National Credential
Credential: Certified Ophthalmic Technician (COT)  In-Demand resource  GI Bill resource
Credentialing Agency: Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel in Ophthalmology (JCAHPO)

Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel in Ophthalmology (JCAHPO), Certified Ophthalmic Technician (COT) is an intermediate level certification designed for the Certified Ophthalmic Assistant (COA) or program graduate who intends to advance in the eye care field. COTs perform ophthalmic clinical duties under the supervision and direction of ophthalmologists. To earn the COT certification, candidates must meet one of the education/training and/or experience requirement options and pass both a written exam and a practical exam. COT candidates are eligible to take the practical exam after successfully completing the written exam.

More information can be found on the certifying agency's website.

Renewal Period: 3 years

Certified Ophthalmic Technician (COT)

The following Army Occupations provide training and/or experience that contributes to attaining this credential:

Personnel Category Occupation Occupation Type Related As Promotion Points Skill Level Star Proponent Funded Gap Analysis
Enlisted 68Y Eye Specialist MOS most  Promotion Points: This certification has been approved for promotion points. Click for more information. III Star credentialStar    

Army Table Legend


Related As

The military occupations shown in this table are related to this credential in one of four ways: Most, Some, or Other.

Most: This credential is directly related to most of the major duties associated with the military occupation (at least 80%). Note that the credential may require additional education, training or experience before you are eligible for it.

Some: This credential is related to some tasks associated with the duties of the military occupation (related 80% to at least one or more critical tasks but less than 80% of all of the entire military occupation). Note that the credential may require additional education, training or experience before you are eligible for it.

Other: This credential is related to this military occupation, but is more advanced or specialized and therefore will likely require additional education, training, or experience.

Promotion Points Promotion Points icon

This credential has been approved for promotion points for this MOS towards promotion to Sergeant and Staff Sergeant. Clicking the Promotion Points icon will open a link to the promotion points fact sheet.

Skill Level Designation

Skill Level I: This skill level consists of all Soldiers in the ranks of Private (pay grade E-1) up to Specialist (pay grade E-4). Time in Service (TIS) is generally between initial entry and four Years of Service (YOS). This skill level is Entry-level positions requiring performance of tasks under direct supervision.

Institutional training:

  • Structured Self-Development (SSD) level I
  • Basic Leader Course (BLC)

Skill Level II: This skill level is obtained when promoted to Sergeant (paygrade E-5). TIS is generally between 4-8 YOS. Positions requiring performance of more difficult tasks under general supervision; and in some instances, involving supervision of Soldiers in SL1.

Institutional training:

  • Structured Self-Development (SSD) level II
  • Advance Leader Course (ALC)

Skill Level III: This skill level is obtained when promoted to Staff Sergeant (paygrade E-6). TIS is generally between 8-12 YOS. Positions requiring performance of still more difficult tasks and involving first line supervision of Soldiers in SL1 & SL2.

Institutional training:

  • Senior Leader Course (SLC)
  • Structured Self-Development (SSD) level III

Skill level IV: This skill level is obtained when promoted to the rank of Sergeant First Class (paygrade E-7). TIS is generally between 12-18 YOS. Positions requiring relatively detailed knowledge of all tasks specified for a given MOS, normally involving first-line supervision of Soldiers in SLs 1, 2, and 3, and involving managerial duties.

Institutional training:

  • Master Leader Course (MLC)
  • Structured Self-Development (SSD) level IV
  • Senior Enlisted Joint Professional Military Education (SEJPME) I Course

Skill level V: This skill level is obtained when promoted to the rank of Master Sergeant (paygrade E-8). TIS is generally between 18-22 YOS. Positions requiring direct and indirect leadership roles with expertise in company and battalion-level operations and competency across a given CMF, serving as members of a staff at every level in the Army, with a full understanding of the allocation of resources and their utilization in order to accomplish Army functions and missions.

Institutional training:

  • United States Army Sergeants Major Academy (USASMA)
  • Structured Self-Development (SSD) level V

Skill level VI: This skill level is obtained when promoted to the rank of Sergeants Major (paygrade E-9). TIS is generally between 22-30 YOS. Positions requiring organizational leadership roles with multi-dimensional expertise in units and teams on division, corps, and Army staffs, integrated with Joint, Interagency, Intergovernmental, and Multinational (JIIM) partners with a full understanding of the Force Generation process, operations at all echelons, and how the Army runs.

Star Credential Star icon

Star credentials are MOS enhancing, as designated by the Proponent. MOS enhancing credentials are directly related to an MOS or ASI, are taught either partially or completely as part of a Program of Instruction (POI), and improve the MOS technical proficiency.

