Admissions & Certification

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Admission and Tuition

Admission criteria vary from school to school, however; national regulations require completion of a baccalaureate degree prior to sitting for the national certifying exams. A personal interview is customarily part of the admissions process. Applicants may be contacted for an interview after receipt of all required materials. Application deadlines vary, however, most programs begin either

July 1 or September 1 of each year. Space is limited. The cost of a two year program is specific to each institution but usually does not exceed $5000. Books and materials may be covered in the cost of tuition. Financial aid and stipends are available at some programs. Inquiries should be made individually to the programs of interest.

Orthoptic students do not usually qualify for conventional student loans, as they are not University degree granting programs. However, partial scholarships based on need and merit are available for orthoptic training from the Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel in Ophthalmology Education and Research Foundation and other service organizations.

For More information on scholarships, contact:
JCAHPO Education and Research Foundation
2025 Woodlane Drive
St. Paul, MN 55125-2995

The Canadian Orthoptic Council has developed a scholarship of a student in a Canadian program. For additional information, contact Dr. Bonnie Skov, Secretary of the COC at (403) 253-6700.


After satisfactorily completing 2 years of study and practical, clinical work in an AOC accredited program, and upon the recommendation of the supervising orthoptists with whom they have studied, students are eligible to sit for the American Orthoptic Council certifying examinations. National certification by the American Orthoptic Council is obtained through successful completion of a written and oral/practical examination. The written exam is now administered electronically at Pearson Vue Testing Centers worldwide during the month of June. A candidate earning a passing score is eligible for the oral/practical section of the examination. During the oral/practical exam, which is given every fall at one central location, the candidate is required to examine and discuss a patient and answer questions covering the entire scope of practice for orthoptists.

Upon successful completion of both sections of the exam, candidates are awarded a Certificate and granted the use of the designation “C.O.” after their names.
 To maintain certification an orthoptist must remain in good standing as outlined in the Code of Ethics determined by the American Orthoptic Council and accrue the required number of approved continuing education credits.

For questions regarding certification click here to send an e-mail