Certified Paraoptometric (CPO)

A CPOTM is a person who has attained national recognition via certification by demonstrating an understanding of the concepts used in optometric care.

What tasks does a Certified Paraoptometric (CPOTM) perform?

The CPOTM typically carries out a wide variety of front desk procedures such as scheduling appointments, recalling patients, handling insurance forms, accepting payments and screening telephone calls. They might also be trained in the different styles of eyewear, frame repair and adjusting, office materials purchasing and other duties of a technical nature.

This is a general description of the duties that a paraoptometric with a minimum of six 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 CPO 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 CPOTM examination consists of 120 multiple-choice questions related to basic science, clinical principles and procedures, ophthalmic optics and dispensing, and professional issues. 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 100 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 CPOTM examination (refer to the 2020 Handbook for the full outline).

Basic Science (27%)—Anatomy, common eye disorders, terminology, surgery and basic pharmacology

Clinical Principles and Procedures (35%)—Eye examination, refractive status and contact lenses

Ophthalmic Optics and Dispensing (20%)—Ophthalmic prescriptions, ophthalmic lenses and ophthalmic dispensing

Professional Issues (18%)—Eyecare specialists and ancillary personnel and practice management

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 CPO Examination, if they are used to prepare for the examination.

CPO Study Guide Book or CPO Study Guide CD

CPO Flash Cards

Paraoptometric Certification CPO Review Course

Anatomy & Physiology Education Module

Paraoptometric Skill Builder—Level 1

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

Updated November 2019