National Credential
Credential: Certified Paraoptometric (CPO)  GI Bill resource  NCCA resource
Credentialing Agency: American Optometric Association - Commission on Paraoptometric Certification (AOA-CPC)

The Certified Paraoptometric (CPO) is an entry-level credential. This certification validates individuals understanding of the concepts used in optometric care. CPO 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 may also be trained in the different styles of eyewear, frame repair and adjusting, office materials purchasing and other duties of a non-technical nature. Applicants must have a high school diploma or equivalent, and must have a minimum of six months of employment in the eye care field. Applicants must also pass an examination. The exam covers questions realted to basic science, clinical principles and procedures, ophthalmic optics and dispensing, and professional issues.

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

Renewal Period: 3 years

Certified Paraoptometric (CPO)

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. I      

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 Paraoptometric (CPO)

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
  • Experience: 6 months
  • Education: High School Diploma/GED
  • 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

American Optometric Association - Commission on Paraoptometric Certification (AOA-CPC)
243 North Lindbergh Blvd
St Louis, MO  63141
Phone: (800) 365-2219
Fax: (314) 991-4101
Contact Page

Certified Paraoptometric (CPO)

Applicants must have a minimum of a high school diploma or equivalent.

Applicants must have a minimum of six (6) months of employment in the eye care field with mentored experience .

The Certified Paraoptometric (CPO) credential has the following other requirements:

  • Paraoptometrics who have been certified by the Commission on Paraoptometric Certification are expected to abide by the APO-CPC Code of Conduct Code of Conduct.

Certified Paraoptometric (CPO)

  • Basic Science (29%)
    • Anatomy
    • Common Eye Disorders
    • Terminology
    • Basic Pharmacology
  • Clinical Principles and Procedures (37%)
    • Eye Examination
    • Refractive Status
    • Contact Lenses
  • Ophthalmic Optics and Dispensing (18%)
    • Ophthalmic Prescriptions
    • Ophthalmic Lenses
    • Ophthalmic Dispensing
  • Professional Issues (16%)
    • Eyecare Specialists and Ancillary Personnel
    • Practice Management
    • Business Skills

There are a number of resources available to help you prepare for the Certified Paraoptometric (CPO) 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 Paraoptometric (CPO)

Renewal Period: 3 years

The Certified Paraoptometric (CPO) credential has the following recertification information:

AOA-CPC offers two options for renewal:
  • Take an exam for the next higher level of certification or;
  • earn 18 continuing education units.

Additional information maybe found on the AOA-CPC recertification page.