Certified Paraoptometric Assistant (CPOA)

A CPOA™ is a person who has attained national recognition via certification by demonstrating the ability to apply the concepts used in optometric care.

What tasks does a Certified Paraoptometric (CPOA™) perform?

Under the supervision of a doctor of optometrist, the CPOA™ might perform technical duties such as taking detailed patient histories, measuring visual acuity, measuring the curvature of the cornea (Keratometry), glaucoma screening, blood pressure testing, and measuring the distance between the pupils of the eye. These are in addition to the general tasks/duties listed in the CPO description.

This is a general description of the duties that a paraoptometric with a minimum of 12 months of full-time experience in the optometric eye care field could be expected to perform. It is not meant to be a full description, nor restriction, of the duties that an employer may require or allow a CPOA to perform. Scope of practice is controlled by each state's legislature. To get a better understanding of your state's laws and any restrictions, please contact your state's optometric association.

View the application, fee, and eligibility requirements.

View the recertification requirements.

What's the examination about?

The CPOATM examination consists of 220 multiple-choice questions related to practice management, basic and special procedures, ophthalmic optics and dispensing, refractive status of the eye and basic ocular anatomy and physiology. Added in 2018 is inclusion of 20 pretest questions. The pretest questions are randomly distributed throughout the examination and do not count towards a candidate's score as they are being evaluated to determine if they perform well enough statistically to be introduced as scored items on a future exam. Only the 200 scored items count towards the candidate's final score.

What content do I need to study?

The following outline includes a brief explanation of the areas covered on the CPOA™ examination (refer to the 2020 Handbook for the full outline).

Office Operations (15%)—Patient education, practice management, telephone techniques, recall, office finances, professional issues and health information technology.

Ophthalmic Optics and Dispensing (20%)—Prescriptions, lenses, frame selection and adjustments and dispensing.

Testing and Procedures (18%)—Purpose and preliminary testing procedures and recording, pupillary responses, case history, visual acuity, color vision, stereo acuity and examination instrumentation.

Special Procedures (17%)—Contact lenses, tonometry, visual fields, sphygmomanometry, first aid, CPR, emergencies, vision rehabilitation and surgery.

Refractive Status of the Eye and Binocularity (13%)—Refractive errors, refractive conditions and eye movements.

Basic Ocular Anatomy and Physiology (17%)—General anatomy and physiology, basic functions of anatomical structures, common pathological and functional disorders and basic ocular pharmacology.

Suggested Study Materials

These study resources are suggested not required. The listing of these resources does not constitute a CPC endorsement of these sources and does not imply a guarantee that candidates will be successful in passing the CPOA Examination, if they are used to prepare for the examination.

Self-Study Course for Paraoptometric Assistants and Technicians

Self-Assessment Exam

CPOA/CPOT Study Flash Cards

CPOA Review Course (DVD)

Skill Builder (DVD)

If there is a resource that you cannot locate through the AOA Store, please call 800.262.2210.

Updated November 2019