IJCAHPO’s most frequently asked questions on certification and recertification to help you find answers quickly. If you have a specific question that is not answered here, please contact the Certification Department.
How long is my certification active?
IJCAHPO certification is valid for three years, or 36 months. The OSA specialty certification may expire sooner than 36 months on its first cycle because it is due the same time as your core level certification (COA, COT, or COMT).
What are the requirements to keep my certification active?
Recertification may be achieved in one of two ways:
- For IJCAHPO certifications other than the OSC: submit a recertification application, CE credits, and a recertification fee by your recertification date. The OSA recertification also requires submission of the OSA recertification form and surgical log.
- Retesting on the multiple-choice examination in lieu of CE credits. Note: this is the only option for the OSC certification.
For more information about the recertification process and the CE credit requirements, please visit our Recertification page.
I’m under 18. Can I take the certification examination?
There is not a minimum age requirement. However, IJCAHPO eligibility criteria states that you have earned a high school diploma or equivalent prior to making application for the COA certification.
How do I earn IJCAHPO continuing education credits?
You can earn IJCAHPO CE credit by attending lectures, workshops, or distance learning courses, such as online courses, that have been awarded IJCAHPO CE credit. For more information on opportunities to earn CE credits, visit our Education page.
Is CPR still required with examination applications or recertification applications?
CPR is no longer required; however, you may still submit a copy of your CPR card to be counted as one CE credit with your recertification application. The CPR course must be completed within your recertification cycle.
I sent in an application. How do I know if it has been processed?
Certification and recertification applications are processed within four weeks.
If you submitted an examination application and have not yet received your confirmation notice, you may log into your account, select the My Participation tab and then look at My Communications History. If your examination application has been approved, you will see the confirmation email that was sent to you.
If you submitted a recertification application, you will receive a new certificate in the mail. You may also log into your account and look under Certification Status to see if your recertification date has been updated.
How can I get a receipt for my examination fee or recertification fee?
You may log into your account, select the My Participation tab and look under My Recent Transactions. Click the plus (+) sign to expand the order and select Print under the Receipt column. You may print your screen or download it to a PDF format.
How do I verify an individual’s certification?
If you have the individual’s IJCAHPO ID number, you may select Verify Certification under the Certification page on the IJCAHPO website. If you do not have the ID number, please contact the Certification Department. There is a charge of $5.00 per person to verify 10 or more individuals.
How do I become IJCAHPO certified?
The first step to becoming IJCAHPO certified is to meet the eligibility requirements for the certification examination. These may be viewed on the Certifications page. After you’ve met the eligibility requirements, you will need to prepare for the examination(s) and submit the examination application. Successful completion of all required examinations is required to achieve IJCAHPO certification.
Where may I purchase one of the approved independent study courses to become eligible for the COA certification examination when using the A3 eligibility option?
Both the JCAT Independent Study Course and the AAO Ophthalmic Medical Assisting Independent Study Course may be purchased on the EyeCareMarketplace.
How do I schedule my multiple-choice certification examination?
After your application is approved, you will receive a confirmation notice via email with examination scheduling instructions.
Can I reschedule my multiple-choice examination if I cannot make my appointment?
If you are scheduled with Pearson VUE and your appointment is more than 30 days out, you may contact Pearson VUE to reschedule. If your appointment is 5-29 days out, you will need to submit a $25.00 fee to Pearson VUE when you reschedule. If the appointment is less than 5 business days out, you will need to contact IJCAHPO and submit a no-show fee prior to rescheduling.
If I decide not to take the certification examination, can I get a refund?
You may submit a written request to cancel your examination application. If your application was approved, you will need to submit the written request prior to the end date of your eligibility period. You will receive a refund of the examination fee minus a $75.00 processing fee. Please make sure to cancel any appointments you may have made to test.
When will I receive my examination results?
All official examination results are mailed to you within four weeks of your test date.
What is the difference between the COA practice examination and the COA initial examination?
The COA practice examination is available to individuals who would like to complete a practice examination for a reduced fee. If you pass the examination, you may count it as your initial examination by paying the remaining amount of the initial examination fee. If you do not pass the examination, you will need to complete the initial examination on your next attempt and submit the full initial examination fee. The eligibility requirements for both the practice examination and the initial examination are the same.
I passed the COA practice examination, how do I receive my certificate?
Your official practice examination results will be mailed to you within four weeks of your test date. A form will be included with the official results to return to IJCAHPO with the remaining fee to use your passing score as your initial examination results. Your certificate will be mailed to you within four weeks.
I did not pass my initial multiple-choice certification examination. How soon can I retest?
A retest form will be mailed to you with the official results. The retest form and fee must be submitted to IJCAHPO within 12 months of your initial examination date. After the retest form and fee are received, they will be processed within four weeks and you will receive a confirmation notice via email with examination scheduling instructions.
Is there a practice examination available for the COT or COMT?
