Certification Continuing Education Criteria

Certification, Recertification, Licensure, and Certificate of Completion
Medical specialty certification is typically a voluntary process. While licensure sets the minimum competency requirements as required by a regulatory government body and it is not specialty specific. Certification—and the Gold Standard—demonstrate an eye care professional’s exceptional expertise in a particular specialty and/or subspecialty in the healthcare profession.

The Gold Standard signals a certified eye care professional’s commitment and expertise in consistently achieving superior clinical outcomes in a responsive, patient-focused setting. Patients, physicians, healthcare providers, insurers and quality organizations look for certified eye care professionals as the best measure of an eye care professional’s knowledge, experience, and skills to provide quality healthcare within a given specialty.

Certification is a process, most often achieved through assessment that recognizes individuals who have met certain qualifications and demonstrated special knowledge and expertise. Certification is an employment qualification; it is not typically a legal requirement for practicing a profession. Certification is recognized and respected internationally by physicians, employers, administrators, and other ophthalmic medical personnel. Certified ophthalmic medical personnel bring important benefits to their patients, their employers, and themselves.

In some cases, licensure may still be a lifelong privilege, but increasingly, it requires periodic review by peers and renewal. Certification is not a lifelong privilege and requires “recertification” to maintain the credential. Recertification processes have different criteria by each credentialing body. Both licensure and recertification have standards to ensure that the eye care professional has continuous professional development, or CPD. In many professions this is fast becoming a standard, mandatory and annual requirement. In the eye care profession, the term of Continuing Education (CE) credits is used or Nursing Contact Hours (NCH).

The EyeCareCE web site provides continuing education for credits to renew certification for the following organizations and/or credentials. CE Credits are automatically posted to your account upon successful completion of the course, evaluation and quiz; or in some cases, a CE Certificate may be printed.

Please see the individual web sites for information on the recertification of the respective credentials.

  • JCAHPO: COA, COT, COMT, OSA, ROUB, CDOS, CCOA and Nursing Contact Hours for CA BRN
  • AOC: CO

Licensure and Registration
Licensure is defined as a restricted practice requiring a license, which gives a "permission to practice." A license is usually issued by a government regulatory agency. Licensure regulates some activity that involves a high level of specialized skill and is designed for public safety. In some provinces, states, and national governments, the registration is required by law to work in a particular profession or obtain a privilege.

In the eye care profession, the following professions are licensed: nurses, opticians (by some governments), contact lens fitters (by some governments). Please refer to your government’s medical board regulations to determine licensure requirements.

California Board of Registered Nurses Licensure
The California Board of Registered Nursing protects the public by licensing nurses practicing in California to ensure compliance of the Nursing Practice Act related to nursing education, licensure, practice, and discipline.

JCAHPO is an authorized provider approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing, Provider Number 13516 for approved contact hours. A transcript or a certificate is accepted proof of attendance. The licensee must retain the proof of attendance for a period of four years after the course ends. JCAHPO courses with nursing credit hours will post the course to your database record and transcript. A credit letter is issued only upon request.

Certificate of Completion
A Certificate of Completion is a document that certifies that a person has received specific education or has passed a test or series of tests. It also may be awarded as a necessary certification to validate that someone is considered competent in a certain specific skill area. Eye care professionals may earn a Certificate of Completion with or without a credential for CE Credits on the EyeCareCE web site. The following Certificates of Completion are available:

Certificate of Low Vision
Certificate for Contact Lens Fitting

Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel in Ophthalmology, Inc. (JCAHPO) Certification

Core Levels of Certification
Certified Ophthalmic Assistant® (COA®)
Certified Ophthalmic Technician® (COT®)
Certified Ophthalmic Medical Technologist® (COMT®)

Sub-Specialty Certification
Ophthalmic Surgical Assisting (OSA®)

Additional Certifications
Certified Diagnostic Ophthalmic Sonographer (CDOS®)
Registered Ophthalmic Ultrasound Biometrist (ROUB®)
Corporate Certified Ophthalmic Assistant (CCOA®)

Ophthalmic Photographers' Society (OPS) Certification
Certified Retinal Angiographer (CRA)
Optical Coherence Tomography Certified (OCT-C)

American Orthoptic Council Certification (AOC)

Certified Orthoptist (CO)

National Board for the Certification of Ophthalmic Executive (NBCOE)
Certified Ophthalmic Executive (COE)

American Board of Opticianry-National Contact Lens Examiners (ABO-NCLE)
National Opticianry Competency Examination (NOCE) - spectacles
Contact Lens Registry Examination (CLRE) - contact lens dispensing
Advanced Certification designations, ABOC-AC and NCLE-AC
ABO Master in Ophthalmic Optics