care experience.



  • Minimum of six (6) months additional employment in the optometric eye care field as a Certified Paraoptometric (CPOTM); or
  • Be a graduate (within the last 5 years) or *student currently enrolled the last semester of study of a CPC approved optometric assistant program; or
  • Have *three years or more work experience in the optometric eye care field and receive approval from the CPC to bypass the CPOTM exam prior to submitting exam application. The employer must attest to this experience by completing the CPOATM Reference Form. *Effective March 2017



  • Minimum of six (6) months additional employment in the optometric eye care field as a Certified Paraoptometric Assistant (CPOATM); or
  • Be a graduate (within the last 5 years) or student currently enrolled in the last quarter of study of an Accreditation Council on Optometric Education (ACOE) approved optometric technician program. 
  • All candidates attempting to earn the CPOT credential must successfully complete the CPOT Written and Clinical Examinations within a period of 18-months before the CPOT credential will be awarded.

**Note the CPOT examination is a two-part examination. All candidates must pass both the written and the clinical examination within an 18-month period before being recognized as a CPOT.

$300.00 (each part**)


  • Minimum of a high school diploma or equivalent, and
  • Minimum of two (2) years' experience in the optometric coding and billing field.


*Student—An applicant who is currently enrolled or has graduated within the past five (5) years from either a CPC or ACOE approved program. Documentation will be required. A list of programs may be found in the candidate handbook.

Examination Schedule

Updated April 2020