Paraoptometric Career Ladder

The Paraoptometric Career Ladder is a free member benefit designed for optometric staff (paraoptometrics), whether new to the profession or to a particular job area, to gain the knowledge they need to excel in their professional growth, and to become a more valuable member of the vision care team. 

NOTE:  To access the full range of benefits offered by the AOA, AOA member ODs may enroll their staff for a free Associate membership!

Click here to request the Paraoptometric Career Ladder for your staff!

(You will be prompted to enter you AOA member ID and password to continue.)


The Assessment Tool

This section provides an assessment form to be printed and used by the employing doctor of optometry or office manager to determine what they think the paraoptometric knows. A different copy should be printed for the paraoptometric to fill out for what they actually do know. Assessing the full range of your staff's abilities and identifying the needed areas for additional training is a team effort and an important step in planning an effective training program. You will check off each item based on your staff's strengths and focus their attention on areas for further development.


The Roadmap

This easy, step-by-step outline provides the term, equipment, process or procedure in each of the six identified job responsibility areas. Based on your assessment of the areas needing additional training, you will be directed to the specific study material and the chapter, unit or article that covers that topic. There may be several references listed to direct you to the appropriate materials to learn more about the subject.



What is the Paraoptometric Career Ladder?

The AOA Paraoptometric Resource Center launched another doctor of optometry member benefit that will revolutionize the way optometric practices hire and train staff. The Paraoptometric Career Ladder:

  • Integrates an easy-to-follow, self-paced roadmap to learning for optometric staff
  • Streamlines the training of new optometric staff or cross-training of seasoned staff in six different job areas
  • The program, complete with an assessment tool, helps the doctor of optometry or office manager determine the full range of staff's abilities and identifies the areas of need for additional training
  • And, best of all, it's offered at no cost to our members

Who is the Paraoptometric Career Ladder designed for?       

Paraoptometrics/optometric staff (new or seasoned staff) who work in any of these six job responsibility areas:

     •  Contact Lens Tech                •  Optical                     •  Office Administration

     •  Insurance Processing           •  Front Desk               •  Technician

When should the Paraoptometric Career Ladder be used?       

The Paraoptometric Career Ladder is designed to be used in a variety of ways, each having its own value and outcomes such as:

  • Setting expectations on the job interview. Potential candidates for hire will know what is expected of them before they say "yes" to the job! This will differentiate between potential employees who are looking for a career and those looking for just a job. Knowing that continued learning is an expectation of employment will save you time and money so that you are investing only in individuals who are serious about their careers.

  • You may also use the road map for evaluating annual staff performance. It's a great tool to use to determine if staff are meeting goals set at the beginning of the year or not. Salary increases, bonuses and advancements may be based on whether goals were met. Rewarding staff based on reaching their goals utilizes an objective method rather than relying on a subjective perception.

  • Paraoptometrics committed to providing quality patient care may wish to use the roadmap as a guide to preparing to sit for a certification examination. The technician roadmap guides the paraoptometric in all topics that will be covered in the certification examinations, beginning with the Certified Paraoptometric (CPO) all the way through the Certified Paraoptometric Technician (CPOT). For the paraoptometrics who handle insurance processing, we even cover that area for the Certified Paraoptometric Coder (CPOC). We can assist you in taking the guess work out of your examination preparation.

  • The Paraoptometric Career Ladder roadmap is a valuable tool to use at staff meetings. Assign specific topic areas to be read beforehand and then later discussed at the staff meeting. This will open up further discussion ensuring that all staff are following the same processes and procedures.

Where do you find the training materials used with the Paraoptometric Career Ladder?      

Many of the free resources identified in each job area maybe found on the AOA website under the 'Paraoptometric' tab, and the fee-based resources may be ordered through the AOA Marketplace.

Why should every optometric practice use the Paraoptometric Career Ladder?      

By utilizing the Paraoptometric Career Ladder you will know that optometric staff are receiving training in the most effective, efficient and consistent manner, whether they begin their training now, three months from now or any time in the future.

Request the Paraoptometric Career Ladder for your staff now!

*The request page is only accessible by AOA member doctors of optometry and paraoptometrics. You will be prompted to sign in with your username and password if you are not already signed in.