The National Opticianry Competency Exam is a certification exam created by the American Board of Opticianry (ABO) and administered by the Professional Examination Service (PES) that is used to determine if an individual has the knowledge necessary to be certified as an optician or contact lens technician.
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This certification is primarily a resume-builder for individuals in the contact lens industry, but many states also use this exam as a requirement for licensure for opticians and contact lens technicians. The exam consists of 125 multiple-choice questions that are related to three main topics, which includes:
- Analyzing and Interpreting Prescriptions (31%)
- Fitting and Dispensing Spectacles and other Ophthalmic Devices (51%)
- Using Ophthalmic Tools, Instruments, and Equipment (18%)
The analyzing and interpreting the prescription section covers information related to recognizing the patient’s needs, determining how the prescription will affect the patient’s vision, and the ability to verify that the prescription is accurate and will help the patient.
The fitting and dispensing spectacles and other Ophthalmic Devices section covers information related to taking facial measurements, making recommendations regarding appropriate ophthalmic products, demonstrating ophthalmic products, verifying that products are made to the specifications required, and adjusting the fit of the product.
The using Ophthalmic Tools, Instruments, and Equipment section covers information related to the safe use and maintenance of equipment used to cut, assemble, and adjust the product as well as information related to interpreting ophthalmic measurements and performing calculations to ensure that the product meets the specifications required.
The exam-taker will have two and a half hours to complete the exam and the individual will receive a pass or fail grade depending on whether or not the number of correct responses meets the threshold set by the ABO.
To register for the exam, you must be at least 18 years old with a high school diploma or a GED and request a registration packet from ABO by phone or e-mail. The registration fee for the exam is $150. However, there may also be additional fees and requirements in order to receive licensure, if licensure is required, depending on local regulations.