Proponent Funded Funded icon

This icon indicates credentials which Soldiers may have funded through their MOS proponent. Some proponents offer credentialing opportunities in conjunction with military training and/or as part of MOS development beyond the training base.

Gap Analysis Has Analysis icon

A detailed analysis comparing the credential requirements to the military occupation has been completed. Click on the gap analysis icon to view the analysis page.

Certified Ophthalmic Technician (COT)

Eligibility Requirements ()

Note: This credential may have multiple options for becoming eligible. Listed below are the minimum requirements based on the minimum degree required. To view other options, see the Eligibility tab.

  • Credential Prerequisite: JCAHPO Certified Ophthalmic Assistant (COA) certification
  • Experience: 6000 hours
  • Education
  • Training
  • Membership
  • Other
  • Fee

Exam Requirements ()

  • Written Exam
  • Oral Exam
  • Practical Exam
  • Performance Assessment

Renewal Period: 3 years

  • Continuing Education
  • Exam
  • Continuing Education OR Exam
  • Fee
  • Other

Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel in Ophthalmology (JCAHPO)
2025 Woodlane Drive
St. Paul, MN  55125-2998
Phone: (800) 284-3937
Fax: (651) 731-0410
Email: jcahpo@jcahpo.org

Certified Ophthalmic Technician (COT)

Pathway 1:

Candidates must have completed a Commission on Accreditation of Ophthalmic Medical Programs (COA-OAMP) or Canadian Medical Association (CMA) training program at the technician level.

Note: Candidates who have completed the program more than 12 months ago must submit 12 JCAHPO Group A credits for each year following graduation. The credits must be earned within 36 months prior to submitting an application.

Pathway 2:

Candidates must hold a Certified Ophthalmic Assistant (COA) certification, submit 12 JCAHPO Group A credits earned within 12 months prior to submitting an application, and have been employed for 2,000 hours as a COA within 24 months prior to submitting an application. 

Note: Candidates must maintain certification as a COA while pursing the COT certification.

Pathway 3:

Candidates must hold a Certified Orthoptist (CO) or OC(C) certification, submit 12 JCAHPO Group A credits earned within 12 months prior to submitting an application, and have been employed for 2,000 hours as a CO or OC(C) within 24 months prior to submitting an application.

Note: Candidates must maintain certification as an Orthoptist while pursing the COT certification.

Pathway 4:

Candidates must hold a Certified Ophthalmic Assistant (COA) certification, submit 12 JCAHPO Group A credits earned within 12 months prior to submitting an application, and have 6,000 hours of non-certified work experience with an ophthalmologist prior to becoming JCAHPO certified.

Note: Candidates must maintain certification as a COA while pursing the COT certification.

The Certified Ophthalmic Technician (COT) credential has the following other requirements:

  • COT candidates must include the endorsement of a sponsoring ophthalmologist with their application. The ophthalmologist may be the candidate's employer or another licensed ophthalmologist.

Certified Ophthalmic Technician (COT)

  • Assessments (45%)
    • History and Documentation
    • Visual Assessment
    • Visual Field Testing
    • Pupil Assessment
    • Tonometry
    • Keratometry
    • Ocular Motility Testing
    • Lensometry
    • Refractometry: Retinoscopy and Refinement
    • Biometry
    • Supplemental Testing
  • Assisting with Interventions and Procedures (17%)
    • Microbiology
    • Pharmacology
    • Surgical Assisting
    • Ophthalmic Patient Services and Education
  • Corrective Lenses (9%)
    • Optics and Spectacles
    • Contact Lenses
  • Imaging (15%)
    • Ophthalmic Imaging
    • Photography and Videography
  • Office Responsibilities (14%)
    • Equipment Maintenance and Calibration
    • Medical Ethics, Legal, and Regulatory Issues
    • Communication Skills
    • Administrative Duties
  • Lensometry
  • Visual Fields
  • Ocular Motility
  • Keratometry
  • Retinoscopy
  • Refinement
  • Tonometry

There are a number of resources available to help you prepare for the Certified Ophthalmic Technician (COT) examination:

An additional resource is Safari Books Online, a searchable digital library that provides online access to thousands of books, training videos and conference sessions. See the Educational Resources page here on COOL to learn how to get free access.

Certified Ophthalmic Technician (COT)

Renewal Period: 3 years

The Certified Ophthalmic Technician (COT) credential has the following recertification information:

  • The COT certification is valid for three years. Certification holders must earn 27 continuing education credits, submit a recertification application, and pay a recertification fee or submit an exam application, pay an exam fee, and retake the COT written exam.