A practice examination is available for the COT Skill Evaluation for an additional fee. You may choose this option by marking it on your Skill Evaluation form that you receive after passing the COT multiple-choice examination. There is not a practice examination for the COT multiple-choice examination or the COMT multiple-choice examination or Performance Test.
How can I schedule the COT Skill Evaluation or COMT Performance Test?
After you pass the COT or COMT multiple-choice examination, you will receive a form to register for the computer-simulated practical examination. After the form and fee are received, they are processed within four weeks and you will receive a confirmation notice via email with examination scheduling instructions. Currently, both examinations are offered via Zoom with an online proctor.
Will IJCAHPO notify me when my certification needs to be renewed?
Yes, you will be notified by email approximately six months prior to your recertification date.
What happens if I don’t have enough CE credits by the time I need to recertify?
You may submit your recertification application up to six months after your recertification date; however, your certification will go into an inactive, or non-certified, status and a late fee will be required with the recertification application. You may also choose to recertify by taking the multiple-choice certification examination in lieu of CE credits. If you have not recertified within six months of your recertification date, your certification will be revoked.
What happens if I do not recertify by my expiration date?
You may submit your recertification application up to six months after your recertification date; however, your certification will go into an inactive, or non-certified, status and a late fee will be required with the recertification application. If you have not recertified within six months of your recertification date, your certification will be revoked.
My certification expired over six months ago. How can I recertify?
Your certification may be currently in a revoked status due to lack of recertification. IJCAHPO does offer a one-time option of reinstatement. Retesting may be required but is not required in all cases if you have been continuously employed under the supervision of an ophthalmologist since your last recertification date.
Which recertification applications are selected for audit of CE credits?
All first-time or late recertification applications will be audited. Ten percent of all recertification applications are randomly audited. If you are selected for audit, verification of all CE credits must be submitted with your application. Credits on your IJCAHPO transcript, earned within your recertification cycle, do not need to be submitted.
I am not currently employed. Can I still recertify?
Yes, you may recertify. Your recertification application must signed by your sponsoring ophthalmologist; however, it is not required they are your current employer.
Does my recertification application need to be received by my recertification date?
Recertification applications must be submitted online or postmarked on or before the last day of the last month in the recertification cycle.
If I have more IJCAHPO CE credits than are required to recertify, may I carry them over to my next cycle?
No, all CE credits submitted with your recertification application need to be earned within your current recertification cycle. Credits earned within your previous recertification cycle will not be accepted.
When do my IJCAHPO CE credits need to be earned for my recertification? How far back can I look for credits?
When submitting a recertification application, all IJCAHPO CE credits need to be earned within your current recertification cycle. For example, if your recertification date is 12/31/2023, your cycle is December 1, 2020, to December 31, 2023. This cycle is noted on your certificate.
May I submit my recertification application early?
Yes, you may submit the application early. Remember that all CE credits need to be earned within your current recertification cycle. Submitting the recertification application early will not change your recertification cycle. For example, if you are due to recertify by 12/31/2023, and submit application in June 2023, your new cycle will still be December 1, 2023, to December 31, 2026, after the application is approved.
What happens if I lose my verification of CE credit forms?
You may be required to submit verification of CE credits if your recertification application is selected for audit. If you completed CE credits on EyeCareCE.org or at an IJCAHPO-sponsored meeting, the CE credits will be on your IJCAHPO transcript. If the credits were approved for IJCAHPO CE but the program was not sponsored by IJCAHPO, you will need to contact the sponsoring organization to request copies of the verification forms.
If I do not have any CE credits, are there any other options for recertification?
Yes, you may retest the multiple-choice examination in lieu of CE credits. Submit the examination application, with applicable fee, and mark you are taking the examination to recertify in lieu of CE credits. It is not required that you complete the practical examination(s) for the COT and COMT level. This option must be completed prior to your certification going into a revoked status (within 6 months after your recertification date).
I achieved a higher-level of certification. Can I request a pro-rated refund of my current recertification fee?
Candidates who achieve a higher-level certification (e.g., a COA who obtained a COT or COT who obtained a COMT certification) may request a pro-rated refund of their previous level recertification fee. Candidates must submit the refund request in writing to IJCAHPO’s Certification Department within 60 days of achieving the new credential.
How do I recertify my OSC certification?
OSC recertification requires successful completion of the OSC examination. The examination is available for purchase on the EyeCareMarketplace.
Continuing Education Credits
How are CE courses approved for IJCAHPO credit?
Course sponsors must apply with IJCAHPO’s Education Department for credit approval prior to the course start date. For more information about the application process, please visit our CE Providers page.
Does IJCAHPO track my CE credits?
All credits obtained through courses directly sponsored by IJCAHPO will be on your IJCAHPO transcript. This includes courses completed on EyeCareCE.org. If a course is approved for IJCAHPO credit but not directly sponsored by IJCAHPO, it will not be on your IJCAHPO transcript. However, if you would like it added to your transcript, you may subscribe to the CE Transcript Service by submitting the CE Tracking Submission Form. You will need to submit verification of the credit(s) with the form and then IJCAHPO will add the credit(s) to your transcript.