Certified Paraoptometric Technician (CPOT)

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.

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

Under the supervision from a doctor of optometry, the CPOT™ may 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. Also, they may well order prescription eyewear, modify contact lenses, explain contact lens care regimens, photographing the interior of the eye, supervise staff and other duties the doctor(s) may delegate. These are in addition to the general tasks/duties listed in the CPO description and the CPOA description.

This is a general description of the duties that a paraoptometric with a minimum of 18 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 CPOT 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.

What's the examination about?

The CPOTTM examination consists of 250 multiple choice questions related to pre-testing procedures, clinical procedures, ophthalmic optics and dispensing, refractive status of the eye and binocularity, procedures, ophthalmic optics and dispensing, refractive status of the eye and binocularity, anatomy and physiology, and practice management. Added in 2018 is the inclusion of 25 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 225 scored items count towards the candidate's final score.

View the application, fee and eligibility requirements.

View the recertification requirements.

What content do I need to study?

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

Pre-Testing Procedures (20%)—Case history, visual acuity, vision screening and preliminary testing techniques, color vision and stereo acuity

Clinical Procedures (28%)—Corneal Topography/Automated Keratometry, tonometry, visual fields, sphygmomanometry, contact lenses, vision therapy, triage and first aid, vision rehabilitation and special ocular procedures

Ophthalmic Optics and Dispensing (18%)—Optical principles of light, prescriptions, lenses, frame selection and adjustment

Refractive Status of the Eye and Binocularity (12%)—Refractive errors, refractive conditions, eye movements and binocular vision

Anatomy and Physiology (15%)—General anatomy and physiology and eye anatomy

Practice Management (7%)—Office management, professional issues, government rules and regulations and health information technology

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 CPOT examination if they are used to prepare for the examination.

CPOT Study Bundle

(Item PS70_PKG)—The CPOT Study Bundle includes a self-study course for paraoptometric assistants and technicians, a self-assessment exam, four sets of flashcards with 100 questions each covering topics that will help you prepare for the CPOT exam, the CPOA review course, and the CPOT review course. This bundle may be ordered through the AOA Marketplace.

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

For information on the CPOT clinical examination, please refer to the handbook.

Updated November 2019