What is Board Certification?

Board certification is a voluntary credential that goes above and beyond licensing requirements for practicing optometry. It is confirmation of an optometrist’s personal commitment to providing the highest quality patient care and engaging in lifelong learning and self-assessment.

Board certification is awarded after the following requirements have been met:

  • Graduation from an ACOE-accredited optometry school in the United States or Canada.
  • Completion of an accredited one-year residency program or completion of a minimum of 3 years of active clinical practice.
  • Possession of a valid, active license to practice therapeutic optometry in a U.S. state, territory or the District of Columbia.
  • Successful completion of a comprehensive written examination.

Once board certification is granted, optometrists are awarded the title Diplomate of the American Board of Optometry. Diplomates maintain certification and continually demonstrate their commitment to ongoing learning through a structured program known as CAP (continuous assessment program).

The American Board of Optometry is the only optometric certification board recognized by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA).

Download a Printable Overview of the Board Certification Program >



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By going through the voluntary process of becoming board certified, our Diplomates demonstrate competence beyond entry level.


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