To obtain licensure, graduates must have completed the requirements established by each state or national licensing board. Licenses require successful passage of a country's national board examination and may require the passage of additional state licensing exams. Postdoctoral requirements may vary among US states. The National Board of Examiners in Optometry (NBEO) administers complete integrated examinations in three parts that reflect the different stages of a candidate's optometric education and training. Part I covers Applied Basic Science, Part II covers Patient Assessment and Management, and Part III covers Clinical Skills. Part I is two days in length; Part II and III are each 1 day in length. The earliest date for a student candidate to take the Part I examination is March of the third professional year at an accredited institution. An elective Board Review Course is incorporated into the curriculum to help the student prepare for Part I. The earliest date for a candidate to take the Part II examination is in December during the candidate's fourth year at an accredited institution. Materials are available in the curriculum to assist the student in the preparation for Part II. All students are required to pass Part I and those students planning to practice in the United States must take Part II of the National Board of Examiners in Optometry to graduate and must provide proof of such. Students are eligible to take the Part III examination at the conclusion of their third year or at any time throughout their fourth year.
Students intending to practice in Canada must seek a Certificate of Competence in Optometry. This requires that they take and pass the Canadian Assessment of Competency in Optometry (CACO) examination which has Written and Practical (clinical skills) Assessments. Students enrolled in their final year of an optometry program may take the Written Assessment of the CACO at the October administration. They may not challenge the Practical Assessment until they are within 60 days of graduating from their program. The Practical Assessment is administered in April or May and October. The Assessments will take between 1-5 days from the orientation through the examinations.
Canadian students will be required to take and pass Part I of the NBEO as a requirement to graduate from COPTI. They may choose to take Part II of the NBEO or the Written Assessment portion of the Canadian Examiners in Optometry (CEO) Canadian Assessment of Competency in Optometry (CACO) examination to satisfy the taking of the second board requirement.
It is the responsibility of the individual student to pass national board examinations. For additional information regarding licensure, contact the following agencies:
National Board of Examiners in Optometry
200 S. College Street, #2010
Charlotte, NC 28202
Phone: 800-969-EXAM (3926) or 704-332-9565
Canadian Examiners in Optometry
37 Sandiford Drive, Suite 403