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Eye Care Professional Certifications: CPO, CPOA and CPOT Explained

Since we love sharing when our staff receives eye care professional certifications, we thought it would be a good idea to share what CPO, CPOA and CPOT actually are!

Eye care professional certifications

First of all, let’s start by explaining the Commission on Paraoptometric Certification (CPC) is a part of the American Optometric Association.

It is responsible for developing the standards for eye care certifications.

What does CPO mean?

It stands for Certified Paraoptometric (CPO). It is the first level of certification for eye care professionals.

Eligibility for the exam requires a high school diploma or GED equivalency plus at least six months of employment in eye care.

This certification proves demonstrated knowledge and understanding of the concepts used in optometric care.

Asking yourself what that means? Basically, it includes a range of duties and skills carried out by paraoptometrics.

To clarify, it refers to front desk operations, pre-testing, assisting the eye doctor, explaining contact lens care and instructions, fitting frames, billing/coding, vision therapy and office managing.

How about CPOA?

When it comes to eye care professional certifications, the next level is the Certified Paraoptometric Assistant (CPOA).

These eye care professionals must be a graduate or enrolled in a CPC-approved optometric assistant program. They need to have a minimum of three years of work experience in eye care plus hold a valid CPO.

At this intermediate level, a certificate holder has demonstrated the ability to apply optometric care concepts.

What’s CPOT?

Finally, the advanced Certified Paraoptometric Technician (CPOT) signifies the ability to understand, apply and connect the concepts of optometric care.


Not only does it take time to initially earn these three main eye care professional certifications, it takes dedication to keep them! CPO, CPOA and CPOT certifications must be maintained through continuing education as well as renewed every three years.

We’re proud of our Mississippi Eye Care team and certification holders, and we look forward to seeing you at one of our clinics soon! For more on eye care and vision health, continue to read our blogs.